How to Polish Brass

Any long-lasting product will need a good shine and conditioning every once in awhile. Think of those fine Italian leather shoes you own (or wish to own), they only look as good as their last shine. Or, a nice knife: if it’s not sharpened often, it doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, it’ll be as dull as safety scissors. The same goes for brass. While the brass products we make are made to last, over time, they will develop a natural oxidation and tarnish. Luckily, there are ways to make any brass product look like new. Hell, better than new! By following a few simple steps, you can make your brass objects shine like a brick of gold. 

First, to understand why you need to condition brass, you should obtain knowledge on exactly what brass is made of and how it oxidizes. 

Brass is composed of copper and zinc, melted down together then cooled into the shape you desire. When cooled, the brass will have a golden hue that, when polished, can have an extremely bright shine. Oxidation occurs when the copper molecules of the brass come into contact with oxygen. This reaction will cause the metal to tarnish. The shiny golden hue will dull, and, depending on the ratio of copper and zinc, the brass can develop a reddish hue or a green hue (think the Statue of Liberty). 

Some people desire the oxidized look, and, if they don’t have the patience to wait several decades for the brass to fully oxidize, they can add an oxidizing solution. For the rest of us, who prefer our brass to look shiny new, there are protective lacquers and solutions that will reverse the oxidation process and make your brass look like new. 

To stop your brass product from oxidizing and giving it that fresh new look, follow these simple steps:

Materials: 

-You’ll need a brass product. Hopefully, you’ve purchased our YOU EARNED IT Bottle Opener, which is a half pound of solid brass. 

-Metal Polish Cream or Brasso. You can get either at any hardware store including Home Depot and even Amazon

-Pair of Latex Gloves. This is to protect your hands from the chemicals that make up the metal polisher. 

-Paper Towels or two old cloths (sock, t-shirt, towel). 

-A small cup of water.

Instructions:

1. Start by putting a small amount of the metal polish on your towel. In small circular motions, start to rub off the tarnish on the brass. The tarnish will appear as a black film on the metal. This black film will contribute to removing the tarnish from the bottle opener, so continue to rub in circular motions. 

*A metal polish is an abrasive powder that is placed in a liquid solution. When you rub the polish on the metal, you are essentially taking off a thin layer of the metal and revealing a new layer underneath. Abrasive materials like this are wise to not touch with your skin. As well, over-polishing can damage the material if the brass has very fine etching. 

With that said, understand that polishing takes a bit of elbow grease. The harder you rub, the shinier the brass can become. 

2. Spend about 1 to 2 minutes on each side of your product, continuing to rub in circles.

3. Use the second towel or a new paper towel to rub off any excess polish. 

4. When finished you can use the water to wash off any excess polish, but make sure to dry right away. 

There you have it! A pretty simple process that can make dull-looking products shine like new. 

Have Fun!