How to Clean & Polish Brass Kick Plates

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Things You'll Need

  • Rag

  • Mild dish soap

  • Bucket of warm water

  • Sponge

  • Toothbrush or nylon scrub brush

  • Dry, soft cloth

  • White vinegar

  • Salt

  • Spray bottle, 1-pint

  • Linseed or mineral oil


Brass-plated kick plates also benefit from a mild cleaning. Test the kick plate with a magnet; if it is solid brass, the magnet will not stick. If the kick plate is brass plated, stop cleaning once the kick plate has reached the desired level of cleanliness; scrubbing may remove some of the plating.


Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers such as steel wool, as they may scratch the brass or remove part of its lacquer coating.

Rain, pollution and dirt kicked up during storms cling to a brass kick plate, hiding its shine. In many cases, all the kick plate needs is a good cleaning and polishing -- with no harsh chemicals needed.

Step 1

Wipe off as much dry dirt from the kick plate as possible using a old rag.

Step 2

Squirt a little mild dish soap into a bucket of warm water, swirling it around with your hand or a sponge. Dip the sponge into the soapy solution and wipe down the kick plate thoroughly. Rinse the sponge and wipe down the brass again, then dry the kick plate with a soft cloth. If the kick plate has a lacquer coating, this is all the cleaning it needs, as additional cleaning materials may damage the lacquer. Lacquer looks like a clear coating over the brass.

Step 3

Mix several tablespoons of salt into a 1-pint spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Replace the lid and shake or stir to dissolve the salt.

Step 4

Spray the salty vinegar over the brass and allow it to sit for 10 minutes or so. Wipe away with a damp sponge, then towel dry the brass.

Step 5

Polish the kick plate by wiping it down with linseed or mineral oil applied to a soft cloth. Start with a very small amount of oil, such as a squirt or two, as a little may go a long way.

references & resources

Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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