How to Remove a Lacquer Finish from Brass


Brass material is normally being used in making fixtures, instruments, doorknobs and gears. It comes with a gold-colored metal alloy made from the combination of copper and zinc. Over time, brass can be tarnished and turns into black colored with dull look due to its exposure to water and oxygen. Besides that, lacquer that you apply in order to shine the brass fixture will also turned into yellow colored thus making the brass underneath the layer of the lacquer tarnishes. Although the lacquer helps protect the brass, if you want to polish the brass fixture, it would be difficult if the layer of the lacquer is too thick. It is not difficult to remove lacquer from your brass fixtures and through this article you would be able to know how to remove a lacquer finish from your brass fixtures.

To remove a lacquer finish from brass, you need:

  • Commercial lacquer stripper
  • Solvent brush
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Large pot
  • Clean rags
  • Newspaper

Removing a Lacquer Finish from Brass

How to Remove a Lacquer Finish from Brass

  • First thing that you need to do is to remove the brass fixtures from its surrounding parts. For example, you need to detach the brass finials away from your curtain rods, beds or taking the hinges and brass knockers from the doors
    • If you do not know how to disassemble the items, you can always send it to a professional to do the cleaning for you.
  • Always protect yourself whenever you are using a commercial lacquer stripper because the stripper fumes
    • Are highly toxic and able to burn your skin if it drops accidentally.

Make sure that you wear solvent hand gloves, protect your eyes by wearing goggle and look for an area which is well ventilated when you start working with the commercial lacquer stripper.

  • In order to use the commercial lacquer stripper, you should look for a stripper brush that can withstand the chemical.
    • You will find that most of the lacquer strippers are thick and slightly lumpy. Therefore, you need to use the brush’s tip to apply the solution into any cracks and crannies.
    • Let the lacquer stripper to set on the object for several minutes before you start to test it on small area.

Another thing that you should remember is that before you start to remove any lacquer from your brass object, you must disassemble the fixture until it become small part, remove glass if there is any along with any screwed sections, plus also its lamp socket and wiring.

  • Next, you need to use clean rags to wipe off the entire stripper and the old lacquer on the brass will come off together once you wipe it off.
    • If you notice that the lacquer sticks in certain area, try to apply more stripper onto it.
    • Then, you can use narrow strips that you cut from the rags enabling you to pull back and forth over indentations in order to remove the old lacquer.
  • Apart from that, you can also use household product such as baking soda with water
    • This homemade solution would be able to clean the lacquer on brass materials.
    • First thing that you need to do is to boil the water in a large pot which is suitable to dip your brass fixture into it.
    • Then, you can add 2 tablespoon of baking soda per quarter of water that you used.
    • After that, you can proceed by placing the brass fixture into the pot once the water has been boiled together with the baking soda.
    • Allow the brass fixture to simmer in the pot for at least 15 minutes.
  • Next step is for you to use heat proof prongs so that you can remove the brass fixture
    • And place the brass on a soft rag.
    • Remember to always wear hand gloves when you do the next step which is to peel the lacquer from the brass fixture.
    • If there is still some tiny stubborn lacquer that would not come off the brass, you can repeat the above process one more time.

    Always remember that whenever you managed to remove a lacquer finish from brass,

    • You need to apply a new coat of lacquer onto the brass fixtures.
    • Please take note that brass product can be tarnished immediately if it is exposed to air and also by the acids produces by human hands.
    • When you start working with lacquer finish, you must do it in a well-ventilated area.

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