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My fireplace has a brass trim that looks black now. How do I know if it is real brass or just painted. I would like to clean it to its true luster. Thanks
Unless it's antique, it's likely only brass plated. It can be cleaned with just about any metal cleaner, but you don't want to use anything that is abrasive because you can scratch the finish as well as buff through it.
Start with soap and water to remove the bulk of the smoke, then something like Brasso will polish it up.