A Stepwise Guide to Clean & Restore Brass and Stainless Steel Hookahs

Dec 21 , 2020

A Stepwise Guide to Clean & Restore Brass and Stainless Steel Hookahs

Most contemporary hookahs are made of stainless steel. While not as popular, brass hookahs are not unheard of, or rare. There are several brass models out there. Older hookahs were largely made of brass. In fact, it was the most popular alloy used for hookahs for centuries before stainless steel usurped its place. Brass is a durable alloy. It is easy to work with, so designs could be rather intricate and exquisite. Brass is also a poor conductor of heat when compared to copper, which made it a perfect option for hookahs.

Dust, Dirt, Grime, and Tarnish on Brass Hookahs

Both brass and stainless steel are alloys. Brass comprises copper and zinc. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, chromium, carbon and other elements. Brass is more vulnerable to grime buildup than steel. Brass is also more vulnerable to tarnish. The tarnish you may find on your brass hookah is due to oxidation of the alloy. Stainless steel resists oxidation better than brass, which is why it has become so popular among hookah manufacturers like Khalil Maamoon.

An old brass hookah, or a relatively new one subjected to frequent use, will have a substantial buildup of dust, dirt, grime, and tarnish. While dust and dirt may be easy to clean, and hence restoration is quite simple, the grime and tarnish on brass can be a challenge. Stainless steel is relatively much easier to clean and restore. Before we lay out the steps for cleaning and restoring brass hookahs, let us note the different types of compositions.

Solid Brass vs. Brass Plated Hookahs

Your hookah may be made of solid brass, or it could be plated with the alloy. If it is solid brass, you do not have to worry about damaging the surface, unless there is a protective coating. This is also true for stainless steel hookahs that have a protective coating. Do not use any abrasive material, whether cleaning agent or a tool to scrub, that can take off the protective coating. Brass plated hookahs should be cleaned and restored gently. Else, the brass would come off and lay bare the underlying material.

Steps to Clean and Restore Brass Hookahs

There are three phases of cleaning and restoring brass hookahs. Phase one is cleaning the brass parts, including stem, tray, hose ports, valves, etc. with soap and water. This is to get rid of the dust and dirt. Phase two is cleaning the grime and tarnish. The grime will come off sooner. The tarnish will probably need two cleaning cycles with a suitable agent. Phase three is cleaning the brass parts again, using only water for rinsing purposes, and then drying the parts. There can be another phase if you wish to polish your brass hookah.


  1.     Soap and Water

Take brass or stainless steel parts, soak them in soapy water, leave them for a while and then go for a thorough wash. Rinse well. You can use warm soap water for both stainless steel and brass. Avoid using hot water if either brass or stainless steel has any coating, or plating.

  1.     Special Cleaning Agent

You may use Brasso, Never Dull, or some other similar cleaning agent for brass and stainless steel. You would need a few cleaning tools, such as a brush with soft bristles, microfiber cloth, paper towels, normal towels, cleaning cloth or old t-shirt, and the typical thin and thick brushes used for contemporary hookahs. You will need a long thin brush with soft but durable bristles to clean the interior of the brass stem.

You may use natural cleaning agents as well. Tomato paste or puree cleans brass quite well. You will need to let the paste sit on the brass part for at least half an hour before scrubbing. You may also use flour, fine grain salt, and white vinegar. Don’t use too much salt in this mixture to avoid leaving scratches and stains on brass.

  1.     Scrubbing and Washing

After you have cleaned brass or stainless steel hookah parts with soap & water and applied the cleaning agent while allowing some time for the substance to work its magic, you must scrub the alloy thoroughly. This is the most tedious part of the entire exercise. Scrub until all the grime and tarnish come off. You will need plenty of paper towels. Finally, wash the parts. Rinse again to get rid of traces of the cleaning agent.

Finally, you may choose to polish the brass or stainless steel parts. A soft cloth should do. It is not mandatory to use any polishing agent.