It seems like every time I turn around, the brass kick plate on my front door needs polishing. Weather, children, pets, boot prints... these all add up on the tarnishing.
After going to the store to check out some fancy brass cleaners, I finally decided to check my notes on cleaning supply tricks. (I hate spending $8 for fifty cents worth of ingredients.)
The remedy to cleaning brass and copper- ketchup.
It's true. I use a single packet of ketchup (picked up for free from a drive-through line) to keep my kick plate shiny.
Using a cloth, rub a generous coat of ketchup across your surface, let sit for five minutes, and wipe off with a cloth. More stubborn tarnishing might take repeated applications, but it does work.
(And it's not just for kick plates! Use it on any brass or copper surface: pots and pans, doorknobs, old gelatin molds, even mailbox numbers and doorbell casings!)