I love to use original hardware on furniture pieces, but with years of use, grime and tarnish build up and the hardware takes on a dark, dirty look. There are times when I like the darker, years of use look, but other times I like to clean them up, restored to their original beauty.
Lemon Juice & Salt Paste
I love this method because it’s an all natural way to clean. I add about a quarter cup of salt to a container and then pour in enough lemon juice to saturate the salt – it forms a thick paste. I simply slather the paste onto the hardware and let it sit for an hour or two. Afterwards, I use an old toothbrush or sponge to scrub away until it’s shiny and new again.
Ammonia is a strong cleaner that cuts through gunk and grime. It is powerful; and so is the smell, so I always try to use it outside (yet here’s a picture of me using it inside…it was really dark out). I usually try to use lemon juice and salt first, but if a piece is being stubborn, usually ammonia will do the trick.
I let it sit in the ammonia for an hour or two. An old toothbrush usually scrubs away any leftover residue.
Because it’s really hard to tell if a piece is solid brass, or just brass plated, I use a magnet. If the magnet sticks, it is not brass, and it is a finish plated over steel or iron.
While you can use either of these methods with brass plated hardware as well, I usually stick to the lemon juice and salt paste. I’ve found that ammonia can sometimes be harsher on plated hardware – sometimes it has removed some of the finish. When I find a piece is a plated finish, I often choose to paint them, because they never clean up as well for me, anyway.
Aren’t these neat? I picked up four of them at an estate sale and now I’m just waiting to find the perfect piece for them.