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Non-Toxic Brass Cleaner – 3 Recipes to Make at Home

Header image non-toxic brass cleaner by a Hopeful Home.

3 ways to make a non-toxic brass cleaner at home – Could your brass items do with some love and tender care? But would you like to find a homemade and natural way to polish them? Then read on, because the three recipes that I mention are super simple and very effective!


Nathan and I love to watch Escape to the Chateau. It’s such a relaxing and inspiring TV show. I remember one episode in particular in which Dick and Angela talked about their love for copper pots and pans. They have a wonderful collection of them. And they talked about how they purchase them second-hand and get them all polished up by a professional before using them in the kitchen.

When I watched that episode, I could see how those copper pots and pans looked great in their kitchen. But I didn’t fully understand that love for copper. It was the same with brass for me.

Well, I tell ya. That completely changed when I purchased a few copper and brass items in an auction. I was purchasing vintage items for my very first vintage homeware restock in the shop and a gut feeling told me to bid for one specific lot in that auction.

This specific lot had a couple of copper and brass items in it. And even though they looked neglected I felt that they had potential. Some of you might recognise the items (the brass serving tray is still available!).

main image copper utensil set
Round brass tray by a Hopeful Home webshop for rustic vintage homeware.
main image copper milk ladles

I am glad I purchased them because most of the items soon found loving homes. And I also started to comple-te-ly understand Dick and Angela’s fondness of copper (and brass). I have discovered that these two metals add such warmth to a room. If I had to compare a room to a face. Copper and brass would be the blush on the cheeks. Does that make any sense? That sounds super weird, doesn’t it? Anyway… you get my point!


If you buy second-hand brass items or you have been the proud owner of brass items for a longer period of time. You might find that the brass has developed a bit of a dull look. Some people love this look and don’t want to tamper with it. But others like to get or keep that bright polished look of brass.

There are many polishing products that you can buy in the shop. But why buy those when you probably already have the ingredients in your home to make a quick, non-toxic, cheap, and effective brass cleaner?

Ingredients for non-toxic brass cleaner by a Hopeful Home

I decided to use an old brass lamp from our home as an example. And I hope that the following pictures will show you just how much of a difference these recipes make after only 30 minutes of scrubbing away!

Brass lamp before polishing. Non-Toxic Brass Cleaner by a Hopeful Home.
Brass lamp after polishing. Non-Toxic Brass Cleaner by a Hopeful Home.


My favourite way to clean brass items is lemon juice and baking soda.

Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl and add one teaspoon of baking soda. Mix it up well. With a clean cloth, rub some of the mixture onto the brass.

Keep polishing the brass until you’re happy with the look of it. And reapply the mixture where needed. A bigger item may require you to make more of the mixture.

Wipe away any leftover residue with a wet rag and then dry the brass with a clean cloth. Please use washing up gloves while doing this and use an old toothbrush to get access to those parts that are difficult to reach with a cloth.


A slightly different way to clean brass is lemon with salt. This is a brilliant way for when you want to polish a flat brass item, such as a tray.

Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle a little bit of salt on the cut side. Then just rub the brass with the lemon. When you notice that it isn’t polishing as effectively anymore, just replace it with a new lemon half!

Rinse the brass item with water when you’re finished and dry it with a cloth.


The last way to clean brass that I’d like to mention is ketchup. This is a weird one, but it truly does work!

Just squeeze a dollop of ketchup on a rag and rub it over the brass item. Wipe the residue of ketchup off with a wet cloth and then just dry it with a new cloth. This also works on copper!

There you have it, three super simple, cheap, and natural ways to clean brass. If you’d like to read more about cleaning brass (and copper), this article will tell you more. The Spruce is one of my go-to websites for cleaning and housekeeping tips!

Much love,


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