Brass is made from a combination of zinc and copper that gleams like real gold when it’s clean and shiny, making it a popular choice for chandeliers. But as beautiful as these chandeliers are, they can tarnish over time, particularly if they’re not cared for.
If you want to ensure the durability and shine of your brass chandelier, you’ll need to clean and maintain it regularly to prevent an unsightly patina from forming on it. Cleaning a brass chandelier can be easily achieved by removing it from the ceiling, dusting it down, and cleaning it with a solution before hanging it back.
We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on cleaning your brass chandelier and maintaining it so that it’ll last you for decades. We’ll also cover some frequently asked questions that were sent in by our readers.
1. Remove the Chandelier From the Ceiling
When preparing to clean your brass chandelier, it is essential that you take care not to damage it. First, consider placing a piece of tarp or mat on the floor to protect the flooring from dust, stains, or scratches from the chandelier.
Then, place a thick mat or comforter below so that if a component of the chandelier detaches as you’re lifting down the chandelier, it won’t break.
Important Note: Always remember to turn off the light switch and the main circuit breaker.
Once the chandelier has been removed from the ceiling and placed onto the mat, detach all light bulbs, crystals, or other baubles that festoon the chandelier. Put them in a safe corner or in an empty cardboard box to avoid damage during the cleaning process.
Lastly, tape the empty light bulb sockets with waterproof tape and ensure that it’s tight. This will help prevent water from getting into the sockets and potentially damaging the electrical components.
If you’re trying to clean a large brass chandelier that you’re unable to remove from the ceiling, we suggest you still follow the steps below and clean it on a safely secured ladder.
2. Dust Your Brass Chandelier
Before you start deep cleaning your brass chandelier, start with some light cleaning like a thorough dusting. One of the easiest and most efficient methods to dust your brass chandelier is using a feather duster.
Alternatively, you can also use a simple dry cloth to give it a wipe-down. We recommend using a microfiber cloth, which is soft and lint-free, which effectively helps to remove dust from the chandelier.
Don’t forget to dust the lightbulbs and crystal baubles too, and wipe cables and fixings with the dry microfibre cloth. You can also opt to wear a face mask while doing this to prevent inhaling dust, and wearing gloves to protect your hands are also optional.
If you find that some stubborn pieces of dust or dirt cannot be removed, do not forcefully try to scrub them off with the duster. Remember, you will be deep cleaning the chandelier right after this.
Additional Tip: It’s good to dust the brass chandelier regularly, regardless if the chandelier is new or old. This is because doing so will help reduce the need for frequent deep cleaning and helps maintain it in the long run.
3. Select a Cleaning Solution to Remove Tarnish
There are a few cleaning solutions you can choose from when it comes to cleaning brass chandeliers. Depending on the age or condition of it, you may require different options.
If your brass chandelier is not too old or grimy, a simple DIY home solution, like a warm soapy solution would suffice. However, if the chandelier is old and tarnished, then you might want to consider a store-bought alternative instead.
Let’s take a look at some effective homemade solutions alongside store-bought products for the more stubborn stains when cleaning your brass chandeliers.
Brass Tarnish Remover
Store-bought brass tarnish removers are designed specifically to remove thick patina off brash chandeliers, making it an effective way to restore shine. We recommend using the Flitz Brass and Copper Tarnish Remover, which can tackle both rust and stains.
The organic formula is made from natural salts that can dissolve heavy tarnish as well as stubborn marks like calcium deposits, oxidation, water stains, and more, without the need to scrub.
This is a non-toxic, non-flammable, and acid-based formula that is safe for both indoor and outdoor use. Moreover, you can typically use brass cleaners on other types of materials such as copper, aluminum, glass, fiberglass, porcelain, stucco, brick, and more.
Using the brass tarnish remover on your chandelier is easy – just follow these steps:
- Simply spray the formula onto the brass chandelier and let it sit on the surface for 2 to 3 minutes. Gently wipe it off the surface of the chandelier and you will see the results instantly.
- Repeat until the tarnish and stains are completely removed.
- Take a damp cloth and wipe down the chandelier to remove any traces of the formula or debris from the chandelier.
Steel wool, also known as a wire sponge, is a ball of very fine and flexible steel filaments. Steel wool is effective for scouring and is a great abrasive cleaner for brass chandeliers.
With the help of steel wool, you can easily remove stubborn tarnish, stains, and the effects of oxidation from the brass surface of the chandelier. Keep in mind, though, that the steel wool should not be thicker than grade 00 as anything thicker could leave scratches on the surface of the chandelier.
We recommend using any extra fine-grade wool, such as the Homax Rhodes Polishing Steel Wool. It is made of very fine and uniform strands of steel and is a great option for polishing brass, copper, aluminum, and other metals.
In addition, it can be used to remove old finishes from antique objects. Here’s how to use fine steel wool to deep clean your brass chandelier:
- Get a steel wool pad and use it to make gentle circular motions on the surface of the brass.
- Where stains and tarnish are concentrated, it is a good idea to use more firm and fixed scrubbing motions.
- Once the stains are removed, you can finish off by rubbing the surface of the chandelier with a clean, lint-free cloth to remove any residue and give the metal a shine.
