How to Clean a Brass Fireplace Fender

brass fireplace fender

Fireplaces were initially built in America out of necessity. It wasn’t until later that style and luxury became a factor. Today, people still use fireplaces to heat their homes—especially in real areas.

However, people also purchase fireplaces solely for luxury. Luxury fireplaces serve two purposes. They keep you warm, and they look fantastic. 

Do you want to install a traditional fireplace? The kind that has a gleaming brass fender sitting on the hearth. There’s one problem, though.

Your brass fireplace fender has seen better days. It’s dingy and lackluster, and you want to bring back its shine, but you don’t know how.

Well, keep reading! Below is a guide with all the details you need to keep your brass fireplace fender clean.

What Is a Fireplace Fender? 

There are two primary types of fireplace fenders. “Screen” type fenders have ornamental metal netting or screens. The second fireplace or hearth fender is the “bar” type.

Bar-type fenders don’t have screens but are two horizontally attached metal bars. Both kinds of fenders often had highly decorative designs but also served essential functions in 18th-century America.

Fireplace fenders kept hot ashes, sparks, and logs from escaping onto the hearth. The point was to keep hot materials from the fireplace box from damaging the hearth.

Some people also used fenders to cook at their fireplaces. The third kind of fender even had padded seating so people could commune and warm themselves around the fire.

What Makes Brass Fireplace Fenders Luxurious? 

Most fenders throughout America at the time were made of solid brass. Brass fireplace fenders were popularized because they were beautiful centerpieces and served a practical purpose. 

Brass is a beautiful metal that fits in any traditional fireplace. But beauty is the only reason brass is considered a luxury material. Brass is incredibly durable and can last decades. 

Brass fireplace fenders are rare because many opt for gas or electric fireplaces. There’s less demand for these items, so most existing ones have been around since the 1800s. 

Brass is comparatively cheap against copper and bronze. However, the warm aesthetics and versatility make it a favorite among people seeking high-end, luxury items.

Fireplace Cleaning: How to Clean Your Fender

What makes brass a perfect fireplace material is how easy it is to clean. There are various methods to get your brass fender back in shape. Most of the material you may have is lying around your home. 

If you don’t have the supplies, a quick trip to the store can easily take care of your tarnished, sooty brass. Below are chemically manufactured and natural DIY cleaning solutions. 


If your brass fireplace fender has dulled over the years, you may want some Brasso. Brasso is the go-to method for shining up a variety of metals. Brasso provides a smooth, clear shiny finish to metallic surfaces. 

You can use Brasso Metal Cleaner & Polish on:

  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Bronze
  • Chrome
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel

You only need to shake the bottle and pour the liquid onto a clean cloth or sponge. Next, you’ll rub the Brasso into the metal surface and buff the brass with a new, clean cloth. There’s no rinsing required.

Baking Soda, Vinegar, Salt, and Dish Detergent

Aside from the ingredients mentioned, you’ll need clean cloths, bowls, a bucket, a spoon, and a spray bottle to remove smoke stains from your fender.

First, mix 3/4 baking soda, 1/4 table salt, and water. Next, stir the mixture until it creates a paste-like substance. Once you make the paste, dip a damp cloth inside and rub the substance onto your brass fireplace fender.

Pay special attention to the smoke stains when you apply the paste. You need to remove the paste with a new dampened cloth. Next, take your bucket and mix:

  • One teaspoon of dishwashing detergent
  • 1/2 gallon of warm water

Wash the brass fender with soapy water to remove greasy smoke residue and leftover cleaning paste. Your next step is to rinse the fender with another damp cloth. 

The final step is to spray down the brass with vinegar. You’ll pour half white vinegar and half water into the spray bottle. Next, spray your fender and wipe away the remnants of smoke stains and stain removers. 

Bar Keepers Friend

Bar Keepers Friend (BKF) is great for removing rust and tarnishing. Your first step is wetting the brass with a damp cloth or soft sponge. Second, apply BKF power or liquid cleanser to the sponge.

Let the solution sit for a minute, and clean it with your sponge. Next, rinse the fireplace fender and dry it with a towel or cloth. You can repeat these steps as much as needed.

Ketchup, Tomato Sauce, or Paste

Perhaps the most surprising item in your arsenal of fireplace cleaning tools is tomatoes. The acid inside tomatoes effectively removes tarnish on brass and other metals. 

Ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomato paste are easy to use as cleaners. All work equally well and only involves adding a single layer to the top of your brass. After an hour, wash the fender with warm water and let it air dry. 

Take Care of Your Luxury Fireplace

A clean fireplace fender keeps your fireplace looking neat. Luckily, many chemical and natural DIY methods exist to clean your brass fireplace fender. Perhaps you’ll find the ways listed here helpful for your fireplace cleaning. 

We don’t clean fireplace fenders but can install a traditional fireplace whenever you’re ready. Make sure you call Dreifuss Fireplaces when you want a luxury fireplace installed.

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