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How to Clean a Brass Chandelier

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Brass is one of the most liked materials for lamps and lanterns. It is because of its durability and longevity quotient. In fact, brass has natural corrosion resistance and demands less maintenance.

A brass chandelier is yet another popular home decorative item of this metal, which can add glam to even a modern space. If you are an antique lover and want your house or property to reflect the same, then a brass chandelier can exponentially increase that antique appeal.

But, you need to keep in mind that having a brass chandelier demands occasional cleaning, and you cannot turn your back on that.

How to Clean a Brass Chandelier

A brass chandelier is the best central lighting piece, which can literally give that dull and fade illumination around the room. You can complement the hall with other lights, but the essence of the chandelier will stand out. But brass has the drawback of experiencing tarnish.

Close-Up shot of chandelier with light bulb

It means that the brass chandelier will lose its luster and shine. It usually happens due to the oxidation of zinc and copper on the brass.

Therefore, it is important to seek overall cleaning and tarnish removal of the brass chandeliers. So, you need to learn the correct process of how to clean a brass chandelier. Follow this guide to get a clear idea of the process.

Prior Preparations Before Cleaning the Brass Chandelier

Before heading out to the cleaning methods, it is essential to guide you on the steps to prep the chandelier for cleaning purposes. The steps that you need to consider before cleaning the brass chandelier are:

  1. Turn off the power supply to the chandelier to avoid any electrical accidents.
  2. Unscrew the canopy and lower it. It is the plate that holds the chandelier to the ceiling.
  3. Take off the twist caps that connect the wiring of the chandelier to the house. Avoid touching the naked wires. If you do not have experience with electrical circuits and wiring, then turn off the main switch before working with them.
  4. Now, you need to unscrew the mounting bar that connects the chandelier to an electrical box. After that, you can slowly bring down the chandelier to the floor. If the chandelier is too big, then you might need some extra hands to bring it down.
  5. Please take off the light bulbs from your brass chandelier, as wet cleaning methods can damage them. You should cover the light bulb sockets as well with some tape and plastic to prevent them from damage due to water solutions.

When the cleaning is over, you can just reverse the order of these steps and install the chandelier back to its position. The 3 methods on how to clean a brass chandelier are the following:

  • Cleaning the Brass Chandelier With Dish Soap
  • Removing Tarnish from the Brass Chandelier
  • Cleaning the Brass Chandelier Tarnish With Vinegar and Salt
Hanging chandelier with lights in white background

Method 1: Cleaning the Brass Chandelier With Dish Soap

Firstly, you need to get an overall idea of how to clean the brass chandelier uniformly. Regular cleaning will ensure that no oxidation effects can last for a long time.

As a result, the tarnish build-up can be prevented! And below are the steps for you to clean the brass chandelier with the use of dish soap:

  1. The first step should be to dust off the chandelier frequently with the use of a dry cloth. Dusting it off regularly will prevent the hassle of rigorous cleaning.
  2. If you already have an old brass chandelier that demands intense cleaning, you should still start with dusting the surface by using a clean and dry cloth.
  3. Now, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing dish soap solution in warm water. Stir it well to dilute the dish soap solution before applying it over the chandelier. This can also be a mixing solution for cleaning copper cookware like copper mugs.
  4. Use a microfiber cloth and damp it with the cleaning solution. Now gently scrub and wipe clean the chandelier completely from all sides and corners.
  5. You need to apply slight pressure on the tough stains over the chandelier.
  6. When you are done with it, use a clean cloth and warm water to rinse the chandelier and remove the dish soap remnants.
  7. After that, you can just use another dry cloth to pat dry the chandelier thoroughly. Make sure it is completely dry before you can use it again.

Check for the cleanliness of the chandelier. If you find it clean, you can just turn it back on again. But, if you still see some stains, then you have to repeat the method.

This time, dilute the dish soap a bit less and use a little more force over the stained areas. Hence, it will do the job for you.

Sets of dish soap with ribbon tied on plate

Method 2: Removing Tarnish From the Brass Chandelier

Brass chandeliers are also of two types that include solid brass and steel-plated brass type chandeliers. You need to identify the type of brass used for your specific chandelier.

It is because the tool that you would use for removing tarnish from the surface will vary, depending upon the type of brass.

You can check for the type of brass used for your chandelier with the help of a magnet. First, take a magnet close to the brass chandelier.

If it sticks to the surface, then it is the steel-plated brass chandelier, and if it doesn’t then, it is a solid brass chandelier.

When you have identified the type, move on to the steps for tarnish removal:

  1. For a steel-plated brass chandelier, you can prefer to use steel wool. It is because the tarnish is nothing but a form of rust over the steel-plated brass that needs tough scrubbing removal. After removing the tarnish with steel wool, the paint will be shattered, and the plates might also get damaged. But the only alternative is to re-plate the chandelier and paint it after the removal to revive its shine.
  2. For a solid brass chandelier, you can prefer to use some commercial brass cleaners. You will easily get them in any home improvement or hardware store. And, you can use it to remove the tarnish from the surface of your chandelier.

For using brass cleaner, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Get the brass cleaner and a microfiber cloth along with it.
  2. Pour the solution on the cloth, and wipe the brass chandelier for one cycle.
  3. Now, carry on with another cycle. And this time, wipe with a gentle force over the tarnished regions to get rid of the stains.
  4. When done, you can just use a dry cloth to wipe out the solution remnants from the chandelier and then set the things back to as they were.
Paint brush poured in color blue paint

Method 3: Cleaning the Brass Chandelier Tarnish With Vinegar and Salt

Here are the steps you must follow to remove tarnish from your brass chandelier and prevent it from returning anytime sooner. The steps are as follows:

  1. Use a soft cloth and damp it with hot vinegar. Now dip the cloth over table salt.
  2. Rub the cloth with cleaning solution over the brass chandelier until the brass looks clean.
  3. Repeat the process several times until the tarnish residues are out and the chandelier looks clean and shiny.
  4. Now, use hot soapy water to wash the salt and vinegar remnants from the chandelier surface.
  5. Then use normal water to rinse the soap solution from the chandelier surface. And then, you can pat dry it with a clean cloth.

To prevent further tarnishing in the future, you must apply UV-resistant clear lacquer or some high-gloss urethane solution on the brass chandelier. In fact, you must put up around 3 to 4 coats to ensure enriched protection.

Finally, you need to buff the brass chandelier with some soft cloth after each of the coatings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Paint the Brass Chandeliers?

Yes, you can certainly paint the brass chandeliers, but with a specific process. Firstly, you need to get rid of the existing paint from the chandelier. And for that, you can use 220-grit abrasive sandpaper to serve the purpose.

After sanding, you need to wipe the chandelier with a soft and damp sponge. Finally, let the chandelier dry before you can move ahead with the steps to paint it.

Isopropoyl alcohol with tissues on both side

Can I Use Isopropyl Alcohol to Clean the Brass Chandelier?

Yes, you can use isopropyl alcohol to wipe and clean the brass chandelier. But, you need to dilute it with a ratio of 1:3. In fact, for one part of isopropyl alcohol, you need to add three parts of water.

Conclusion

If you love antique items, then you probably must be having a brass chandelier. And with it comes the need for cleaning the chandelier. In fact, you need to keep in mind that brass chandeliers need utmost attention to maintain their shine.

So learning the correct process of cleaning these chandeliers will help you save a lot of money. And you don’t need to hire professionals.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.