Asked on Jul 27, 2013

How to clean vintage hardware?

Sia@South 47thPat GoodStarla Swanson


I have purchased old porcelain white and black door knobs and also metal ones. They have been painted and the nails are rusty. How do I clean all this?
Thank you,
4 answers
  • Sia@South 47th
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Hi @Pat Giid Regarding the porcelain knobs: You will need to remove them from whatever they are fixed to. Heat up water in an old saucepan, it doesn't need to be boiling, just very hot. Add some mild dish soap, then let them soak. Remove them 1 at a time to work on them. (you may need to keep the heat on, to keep the water hot).The paint should be pliable after the hot water soak. This enables you to GENTLY peel away the paint. Please steer clear of any abrasives, as this may damage the porcelain, under the paint. Regarding the rust on the nails. Do not soak those in the hot water bath. use very very fine steel wool to rub as much of the rust off as possible. The nails may be rusted through, of which you would then need to replace them. Hope this helps. xo

  • Starla Swanson
    on Jul 28, 2013

    Have you looked into the non toxic stripper? It's orange-something or other. We used it on very old metal to remove decades of paint and gunk. It worked well. A good warm water and soap cleaning after removed the stripper and did no damage to the metal. Read the back of the container, though. We may have just been lucky. The hot water may also work on the metal, and not disturb the patina underneath. Depends on the metal. Do be careful with the hot water idea and not shock the pieces by running them under cold water while still hot. May crack the knobs. But the method does work. A dental pick helps get the ick out of ridges and creases.

  • Pat Good
    on Jul 29, 2013

    Thank you, I will try that. I've been working on getting layers of paint off some porcelain knobs and it has been a long process!

  • Sia@South 47th
    on Aug 7, 2013

    @Pat Good You are most welcome! Hang in there, it is sometimes long, but you will be so pleased once you are finished! And can't wait to see your Purple Teacart! I'll bet it will be gorgeous! Hugs! xo

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