The biggest challenge one faces with brass items is that it loses its shine and sparkle over a period of time. Brass is a metallic alloy made up of copper and zinc. When it comes in contact with air, it oxidizes very easily and tends to get tarnished. To prevent the oxidation, a thin lacquer coating is added to the brass surface. This protective layer often comes out mainly due to use of wrong cleaning products and it looks dull and worn out. Therefore, you must select a brass cleaner that cleans up the dirt and soil without causing harm to the brass coating and restores its natural luster.
The ingredients required for the preparation of this brass cleaner are: half cup each of detergent, flour, white vinegar and table salt, and a cup of lukewarm water. Take a big, clean plastic container and pour all the ingredients into it and mix them up well to obtain a brass cleaning solution. Dip a soft piece of cloth or sponge into it and rub it over the brass surface vigorously. Once it is clean, wash it thoroughly with warm soapy water and then rinse with clean water. Hot water should never be applied on lacquered brass items as it can cause damage to the lacquer. Now, buff it well with another piece of soft cloth to get a clean shiny surface.
Another brass cleaner can be prepared at home with the help of lemon and salt. You do not have to use any cleaning pad for applying this cleaner. Cut a fresh lemon into two halves and de-seed it. Sprinkle some table salt over the pulp of the half lemon and rub it on the surface of the brass item. Within no time, you can see the brass material getting back its natural shine and brand new look. This cleanser is particularly good if the brass surface is in a badly corroded condition.
Boiled linseed oil serves as an excellent brass cleaner. You can safely use it on antique brass items. Firstly, remove all the dirt and grease from brass surface with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly with water and allow it to dry up. Then, pour some boiled linseed oil on a soft piece of cloth and rub it over tarnished spots. Once the tarnish is gone, wipe off the excess oil. Then buff the surface with another clean piece of cloth.
Diluted vinegar solution can also be used to clean brass. It can be prepared by mixing one part of vinegar with ten parts of water. Take a bucket of water and add the required amount of vinegar into it to get the right proportion. Dip all the brass items into the mixture for about half an hour. Then, take them out, wash off with water and you will get a clean shiny brass surface.
Rubbing isopropyl alcohol on the brass with the help of a scrubbing sponge is an easy way to get rid of mild soils from the brass. Wiping all your brass items with a small amount of ammonia once a week, will keep the shine of the brass intact.
Brass cleaning should always be followed by application of a coat of polish to minimize oxidization of brass in future. Apply a layer of olive oil on brass after cleaning the articles. This will keep the surface bright and shiny and slow down the process of tarnishing to a great extent.