How to Clean and Shine Dingy Brass

Remember those dressers I talked about for my baby girl's nursery? Well here's how I cleaned up the brass to go from dingy greenish brown to a shiny gold.

When we bought the dressers for my baby girl's nursery they were old and used. We bought them because it was budget friendly as well as met our other criteria (check out our nursery furniture post here). I had originally planned to buy new hardware but when I priced it out I was probably going to spend close to the same amount we paid for the dressers! I figured I could clean them and if they weren't the right color then I would spray paint them gold. I searched online for some cheap, easy, DIY brass cleaners and stumbled on this blog. It seemed pretty easy and I had flour, vinegar, and salt on hand. I followed her directions and let the mix sit overnight (12+ hours).

2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup salt

There's was a pretty big change on the hardware and here's the before and after:

I wasn't quite satisfied though... So I found another recipe that used different ingredients (that I was actually really skeptical of) and decided to try a second round of cleaning. This recipe uses boiling ketchup on the stove and you simply stir it for awhile. I let it sit in the ketchup for about 20-30 minutes before removing and rinsing. I was so surprised by the results on the first few pieces I used in the initial batch that I continued to use it for the rest of the hardware. And here's something interesting too.... I ran out of ketchup in the middle so I looked for something in my pantry to substitute for it. Hot sauce. YES... hot sauce! Hot sauce has similar ingredients, such as vinegar and salt, and it worked just as amazingly as the ketchup. Here's a tip - when you are ready to rinse the brass pour the pot into a colander, rinse with water and remove any leftover bits of sauce from the crevasses using an old toothbrush and it may even help get some extra tarnish off. :)

Before and after:

Here is what the brass looks like before any cleaning and after both cleaning methods I used:

Pretty amazing, huh?

So what do you think? Have any brass that you could shine in your home? If you try one of these come back and let me know how it works for you.


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