Removing lacquer from brass is a standard component of cleaning, preserving or restoring brass. You can use commercial or homemade cleaners to take off the lacquer in just a few minutes. Once lacquer is removed, brass can be polished to a high shine or relacquered as desired.
Protect Your Skin
Put on rubber gloves to protect your skin during the lacquer removal process.
Commercial and Homemade Lacquer Removers
Purchase lacquer remover (two popular products are Behr's The Stripper and Parks' Refurbisher) or make your own. To make lacquer remover, mix 1 tbsp baking soda with 1 quart water and bring to a boil.
Remove the Lacquer
Use commercial lacquer remover as directed on the packaging. To use homemade lacquer remover, soak the item in the baking soda-water mix while it boils for 15 minutes. Remove it from the water.
Rinse the Brass
Rinse the item under hot water to peel off any remaining lacquer leftover from either process. If there are stubborn bits of lacquer left, you can use a cotton ball dipped in acetone nail polish remover to wear it away. With the lacquer gone, you can clean your brass or relacquer it as desired.