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Does Brass Tarnish?

Does Brass Tarnish?

Brass is one of the most popular materials in home décor and hardware. It has a timeless appeal that never goes out of style, which is why so many homeowners choose to incorporate it into their homes. But does brass tarnish? The answer is yes, but don’t worry—it’s not difficult to keep your brass looking clean and bright. Let’s take a look at what causes brass to tarnish and how you can care for your brass items.

What Causes Brass to Tarnish?

The main culprit behind tarnished brass is oxygen interacting with copper in the metal alloy. Oxygen reacts with the copper, forming a patina or a thin layer of corrosion on the surface. This patina can range from light green to dark brown, depending on the level of oxidation present on the surface. While this may sound like a bad thing, it’s actually quite normal for brass surfaces! In fact, many people prefer the look of aged brass because it adds character and charm to any room.

Cleaning Brass

If you prefer the look of polished, shiny brass, there are some easy ways to keep your pieces clean and free from tarnish. One way is to use a mixture of warm water, white vinegar, and baking soda. Simply mix together equal parts white vinegar and warm water with 1/4 cup baking soda until it forms a paste-like consistency. Apply this paste directly onto your brass item using an old cloth or sponge and let it sit for 15-20 minutes before wiping it off with another damp cloth or sponge. This should help remove any residue or dirt that’s built up on your piece over time. You can also use commercially available brass cleaners for more stubborn stains or discolouration.

Protecting Your Brass

To ensure that your piece stays clean longer, you’ll want to protect it from further oxidation by applying a protective coating such as wax or oil after cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water. This will help seal in moisture so that oxygen can’t interact with the copper present in the metal alloy as easily. Additionally, you’ll want to keep your piece away from harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, which can cause discolouration or corrosion over time if they come into contact with your piece. Finally, avoid exposing your piece to extreme temperatures, as this can cause warping or discolouration due to thermal shock (i.e., drastic temperature changes).


All in all, caring for your brass items doesn’t have to be difficult! With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy its timeless beauty for years to come! To recap our key points: Yes, brass does tarnish—but it’s nothing that cleaning solutions won’t solve; protect your pieces by applying wax after cleaning, and avoid harsh chemicals like bleach and extreme temperatures when handling them! With these tips in mind, you’ll have beautiful-looking brass pieces around your home in no time!

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