How to Make Brass Shine with Ketchup 

brass lamps

Brass is a beautiful and durable metal that is often used in decor, hardware, and other household items. 

However, over time, brass can become dull and discolored due to the buildup of dirt and tarnish. One unconventional method for cleaning brass is using ketchup. 

In this article, we will show you how to effectively clean brass using ketchup, and provide tips for keeping your brass clean and shiny.

What You’ll Need:

  • Ketchup
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Water
  • Soap (optional)


  1. Apply a small amount of ketchup to a soft cloth or sponge.
  2. Rub the ketchup onto the brass surface, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  3. Let the ketchup sit on the brass for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Wipe the brass clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
  5. Rinse the brass with water and dry it with a clean cloth.


If the brass is particularly dirty or tarnished, you can add a drop of mild soap to the water before rinsing it.

Why Ketchup Works

Ketchup contains a small amount of acid, specifically vinegar and tomatoes which helps to break down and dissolve tarnish and grime on brass. 

The acidity in the ketchup works to lift and remove dirt and discoloration, revealing the shiny surface of the brass underneath.

5 Tips for Keeping Brass Clean:

  1. Wipe down your brass regularly with a soft, damp cloth. This will help to remove dust and dirt that can accumulate on the surface of the brass, preventing tarnish and discoloration.
  2. Avoid using abrasive cleaning products or scrubbers on brass. These can scratch the surface of the brass and cause damage. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge and a gentle cleaning solution.
  3. Use a brass polish to help maintain the shine of the brass. Brass polishes are specifically formulated to remove tarnish and bring out the shine in brass. Be sure to follow the instructions on the brass polish and test it on a small inconspicuous area before using it.
  4. Keep brass away from moisture to prevent tarnishing. This means avoiding areas with high humidity or dampness and storing brass items in a cool, dry place.
  5. Store brass in a cool, dry place to avoid discoloration. Exposure to heat and sunlight can cause the brass to discolor over time, so it’s best to store brass items in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

These tips are aimed at helping you maintain the shine and luster of your brass items over time by regularly cleaning, using appropriate cleaning products, using brass polish, protecting from moisture, and storing in a cool and dry place. 

By following these tips, you can keep your brass looking shiny and new for years to come.


Some types of brass may be more delicate or have a specific coating that can be damaged by the acidity in the ketchup. 

Therefore, it is important to test the ketchup method on a small, inconspicuous area of the brass before cleaning the entire piece. This will allow you to check if the ketchup causes any discoloration or damage to the brass.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware that ketchup is not recommended for cleaning antique or valuable brass items, as the acidity in the ketchup can cause damage to the metal over time. 

If you’re unsure about the type of brass you have, it’s best to consult a professional or use a gentler cleaning method.

It’s also worth mentioning that ketchup is not recommended to clean brass that has a patina, as it’s an intentional discoloration that gives the brass a unique look.


Cleaning brass with ketchup may seem unconventional, but it is an effective and natural way to remove tarnish and discoloration. 

By following these simple steps and tips, you can keep your brass looking shiny and new. 

Don’t have ketchup? Try cleaning brass with toothpaste instead. See How to Clean Brass with Toothpaste

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

-Baking Soda Guy

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels