How to De-Lacquer Brass

Brass is usually lacquered to prevent it from oxidizing, but you can remove the lacquer without damaging the metal underneath.


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You Will Need

  • Hot water
  • Scouring pad
  • Acetone
  • Cotton ball
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Cloth
  • Brush (optional)
  • New coat of lacquer (optional)


  1. Exercise caution when working with lacquer. It is reactive and flammable.

  2. Step 1

    Use hot water

    Try using hot water to remove the lacquer from large objects.

  3. If the lacquer layer is thin, it may peel away. If it is thick, it may crack so you can pull off chunks after the object has cooled.

  4. Step 2

    Use a scouring pad

    Use a scouring pad to remove any remaining lacquer if the object is pure brass.

  5. Step 3

    Apply a coating of acetone

    Apply acetone to the object with a partially wetted cotton ball and then rinse it off with hot water, if hot water alone does not completely remove the lacquer.

  6. Apply acetone to small objects with a brush and then boil them in water.

  7. Step 4

    Use denatured alcohol

    Pour denatured alcohol on a cloth and rub it on the surface of large brass objects until the lacquer peels away, as an alternative.

  8. Step 5

    Re-coat the object

    Re-coat the object with lacquer or leave it unfinished so it can acquire a patina.

  9. Brass typically has a composition of 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc, but it may vary.