From our hand-assembled lighting to our one-of-a-kind hardware, it's no secret that brass holds a special place in our hearts (and homes!). For us, there's no room that doesn't benefit from the natural warmth and timeless appeal brass brings. And lately, we're reminded that a little bit of care can go a long way in keeping our homewares looking their best. Taking the time to schedule a regular cleaning will not only prolong the life of your favorite brass pieces, but it will also help them age beautifully. Below, we go over the difference between lacquered and waxed brass and how to care for each.
Many products (like our current brass lighting, hardware, clock, and shelf collections) are finished with a lacquer or clear coat. The lacquer forms a thin protective layer that prevents oxidation of the brass underneath. Given the durability of this layer, lacquered products do not require any polishing. All it takes to help protect it from daily wear and tear is a weekly dusting. If a serious cleaning is in order, use a soft cloth to wash it with lukewarm soapy water and wipe it dry.
Other products are made from raw brass and then coated. For instance, our Hairpin Table, Brass Cup, and Coaster Sets are put through a patina process and finished with a wax coating. Like the lacquer, wax serves as a thin hydrophobic layer that protects the brass from oxidation. While wax does protect items from everyday elements, it does need to be reapplied periodically. Cleaning waxed brass is a simple two-step process that we’ve outlined below.
Pro Tip: When working with raw brass, be sure to wear gloves. The natural oils from your hands will leave a mark that will tarnish over time.
First, make a bath of hot, soapy water. Then, using a microfiber cleaning cloth, go over all the surfaces thoroughly in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and wipe dry. While it may be tempting to use whatever material you have on hand, we recommend a microfiber cloth because anything rougher will likely scratch the finish.
Once the piece is clean and dry, it’s time to apply a fresh wax coat. Start by giving the item a quick wipe down to remove any dust. Then, follow the directions on the wax of choice to apply a fresh layer. For our raw brass products, we use Turtle Wax, but there are many others out there that will also do the trick.
When all is said and done, don't be afraid to lean into the imperfections of your unique brass pieces. Whether it's one of our products or an antique item, we've found that color and texture variations tend to be an inherent part of the material and lend one-of-a-kind vintage character that (we think) is easy to embrace!