Skip to Content

DIY Natural Brass Cleaner: Make Flea Market Finds Look Brand New

Midcentury Dresser DIY Makeover: Brass Hardware

I needed to find a DIY natural brass cleaner for this amazing midcentury modern dresser I picked up for FREE in my local buy-sell trade Facebook group (get the BST group lingo here)! I tested out a few DIY & natural brass cleaner recipes and here is what I found out! I needed to research homemade brass cleaners, so it was a perfect fit!  

Midcentury Modern Dresser Brass Hardware DIY Makeover

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read full privacy policy here.

Midcentury Modern Hardware Makeover

Recipes for DIY Natural Brass Cleaner

I absolutely loved this dresser and couldn’t believe that we were able to pick it up for FREE! If you love DIY furniture makeovers, you may also want to see how we redid an old metal desk for my home office.  For my home office project, I ended up having to buy new hardware. However, I LOVED the hardware on this midcentury modern dresser and I really wanted to keep it. You cannot buy hardware like this anymore. I had one HUGE problem because the hardware looked pretty beat up. I wanted to try my best to not have to paint it. Where does one go when they need a simple DIY and natural brass cleaner? Pinterest, of course! Here is the link to the pin from Salvaged Inspiration that started this whole brass cleaning journey! 

Test Brass Hardware

To make sure that you are solid brass, take a magnet to your hardware. The magnet will not stick to solid brass. Therefore, if it doesn’t stick, you will be ready to start making your DIY natural brass cleaner!

Vinegar and Salt Brass Cleaner and Polisher

  1. In a plastic container, mix 2 cups white vinegar with 10 tablespoons salt. 
  2. Using an old toothbrush, rub the mixture around on the brass.
  3. Allow the brass to soak for around 45 minutes. Don’t rush this. I am always impatient, however you end up having to work harder. Just let the brass hardware soak!

I attempted this mixture a few ways. As you can see, the hardware is soaking, however, I also felt that I needed something else to help the solution get around the ends of the handles.

DIY Midcentury Modern Dresser Hardware Makeover

Mix flour with the DIY brass cleaner to make a brass cleaning paste

I decided to mix flour with my brass cleaner solution to create a paste. It really seemed to help get some of the areas that didn’t want to be cleaned by only the solution. After my handles were done soaking in the DIY natural brass cleaner, I used the toothbrush to clean them as well as a sponge. BE CAREFUL when doing this as you may end up scratching your hardware. I cleaned the hardware in one motion so that any scratches or lines would look intentional.

DIY Natural Brass Cleaner for Dresser Hardware

Other DIY Brass Cleaners

I was very happy with the outcome of my DIY natural brass cleaner. During my research I did see some other ways you may want to try. As weird as it sounds, ketchup might be your answer!

As a child, I remember being in awe when I put a dirty penny in ketchup because it came out completely clean after soaking it. So if you are up for, slather some ketchup on your hardware and let me know how it goes.  Another brass cleaner would be to try a lemon and baking soda mixture. I would love to hear what your homemade and natural brass cleaning remedies are? What worked the best for you?

Midcentury Modern Dresser Brass Hardware DIY Makeover

Be sure to check back here for how the whole midcentury modern dresser DIY makeover went!

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Tuesday 9th of April 2019

Can’t wait to try this on some of my goodies.


Saturday 6th of April 2019

This is a great tip! I have an antique hutch that I'm going to paint soon and the brass pulls are really dingy, I will have to try this on them.


Wednesday 27th of March 2019

It's amazing what vinegar can do and this polish recipe is something anyone can make. Also, good idea to add some flour to make a paste too. Pinned.


Sunday 24th of March 2019

Hi Erin, I am pinning your test right away! I love buying or finding unloved furniture and giving it a new home. I tend to not be able to rescue the hardware, though. Maybe now I've found the cure?!

Roseann Hampton

Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Wow! This will definitely come in handy! Pinning!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.