piece of unfinished brass pipe

Current decor trends call for lots of colors and textures. Still there's something about the patina of greens and blues in aged brass that looks so pleasing. 

That's why we've always offered unlacquered, or unfinished, brass as one of our finish options. We've always had customers over the decades who've cherished the option to let brass naturally age to a shade they want.

We polish all our unlacquered brass before shipping them. This way, they arrive as shiny as this cabinet knob:

In a Hurry? Here's How You Can Quickly "Age" Brass Hardware

Did you know you can speed up the darkening process for brass? 

There are several brass darkening solutions on the market. We have not used any, so we can't recommend them but we have noticed that all of them work pretty quickly (as in within several minutes) depending on how dark you want the brass to "age."

Be sure to wash the brass with warm soapy water before applying any solution. Most of them will recommend you wear gloves - a good idea anyway when you're working with chemicals. 

Here's a Pretty Easy DIY to Darken Your Brass

You can also use vinegar and salt to get that old darkened brass look. We like the technique described by Caro Davies, a UK-based social media expert who used to be an art director. Caro recommends mixing a pinch of salt into a container that has a lid with vinegar until the salt dissolves. The container should be large enough to hold the brass.

vinegar and salt

Also, Caro says any vinegar will do. She also doesn't bother measuring so you can probably use a modest amount of it.

Use a paintbrush to spread the mixture over the brass. Pour out any leftover solution and deposit the coated brass in the container and cover it. The more time the brass sits, the darker it gets. Turn the container over about once an hour.

Once your brass has reached the patina you want, remove it from the container and rinse it with clear water. Pat it dry and it's ready to go!

If you discover patches of color you don't like, a rubdown with a wire brush or steel wool will tone the down the color. This process also works on bronze.

Aging Brass Naturally

There's something to be said about the natural process of aging brass, which is to...just wait.

Brass ages at different speeds, so to speak, depending on the air around it. Indoor air provides exposure to fewer elements; however if it's touched a lot, it will age more quickly due to the oils and bacteria that spreads from our hands and fingers.The more you leave brass alone indoors, the longer it will take to darken.

Unfinished brass left outdoors will darken more quickly, especially in damp environments. Salty air brings a darker patina, too. 

 Brass mortar and pestle aged to a dark patina

Brass finishes can be removed with varying degrees of vigorous rubbing with steel wool or other paint stripper. (Allied Brass finishes are coated, so they may be more difficult to remove since we warranty our products under normal use. It's another reason why we offer an unfinished option!)

If your brass darkens to the point where you want to lighten it or start over, a good rub will do the trick. 

Any of our brass products, finished or unfinished, can be cleaned with warm soapy water. Be sure to dry it thorougly.

What kind of brass hardware are you looking for? We've got everything from brass cabinet knobs and handles to stylish bathroom and kitchen accessories like towel holders (including towel bars and towel rings), shelves, toilet paper holders, and mirrors. Check them out on our website today!

Unlacquered brass