Polishing outdoor brass lights
by Karena Burchfield
We've built our home 23 years ago and all outdoor lights are brass. Over the years the brass has been exposed to the elements. I am attempting to clean and polish all the lights. So far, I have use SOS pads, white vinegar, Brass, Comet cleanser(not at the same time) and a tremendous amount of elbow grease and still have not gotten the results I want. Please, give me a product I can use to bring back the shinning brass I originally had. Also, can you suggest a product I can put on the brass to keep it shines for years to come? Thank you for your assistance.
OK...I'm going to go out on a limb here and off-topic because I do not make or work on light fixtures, only jewelry and very seldom do I use brass. However, I do have some brass accessories in my home, so I'll share my experiences.
What I've found with a lot of the "brass" accessories for the home, like outdoor lighting, is that it is not actually brass at all, but a brass plated base metal of an unknown kind. When that brass plating becomes corroded, it's not fixable. I've replaced my own "brass" outdoor coach lamps because when they started looking shabby - they actually rusted and brass does not rust - I could not get them clean. I now have powder-coated, antique look metal lamps and after 10 years outside, they're wearing well.
Steel wool and elbow grease will remove severe oxidation and light corrosion from solid brass. And there are a few brass polishes out there like Brasso™ and Everbright™ designed to remove oxidation. Everbright™ works well on brass and corrosion and they also sell a protective clear coat for brass. But being outdoors, check to make sure that the product will withstand the rigors of year-round exposure to the elements. You may wish to contact the Everbright™ folks and see what they recommend.
However, all that is a moot point if your lights are only plated base metal. If that's the case, you could spray paint them with an outdoor metal paint or.....simply replace them.