How to Clean Up Your Old Brass Door Handles
Sometimes brass can start to look a bit dark and tarnished after a few years exposed to the elements. In this article we are going to go over how you can get them looking nice again. Before we get started you should know that some solutions for cleaning brass can be toxic so make sure you take the proper precautions to protect yourself. for further information please click on our pull door handles link
Some handle sets are brass and some are just brass plated so you need to make sure you know what you’re working with. The reason we do this is because brass plated handles should be cleaned with abrasive materials. You don’t want to take the chance that you can scrape the brass right off so you need to use a more gentle solution. The easiest way to find out is to use a magnet on the handle. If it sticks to the handle then you know that it is plated because brass has no magnetic qualities. The problem with this trick is that if it doesn’t stick its still not 100% certain that its brass. A more definitive test would be to make a scratch in a nondescript location on the lock. If the color inside the scratch is yellow then it is solid and if not then you have a plated handle.
The methods below involve vinegar which can discolor brass if not used properly. After cleaning the lock you need to thoroughly rinse the brass in water then dry it off to prevent discoloration. The best way to dry pull door handles off is by a quick wipe with a dry cloth and then use a hair dryer. Some brass will discolor as soon as it comes into contact with vinegar so if that is the case you’ll have to get some tarnish remover from the store to get the discoloration out. Brasso will work just fine for this.
Now we also need to know if the handle is lacquered brass or natural. We need to know this because the majority of cleaning options you will use depend on the product having a chemical reaction with the brass to bring its shine and color back. A lacquered product will prevent you from contacting the brass. lacquered brass still changes color sometimes from aging under the lacquer. If this is the case you will have to remove the lacquer first before cleaning the handle which we aren’t really going to get into today. So now that we know what we’re working with lets move on.
This method will work for both solid and plated brass products. First You will need to use a damp cloth and wipe off any dirt or initial grime that is lingering on the surface of your handle. After it is clean you will need to head to the kitchen and find flour, vinegar, and salt. Mix equal parts of the three together to make a paste. Now before you apply this paste, wet the handle down again with water. Once it is wet apply the paste we made till it covers all of the brass. If the handle is still on the pull door handles make sure you put something on the floor to take care of anything that drips off. Let the handle sit with the paste on it for 30-45 minutes then clean it off and take a look at the brass. If it is clean enough then you’re done and if not then you need to reapply the paste for another half hour or so and check again. When you are removing the paste from your handle you can also rub it around with a cloth and the salt should work as an abrasive to get off any additional corrosion that is there.
If the method above didn’t quite do the trick then you can use a move evasive trick. This method is not recommended for plated brass as it may scratch the brass off as well as leave swirls and discoloration. For this method you need a clean piece of steel wool, preferably a fine piece, and a container with vinegar (Red wine Vinegar or white works) in it. Make sure the steel wool doesn’t have cleaning agents applied to it. put the vinegar on the lock and gently to moderately rub the steel wool over the brass. scrub the brass till it is where you want it. Now clean everything off with water and dry it like mentioned above and you’ll have clean looking handle sets again!