The first step in restoring brass is a good cleaning but, though you want to be tough on dirt and grime, you want to go easy on this precious metal.
Step 1: Determine if brass is lacquered Determine whether your brass is lacquered, and whether to clean over the lacquer or to remove the lacquer and clean the brass beneath it.
TIP: If a piece is particularly valuable, consult a specialist or curator before attempting to clean it.
Step 2: Start with soapy water Clean unlacquered brass with hot soapy water and a soft cotton cloth, wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands. Dampen the cloth, wipe down your brass, and then dry it immediately with a fresh cloth.
Step 3: Boil linseed oil Boil linseed oil and apply to a clean cloth. Wipe the brass again to remove lingering dirt or oils that have built up on the surface, and buff it dry.
Step 4: Make a paste Make a paste with equal parts vinegar, salt, and flour if your brass is plagued with stubborn grime. Apply the paste and let it set for an hour or two.
Step 5: Remove paste Remove the paste with warm water and then dry your brass with a clean, soft cloth. Repeat paste applications if necessary.
Step 6: Maintain Remove tarnish that builds up. Clean and polish your brass regularly. Lacquer the brass.
FACT: There are 31 tons of copper in the Statue of Liberty.