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How to Clean Brass Jewelry - Aurora Gems

Discover effective ways to clean and maintain brass jewelry at home using pantry items like lemon juice and toothpaste. Prevent tarnish and keep your pieces gleaming.

12/5/20236 min read

How to Clean Brass Jewelry

Over the years, brass jewelry has become a popular choice for its distinct appearance and cost-effectiveness. Being a copper and zinc alloy, brass jewelry is prone to tarnishing and loss of luster over time. To retain its beauty and extend its lifespan, regular cleaning and proper care are crucial.

Why Cleaning Brass Jewelry is important?

Preserving the appearance and safeguarding against damage are essential reasons for cleaning brass jewelry. Knowledge of how to polish brass jewelry, coupled with routine cleaning, can prevent tarnish buildup, keep its shine intact, and ensure that it remains hygienic for everyday wear.

Indicators That Your Brass Jewelry Requires Cleaning

1. Tarnish:

Tarnishing is a common occurrence with brass jewelry, resulting from the alloy's copper component reacting with air and moisture to create an oxidized layer. This layer can impart a dark, dull appearance to your jewelry. If you observe this tarnished coating, it's a clear signal that your brass jewelry is in need of cleaning.

2. Discoloration:

Brass jewelry may develop a brown or greenish tint over time, particularly when exposed to elements like sweat, skin oils, or chemicals. This discoloration arises from the interaction between the copper in brass and external substances. Cleaning your jewelry can effectively eliminate this discoloration and restore its original color.

3. Dullness:

Loss of shine and a dull appearance in your brass jewelry may be attributed to the accumulation of dirt, grime, or tarnish. Regular cleaning is instrumental in rejuvenating its luster and reviving the overall aesthetic, making it appear as good as new.

Cleaning Methods

Soap and Water Method

Washing your brass jewelry with soap and water

should be the first step in removing dirt.

Gently scrub the jewelry with a soft toothbrush

and mild dish soap, then rinse thoroughly

with clean water.

Vinegar Solution

Cleaning brass jewelry with vinegar can brighten it up. After washing, drop it into a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar for 30 seconds. Rinse with clean water and buff the jewelry with a soft polishing cloth to make it shine. Sunshine polishing cloths are perfect for when you need to clean brass jewelry. They have added polishing abrasives, which can really bring back the shine. Note that this method should be avoided if your jewelry has an opal, as vinegar may damage the stone.

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Ketchup Technique

Another method for cleaning brass jewelry is to apply a small amount of ketchup on the piece. Let it sit for a minute, and then gently buff it off with a soft cloth. This technique can effectively remove tarnish and restore the shine of your brass jewelry. However, be cautious when using this method on jewelry with delicate stones, as the acidity of the ketchup may damage them.

Using Toothpaste as a Brass Cleaner

Toothpaste serves as an effective and convenient brass cleaner, delivering quick results with minimal time and effort. Follow these simple steps for optimal outcomes:

  1. Coating: Apply regular white toothpaste generously to coat your brass jewelry. Ensure all areas are covered for comprehensive cleaning.

  2. Gentle Scrubbing: Employ a soft brush to gently scrub the toothpaste into the brass surface. Continue this process until all visible dirt and grime are removed.

  3. Rinsing: Thoroughly rinse the jewelry under clean water to remove the toothpaste residue. Ensure that no traces of toothpaste remain on the brass.

  4. Polishing: Wipe the jewelry with a soft, clean cloth to reveal the gleaming results. The polishing step enhances the shine of your brass items.


As toothpaste has mild abrasiveness, reserve this method for occasional cleaning to prevent potential scratches. Regular use of this technique may compromise the integrity of the brass over time.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural and effective method for cleaning both red and yellow brass jewelry. Follow these steps for a refreshing and brightening effect:

  • Soaking Method for Intricate Jewelry: If your jewelry is intricate with multiple pieces, submerge the entire item in a glass bowl filled with lemon juice. Allow it to soak for a sufficient time to dissolve tarnish and dirt.


  • Cotton Swab Application: For less complex jewelry, soak cotton swabs in fresh lemon juice and rub them against the brass surfaces for approximately five minutes. Ensure that all areas are covered.

  • Thorough Rinsing: After the soaking or swab application, thoroughly rinse your jewelry under clean water to remove the lemon juice and any loosened dirt.

  • Drying: Dry your jewelry with a clean cloth until it achieves a shining finish. Ensure that no moisture remains to prevent any potential tarnishing.

