Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, is prone to tarnishing—but whether it's a brass lamp or a brass monkey, with the right technique it's a cinch to polish.
Step 1: Make sure brass isn't lacquered Make sure your brass isn't lacquered by checking for any discoloration where the lacquer has chipped—or by consulting a professional. You should not polish lacquered brass.
Step 2: Wash brass Wash the brass, using mild soapy water and one of the cloths.
Step 3: Put on cotton gloves Put on your cotton gloves to protect your fingers from the polish and the brass from the natural oils in your skin.
Step 4: Dry brass completely Dry the brass completely with a clean, dry cloth.
Step 5: Apply polish Apply polish to another cloth and polish the entire item.
TIP: Use a toothbrush or small cotton swab to get to hard-to-reach areas.
Step 6: Buff brass dry Buff the brass dry with a clean dry cloth and admire your shiny, shiny brass.
FACT: The slang term "brass monkey" seems to have originated in 1857 with the phrase "It would freeze the tail off a brass monkey."