Use this soaking solution to restore the beauty of doorknobs or hooks that are covered with paint: In an old saucepan (one no longer used for food), mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of water. Place hardware in the pan, then simmer for 20 minutes. Once water has cooled, remove pieces. Gently scrub stuck-on paint with a brass brush or steel wool. Repeat process if necessary.
Martha Stewart Living, September 2006