How to Clean Heavily Corroded Brass

Brass corrosion is when brass, a yellow metal mix, gets damaged and changes colour because it reacts with air and water. It’s like when a shiny penny turns greenish-blue over time.

Maintaining brass items becomes evident as regular upkeep is essential to prevent corrosion, preserve the metal’s shine, and ensure the longevity of both decorative and functional pieces.

To clean heavily corroded brass, you can mix equal parts white vinegar, salt, and plain flour to create a paste, then apply it to the corroded areas. Always ensure proper ventilation and safety when using homemade or commercial cleaning solutions for heavily corroded brass.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process of Heavily Corroded Brass

Below is the step-by-step process of cleaning heavily corroded brass and making it look brand new.

Step 1: Remove Loose Debris:

Start by gently brushing away loose dirt and debris from the heavily corroded brass surface. Use a soft-bristle brush to avoid scratching the metal.

Step 2: Initial Cleaning with Mild Solutions:

Dampen a soft cloth or sponge with a mild cleaning solution, such as a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar or lemon juice. Gently wipe the corroded areas, addressing the surface without causing damage.

Step 3: Intensive Cleaning for Heavily Corroded Areas:

For more stubborn corrosion, create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the corroded spots and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the affected areas with a soft brush to remove ingrained corrosion.

Step 4: Polishing to Restore Shine:

Utilise a brass cleaner or a homemade polishing compound to restore the shine. Apply the polishing agent with a soft cloth and rub it onto the brass in circular motions. Ensure even coverage for a consistent finish.

Step 5: Applying Protective Sealant or Wax:

Once the brass is cleaned and polished, consider applying a protective sealant or wax to prevent future corrosion. This step adds a layer of protection to maintain the brass’s restored appearance.

Note: If dealing with ornate designs or engravings, use a soft brush or a cotton swab to access intricate details. Exercise caution to preserve the fine features while effectively cleaning the corroded areas.

Address stubborn corrosion spots by repeating the cleaning process or using a specialised brass cleaner. If discolouration persists, consider additional polishing or consult specific remedies based on the severity of the issue.

Causes of Brass Corrosion

1. Exposure to Air and Moisture

When exposed to air and moisture, brass undergoes a process of corrosion. This exposure leads to the forming of a greenish layer, known as verdigris, on the brass surface, compromising its appearance and structural integrity over time.

2. Chemical reactions

Chemical reactions between the metal and environmental factors initiate brass corrosion. Oxygen and moisture in the air react with the copper and zinc in brass, forming corrosion products such as copper oxide and zinc oxide. These chemical reactions accelerate the degradation of the brass, resulting in visible and often undesirable changes to its surface.

How to Avoid Corrosion of Brass

Several prevention methods will help you avoid the corrosion of brass. Some of the preventive methods are mentioned below.

  • Dry and Store Properly: Ensure brass items are thoroughly dried after cleaning. Store brass in a dry environment to minimise exposure to moisture.
  • Apply Protective Coating: A thin protective sealant or wax layer creates a barrier against air and moisture. Reapply the coating periodically, especially for outdoor brass items.
  • Regular Cleaning Routine: Establish a regular cleaning schedule to remove dirt and contaminants. Use mild cleaning solutions to prevent harsh chemicals from accelerating corrosion.
  • Polish with Care: Use non-abrasive polishing compounds to restore shine gently.
    Avoid excessive polishing, as it may remove the protective layer and accelerate corrosion.
  • Protect from Harsh Environments: Shield brass items from harsh weather conditions, particularly extreme humidity. Consider indoor storage or protective coverings for outdoor brass fixtures.
  • Handle with Clean Hands: Clean hands before handling brass items to prevent the transfer of oils and contaminants. Wear cotton gloves for added protection during cleaning and maintenance.
  • Avoid Exposure to Corrosive Elements: Keep brass items away from chemicals, including acidic substances that can promote corrosion. Minimise exposure to salty air or environments, as salt can accelerate brass corrosion.

Takeaway

 

ACS Commercial Cleaning recognises the importance of safeguarding brass items in commercial spaces to maintain longevity and aesthetic appeal.

We ensure brass possessions’ sustained durability and visual appeal in diverse commercial settings through systematic cleaning practices, using industry-standard equipment and eco-friendly agents.