Cleaning Tarnished Brass

Hi! Are you loving this crisp, cool Fall weather as much as I am?? Some words to live by this season:

So, I am the first one to love grubby, dirty, dusty antiques…but some items call for more TLC than others! I got a few of these brass figures at the thrift store – a set of 3 cats and 2 deer. I thought the cats would be cool in my Halloween display at the shop, and the deer for Christmas time. They were just a little too grimy for me – it doesn’t show up that great in the pic below, but trust me!

I didn’t have any brass cleaner so I used a homemade solution that I found online to clean them up. It worked really well, and it was cheap & easy!

It’s hard to see the difference in the picture, but see how much more shiny the cat is than the deer?

This terrible picture with the direct flash really shows the color difference and a good “before & after.”

Here is the recipe and directions for this great do-it-yourself brass cleaning solution found at!

Things you need:

  • White Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Hot & Cold Water
  • Steel wool or scrubby (like you use for dishes)
  • Towel
  • Place the brass piece into the bucket or container deep enough to cover the items in the solution, like a big, sorta deep bowl.
  • Pour in approximately 1/2 cup of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of table salt (I didn’t measure, just estimated).
  • Add enough hot tap water to cover the brass piece(s).
  • Let soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the brass piece from the container. Using your scrubby and warm, clean water, gently rub the brass piece until you see the shine come through.
  • Repeat all around the brass piece until the entire surface shines equally.
  • Rinse the brass piece under warm water, removing soap residue.
  • Dry immediately with soft cloth or towel, to prevent water spotting.
In other news, here are some of the cool things I found at a recent estate sale. I love these cast iron candle holders, especially for my “Halloween” table at the co-op. Already priced and ready to go!

Also got this fork thing which, upon some research, I found is a vintage fire roasting fork. I got another one almost identical that has a pointy “poker” end. They must have come together in a set of fire tools. They are so unique!

I picked up this little can of washers because I love the colors and graphics on it. Vintage labeling is always something that catches my eye. It is also a really neat tin, with an unusual lid on the top, which of course I forgot to take a picture of.

And lastly, I got this really awesome piece of hand turned pottery. I love the colors and that it has a lid. I’d keep it, but it doesn’t really match anything in my house!

I actually got a ton of great stuff at the thrift store yesterday which I will have to share – some real treasures. I have a few thrift store make-overs coming too. I have a small craft show in a few weeks and then the big show in early Dec….so much to do and so little time!!! Be back soon! 🙂



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Barbara
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 17:00:01

    Thanks for the info Margaret! I’ll get busy!


  2. Mardell
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 08:08:11

    You found some really neat treasures indeed. Love the Pignose washers! There is a new VOA that just opened in Batavia and I am dying to go. We went the first day it opened and it was mobbed. 98PXY was there, too. (We didn’t go in, couldn’t even find a parking spot.) Maybe this weekend will be better. Yes, really enjoying these crisp cool days! Yay for Fall. Thanks for the brass polishing tips.
    Have a great weekend.


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