How To Clean Old Furniture Hardware | Knobs & Pulls

Cleaning old furniture knobs and hardware is a straightforward process that can breathe new life into worn-out pieces. Not only does it save you money by reusing existing items, but it also allows you to maintain the charm and character of older furniture. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the steps to effectively clean and restore your old knobs and hardware.
Hardware Cleaning before and after
To begin, assemble the following items:
- Furniture knobs 
- Pot (not intended for future cooking) 
- White Vinegar 
- Water
- Toothbrush or 0000 Steel Wool
- Rubber gloves
- Bar Keepers Friend Paste or Brasso
- Towel or soft cloth
  1. Prepare your workspace: Find a well-ventilated area to carry out the cleaning process. The strong smell of vinegar can be overpowering, so proper ventilation is essential. Open windows or use fans to circulate the air and prevent any discomfort. Ensure you are using a pot that will not be used for cooking after this process. Store this pot separately as your “hardware cleaning pot”. 
Open Window Ventilation
  1. Create a cleaning solution: In a pot or saucepan, mix equal parts vinegar and water. The vinegar acts as a natural cleaning agent, removing grime and tarnish from the hardware.
Vinegar & water
  1. Boil the cleaning solution: Place the pot on a stovetop and heat the vinegar-water mixture until it reaches a gentle boil. The heat helps to enhance the cleaning properties of the solution.
boiling water and vinegar
  1. Submerge the hardware: Carefully place the old knobs and hardware into the boiling solution. Ensure that all pieces are fully submerged for effective cleaning. Allow them to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. This duration may vary depending on the level of dirt and tarnish present.
submerging hardware into water
  1. Protect your hands: Wait until the water has cooled down a little bit and use metal tongs to remove the hardware from the pot. Place the hardware onto a thick towel on your counter. Ensure the hardware has cooled off before touching it with your hands. 
rubber gloves
  1. Scrub the hardware: wear gloves to prevent any harm or dryness to your skin. Using 0000 grit steel wool or a toothbrush, gently scrub the hardware with Bar Keepers Friend or Brasso to remove any remaining dirt or residue. The combination of the vinegar solution and scrubbing action should effectively lift off grime, rust, or tarnish. Pay attention to intricate details or crevices where dirt might be trapped.
scrubbing hardware with toothbrush
  1. Rinse and dry: After scrubbing, rinse the hardware under running water to remove any traces of vinegar. Inspect each piece to ensure it is thoroughly clean. Finally, pat them dry with a towel or soft cloth to prevent any water spots or damage.
cleaned furniture hardware
  1. Reinstall or repurpose: Once the hardware is completely dry, it's ready to be reinstalled onto your furniture or repurposed for another project. You'll be amazed at how a simple cleaning of old hardware can transform the look of your furniture!
installing hardware
By following these steps, you can successfully clean old furniture knobs and hardware, breathing new life into your cherished pieces. Remember to exercise caution with the strong smell of the vinegar solution by working in a well-ventilated area. Wearing gloves is also essential to protect your hands while scrubbing the hardware. 


If you would like to watch a video of the process, you can view it on our YouTube Channel:

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