Brass is a metal consisting of copper alloyed with nickel. The result is a hard metal that is durable, corrosion-resistant and antimicrobial. Brass is machinable and can be shaped in moulds. It also conducts heat and carries electricity easily. Its copper or gold colour mimics more expensive metals. The physical and aesthetic qualities of brass have made it an essential part of human life since ancient times.
Tarnish is a mild form of corrosion; this is mainly caused by the exposure of the natural copper in the brass to the elements. Salt is the main cause of tarnishing, so that is why you see dull brass plaques that have gone a browny colour on benches along the seafront. Rainwater also has chemicals as well as tap water and the air. Even our fingers are also corrosive.
How fast brass a brass plaque will start to tarnish depends on how it is handled and what elements it is exposed to. If you handle a brass candlestick and put it away without wiping it free of the oil and salt from your fingers, it will start to tarnish rather quickly. Likewise, exterior plaques left exposed to the elements will tarnish faster than interior fixtures. Coppery fingerprints can show up on a freshly polished surface within days, while interior lighting fixtures never touched by oily fingers could take months to show even the slightest dulling.
How to Managing Tarnishing
If you appreciate the patina of age on your plaques, allow your brass plaque to darken without interference.
If you prefer a shine, then purchase some brass cleaner and use it regularly, keep your fingers off polished surfaces and, if possible, and polish them often. If you want a permanent clean brass, consider having one of our lacquered brass plaques. If your brass is already lacquered, don't use metal polishes or solvents for cleaning, as they will remove the lacquer.
To keep your brass plaque clean, you will need to regularly polish the plaque to remove the tarnish from the plaque's surface.
We suggest using Brasso brass polish or even better use Collinite 850. Metal Wax polish protector.
Remember all unprotected brass will tarnish fairly quickly, especially in an outdoor environment.