If you own a hookah made of copper or brass, chances are it has gotten tarnished after a few weeks of using it. Copper and brass hookahs look wonderful when they are polished but they lose their luster when tarnished. This guide will walk you through how to properly clean and polish your tarnished hookah to bring back that shine we all love from copper and brass stems.

Why does my hookah tarnish?

Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over copper, brass, aluminum and other metals as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to air. A tarnished hookah stem will appear to have a dull gray or black coating over the metal. It is mostly visible on copper and brass hookahs. It’s especially noticeable with hookahs made of multiple metals such as Khalil Mamoon Trimetals. Tarnishing is completely normal and easy to remove by polishing the metal.

Can I prevent this?

The simple answer is no. Other than wrapping your hookahs in airtight bags, you will not be able to stop this natural metal chemical process.

What you need

  • Eagle One Nevr-Dull Metal Polish
  • 2x Cloth towels
  • Dish soap (for deep cleans use baking soda and lemon juice)
  • Hookah stem cleaning brush

Optional: Rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin



Eagle One Nevr-Dull Wadding Polish

This is a non-abrasive product that will clean and polish metal. It works great, is easy to use and doesn’t require any mixing or special cloths which is why I recommend it for polishing hookah stems. You can buy it on Amazon for under $6. I’ve polished my hookah with it over a dozen times and still have half the can remaining.


How to polish a tarnished hookah

Step 1
Clean your Hookah Stem

Since you will be cleaning and polishing the outside of your hookah stem, this becomes a good opportunity to clean the inside of your stem as well. If you routinely wash your hookah (as you should) then this can be done easily with dish soap, water and cleaning brushes. Simply scrub the inside of your stem with a hookah stem cleaning brush containing dish soap and water.

If you need a deeper clean, use a 50/50% solution of baking soda and lemon juice to scrub the inside of the stem.

Clean the outside of your stem to remove any residue (dried shisha, ash, etc). This will not remove the tarnish but will prepare your hookah for the next step. Thoroughly rinse the inside and outside of your stem with water. After you are done with cleaning, dry your hookah stem well with a cloth towel.

Step 2

After your hookah is clean and dry, you will begin the polishing process. If you have sensitive skin, put on some rubber gloves for the polishing step. Grab approximately a 2×2” piece of wadding polishing cloth from Eagle One Nevr-Dull and scrub it against the tarnished metal. It will have a strong petroleum odor. This is normal. After you clean it, no residue will remain. Scrub it in all directions – this will be especially important if your stem has carvings in the metal. Depending on how tarnished your hookah stem is, after some time the wadding cloth will start to turn gray. If it becomes too dark and noticeably loses its effectiveness, throw it out, grab another piece of polishing cloth and continue polishing. I recommend you to avoid polishing the downstem because you won’t see it when it’s inside the base and you’ll conserve the Nevr-Dull for future polishing.

Step 3
Clean again and dry

Once you are done polishing, clean your hookah again with dish soap and water. Rinse your stem thoroughly with water and immediately dry it with a clean cloth. For extra shine, buff your stem with a microfiber cloth.

After polishing, your Hookah stem should shine and sparkle with all the tarnish removed.

Did you find this article helpful or do you have another method of polishing hookahs?
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Raymond has been an avid hookah smoker since 2006. As founder of YouHookah.com, he enjoys sharing his love for hookah by providing reviews, articles and industry news.