By brass cleaner I mean something that takes the corrosion off brass. I recently had some 20-30 year old ammo that had turned definitely off color. So I looked around for something to clean it up and did not see anything that said it would do. So a web search turns up the suggestion to use tomato ketchup. Now that we got, we buy it in the big cans from Sams Club because the granddaughter uses this stuff like water. So I tossed the 12 380 rounds in about four or five tablespoons of ketchup and let it set for about an hour or two. When I went to get it I rolled it around in my hand with it still coated with ketchup and the corrosion went away. After washing it was in good condition and looked like brass again. If you feel skeptical then run your own test. Almost free brass cleaner. I suspect that it is the vinegar that does the cleaning but I have not tested that as yet.
Ketchup is acidic. It may be a combo of the tomatoes natural acids and the vinegar that did the trick. Not sure...
I would personally find someting else, but thats just because I hate the smell of ketchup after its been out for a while. After I use some, I immediately rinse the plate off and make sure its down the drain, otherwise, its gag town for me.
the acid that takes the smell from skunk spray in tomatoes is what worked if there is vinegar in the catsup it will eat on the brass too.
citric acid [like in kool-aid,or lemi-shine [dish washer helper]
will clean the brass loosen all the black gunk and passivates the brass.
a 10-15 minute soaking with occasional swishing will get brass right clean.
i follow up with the tumbler to dry the cases and add a bit of nu-finish to keep the shine. [it has a secondary affect of making sizing a bit easier too]
Any mild acid will work fine - lemon, orange, tomatoes, vinegar. If you leave it too long, the zinc gets leeched out and the brass turns pink and gets weakened.
In the Navy, I used "Orange Bug Juice" (Koolade) to clean my brass fire station parts - dropped them into a 5 gallon bucket of it. Worked like a champ! Had the best looking and smelling fire station on board! A tip from my old Senior Chief.
I have used this on my brass cap&ball pistol frames too.
When you speak of corrosion are you talking about the green/turquoise fuzzy stuff or just some brownish discoloration?
I tend to toss the green fuzzy stuff, suspecting (rightly or not) that it may be severe enough to affect the integrity of the case.
brasso is not good for the cases.
it has ammonia in it [the stuff you use to remove copper from the bbl]
vinegar with salt added makes acetic acid but it needs a rinse in water with baking soda to neutralize the acid.
the green stuff is oxidation of the copper.
black spots on brass is the zink in it oxidizing.
pink brass will result if it is left in citric acid too long.
citric acid is what is used with the stainless pins.
I have been using a product called "Brasso," which is sold in hardware stores to clean brass.
I put some on a spot of a paper towel, and then twirl the brass casings into it.
Works fine. Whether it is safe for the cases, I honestly don't know.
I am not much for cleaning cases, and only do this when they have gone through a number of reloadings and are looking really gringy.
Some folks will tell you not to use Brasso because the ammonia will degrade the brass. I can't verify this but have used Brasso for my BBQ loads before I got a tumbler. I put the case on a hardwood mandrel chucked in a drill and spun it against a rag with Brasso on it. Got a heck-of-a shine that lasted quite a while, but didn't reload those cases very much; mostly for show. I still have some of that brass somewhere and I will check it for "pinkness"...