How to clean brass that’s got grubby 

How to clean brass that’s got grubby

Grubby brass isn’t a bad thing really – it’s evidence of life with your family or housemates. A grubby brass door handle, for example, tells the story of the time you had to keep shutting the bedroom door to keep the cat out, who then weed on the floor to show how he felt about not sleeping on a comfy bed.  

So, how do you clean brass? Well, no matter how filthy they’ve got, here’s how to clean brass handles and some other top brass cleaning tips to try out around your home. 

Please add a warning to try things first – just to be sure it’s brass and not any other metal composition that would change its colour or get scratched. 

Brass cleaning tips for modern brass

Modern brass is a bit easier to clean as it’s usually lacquered with a clear finish (this helps prevent discolouration through oxidation). Cleaning brass door handles that are contemporary, or any other modern item of brass, is probably easier than you think! 

After giving it a good dust, mix some mild washing up liquid with a bit of lukewarm water. Dip a cotton cloth into the mix and wring it out until it’s damp. Then, smoothly wipe the surface. After that, you can remove the remaining soap residue with a clean cloth, before drying it thoroughly. 

Got it? Great! Here’s how to clean old brass: 

How to clean old brass with a homemade cleaning solution

First things first: some old brass is actually antique, and it’s meant to have something called a ‘patina’. Patina is a kind of corrosion that each bit of brass develops – it indicates its value and its age, so you don’t want to clean that off! But how do you clean brass without damaging this potentially valuable patina? For cleaning brass door handles and other objects that get grubby quickly, you can make an easy homemade solution. Here’s how to clean brass with a salt and vinegar paste: 

  1. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a half cup of vinegar until fully dissolved.
  2. Add flour bit by bit, until you get a paste.
  3. Use a strong kitchen towel to gently rub the paste onto the brass.
  4. Leave for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse off with warm water.
  6. Buff dry.


You can use Plenty The Original One to dry and buff your brass items. It’s got that winning combination of softness and strength.

How to clean brass using food!

OK, stay with us here: Food usually causes mess – but here, it can help clean up grubby brass! No homemade solutions or specialist cleaning products from the shop. Here’s how to clean brass at home with a few things you’ll find in your kitchen!  

  • Tomato ketchup. It might feel wrong at first, and then it might feel really satisfying to wipe ketchup alllll over something in your house. Wipe your ketchup over the brass and let it sit for about 10 minutes before wiping it off with a dampened kitchen towel.  
  • Plain yoghurt. Smear your yoghurt (the lactic acid helps dissolve the tarnish) all over the surface, let it dry, and then rinse it off with water. 
  • Lemon juice. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice from half of it. Mix baking soda or table salt into the lemon juice in a small bowl – enough to make a paste. Then, apply it with a sheet of kitchen paper (you can use a soft toothbrush for nooks and crannies), then rinse it off. 
  • Vinegar and salt. Spray the surface with white vinegar and then sprinkle salt over it. Then, wipe it down with a fresh kitchen towel dampened with vinegar.  

Oh, and keep an eye on your food-covered brass to make sure none of it drips onto the floor! Finish off all of these methods by drying the brass with a clean sheet of strong, absorbent kitchen towel.

How to polish brass until you can see your face it 

All of these cleaning methods also work to polish brass. But if you want to know how to polish brass that’s lacquered (like modern brass), then all it involves is buffing it with some kitchen towel and a hearty amount of elbow grease!  

Just take a dry cotton cloth and use small, circular motions to buff the brass. This might take a while so pull up a chair and maybe stick a film on in the background too! 


You can use Plenty The Original One to dry and buff your brass items. It’s got that winning combination of softness and strength.

Now you know how to clean brass at home, and have a recipe up your sleeve for how to clean brass handles with a homemade solution, you can enjoy that beautiful restored look, knowing you brought it all back to its best yourself. Next stop: tackling that silverware!

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