Shake and shine
Before I install any pieces of brass hardware on my projects, I toss them into a vibrating case-polisher that originally was designed for cleaning cartridge casings. The polisher is a large plastic bowl attached to an electric motor that causes the whole thing to vibrate. The bowl is filled with a dry polishing media. As it vibrates, the fine talcumlike media gets into every nook and cranny — places no cleaning rag will ever go. There are no caustic chemicals to mess with and no elbow grease. Just drop in the hardware and walk away. I bought my case-polisher at a local sporting- goods store. There are several different brands and sizes available.
Michael Chilquist, Pittsburgh, PA
I'd be a little skeptical about this- if it's old brass, sure, but new brass is likely to have a protective, anti-corrosion coating, to keep it shiny. Abrasive polishing will take that off.