Home > How To Clean Brass


For gun enthusiasts who reload brass ammunition, cleaning is highly recommended and an often hotly contested procedure. After every firing, there is some residue that collects both on the inside and outside of the casing. In general, the majority of residue tends to collect in the neck area and frequently the casings appear dull.

Experts recommend cleaning brass casings to prevent dirt and debris from accumulating in your die which shortens its lifespan. Further, cleaning the brass casings also helps prevent scratching in the die. In some cases, the accumulated debris inside the casing can splatter and contaminate your load. Finally, a very important reason to clean brass is to help identify any potential problems with the
There are several ways to clean brass which include the following:

  1. Tumbling is ideal if you have a large number of casings. There are commercial tumblers with media additives available. All you do is place the casings inside. The tumbling motion loosens up the debris and the cleaning is thorough. Tumbling works best if the casings are cleaned immediately after firing. The longer the residue is left unattended, the harder it is to remove it with this process. If you use fresh media additive regularly, you will have polished clean brass casings every time. Most standard home tumblers recommend using 50-100 casings at a time. The tumbling time varies from 30 -180 minutes. It is important to check the casings after tumbling to make sure that there are no media granules left inside any of the brass. The one major negative about tumbling is the noise and dust generated. However, on the plus side, it is not a labor-intensive process and does work well. There are many types of media available and you may have to use several to determine what works best for you


  2. Chemical Cleaning is another option for cleaning brass. The casings are inserted in a mesh bag, immersed in a cleaning solution and allowed to soak for a predetermined time. They are then rinsed in warm water and allowed to air dry. Chemical cleaning is easy to use, works well but the dry-time can be prolonged. While the casings are cleaned well, they will not appear polished like the tumbler. On the positive side, there is usually never any left over residue. If you want to polish the brass, just place them in the tumbler for a few minutes but without the media. Today, there are several types of environmentally-friendly chemical cleaning solutions.


  3. Hand Cleaning is another option but it is labor intensive. The biggest advantage of hand washing is that you can inspect each casing for damage. There are several sizes of brushes available to clean casings using a power drill. In addition, there are several types of steel wool and cloths available to clean the external surface of the casings.