Andy and I actually did this little DIY the weekend my mom came to Austin. It was a whirl wind weekend of painting, IKEA trips, and turning our living room into well, a living room and not a room full of random crap! I learned a lot that weekend, things like why you shouldn’t paint your outlets, how to rescue gallons of paint that are the wrong color, what to do when you can’t find the right piece of molding, and the topic of today’s post… the best/easiest way to clean brass.
Andy was given lots of free goodies when we lived in Florida. I think people felt sorry for him since he lived in a 1000 square foot apartment with a double decker blow up mattres and a coffee maker all alone, ha! So, when I arrived with a 2 bedroom condo full of stuff… I got rid of a thing or two. The crusty corner couch was not doing it for me. This awesome bar almost went to the curb because it smelled funny, was super grungy, and had a broken latch. Our tiny- one drawer kitchen in Florida was it’s saving grace. And well, the smelly bar turned out to be a great place to store our beverages and oddly enough, letter writing materials too! I ended up loving the ugly thing, and decided it made the cut to come on the truck back to Texas! Here she is in our Florida apartment we called Sunny.
We moved her to Texas, and she lived in our living room like this for a month (or 3):
Then Tenacious T, T stands for Terri, my mom’s name, came to whip this place into shape, and we got our butts in gear. We did a little google research to find out how to clean brass, apparently, there are lots of methods (here’s a Bob Vila post with multiple methods)! We decided to try 3, since we had these materials on hand:
- A DIY recipe method with equal parts salt, white vinegar, and flour
- Bar Keepers Friend
- Soaking brass in white vinegar, salt and hot water
1: The DIY recipe of equal parts salt, white vinegar, and flour, looks like this:
Then you just rub it on your brass, and wipe and wipe and wipe and wipe wit ha clean rag. This method would be just fine for a small piece but we were not about to put in 3 weeks of solid rubbing to clean this sucker up. It seriously would have taken that long, plus it’s a messy method, see:
2: Next, we tried one of our favorite products Bar Keeper’s Friend. It worked better and was less messy, but was still going to take for-evvah to do the whole thing.
3: The third and final method was by far the fastest and least muscle intensive brass cleaning recipe. Andy took the entire bar apart and soaked all of the pieces in a 5 gallon bucket full ot hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and 10-ish table spoons of salt. Like so:
We let the brass sit for a couple of hours, and then came back and used Bar Keeper’s Friend and a rag to really make it shine. Here’s a before and after shot of one piece after our thorough treatment. Kind of amazing, huh?
Wanna see all of the super sparkly bar pieces laid out in perfect order? I know you do!
Then Andy reassembled the sparkling brass bar…
And then the once super crusty bar that almost got thrown to the curb looked like this:
Here are a few close up before and afters, for your viewing pleasure:
And I’ve done some rearranging since that pic, so here she is as of today:
One more time, here’s the before and after the cleaning of the brass!
I like her. A lot. She’s handy and cute and clean. Have you ever had to clean brass? What method did you use? I’m telling you, the soaking + Bar Keeper’s Friend is by far the best. Oh and notice anything interesting about our molding? ; ) More on that tomorrow!
Comments & Reviews
I am going to try the third method and hopefully my brass candlesticks will come out beautiful. Thank you for this amazing post. It was fun to read. You have a talent for writing. I will let you know how they turn out!
Domesticated Combat Boots says
What a clever way to do it! I’ve cleaned a lot of brass in my day as a Marine. We always used brasso…which works really really well, but i hate the residue it leaves all over your hands. If I would have known about this sooner!