I know I already went on at length about Ketchup’s amazing ability to clean brass, but this before and after was so amazing I had to share.

I rescued this candle holder from my mother in-law’s garage when she was getting rid of junk last summer. I thought it could come in handy during a power outage. As I unpacked it in the new house, I noticed a sticker on the bottom that reads “Solid Brass Handmade – made in India”.   Hey! I thought, I know how to clean brass! Maybe this can be useful and be cute too! <- I always use exclamation marks at the end of every sentence when I talk to myself.

To get the wax off I dunked the whole thing in boiling water for a while. The gunk that rose the surface was gross! Then I smothered it in ketchup, let it sit, and polished lightly with a score pad. I repeated this about three times, but it was sooooo wort it. Can’t wait to show mother-in-law when she visits this weekend!

Home Stories A2Z



Ketchup Cleaning

We are one week into owning our house and -unsurprisingly- there are still boxes to unpack. The bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are set up so the house is very livable. But the room to become ‘the office’ is yet untouched, the home-gym is in pieces, and knickknacks without a home and cleaning supplies are littered everywhere. But here is the thing about unpacking boxes: its boring.

So today bubby and I did other stuff. He did amazing things like re-wiring the chandelier and re-caulking the kitchen …  and I cleaned the mail box. The brass mailbox that came with the house was badly tarnished and had tape all over it holding “no flyers” notes. After removing those (Liam LOVES flyers) dismounting it and giving it a wash it still looked decrepit.

tarnished brass mailbox

I used some Goo-Gone to get rid of the gunky tape glue. A bit of research on-line suggested ketchup to polish brass. Ketchup!! I was skeptical to say the least, but gave it a shot.

as always, Dexter supervises

For the detail areas like the MAIL letters and decorative diamonds, I used a tooth-brush style cleaning brush to work in the condiment. Using a sponge with a scour pad I worked in circles on the brass applying ketchup liberally. I can’t believe how well it worked. The bright red dressing would turn dark grey before my eyes and the mailbox got brighter and brighter.

Have a pail of water near by and rinse your sponge often. This messy job requires a lot of elbow grease and patience. You don’t want to go too hard with the scour pad or you’ll scratch the metal. Try to use the soft side as often as you can, and let the sugar in the ketchup be the abrasive element here, the acid in the tomato will work magic on the tarnish.

That’s why ketchup works! I’ve heard of the baking soda and lemon juice to clean grout before so this is the same idea; an acid and an abrasive. Ketchup just comes in a convenient package, no mixing or bubbling, thick and pasty for easy application on non-flat surfaces, and because we are using it on metal here there is no chance it will stain.

all done

What was old is new(ish) again! It’s not perfect but it certainly looks better.  Liam was very impressed -like electrical work was nothing but ketchup cleaning was the show stopper of the day!