Lemon and Ketchup Clean Brass
Old-time homemakers and military
men were often faced with discolored
brass objects in need of a good cleaning.
A method from Mary Anna Clement’s
handwritten Receipt Book (circa 1840)
was to rub the discolored brass with a
cut lemon and then wash with a weak
solution of ammonia and water. To make
this cleaning solution, try adding a few
drops of ammonia to 1 quart water.
Caution: Do not allow the ammonia to
drip directly on the brass or on your skin.
Former U.S. Marine Corps second
lieutenant William H. Carroll, of Haddonfield,
New Jersey, says that a great way
to clean brass or any metal that oxidizes
is by covering it with ketchup. “When I
was a U.S. Marine, we used ketchup to
clean everything from brass buckles to
lieutenant’s bars. Just lay the pieces side
by side without letting them touch each
other. Paint on a good layer of ketchup
and let them sit overnight. Then rinse
with warm water and dry thoroughly for
a nice shine.” Bill notes that he recently
used ketchup to clean dingy brass hinges
and doorknobs from a door he was
repainting, letting the hardware sit in a
coating of ketchup for a few days before
rinsing it and rehanging the door. “The door looked like new!” Bill says.
Excerpt from 1,001 Old-Time Household Hints—brought to you by Skyhorse Publishing