How to Easily Clean and Restore Old Hardware

Shopping at thrift stores for antique furniture pieces just waiting to be transformed usually means dealing with the old, dirty hardware. Old hardware knobs and pulls are usually filthy from years of neglect or storage, but before you go out to purchase new hardware or spray paint the existing ones, try this cleaning method to bring back brilliance and shine on those old hardware pieces. Cleaning and restoring hardware is actually a fairly easy process.

Dirty hardware

This cleaning method is simple and works really well. Just give yourself some time and make sure you have these items available.


Here’s a step by step process to clean old knobs:

  • Remove old hardware from the furniture
  • Heat 2-3 cups of vinegar, just enough to cover your knobs/pulls. I microwaved the vinegar for 3 minutes and cleaned the microwave at the same time.
  • Place the knobs in a bowl and pour the hot vinegar over them.

clean old hardware

  • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Put on latex or painters gloves and clean the hardware with the steel wool. Just scrub until the the hardware starts to shine.


Don’t skip the gloves and don’t substitute the steel wool for a scrub sponge. The right tools for a project always helps to make things easier. The cleaning process is really dirty work, but the results are amazing.

clean old hardware

And now the clean and restored hardware will stand out on your newly transformed furniture piece. These pulls were part of my latest furniture transformation from the thrift store. Just look at how they stand out now.



blue entry table

Aren’t these pulls beautiful? I removed the backs so they weren’t so heavy, and the lighter gold color really stands out now. I didn’t realize they were actually brass. Love the results and I’ll be restoring more hardware with this method to get that “clean antique” look.

Before you run to the hardware store or reach for that spray paint, thy this method to clean that old hardware.







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