Bring your tarnished brass jewelry back to life with three simple, tried and true methods.
You probably aren’t surprised to learn that I love the look of brass jewelry. Brass anything, really. Depending on how you care for your jewelry, tarnish can quickly appear and cause your metal jewelry to lose its luster. There are some pieces that I don’t mind a little tarnish because I like the way tarnish makes them look. However, some pieces I want to shine and bling. Over the years, I’ve come up with three tried and true methods of cleaning my jewelry.
But, first, a note on taking care of your jewelry.
The Basics of Jewelry Care
There are things you can do to lengthen the life of luster on your brass jewelry. Tarnish is caused by air, moisture and oil from your skin when you handle the jewelry – to name a few. Tarnish can appear on any metal, but some are more susceptible to it. Below are a few tips to avoid tarnish.
- Keep your jewelry dry. Don’t store it in the bathroom or wear it while you are working out. If it becomes wet due to hand washing or weather, dry your jewelry with a cloth.
- Store your jewelry carefully. Keep your jewelry in a closed jewelry box. If you have metal pieces that are especially susceptible to tarnishing, store them in a ziploc or other airtight bag. You can also store your jewelry with 3M Tarnishing Strips to keep tarnish away.
- Clean your jewelry. I primarily use 3 ways to clean my jewelry, which all work well for me. Which brings me to the purpose of this post, which is:
3 Ways to Clean Your Brass Jewelry
Sunshine Cleaning Cloths (or other metal cleaning cloths)
After years of trying different methods, Sunshine Cloths have become my tried and true go to for cleaning jewelry. I use Sunshine Cloths to clean my brass before I make a new piece and also to clean my existing pieces.
How do Sunshine Cloths work? Impregnated with special micro-abrasives and a cleansing agent, both work together to clean jewelry pieces and leave a deep, long-lasting luster. The long-lasting cloth keeps effectively polishing until it is worn through.
The tarnish from your jewelry will turn your cloth black, and once the cloth is covered in black residue, it’s time to throw it away. Sunshine Cloths are not to be washed. One cloth lasts quite a long time and obviously depends on how often you use it.
Click through the images below to see how I cleaned a badly tarnished pair of earrings using a Sunshine Cloth!
Penny Brite Cleaner
Penny Brite will get the job done. That said, it contains a lot of chemicals and can damage other surfaces. I learned this the hard way when I left the jar on my limestone bathroom counter and it left a permanent ring on the counter. If you don’t like using chemicals, I would steer clear of this product. But, if you’re set up to use chemicals or don’t mind them, Penny Brite will definitely make your jewelry super shiny and clean. I have found Penny Brite on Amazon and Fire Mountain Gems.
Yes, Ketchup! In the early days, I exclusively used Ketchup to clean my jewelry and brass supplies. It really works and is a great alternative if you don’t want to purchase one of the above options or would prefer to keep away from chemicals all together.
How does Ketchup work? It’s the salt and acidity in the ketchup itself that breaks down the tarnish. I’ve read that taco and Tabasco sauce will also meet your needs. I’ve seen some “how to” articles instruct the reader to soak their metal in Ketchup. Personally, I would just squirt a small amount of Ketchup onto a paper towel and wipe/scrub the jewelry gently. Rinse it off in the sink and dry completely with a soft cloth. Trust me, it works!
Note that you’ll find links to products throughout this article. I do not receive a commission or money for linking out to any of these products, other than the Sunshine Cloths sold in the HolderIndustries store.