Remove old tarnishes to give them a new shine.

By Lisa Butterworth
March 04, 2021
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There's no need to come unhinged at the sight of tarnished or painted-over knobs or door knockers. Just unscrew them—or scout out bargain pieces at a flea market—and step up to the plater. We sent these to Metal Man Restoration, in Mount Vernon, New York, where each was stripped, bead-blasted (to give it a uniform surface), sanded, and polished to a mirror shine, then ultrasonically cleaned of compounds and oils, rinsed, etched, and covered with our choice of copper, nickel, brass, or chrome.

Different metals are treated differently in their upkeep, of course. Over time, they're bound to lose their luster, developing a layer of tarnish. For cleaning silver, start by hand-washing the hardware with mild soap; this removes dust and dirt and may remove some tarnish, too; dry each item carefully; a soft toothbrush is great for polishing patterns and hard-to-reach spots. For cleaning brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc tarnishes easily, polish it only when necessary.

door knobs, hinges, and knockers
Credit: Ryan Liebe

You'll want to take extra care when it comes to copper—scrub it too hard and you can scratch the copper or even remove the finish. Opt for a special copper-specific polish; this leaves a protective coating on the metal so it will tarnish less quickly. If you're inclined to redecorate at home, swapping out the hardware of knobs, hinges, and knockers is just the thing to give your front door—or any door in the interiors—a fresh, new look.

Brand-new finish; same original, well-made design: Now that's a hardware home run.

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