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Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Some brass is covered with a thin coat of lacquer. If this is the case, the simplest way to clean the brass is to wipe it with a damp cloth. You should not use other chemicals because they can damage the lacquer finish on the brass.
If the brass has not been lacquered, it can also be cleaned with a damp cloth and then allowed to dry. Then simply use a dry cloth to polish it.
If the brass has tarnished, you can clean it with a commercial product such as Brasso. This is inexpensive and works well to remove both tarnish and fingerprints. Another great product to try is Barkeeper's Friend but be careful as it can also damage the patina. Regardless of which product you choose, you will likely need to use quite a bit of elbow grease.
Although some may recommend using ketchup or lemon juice to clean brass, this is not recommended as it can also damage the patina. If you need to clean an area that's hard to get to, try using an old toothbrush.
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