How to: Polish Brass

Okay, it’s no secret that brass and gold are coming back in when it comes to home decor. Anyone who reads IBC knows that I have a tiny obsession with the trend. I really have been doing my best to control my urge to put gold and brass everywhere.

While gold and brass are trendy right now, they’ve obviously been around for years. A lot of our favorite home decor stores carry new brass accessories, but you can also pick up some fabulous antique / vintage items for a steal. Whether you’re shopping at a thrift store, antique shop, or online, keep your eyes open for all things brass. And when you are looking, don’t be dissuaded by a little tarnish. Most vintage pieces may appear weathered, dirty, and dull at first glance, but with a bit of elbow grease and polish they can look like a million bucks!

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

I recently found this set of brass andirons for my fireplace. I paid $25 for the set.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

As you can see, they have been well-loved and used. I wanted to get them cleaned up, so I thought I’d take you through my process for polishing brass.

You’re going to need a few things:
Bar Keeper’s Friend
brass polish
rags
scratch-free sponge
tooth brush
a little muscle

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

Before I start polishing, I like to clean the piece. Bar Keepers Friend is the best for this. As both a cleanser and a polisher, it’s a great way to start the polishing process. I use these scratch-free sponges from Scotch Bright with the Bar Keeper’s Friend. With a little water, just scrub away.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

Keep in mind that neither the cleaner nor the polisher is a miracle worker. You’re going to need to put some muscle in to it to get your piece sparkling.

You can use a toothbrush to scrub any tight areas you can’t reach with a sponge.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

Once, thoroughly cleaned, dry off your piece. Then, using a clean rag, apply the polish. Again, use some elbow grease. The more you polish the piece, the brighter it will shine. As before, use a toothbrush to get into any areas you can’t get into with your rag.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

I like to leave the polish on the piece for a few minutes until it starts to dry. Then, using another rag, rub the polish off. After that, rinse your piece in water.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

At this point, the brass probably won’t be perfect, but you should notice a huge difference. Depending on the amount of tarnish, you may may need to repeat this process a few times.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

Again, the more muscle and time you give it, the better the results.

For these andirons, I went through this process two times.

As you can see, there’s a big improvement from where I started.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

Now they look pretty incredible, right?

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

It probably wouldn’t hurt to polish them one more time; however I was happy with the results. As much as I love perfectly polished brass, I find that minor imperfections add character and charm.

Other things to keep in mind when polishing…
Sometimes brass pieces come apart to make polishing easier. Especially candlesticks.
When cleaning and polishing, turn your piece upside down, so you don’t miss anything.
It’s probably a good idea to wear gloves when using the polish. Also, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area, and avoid touching your eyes.

You’ll probably need to polish your brass items annually. After the initial cleaning, future polishings should be much easier.

How to: Polish Brass | Inspired by Charm

That’s it! I hope this little “how to” will encourage you to look for vintage brass items. You can get some fab deals if you’re wiling to give pieces a little love when you get them home.

If you liked this project, check out my Paint Dipped Brass Candlesticks:

Paint Dipped Candlesticks | Inspired by Charm #31daysofhome

Click here for the tutorial!



Recently on Inspired by Charm

Caramel Apple Martini

I realize that I’m focusing on fall a little early, but I hope you’ll forgive me. It’s my favorite time of year, and it seems to go by way too quickly. In the fall, one of the most comforting flavor combinations (other than pumpkin with almost anything) is caramel and apple. As we head into […]

Prepped and Primed

Happy Monday, friends! Today I’m popping in to share a brief update about my basement stairwell makeover. Even though we are still not into pretty territory, things are looking a whole lot better. I spent most of Friday and Saturday (on and off) patching and sanding. I didn’t realize how much attention this space needed. […]

Something More Saturday

Happy Saturday, friends! Normally I don’t post on the weekend, however I’ve decided to start a new series here on Inspired by Charm. In case you didn’t know, in addition to my work on IBC, I write for a few other brands and blogs. I want to make you aware of those posts in a […]

Wanderlust Gallery Wall

I’m happy to report that the gallery wall in my living room is complete! As you may know, I’m on a mission to get art on the walls of my living room and office. A couple weeks ago I decided to create a large drama-filled gallery wall above my sofa in the living room. The […]

Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats

I’m fairly certain that 90% of the recipes here on IBC involve dessert or buffalo chicken. I can’t help what I love. It’s a problem. Anyway, I hope you won’t be mad for long because these Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats are bangin’! If you like buffalo chicken and want to find a way to get […]

All About that Gray

If you can believe it, I finally chose the curtains for my master bedroom. And this pretty much sums up my feelings on making that decision … Even though you probably already saw my decision in the feature image above, I thought we’d celebrate my choice with a song. All together now – “Because you […]

A Year of Pie: Berry Cup Pies

Ever since I started A Year of Pie back in January, one of my goals has been to make cup pies. I’m not sure if there really is such a thing, but I got the idea from the television series Pushing Daisies, which premiered back in 2007. To be honest, I never watched the show […]

DIY Paint Dipped Basket

Hey, everyone! Happy Monday! Thank you so much for all of your help last week with my curtain decision. I actually decided on a panel and placed my order. I’m expecting the curtains to arrive this week, so I’ll be sure to give you all of the details once they’re here. I’m crossing my fingers […]