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topic 10492

Brass cleaner


I am attempting to clean a brass light fixture that has a lacquer protective finish over the brass. Nothing seems to touch the lacquer. I have tried Brasso [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], 7 Metal Cleaner, Tarnex, paint thinner, and rust remover.

Can you please help?

Sandra T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Savannah, Georgia


Dear Sandra,

That lacquer coating on your brass fixture has either been baked-on or it's a polyurethane type coating. You'll need to strip it with methylene chloride, which is a suspected carcinogen. Look up a polisher in your area, they would be happy to redo your fixture. If you do decide to get the stripper yourself, please be very careful - use proper safety equipment and ventilation! From what I hear, molecules of methylene chloride are small enough to pass right through an organic vapor filter, you need a suit that is supplied with an outside air source.

Good luck,

Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas & Co., Inc.
supporting advertiser
Bellwood, Illinois
nikolas banner ad


I have many years of painting experience, as well as an avid musician and musical instrument repairer. The easiest solution to your problem, without all the trouble of hiring someone at great expense, is to go to buy some Aircraft stripper [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. Use it outside, or a well-ventilated area. Clean your piece with soap and water, dry well, purchase a THROW AWAY BRUSH at a paint dealer, (They'll know what you mean.). Shake the stripper well, then pour into a plastic container, apply the stripper in ONE DIRECTION, (This will form an exterior barrier that will prevent the chemicals from escaping as fast). If the stripper is wet, it's working. Wait about 15 minutes and wash with more soap and water, dry, and repeat as necessary. If a white haze appears on the metal just clean it with CLR [linked by editor to product info at Amazon].

jerry b [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chattanooga,tn,usa

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