3 surprisingly effective ways to clean brass taps and keep your on-trend faucet looking perfect

Brush up on these top ways to clean brass taps for a spotless sparkle that is in keeping with your on-trend decor

ways to clean brass taps with image by BC Designs
(Image credit: BC Designs/Darren Chung)

There are a number of ways to clean brass taps that are simple and effective for a flawless finish - and not what we tend to think about when we are installing an aged-gold faucet.

Brass accents are one of the go-to looks to create a hotel-smart feel at home. As a key part of both kitchen and bathroom trends, it's worth learning how to clean the material to maintain a high-end aesthetic.

'Brass features are definitely big this year, and worrying about keeping them looking great shouldn’t put you off,' says Rikki Fothergill, style expert at the Big Bathroom Shop. 'Brass looks great alongside so many of the current color trends, such as forest green, royal blue, and blush pink. And you can easily maintain a beautifully stylish bathroom by keeping your brassware clean.'

Keep yours looking like they belong in an elegant home with our top ways to clean brass taps below.

3 ways to clean brass taps 

But first, are they brass or brass-plated?

ways to cleans brass taps BC Designs

(Image credit: BC Designs)

Before you begin, it's important to determine whether your taps are real brass or brass-plated.

'The way to know whether or not something is fully brass is simple: place a magnet on it,' says Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs.  If it doesn’t stick, it’s brass. If it does stick, it’s only brass-plated.'

He adds: 'If the object is just brass-plated, all you actually need to clean it is warm water and soap. Polishing isn’t necessary on objects that are only brass-plated, and, in fact, it could actually scratch the plating off. 

'That’s why it’s important to identify whether or not the brass is just a plating before you embark on any brass cleaning project.'


Best ways to clean brass taps

If your taps are real brass, you can choose from the three top ways to clean them below.

1. Use warm, soapy water to clean brass taps

brass taps in a white bathroom sink

(Image credit: Future)

It's a good idea to keep on top of cleaning your brass taps. It is much easier to do this than once soap build up or limescale has started to set in. 

Regular, light cleaning or brass taps is a simple task with soap and water.

'General day to day cleaning can be done with a weak soapy water solution and microfiber cloth,' suggests Barrie Cutchie. 

'Make sure you get the handle and around the base, but don’t rub too hand. Rinse with clean water and dry with a dry cloth. This works on brass and brushed brass.'

We particularly like this microfiber cloth from Amazon - the stripes are so much cuter and in so much prettier colors than a rag has any right to be. 


2. Do a deep-clean with vinegar and water

brass tap in a blue bathroom

(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes, your taps might need more of a deep clean. Whatever you do, don’t turn to harsh cleaning products that you can find in the supermarket. Instead, turn to your food cupboards as household staples can actually do a much better job. 

BC Designs' Barrie Cutchie says: 'Make a solution of vinegar and water with a ratio of 1:1, and spray this over your taps as well as the surrounding area. Let the solution sit for a couple of minutes before giving the taps a quick scrub with a cloth and then rinsing the area off with water.'


3. Make a lemon juice mixture

To remove tarnishes, you can use fresh lemon for a nice natural home remedy. 

Simply decant some lemon juice into a spray bottle and add in a small amount of table salt. 

Spray onto a soft cloth and rub over the tarnished brass to make it gleam. 

Rikki Fothergill, style expert at the Big Bathroom Shop, adds: 'To remove any tacky residue from the brass after cleaning with lemon, rinse the soft cloth with warm clean water and wipe over the surface. Remember to buff out with a dry cloth afterwards to prevent streaks from appearing.'

This brass cleaning cloth from Amazon, made specifically so to create the best shine on taps, is ideal.

How do you clean badly tarnished brass?

ways to clean brass taps BC Designs

(Image credit: BC Designs)

If your brass taps appear to be seriously stained, a lemon juice solution is the best remedy, says Barrie Cutchie.

'Combine the juice of half a lemon with a teaspoon of baking soda and stir until it becomes a paste,' he says. 'Apply the paste with a soft cloth. If the tarnish is heavy, let the piece sit with the paste on it for 30 minutes. Then, rinse with warm water and dry. It might be that you need to repeat the process a couple of times if the brass is badly tarnished.'

How do you remove limescale from brass taps?

If your brass taps have a buildup of limescale, you'll need to do a deep-clean with a vinegar and water 1:1 solution as detailed above.

 BC Designs' Barrie Cutchie says: 'Only leave it on for three or four minutes before rinsing off. If it is left for a long time in the hope it might remove the limescale better, it can tarnish the taps. It is better to repeat a couple of times instead to get rid of excess limescale.'

How to protect brass taps post-clean

Brassware naturally begins to tarnish when exposed to oxygen, so how can you ensure tarnishing is minimized between cleans?

'To prevent polished brass from tarnishing, coat it with a layer of clear sealer, which will stop air from reaching the brass itself,' recommends Rikki. 'Most brass products come with this finish originally, but it can wear down over time.'

This clear sealer from Amazon comes in handy spray form and is super-easy to use.

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.