Natural All-Purpose Cleaners
Make Your Own Cleaners!
I have brass pull handles on my kitchen cabinets. They are really dirty and some discolored. Is there a home solution to clean these?
Take the brass handles off. Put them in a pan of ketchup, just enough to cover the handles. Bring to boil and then turn down heat. Cook until the brass handles are shiny. Then, polish.
I was part of a crew that cleaned old brass fittings in a historic church. We used vinegar mixed with salt and elbow grease. Wear rubber gloves and remove brass from furniture (pew ends in our case). Soak for a while in a bucket full of vinegar and salt solution; it should be about half-and-half. Then, use a brush and rags to rub clean. Ketchup also works to clean brass, but it's much more expensive. Be careful to rinse thoroughly with water and dry before replacing. Dispose of vinegar/salt by diluting further with water and pouring down the drain. It will kill your garden!
I would highly recommend a product called "Nevr-Dull". My fiancée used this in the Army to polish brass. Last month, I polished a brass plate that was dark brown from decades of neglect. It shined like gold when I was finished. It's very easy to use. It comes in a round container. I'm not sure about the price, but the can should last you a long time, because only a tiny pinch of it is needed at a time.
If the brass is only dirty, then any product like 409 will remove the grime. If the brass is tarnished, you can clean them with a cloth soaked with vinegar and dipped in salt or by using a tarnish remover like Tarn-X or Brasso. When you are finished removing the tarnish, consider using a spray on lacquer which will prevent the tarnish from occurring again.
I suggest you try submersing the pulls in TEXAS PETE brand hot sauce! I refinished an old desk with brass pulls, and this worked like a charm. Put the hot sauce in a flat plastic container and pour in enough sauce to cover the pulls. Don't put it in a metal container, as there may be a reaction that could cause it not to work. By the way, my knowledge was the product of an old school science project where you placed a corroded penny in hot sauce to restore its original finish. And the supplies just hardly get any cheaper!
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