Now that it’s January, it’s a great time to jump back into regular decorating, sprucing up,and pulling the house together. One of the projects involved cleaning a brass plate with ketchup!
Before the holiday’s, we had started sprucing up our dining area, that included a birch tree mural. We also hung a vintage door on sliding hardware to our dining area, and I added a vintage brass door plate for character.
We have a little built-in alcove area with a curtain that served as a “door” for ages. Even though it was an easy fix to hide the clutter at the time , it wasn’t ideal for me. I always wanted some kind of door there, but there wasn’t the clearance for a swinging door. Thank goodness for sliding barn door hardware! The opening is narrow as it is, and we could only go up to a 27 inch wide door. I knew I wanted a vintage/antique door there instead of new, and had been searching for a while. Mr.R and I went to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and after combing through the mountains of doors, found one that would work.
It had a great finish to it, and only a few dings and scratches. It was a little tall, so we did have to trim a little off of the top and bottom to make it work.
I love all of it’s imperfections; like how there was a door knob at one time that someone patched years and years ago.
The other side had a cool pocket door handle with lots of wear and patina.
After we hung the door. I wanted to add the final touch, a brass plate I picked up at a antique shop two or three years ago. It was one of those little treasures I came across, that I didn’t have a place for at the time, but squirreled away for the future. It was too cool to pass up.
It has a perfect place on the center of the door, and added so much character. However, once it was on, I noticed how dirty it was. I didn’t have any brass cleaner, but I had heard you could clean brass with ketchup, so I thought I would give it a try. After a little research, from what I understand, it’s the acid in the tomatoes that does the work (It won’t work on laquered brass, which a lot of newer brass is because that already has a special coating to prevent discoloration and tarnish.).
If you are going to try it, I would always recommend doing a test patch first on an inconspicuous place, especially if what you are going to clean is valuable. I jumped in, and squirted a little bit on a paper towel, and rubbed it on.
With a little elbow grease, it immediately started taking off years of grime! What I didn’t anticipate was all of the little grooves I was going to have to get into to really clean it. I have to admit, that was slightly tedious.
I used an orange wood stick, and some paper towel, as well as a cotton swab to get in all of the grooves.
I couldn’t believe all of the dirt that came off! I wish I had thought to clean it beforehand, next time I’ll know better. I’m on the hunt for more of these vintage door plates. I think they are so cool.
After, use a slightly damp rag to remove any remaining ketchup residue, and buff with a soft cloth. I may go back for a second round, just to see if I can clean up the under-plate a little more. Though, I do like the contrast of the darker brass, and shiner brass against each other.
And Ella Claire has other cleaning hacks here, like how to clean and polish copper.