My cleaning lady cleaned a very old and lovely brass lamp that belonged to
my mother. Whatever she did, it looked fine at first, but now green stuff
is gathered in the creases of the embossing. In one or two places, it is
starting to turn black. I managed to rub away most of the black and some of
the green with a toothbrush, but not all, and it is tedious.
Any ideas welcome. Would vinegar and salt help?
She may have used a paste polish or cleaner with ammonia or chlorine in it..
Either one will react with the copper in the brass, if the lacquer is worn
off in places, and produce either copper chloride or another salt, most of
which are colored green. There are some good care hints at
which i found on Google. Basically, you could use a small soft brush or
rag, hot water, and mild detergent to get all the traces of of green off,
then use a fine brass polish *very* sparingly, and follow the instructions
above. The engraving tends to hold any compounds, so some care must be used
in completely removing all polish trapped by the grooves.
You didn't say whether you want it to look "bright and shiny" or
"antiqued". If you want the former, then you'll have to get it spray
lacquered after its polished, or learn how to lacquer it yourself.
If you're willing to settle for it turning darker with age then yes,
vinegar and salt will help take off whatever's eating away at it now,
but make sure you wash it off quite well when you're through cleaning it.
You describe tarnish, though the colors sound as much like copper as brass.
There are plenty of brass cleaners in the supermarket, just pick one and
follow the directions. After is is clean, you can buy a brass sealer
(hardware store, maybe drug store) and it will stay looking clean and shiny.
If it is an antique, consult an antique dealer before cleaning again to be
sure you are not destroying its value by removing the patina.
Vinigar and salt is exactly opposite of what you want to do. It will
accelerate and cause the tarnish.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.