If jewelry materials were high school kids, gold would be the most popular girl, with silver as her best friend. But copper and brass would be the cool, alternative kids. However, style and character come at a price. Copper and brass jewelry, like the good theatre geeks that they are, need special care because they are very sensitive (to oxygen exposure). They can get badly tarnished without a proper cleaning routine, which can lead to discomfort when wearing your fabulous jewelry. For those prone to skin allergy, it is extremely important to give your jewel attention, love, and a good polish. Here is a quick rundown of the best tips on how to find the best copper and brass cleaning solution:
1. Find a reliable polishing cloth
You can prepare a lubricant for polishing from a variety of common household materials, but you should really consider doling out a few bucks on a good polishing cloth. With a good cloth, you will need to use very little lubricant, which helps avoid staining your jewelry. A good, specialized brass polishing cloth comes coated in wax and protective chemicals.
These features help extend the endurance of your precious, delicate pieces of jewelry. If you aren’t dealing with a lot of tarnish in your jewels, you can probably get away with just using the cloth for routine clean-ups. You really do need to avoid putting your pieces in contact with potentially reactive chemicals, so sticking to the metal polishing cloth is your best option. Since jewelry tends to be smaller than most things made from copper and brass, you can cut up your cloth into smaller pieces and you’ll have enough cleaning material for a good while.
2. Routine clean-up
When people wonder how to clean with a copper and brass jewelry cleaning solution, they are usually afraid it will be quite laborious. But if you clean your pieces regularly, it won’t be hard at all! Your jewelry care routine should start with the simple and obvious: warm water and soap. You probably want to collect all pieces together and do them all at once, since these will be small objects. Lay them all over a covered surface and prepare a container with warm water and just a tiny bit of liquid dish soap.
Attention: do not use heavy duty cleaning products. If you find that your dish soap is sort of aggressive to your skin, it is probably not appropriate for this task. Instead, use liquid hand soap. Soak each piece in the soapy water, then use your fingers or the tip of a cloth to remove the excess dirt. Here, you will be getting rid of your natural skin oils that are accumulated in the jewelry. Sweat can be especially corrosive to some materials. Once you are done washing it, rinse off all the soap residue. Use another piece of cloth to dry it and give it a polish.
3. It’s time for ketchup!
Yes, you read ketchup! A safe, non-reactive, non-toxic cleaning substance for your precious jewels, who knew? You should follow the routine clean-up method above even if you are planning to follow another step because soap is always necessary to get rid of natural skin oils. Heavily tarnished pieces require a bit more work, but the good thing about copper and brass pieces is that they can always return to their old glory and sparkle – can’t say the same about gold!
To remove any tarnish your pieces, smear them with ketchup thoroughly. No pity here, I know it sounds like you are damaging them, but you are doing it for their own good. Let the ketchup do its thing and go read or watch TV for a while. After, let’s say, ten minutes, rinse it all off with running water. Take a good look at the pieces and consider whether you think they need a second round of ketchup. Once you are happy with the results, grab the cloth, dry the pieces, and give them a good polish.
4. Create a protective layer with olive oil (or coconut oil)
I told you all the lubricants you’d need are common pantry supplies. Now, this is not a “required” step, but it will help keep your jewels shiny and polished for a longer time. To seal the finish that you just gave, rub a few drops of olive oil onto the jewels with a piece of polishing cloth. Olive oil won’t be abrasive once it is in contact with your skin oils, but many market brands are not very pure. For an even safer and more natural option, use small bits of coconut oil. Even though coconut oil is not liquid, it will dissolve pretty easily once you start polishing with the cloth. You never thought a guide on how to use a copper and brass jewelry cleaning solution for your favorite jewels would be so… seasoned, huh?