Friday, 26 May 2017

Polished Off

It occurred to me after yesterday's post that not everybody has a tin of Brasso lurking in their kitchen cupboard.
In my childhood, it seemed that everybody's Mum had a can of metal polish which was brought out regularly. 
Boys' Brigade Belt Badges, Brownie badges, Nurses' belt buckles, brass blazer buttons - all these garments needed frequent polishing.
And then there was the brass coal scuttle, the ornament made from an old WW1 shell which Grandad brought back from the trenches, ashtrays, Granny's silver teapot...all needed buffing up.My posh friend Dot had Duraglit- which was impregnated wadding - but we just used the liquid Brasso and a bit of Dad's old vest.
There was always something wanting some elbow grease to bring out the shine.

Do the younger generation ever use it? In these days of stainless steel cutlery and dishwashers, who wants to polish up a serving spoon?
In National Trust properties, I understand that there is an annual polishing of all the copper and brassware and then the rest of the year these items are just buffed up with a soft cloth. 
But Brasso has its uses even in the 21st Century home - some of them have very little to do with brass teatrays.
For instance, try these ideas [but carefully]
  • Brasso can be used to polish CDs, DVDs, screens, and pools in order to repair scratches. It is a mild solvent and an extremely fine abrasive, so when applied to the reflective surface of the disc and rubbed radially [in straight lines between the edge and centre], it can smooth scratches and reduce their effect.
  • Rub Brasso with a soft cloth onto Lego minifigures to remove markings.
  • Watch enthusiasts use it to polish scratches out of acrylic crystals on watches.
  • Brasso can be successfully used to take minor (white) heat marks out of French polished wooden surfaces. The fine abrasive cuts through the surface and allows the solvent into the wax and lacquer layer. The surface should be properly cleaned and waxed after this treatment.
  • Used gently, and in moderation, Brasso will restore Bakelite (Telephones, appliances etc.)
I love these wonderful old adverts. Use Brasso and make friends! Here are a few tips if you are using Brasso just as a regular metal polish 
  • if cleaning buttons or buckles on garments, then cut a slit in a piece of old card, and slide it under the button so that the surrounding fabric is covered, and doesn't get marked by the polish
  • a soft cloth is great - but for detailed work, an old toothbrush may be even better
  • Food utensils [serving spoons etc] should be well washed in hot soapy water after polishing to remove any polish residue, before they come into contact with food.
  • wear an apron, and gloves [Marigolds, or latex, or be like a traditional butler and wear soft cotton ones] These will protect your clothes and your hands.

Finally - if you have one small item needing polishing and you have no Brasso, then use 1 tablespoon of brown/HP sauce on a soft cloth. If the item is really tarnished, stir in 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda to make a paste. Rub in, polish off, and rinse well.


  1. The tins don't seem to be around now, only wadding, sadly.

    1. Our Sainsburys still has it, as does Wilko. I prefer the liquid to the wadding.

  2. I like your instruction to 'watch enthusiasts use it to polish scratches out of acrylic crystals on watches', but I don't think it will catch on as a spectator sport.

  3. I like the tip of using a card with a slit under the button.


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