Monday, 30 June 2014

How to Clean Brass Bells

School bells, cow bells, dinner bells, sleigh bells; these are just a few of the different types of bells available. For more examples, simply browse BellsOnline.net or another online merchant. Whether the bells are collected, used for functional purposes or simply decorative, they will require cleaning and regular care to keep them looking their best.

Clean the Bell
Bells can become dirty and covered with years of grime. While this debris leaves the bell looking dingy, you can simply remove it by soaking the bell in soapy water and using a cloth to wash the dirt off the surface. Make sure to get into any decorative crevices on the bell. An old toothbrush works well to get into small areas and remove the dirt and grime. If you have a bit of trouble removing any of the debris, simply allow the bell to soak in the soapy water for a little longer. After you have thoroughly cleaned the bell, rinse it with water and dry it. Conservators often clean bells using acetone, which is another option for owners looking to keep their bells clean.


Remove the Old Lacquer
If necessary, remove the old lacquer from the brass bell. During the cleaning process, you may find that the old lacquer is beginning to flake. Experts say that lacquer usually lasts about 10 years on metal and may need to be reapplied. You can use a commercial lacquer remover and steel wool to remove the old lacquer. Once removed, make sure to clean the bell again to remove any residue left behind from the chemical remover.

Polish the Bell
Polishing the bell with a commercial brass polish will help keep it looking its best. Instead of a commercial product, you can polish the bell using a mixture of rubbing alcohol and calcium carbonate or simple distilled water. Keep in mind, however, that not all bells are meant to have a shiny and bright finish. In fact, some brass bells are made to have a semi-shiny or dark surface.

Apply New Lacquer
Applying a new layer of lacquer will help protect the surface of the bell from dirt, oils and tarnish. Right before applying the lacquer, wipe the bell with a clean soft cloth and refrain from leaving fingerprints on it. When ready to apply the lacquer, use a clean paintbrush to paint the lacquer on the bell in even strokes and let dry.

Considerations
To help keep the brass bell clean, make sure to frequently dust or wipe the bell with a damp cloth. You shouldn’t have to reapply polish or lacquer again until the lacquer begins to flake or crack.

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