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Kitchen Cupboard Ingredients: Brass Cleaner

Kitchen Cupboard Ingredients: Brass Cleaner

Those old candlesticks you inherited could use a good cleaning, but is it necessary to reach for the synthetic commercial cleaner that may have toxic ingredients? No it’s not.
There is a better way to clean brass.

Most commonly used kitchen cupboard or refrigerator ingredients that
contain a natural acid, such as vinegar, Tobasco Sauce, ketchup, tomatoes,
milk, and lemon or lime juice, will remove tarnish.

The tarnish washes away
with an acid rub or soak. You might have to remove the lacquer cover if the
brass is new.

Do this by submerging the brass in boiling water with a few
teaspoons each baking soda and washing soda (available in the laundry section
of the supermarket). Once the lacquer has peeled off, polish dry.

Read more: Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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Natural living has reached the mainstream: we are now far more concerned about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the chemicals that surround us, and recognize that government regulations all too often fall short of safeguarding our health. Enter Annie Berthold-Bond, whose Better Basics for the Home is a compendium of practical information -- recipes, tips, and guidelines -- for creating a simpler, cheaper and environmentally safer now

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Provides more than four hundred tips on ways one can remove harmful substances from the home and have them replaced by safer, do-it-yourself formulas, and gives helpful hints on how to purchase natural food, clothing, and beauty supplies."buy now


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11:16AM PDT on Sep 27, 2010

Many household products can be used as cleaning implements such as vinegar, Tobasco Sauce, ketchup, tomatoes, milk, and lemon or lime juice. Everyone in their home has eco-friendly toys that can help both them and their environment. The world would be better off if more people started doing so.

10:44AM PDT on Jul 9, 2010

Nice tips. My party rental company has many copper pots and pans and we also have lots of brass candlesticks. I have used the lemon and salt and does remove the tarnish but is can scratch your stuff if you aren't careful. Try BrassMate because there is no rubbing involved and it is 96% water and only takes15 seconds to clean and polish a piece of brass or copper.

10:55AM PST on Feb 16, 2010

I've just seen this remark about effort. No, I left the spoons to soak and didn't have to polish long afterwards.

10:54AM PST on Feb 16, 2010

I've just tried this because I have some cofee spoons that look like brass(!) but have become tarnished. An edible cleaner seemed safer on spoons, and it's worked!

8:58AM PDT on May 8, 2009

Home recipes are great but require to much effort for me to use. I was told about a brass cleaner, Brassmate, which requires no physical effort and it is very mild on my hands.

12:58PM PDT on Apr 3, 2009

The best brass cleaner and copper cleaner I have found is Brassmate. I use it for my copper pots in my restaurant. Its a liquid and only takes a few seconds to clean and polish a pot and it is non hazardous. We do not even were gloves. Thanks.

2:15PM PST on Dec 3, 2008

I agree that the lacquer has to be removed if you want the brass to look natural and clean. I love a non-toxic liquid cleaner called brassmate. It makes my brass pieces look new with very little effort and it polishes, too. It it very friendly to the environment.

9:27PM PDT on Mar 22, 2008

I am stunned! I knew most of the great uses for vinegar, but cleaning brass was a wonderful enlightenment! The cleaners you buy are horrible and scary to use! Thanks!

7:43PM PDT on Mar 12, 2008

True about the lacquer cover, but it's often thin and wears through. The brass will tarnish where there is no lacquer, often in a blotchy pattern where the lacquer is gone. Rubbing through the remaining lacquer is difficult, so removing it is necessary. Once you've cleaned the brass, you can re-lacquer the whole piece again or resolve to do occasional cleaning and polishing. Personally, I find the lacquer to make brass look very artificial and I like the warm look of hand-polished brass.

4:23PM PDT on Mar 12, 2008

The point of the lacquer cover is to prevent having to polish the brass. A quick wipe with a microfiber cloth should take care of dusting. Use glass bobeches (wax catchers) on your brass or dripless candles so you don't need to clean wax.

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