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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.


  • : Exercise caution when working with lacquer. It is reactive and flammable.
  • Step 1: Use hot water Try using hot water to remove the lacquer from large objects.
  • TIP: 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.
  • Step 2: Use a scouring pad Use a scouring pad to remove any remaining lacquer if the object is pure brass.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Apply acetone to small objects with a brush and then boil them in water.
  • 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.
  • Step 5: Re-coat the object Re-coat the object with lacquer or leave it unfinished so it can acquire a patina.
  • FACT: Brass typically has a composition of 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc, but it may vary.

You Will Need

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

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