Dish Soap and Warm Water
One of the most simple, affordable, and effective homemade solutions for cleaning brass chandeliers is the use of dish soap and some warm water. This simple solution not only saves you money but is also great if you’re looking to go all-natural.
Though it may take a bit more elbow grease, this simple blend can easily help restore shine to your brass chandeliers. Here’s how to create and use the solution:
- Mix 1 part dish soap with 3 parts of water and stir to combine.
- Soak a piece of cloth in the solution and wring out the excess water. Rub the cloth firmly on the brass chandelier in circular motions.
- If you require more scrubbing, then you can use the abovementioned steel wool to remove tougher stains and tarnishes.
- Repeat the process until the entire chandelier is clean and bright once again.
- Make sure to dry the chandelier by wiping it down with a soft dry cloth.
If you find that there are remnants of tarnish on your brass chandelier after using this method, we suggest trying other homemade solutions listed down below.
Lemon and Baking Soda
Another efficient way to remove tougher stains is to use lemon juice and baking soda. Lemon juice is rich in citric acid, which is a powerful cleaning and antibacterial agent.
Combined with baking soda, lemon juice will create suds, turning into a potent cleaner that can remove stains naturally. Here’s how to use this solution:
- Take 1/2 a lemon and squeeze its juice into a bowl. Then add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to it. The mixture will start to bubble.
- Mix well with a spoon until it becomes a paste, and use a soft cloth to apply it to the surface of a chandelier. Make sure you apply the mixture to all the grooves and nooks in the chandelier.
- If your chandelier has tough stains, it is a good idea to let the mixture sit on it for about 30 minutes. You can then remove it with a damp cloth.
- Repeat the process to remove the stubborn stains.
- Allow the surface of the chandelier to dry naturally or wipe it down with a soft dry cloth.
Lemon and Salt
If you do not have a store-bought stain remover or steel wool at home, you can also try the lemon and salt solution to clean your brass chandelier. The acidic properties of lemon and the abrasive properties of coarse salt can be very effective in cleaning metal surfaces. Here’s how to make the solution and steps on how to use it:
- Slice a lemon in half and coat the cut surface by dipping it into a bowl of coarse salt.
- Rub the lemon slice in circular motions onto the tarnished surface of the chandelier. Make sure to keep squeezing the lemon gently to release the acidic juice, which will help with the cleaning process.
- Repeat the process until the tarnish is removed to your satisfaction.
- Clean the chandelier with a damp cloth to remove traces of lemon, salt, and other residues. Let it air dry.
Vinegar and Salt
Vinegar consists of acetic acid, which has an enhanced abrasive effect when mixed with salt. This mixture can be used to clean a variety of household metallic objects, especially brass chandeliers. Below are some steps on how you can create and use the paste to clean your chandelier:
- Use equal parts vinegar and salt to form a paste.
- Apply a layer of the mixture on the surface of the chandelier and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
- Wipe off a small section of the chandelier to check if the solution has done its work. If the cleaning is patchy, let the solution sit for another 30 minutes.
- Wipe off the solution with a damp cloth and repeat if necessary.
- Make sure to let the chandelier dry completely before you hang it back up again.
Hang the Brass Chandelier Back
Once the chandelier is cleaned to your satisfaction and completely dry, you can hang it back up on the ceiling. Make sure the power is still turned off and ensure the mat is still placed on the ground, to catch any bulbs or crystals that may detach during the hanging process.
Reassemble your chandelier in reverse order, starting with removing the waterproof tapes on the empty lightbulb sockets. Then, fix the light bulbs and crystal baubles back before lifting the chandelier and hanging it back to the ceiling.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we will cover some of the commonly asked questions when it comes to cleaning brass chandeliers. If you have any questions that you would like us to address, please feel free to write in.
How Do I Know if My Chandelier is Brass or Brass-Plated?
The easiest way to determine whether you have a solid brass or brass-plated chandelier is to use a magnet. The magnet will not stick onto the chandelier if it’s brass but will do so if it’s made of iron or steel and plated with brass.
Identifying whether your chandelier is truly brass or just brass-plated can help you in selecting appropriate cleaning solutions.
Can I Clean My Brass Chandelier Without Removing It From the Ceiling?
It’s not advisable to clean chandeliers without bringing them down from the ceiling. This is because it can be difficult to detach bulbs and crystals from the chandelier when it’s still hanging.
However, you may need to skip the task of removing your brass chandelier from the ceiling if they are too large, such as those found in ballrooms or large living rooms, as it can be a challenging and potentially dangerous task.
How Often Should Brass Chandeliers Be Cleaned?
It is recommended that you give your chandelier a quick wipe-down with lukewarm water once every 2 – 4 weeks, while deep cleaning it every 3 to 4 months. However, with regular dusting and maintenance every few days, deep cleaning can be pushed to every 5 to 6 months.
Is It Difficult to Clean Brass Chandeliers?
Cleaning your brass chandeliers does require multiple steps, including removing them, taking off the bulbs and electrical components, cleaning and drying them, and then hanging them back up. However, the process of cleaning itself is not difficult and does not require too much effort. It should not take you more than 45 minutes to clean it.
Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.