DIY: Cleaning Brass with Vinegar and Salt.

DIY: Cleaning Brass with Vinegar and Salt.

Cleaning brass with a mixture of salt and vinegar works due to the chemical reactions that take place between the brass and the acidic solution. 

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and over time, it can develop tarnish and corrosion, which are typically a combination of copper oxide and other compounds. 

The salt and vinegar solution works in the following way: 

Acidic Action: Vinegar is a mild acid, primarily acetic acid. When it comes into contact with the brass, it reacts with the tarnish and corrosion, helping to dissolve and break them down. This is especially effective against copper oxide. 

Abrasive Action: Salt acts as a mild abrasive. As you rub the mixture onto the brass surface, the salt particles help to mechanically remove the tarnish and corrosion, leaving a cleaner surface. 

Chemical Reaction: The combination of the acid in vinegar and the abrasive action of salt enhances the cleaning process. The acid reacts with the tarnish while the salt helps to scrub it away, revealing the shiny brass underneath. 

Here's a simple process to clean brass using salt and vinegar:


Using a 1 to 1 Ratio

2 Cups Vinegar (Warmed) 

2 Tablespoons Salt


  • Pour 2 Cups of Warm Vinegar into a microwave safe container
  • Heat for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.
  • Take out of the microwave *CAUTION MAY BE HOT
  • Add Two Tablespoons of salt & Mix
  • Pour the mixture into a container for your parts. 
  • Add your parts to the mixture and let soak. 
  • The longer you let the parts soak the better the results. 
  • Remove the parts. Using a Scouring Pad, and clean running water, and scrub off the Tarnish. 

Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper, brass, aluminum, magnesium, neodymium and other similar metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Tarnish does not always result from the sole effects of oxygen in the air

  • Let the part air dry.
  • The parts are now ready to be used in your next project.

And, that's how you clean Brass parts with a simple solution of Salt And Vinegar. 


NOTE: It's important to note that while this method is effective for cleaning brass, you should avoid using it on valuable or antique items, as aggressive cleaning methods can potentially damage the patina or historical value of certain pieces. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with the brass item you're cleaning.

2nd Feb 2024

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