  • Toothbrush for Detail Cleaning: For hard-to-reach places or stubborn dirt and grime, use a toothbrush to gently scrub the areas. This will help to ensure a comprehensive cleaning.

Note: Lemon juice is a natural acid and may cause irritation to sensitive skin. If you have concerns, consider wearing gloves during the cleaning process. Additionally, this method is suitable for occasional use, as prolonged exposure to acid may impact the appearance of the brass over time.

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Professional Cleaning

If all else fails, or if you prefer a professional touch, you can return your brass jewelry to Dea Dia Jewelry or a trusted jeweler for a professional cleaning and polishing service. At Dea Dia, we charge $15 and ensure that your jewelry is thoroughly cleaned, polished, and restored to its original condition.

Maintaining Brass Jewelry: Essential Tips

1. Storage:

Protect your brass jewelry from scratches, tarnish, and damage by storing it in a cool, dry place. Opt for a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box for storage. Avoid keeping jewelry in the bathroom, as humidity can lead to tarnishing. Store each piece separately to prevent scratching.

2. Regular Cleaning:

Preserve the condition of your brass jewelry by cleaning it regularly. Utilize the cleaning methods mentioned earlier to prevent the accumulation of tarnish, dirt, and grime, keeping your jewelry in top-notch condition.

3. Avoiding Contact with Chemicals:

Minimize the risk of discoloration and tarnish by steering clear of exposure to harsh chemicals, perfumes, lotions, or excessive moisture. Remove your brass jewelry before engaging in activities like swimming, showering, or applying skincare products.

4. Keep Your Beautiful Brass Jewelry Clean:

Ensure the longevity of your brass jewelry by adhering to proper cleaning and maintenance practices. These steps are crucial to preserving its unique beauty and allowing you to enjoy your stylish pieces for an extended period. By following the provided cleaning methods and maintenance tips, your brass jewelry will remain in excellent condition, providing years of aesthetic enjoyment.

Preventing Tarnish on Brass Jewelry: Practical Tips

  1. Proper Storage: Store your brass jewelry in a clean, dry place, especially if you don't wear them frequently, to preserve their shine. Avoid humid environments to prevent tarnishing.

  2. Gentle Cleaning Methods: Avoid abrasive cleaning methods that can strip the patina, leading to dark green or black patches on your brass jewelry.

  3. Immediate Drying: After cleaning, dry your jewelry promptly with a soft cloth to prevent water spots from forming.

  4. Wipe Away Excess Cleaning Solution: Ensure that any excess cleaning solution is wiped away to prevent potential scratching of the jewelry.

  5. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Harsh chemicals in acidic or alkaline solutions can accelerate tarnishing. Use gentle cleaning solutions and avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.

  6. Moderate Polishing: Use a high-quality polish occasionally and rub it gently over the metal to restore shine. Avoid excessive polishing, as it may not yield better results and could impact the jewelry's appearance.

  7. No Water Exposure: Refrain from wearing brass jewelry while swimming or showering. Avoid contact with harsh chemicals like perfume, household cleaners, makeup remover, or hairspray.

  8. Appropriate Storage Conditions: Store brass pieces in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent metal oxidization and dark patches.

  9. Prevent Scratching: Avoid letting brass jewelry pieces rub against each other or other items. Use felt pads between pieces during storage to prevent scratches.

  10. Exercise Caution: Handle your brass jewelry with care, avoiding strenuous activities that may lead to accidental scratching.

Remember, there are no strict rules for caring for brass jewelry; common sense and safe practices go a long way in maintaining the longevity and beauty of your cherished pieces. With a bit of care, regular cleaning, and thoughtful storage, your brass jewelry can endure and shine for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Utilize household items like lemon juice and toothpaste to effectively clean and remove tarnish from your brass jewelry.

  • Clean cast brass jewelry by using warm water, allowing it to dry overnight, and then polishing to minimize spots and maintain its appearance.

  • To prevent tarnish on brass jewelry, ensure thorough drying with a soft cloth after cleaning. This simple step can contribute to the long-lasting shine of your brass pieces.


Can Coke clean brass?

Yes, coca-cola contains phosphoric and citric acids which make it ideal for removing stains and rust. Take some coca-cola and rub it on your brass jewelry. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse it off with water for clean and shiny jewelry.

Why is my brass turning black?

Constant exposure to air, salt, or using abrasive products can result in brass turning black.

How do you clean brass with aluminum foil?

Take a dish or pan and line it with aluminum foil. Fill the dish with hot water and add baking soda. Take the brass jewelry and leave it in hot water for 20 minutes. Rinse it off with water and let it dry.