How to Clean Tarnish on a Stiffel Lamp

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Things You'll Need

  • Hot water

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Nonabrasive dishcloth

  • Towel

  • Microwave-safe cup

  • White vinegar

  • Cloth

  • Table salt

  • Dish

  • Brass polishing cloth (optional)


If the lamp is clean but remains dull, polish it using a brass polishing cloth until the shine returns.

If desired, you can also remove Stiffel lamp tarnish using professional polishing products.

Stiffel is a company that manufactured and sold a variety of lamps for over 75 years, but no longer offers new lamps. The previous lamps contained intricate detailing and consisted of brass, bronze and pewter finishes. Like most metals, the Stiffel lamps develop a dark cloudy coating over time called tarnish. Tarnishing is the result of oxidation caused by exposure to air. Removing the tarnish from Stiffel lamps requires only the use of a mildly abrasive polishing paste.


Step 1

Fill a sink half full of hot water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap to it. Stir the water up to create soap bubbles.

Step 2

Remove the lamp shade and light bulb from the Stiffel lamp and set them aside in a safe location.

Step 3

Set the Stiffel lamp in the other side of the sink without the water in it. Avoid using any more water than needed to prevent damaging the lamp.

Step 4

Insert a nonabrasive dishcloth into the soapy water and wring it out as much as possible. Wash the tarnished portions of the Stiffel lamp using the cloth, moving it in circular motions. Continue until you clean all areas of the lamp.


Step 5

Rinse the cloth in clean water to remove all the soap residue. Wipe the Stiffel lamp with the cloth to remove the soap residue, and then dry it thoroughly using a clean towel.

Step 6

Fill a microwave-safe cup with 1 cup of white vinegar and heat it up in the microwave for one minute. Dip a cloth into the vinegar and then into a dish containing ¼ cup of table salt. Polish all remaining portions of the Stiffel lamp that has tarnish to remove it. Dip the cloth into the vinegar and table salt as needed until no tarnish remains.

Step 7

Wash the lamp again using the hot soapy water, and then rinse the soap off using a cloth. Remove the lamp from the sink and dry it completely. Allow the lamp to air-dry for an additional 24 hours before reassembling it and plugging it back in.



Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.