Our environment is important to us, and many of us spend time considering ways to accomplish tasks in a responsible way, such as environmentally friendly carpet cleaning. But have you considered that there are other surfaces in your home that can be cleaned responsibly, with natural ingredients that are safe for our planet?
Consider the brass in your home.
Brass is a popular metal and it can be found throughout your home - in cookware, in some of your jewelry, in musical instruments, and of course, in some of the decorations around your home. Brass is an alloy, made from zinc and copper, and like those metals, brass tarnishes quite easily.
Environmentally safe solutions
So what is the best way to clean your brass belongings?
Well, there are several chemical brass cleaners out there that work quite well, of course. But did you know there is an array of natural ingredients to clean brass? And most of those ingredients are already in your pantry!
So let’s get started. First, you’ll need to which items are, in fact, made from brass. This process is as easy as holding a magnet up to the object – if the magnet sticks, it is NOT brass. More likely, it is brass-plated. For those items, only use water and a mild detergent; anything more abrasive likely will damage the brass plating.
Some brass objects are coated with lacquer to protect the finish. For those items, a simple wipe-down with a damp sloth will do the trick. But if your brass is not lacquered, get ready to use a little “elbow grease” to get that brass shining brightly again.
And instead of those toxic chemical cleaners available commercially, try some of these common, natural ingredients to help wipe away the tarnish:
Ketchup – This home-cleaning remedy has been around for years. In fact, the noted housekeeping column, “Hints from Heloise,” has been recommending ketchup as a brass cleaner for more than 30 years! Simply squire some ketchup on a clean cloth and rub. Wipe clean with a damp cloth and then buff it to a bright finish.
Vinegar, Salt and Flour: Mix these ingredients together to make a paste by using a teaspoon of salt with a half-cup of vinegar, then adding flour until the mixture is a smooth paste. The, rub that paste onto your brass item and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Buff it dry to achieve that sparking finish!
Water, vinegar and salt: In a variation of the paste formula, heat a pint of water, and then add 2 teaspoons each of vinegar and salt. Again, rub the mixture onto the brass, then dry with a clean rag.
Lemon Juice: Ahh, the trusty lemon! High in citric acid, lemon juice one of the best natural cleaners due to its low pH and antibacterial properties. So using straight lemon juice can bring back that shine. Once you have finished, be sure to wipe down your bass thoroughly with a damp cloth, and buff dry.
Soap or Mild Detergent: If your brass item is simply dusty or dirty rather than tarnished, just dip it in a solution of warm soapy water and wipe it down with a soft cloth. If needs be, you can use a toothbrush to gently scrub extra dirty areas.
Of course, there are times when you might want to leave the tarnish on that brass item, too. For instance, if the brass item is an antique, you should have it appraised before attempting to clean it. The tarnish could add value to your piece, or detract from it if you disturb the item’s natural finish.
And if you discover that your bass item is simply brass plated, you can find some consolation in knowing it is much easier to keep clean. And face it. Sometimes they look just as good as the “real McCoy!”