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topic 24253

Polishing brass and painted brass

A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2017


Q. What is the best way to polish brass? I have also tried Brasso, but it doesn't work well.
Some of the brass has paint on it.

How do I get that off easily?
Is there a home remedy to make it easier?
Use of vinegar?


Jim Lepak
- Amherst, Wisconsin

A. Hi, Jim. Different technologies are used to remove organics like paint vs. removing metallic oxides.

So the paint must be removed first: try Acetone [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] or mineral spirits [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. If they don't work, you'll need to use something nasty like Aircraft Stripper [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], but this can only be used with excellent ventilation, and wearing goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]. After the paint is off, the Brasso or a stronger brass polish like Revere copper cleaner [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] should do it.

Vinegar plus salt is very mild for people, but very aggressive to brass; it does work, but will probably leave the brass looking raw and orange until you warm it up with the Brasso. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Polishing Brass Tabernacle


Q. Hi,

I assist a priest at a Catholic High School. The tabernacle where the hosts are kept for Communion is brass. It cannot be removed from the wall. The brass is pitted and I wanted to know what the best product would be to use in order to restore/polish the tabernacle. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

God bless,

Maryellen White
consumer - Quakertown, Pennsylvania, USA


A. I'd just use a brass polish like Brasso [linked by editor to product info at Amazon].

Simon Dupay
- Roseville, Minnesota, USA

Restoring a brushed brass finish

August 12, 2017

Q. I have a 1970's brass covered table. Originally, it was a very finely brushed surface, clear coated.

However, somebody to a random orbit sander with pretty coarse sandpaper to the top. I want to sand this smooth, then restore the brushing.

I think what I need to do is sand it down in stages, up to 2000 grit, then go into rouge.

Question 1: can I use an orbital sander with the rouge, then brush the shiny finish with steel wool. Will it leave a swirly pattern? And what grade of steel wool would you recommend?

Question 2: the piece has a sort of beat up clear epoxy finish on it (at least acetone doesn't soften it). I'm planning to smooth over the missing spots, sand it lightly, and coat with clear brass lacquer. Is lacquer over epoxy going to pose a problem?

Alec McAusland
hobbyist restorer - Paradise Valley, Arizona USA

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