Asked on Oct 26, 2012

How do I protect-maintain Brass Light Fixture?

Sherry  B.Adrianne CMarcy, Professional Designer, Artist and Arts and Crafts Instructor


When I took the old brass light fixture off, it barely had any resemblance to the shiny brass that it once was. After a year of being outside, this light fixture is starting to show signs of turning black which I suppose is called Patina. How do I protect a light fixture such as this or maintain it so that it stays shiny rather than pitted and black?
Notice that just under the light, it's turning black.
9 answers
  • Dee W
    on Oct 27, 2012

    Hi Jeff, you could try ketchup. Yup, ketchup. Just wipe your light down first with a damp rag to get off any dust/dirt. Then smear ketchup around the fixture and let it set for 10 mins. or so. Wipe off with a warm damp towel and buff dry. May take a few times to get it shiny and new depending on how bad it is. I would do this 2x a year, before and after winter. Hope this helps.

  • Miriam I
    on Oct 27, 2012

    Really Dee? That's so interesting. Why ketchup?

  • Tasty idea, just had to say that. I have used clear lacquer spray paint to seal the brass from the elements.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Oct 28, 2012

    The acidity in the tomato based ketchup helps can get a similar effect with sure to rinse well...acid residues will lead to additional tarnish. a good mechanical polish with a bonifide brass cleaner then following with a sealer would be my route

  • Dee W
    on Oct 29, 2012

    @Miriam I- KMS is right, it is the acid that helps and it is easier to see where you have covered as well as staying better than vinegar. If you can soak your piece than a tub with vinegar is a good way to go. I just thought that maybe Jeff would rather not take his fixtures down.

  • Melisa Gingrich
    on Sep 11, 2014

    Paint them! I've painted everything brass in my home and it's held up nicely.

  • Adrianne C
    on Dec 1, 2014

    Spray it with polyurethane after you clean it.

  • Sherry B.
    on Jul 21, 2015

    Polyurethane does not last....I know. Use Barkeepers Friend to wipe it down once in a while. It's sooo easy to use with no scrubbing.

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