How do I clean badly tarnished brass?

The brass was cleaned with ammonia
and has now turned black
  10 answers
  • William William on Jun 18, 2017
    Use white toothpaste (not gel), a damp cloth, and a damp toothbrush.

    I sell a lot of items on Ebay. Jewelry, silverware, serving sets, statuary, china. I use white toothpaste (not gel) and a damp toothbrush. For large items I use a damp cloth. Also works on copper, brass, gold, porcelain, sneakers, etc. For my sales I needed one product for cleaning everything.

  • Judy Ferrell Judy Ferrell on Jun 19, 2017

  • Bunny Harrison Bunny Harrison on Jun 19, 2017
    Barkeeper's Friend, soft cleanser - fast and beautiful

  • Mo Mo on Jun 19, 2017
    I used lysol toilet bowl cleaner (the blue liquid stuff.)

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Jun 19, 2017
    I agree, bar keeper's friend is amazing!!!

  • Joyce Nelson Joyce Nelson on Jun 19, 2017
    ketchup or tomato paste should do it.

  • Haydee Ontiveros Haydee Ontiveros on Jun 19, 2017
    I used BFK.

  • Haydee Ontiveros Haydee Ontiveros on Jun 19, 2017
    I meant to say Bar Keepers Friend

  • She15871401 She15871401 on Jul 12, 2017
    It is important to understand why your brass turned black. Shiny brass is called "polished brass." This is process wherein natural solid brass is cloaked in a micro-thin layer of copper, then immediately dusted with a fine layer of brass dust. This dust is what creates the sparkling shine, not the lacquer. Brass is very porous, so the copper layer creates a smooth surface for the glittery brass dust to adhere to. The piece is then dipped or sprayed with a very thin layer of lacquer, which is baked on to incorporate it into the copper/brass dusted finish. The result is called "polished brass." The 3 layers are micro-thin and fragile. Lacquer is actually quite dull, so only enough to prevent the brass dust layer from tarnishing is used. The irony of polished brass is that it cannot tolerate polishing with ammonia-based brass polish or with abrasives such a Bar Keepers Friend (which I agree is a wonderful polish for natural, uncoated solid brass). The blackened finish on your brass piece probably also has areas of green patina from the copper beginning to show through. This means that both the lacquer layer and the brass dust layer have been ruined and partially stripped off. These layers cannot be recovered, but do not panic. The quickest way to salvage your beautiful piece is to strip the remaining "polish" from your brass with lacquer thinner. This will only take minutes, and will prevent damaging scratches from frustrating hours of working with abrasives. (Remember, BKF is for brass that is already naked. Using it on a piece that is still partially lacquered would take hours, and it is impossible to get in all the crevices.) Next, rub the surface with 0000 steel wool to bring out the sheen. Heavier steel wool will scratch the surface. Now you are ready to protect your piece from further tarnish with RENAISSANCE MICRO-CRYSTALLINE WAX POLISH, a museum quality wax product that will prevent future tarnish in your display brass. It resists fingerprints, keeping your brass looking freshly polished for years, rather than weeks or months. Buy it online - museums do! Regretably, your brass piece will never have a hard, brilliant shine again - only a beautiful sheen. The confusion about how to clean various brass pieces comes down to terminology. When brass is described as "solid" it means unpolished natural brass. When brass is shiny, although it may have a solid brass foundation, it is called "polished brass." Never polish "polished" brass! Use a soft DRY lint-free cloth with no cleaner residue. DO NOT USE WATER. Water will seep into any tiny pores in the finish, causing tarnish to begin. DO NOT RUB. Any friction will erode the polished finish, creating areas of tarnish. If your polished brass piece begins to look shabby, consider stripping it to give it a new life as a solid brass piece. Hope this helps take the mystery out of cleaning brass!

  • Los6674666 Los6674666 on Jul 12, 2017
    excellent! Thank you!