How to Clean Antique Brass Hardware

by Jill Culley
(last updated June 25, 2018)


If you have old brass hardware in your house and you've never cleaned it, then you might not know that you have oxidized, or tarnished, brass hardware. Cleaning it up and making it look like new again isn't as difficult as it seems. When I was growing up, we had brass door knobs on all of our doors and they never tarnished despite how much use they got because my mother cleaned them weekly. Of course, you don't need to clean them weekly but cleaning them at least once per month is a great way to maintain the longevity of your hardware. It's a simple task that hardly takes any time. In fact, you'd be amazed at how much you can clean in just fifteen minutes. When I bought my new house, I was thrilled to have brass hardware in it and immediately began researching how to keep it all as clean as the hardware in my mother's house.

  1. Remove surface oils. First, you want to remove any surface stains on the hardware. Because my house had brass doorknobs, lots of dirt and oils were always on them. My mother taught me to get some isopropyl alcohol and gently rub the surface of the brass hardware with a soft cloth. Remove it with a dry cloth or towel.
  2. The bag type. Limestone is a really porous rock so it will easily absorb any surface debris. The best way to clean it is by using a poultice. First, we down the area that is stained with some water.
  3. Attach the bag. Simply find the bag's opening and secure it to the tube. Make sure it is as far up on the tube as it will go and then replace the panel.
  4. For especially dirty surfaces, you may want to get a cleanser that very lightly scours surfaces. Too much scouring will cause surface abrasions and nicks.
  5. 5. Polishing the surface. The best cloth to use is called a "yellow" dust cloth. This clot comes with a small amount of oil already suffused in it. After wiping down the hardware with the yellow cloth, buff the surface out with a clean and soft cotton cloth. You can buy yellow cloths at local hardware store but they can sometimes be found in your grocery store in the hardware and automobile section.

Tarnished brass is a good sign that not only does it desperately need to be cleaned but that underneath all of that oxidization is a beautiful surface waiting to be exposed again. Some simple cleaning a couple of times a month will keep your brass hardware clean and shiny. Making sure you use the best cleaners that won't scratch the surface is really important so make sure when you buy a scouring surface cleaner at your local store, you don't buy something too abrasive.

Author Bio

Jill Culley


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What is 9 + 0?

2018-06-25 13:31:00


these instructions seem to be greatly flawed. Suggest you read them again and edit. Limestone??? a bag??? a tube??? this makes no sense at all

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