How to clean heavy patina on brass door handles?

My house is 30 yeas old. the brass handles on three doors have never been cleaned or polished. See photo.
What can I do to make them look a bit more presentable? Preferably without a lot of hard work.
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/407/1000337j.jpg/
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On Thursday, August 9, 2012 3:38:19 PM UTC-7, walter wrote:

Remove and https://www.google.com/search?num &hl=en&safe=off&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw66&bihb8&qΎnch+polishing+wheel&oqΎnch+poli&gs_l=img.1.1.0j0i24l8j0i5i24.10816.14572.0.18291.10.10.0.0.0.0.160.963.8j2.10.0...0.0...1ac.x7IEvkllCpU
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On Aug 9, 6:41 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It probably depends to a large extent on if they are real solid brass or some cheaper, crap. Given that they are 30 years old, I wouldn't be surprised that they aren't the real deal. And if they aren't then they may wind up looking even worse.
Whatever you try, I'd start on the back side.
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Just leave it alone. There is nothing wrong with the way it looks. I bet you're the same sort of person that would remove original paint on an antique and ruin the value.
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On 8/11/2012 1:49 AM, ktos wrote:

What's wrong with that?
I buy an occasional piece of antique furniture because of the construction and physical appearance. Then I strip it and apply new finish so it matches the room. Sometimes I spray paint, sometimes stain and lacquer. It just depends on where it's going.
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A 30 year old door handle in that condition is only worth the value of the metal. It's on the outside of his house for Pete's sake, of course he wants it to look nice. An antique home with its original paint would have long since collapsed from exposure to the elements.
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wrote:

Try rubbing with Brasso or Glo metal polish. Use a soft cloth. If that doesn't work for you, use a wheel as the other post said. They'll tarnish again unless you coat them with something. I polished a lot of brass in the Navy, and we never coated it. Just polished it again. And again. And again.
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Polishing the buckle in the army, first you take off the protective coating.
Greg
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wrote:

Don't recall polishing a belt buckle. Only time they would show is when wearing dungarees. A flashy belt buckle with oil-stained dungarees wouldn't look right. OTOH, I spent many hours shining SS fireroom deck plates. Yep, shined all the fireroom "floors," ladders, hand rails, brass telegraph bells, brass talk funnels, and a few other brass pieces I can't recall now. Ship was pretty new. Mindless activity. so mindless it was the time to go over casualty control procedures in my head. That got off the shining duties quick enough, but I did them for at least a year or more. Still had to spit shine my dress shoes all 4 years. That was more fun.
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It has a finish on it like lacquer or it would have tarnished 29 years ago, it could end up better to replace it rather than buff it on a powered buffer as a pro would do. Experiment with crass cleaner and se what happens
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You can burn the old lacquer off. I don't know if you can still buy lighter fluid but naptha or acetone will work. Slosh the stuff on and light it with a match. (outside and far from anything you like, of course) Then use a brass cleaner (Brasso, Noxon, etc) and rub. Relacquer with clear gloss lacquer like Rustoleum. A light coat is fine for inside, but apply several for the outside parts. I just did every knob and handle in the house last spring and it's really not that onerous. The lacquer stinks so spray that where you have good ventilation.
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Can't see pics (checking usenet while taking a break @ work) so I can't speak to your specific situation, but I've had good luck with Eagle One wadding polish as purchased at your FLAPS (it's really intended for polishing old school uncoated mag wheels) for cleaning up brass doorknobs, switch plates, etc. Personally I don't mind a little patina (at least on older houses) but sloppy paintwork makes me stabby, so I've had to do this a couple times. Will leave a little bit of protective coating on the brass, or you could wipe with solvent after you're done and then use some spray clear lacquer to protect. I did this once in a house that I was renting because my landlord was going to replace all the 40's vintage hardware with new stuff and I didn't want him to do that - he thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread :) (I also fixed an old paned window for him and he was amazed that such things could actually be done...)
If you have a bench grinder, you could also use a loose, soft buffing wheel and some polishing compound on that, will make fast work of the job.
nate
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On 8/9/2012 6:38 PM, walter wrote:

I'd use brass cleaner only and just work on it. Then I'd put a clear tough finish on it and it should be good for several years. We have a brass bed with clear finish that is over 30 years old and never needed polishing.
Without finish you may be polishing once a year or more depending on exposure.
I'd avoid steel wool or abrasives if I can as they will remove traces of metal.
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On 8/10/2012 10:56 AM, Frank wrote:

If it is solid brass, very fine steel wool won't likely remove any more brass than weathering and polishing do. It doesn't look like solid brass, so cleaning it up might show the difference more clearly; leaving as is will just allow more oxidation. Brass, outdoors and with no clear coat, will likely lose it's shine in weeks; faster in salt air. Pretty, heavy door handle - might look good even losing brass plating.
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On 8/10/2012 12:28 PM, Norminn wrote:

I agree. Just would not try abrasive as first step if not needed.
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My door tapper was black looking. Didn't look like that pic. I mostly cleaned it up, but kept some of the old look. Sprayed krylon clear.
Greg
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Lemon juice
If you've ever had a lemon tree in your backyard, or even somewhere in your neighbourhood, you will have discovered that there are only so many ways y ou can eat or drink lemons before these prolific trees are simply wasting t heir fruit! However, they are especially handy for cleaning things around t he home, either when juiced or simply chopped in half.
To clean brass with lemon juice, you can either use it neat, or mixed with vinegar and/or baking soda.
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On Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 6:38:19 PM UTC-4, walter wrote:

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On Mon, 29 Feb 2016 13:22:29 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Brasso?

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Here is why you polish it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJRt2a45uqk

(I can't believe nobody has responded with this so far.)
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