Cleaning Brass Jewelry

by Karen Bates
(last updated March 5, 2018)

Jewelry made from brass, which is an alloy of zinc and copper, has a very distinctive and unique look. It can be a great accent to your outfit, whether you're wearing something casual or going out for the evening. When it comes to brass jewelry, however, one thing is certain: whether it is a necklace, bracelet, watch, earrings, or something else, your brass accessories will look their best when they are sparkling clean.

Brass can become tarnished or change color over time, and while this change can be seen as desirable to some (since it does give the jewelry an interesting look) you are not necessarily stuck with the tarnish forever. Along with certain cleaners that you can use to remove the tarnish, it can help if you store your jewelry in a zip lock baggie.

When cleaning brass jewelry, you will need to take care that you do it in the right way. There are several options that you may want to try next time your brass jewelry starts to look dull, dirty or tarnished.

  • Hot Water. First, wash off the brass jewelry in hot water with a mild soap to see how much dirt will come off easily. If it doesn't seem to make a difference, don't worry: it's time to try either a commercial brass cleaner or a natural alternative.
  • Brass Cleaners. At the store, you should be able to find a cleaner that is made especially for cleaning brass. Follow the directions and be careful if there are any stones in your piece of jewelry—they might not handle the harshness of the cleaner well and could be ruined.
  • Clean Naturally. Things you probably have around the house can aid in cleaning your brass jewelry. One possibility is to scrub the jewelry with some ketchup on a toothbrush. Another idea is to make a solution of lemon juice, water and salt that you can soak your jewelry in for several minutes, rinsing afterward. Or, try Worcestershire sauce, toothpaste or vinegar to get the brass looking nice. The acids in some of these natural cleaners allow them to beautifully clean your jewelry, but be careful: as with the brass cleaners, these natural cleaners may not be safe to use on gemstones.

If you are uncertain about a certain cleaning method, it might make you feel better to try them out on an inconspicuous area of the jewelry before treating the whole piece. Also, if your jewelry has any gemstones in it, find out what can safely be used on the stones to avoid ruining them.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...

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