How to Recoat & Refinish Solid Brass

Written by julie keyes
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How to Recoat & Refinish Solid Brass
Brass is highly reflective but easily dulls with use and exposure to the elements. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Brass is a compound metal made from copper and zinc and a variety of other metals. Brass has a texture and finish that makes it look like gold and is used for a variety of items such as doorknobs and decorative pieces. When polished, brass has an almost mirror shine but dulls easily from repeated handling or dust accumulation. Brass cleaners, polishes and wax are available at most home improvement or hardware stores.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Several soft cloths
  • Paint stripper
  • Steel wool
  • Brass polish
  • Automotive wax

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  1. 1

    Wipe the brass. Use a soft cloth to remove any dust or debris on the surface. Apply a few drops of paint stripping compound to a piece of steel wool and gently rub to remove any protective coating or build-up of oil and grease.

  2. 2

    Wipe the surface again with a clean cloth to remove the paint stripping compound and the coating material.

  3. 3

    Pour brass polish onto a clean, soft cloth. Rub the surface of the brass to coat it with the polish. Work in small areas, using a circular application method. Rub the brass until it has a bright, clear shine.

  4. 4

    Place a small amount of non-abrasive automotive wax on the brass. Use a fresh clean cloth for this application and work it over the brass in the same circular method. Rub the wax in thoroughly.

  5. 5

    Buff the surface. Use another clean, soft cloth to remove the dried outer coating of wax and expose the shine.

  6. 6

    Apply a second coat of wax. Buff again to improve the protective coating.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber household gloves when working with the paint stripper and brass polish.
  • Ensure that the item is solid brass and not simply brass plating.
  • Avoid getting any of the compounds on clothing or it could ruin the fabric.
  • Don't rub too hard with the steel wool and cause ruts or scratches in the metal.

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