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Around The House
Cleaning Brass Hardware: How to Clean Brass Doorknobs & Fixtures
September 3, 2021
Before I talk about how to clean brass doorknobs, I’d like to share a story. The first home I ever owned was built in the 1940s. It was what we called a bungalow. One story, full basement, with rooms in a straight line from front to back. On the south end, it was a living room, dining room, kitchen. Between the dining room and kitchen was an oversized plate glass door with mahogany framing and brass fixtures. It had a brass doorplate, hinges, and doorknob.
They were in terrible condition. I’ve seen some brass knobs that looked good with a little tarnish, but not the brass on this door. It looked dirty. I almost didn’t want to touch the handle to go into or out of the kitchen. I tried everything I knew, soap, bleach, ammonia, brass polish. Nothing worked.
Eventually, I used a harsh abrasive cleaner and a steel wool pad. Not a good idea. I scratched it. I stopped after trying to clean one side of the knob. Eventually, I painted the brass. I wish I had learned how to clean brass doorknobs and fixtures with BKF. Sigh.
How to Clean Brass Doorknobs
You’ll get a kick out of this
“I am kicking myself, y’all. Kicking myself. I’ve spray painted and Rub ‘N Buffed so many pulls and knobs over the years – I had no idea how to clean them. Don’t get me wrong – there are sometimes when you want a bold colored knob, but sometimes I just want that hardware restored to its former glory. The hardware in the photo above is what was original to the vintage radio that I just turned into a bar cabinet. I almost spray-painted them but decided first to give Bar Keepers Friend a try. And it took less than 5 minutes to clean it up!” — Jenna
All you need is BKF
“Tarnished brass hardware can be difficult to clean when you do not use the right product or technique. However, there is a single product that can effectively clean brass hardware and other metals such as copper and stainless steel in less than five minutes. Bar Keeper’s Friend is a popular and effective metal cleaning product…” — The Spruce
BKF is the Only Product that Works
“Bar Keeper’s Friend is the only product I have tried that really works to clean off the years of build-up grime and tarnish. It polishes Brass so nicely, and while I have not used it on other metals (yet) it is suitable for many different finishes.” — How to Polish Brass Hardware | video tutorial
“Brass is used in many household hardware applications, including doorknobs, door knockers, and locks. Telling the difference between brass and brass plated hardware is relatively easy. Brass is heavy, while Brass plated items are light. A sure way to tell the difference between the two is to use a kitchen magnet. If the magnet sticks, then the hardware is brass-plated.” — How to Clean Door Hinges and More
What You’ll Need to Bring Class to Your Brass!
- Powdered Cleanser or Soft Liquid Cleanser
- Non-abrasive sponge
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- A small container of water
- Soft damp cloth
- A dry soft polishing cloth such as microfiber
How to Bring Your Old Brass Doorknob Back to Life
- Wet the doorknobs surface with a damp cloth or sponge
- Apply BKF Powdered Cleanser or Soft Liquid Cleanser to the sponge
- Gently use the soft-bristled toothbrush to get to hard to access areas
- Rinse after a one-minute
- Repeat as needed
- Use a soft damp cloth to buff
- Use a soft dry towel to dry and polish
Pro Tip: Before cleaning any metal object, remove rings and jewelry that could scratch the metal.
I’ve been using Bar Keepers Friend for a very long time. I’m sure I had a can of it sitting on a shelf at my first home. I just didn’t think of it for cleaning brass. So, what do you have that’s almost impossible to clean? Here’s why I ask, BKF might be the answer you’re looking for, whether it’s a brass doorknob or your grandmother’s copper kettle.
About the Author
Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Leadership.com. Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management.