How to Clean a Brass Chain

Written by elton dunn
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How to Clean a Brass Chain
Acid helps clean brass. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Tarnishing is a natural process that happens to metal, brass included. Over time, your favourite brass chain can look dull from the effects of air, pollution, humidity and even salt, naturally produced when you sweat or from the environment. You can't prevent brass from getting tarnished, but you can slow down the process and remove build-up and tarnish. Clean your brass jewellery as often as you need to keep your favourite chain looking its best.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lemon or distilled white vinegar
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Lint-free towel
  • Commercial brass cleaner

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  1. 1

    Prepare a natural cleansing solution. Squeeze one slice of lemon, or add five to six drops of lemon juice, into 1 cup of hot water. Add 1 tbsp of salt, stirring to dissolve. Alternately, heat 1 cup of distilled white vinegar in a microwave until hot to the touch, and add 1 or 2 tbsp of salt to this, stirring to dissolve the salt.

  2. 2

    Soak your brass chain in the acidic mixture to soften any tarnish or residue. Leave your chain for up to five minutes.

  3. 3

    Remove the chain from the vinegar or lemon mixture and rinse it under warm water, to remove the acid from the metal. The brass should be looking cleaner just from the soak.

  4. 4

    Dry your brass jewellery with a clean, lint-free towel.

  5. 5

    Examine your brass under the light. Light tarnish will come off with the soak, but a heavily tarnished piece of brass may need another soak. In that case, return the brass chain to the acidic mixture for five more minutes.

  6. 6

    Try a commercial cleaner to remove stubborn spots. Brush the cleaner on with a soft-bristled toothbrush, getting into all the dirty nooks and crannies of your chain.

  7. 7

    Leave the cleaner on for the recommended amount of time, then remove it by rinsing your chain. Dry the chain with a soft, lint-free towel.

Tips and warnings

  • Store brass jewellery in a plastic bag with an anti-tarnish strip, to cut down on the frequency of cleaning. One anti-tarnish strip lasts for six months. It won't prevent the tarnishing process, but it will slow it down.

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