I recently got the ultimate bargain on eBay: someone who was doing a house clearance sold 6 pairs of old brass doorknobs. I bought them for £30. Pretty great considering you can normally expect to pay about £20 for a pair. The only slight problem was they were old, stained and had paint on them. Luckily, I found an easy way of cleaning them up to make them look shiny and new again. Read on to find out how easy it is to clean dirty brass using things you probably already have at home.
How to remove paint from brass knobs
1. To clean the paint off the knobs, I brought a big pot of water to the boil and popped in a splash of laundry detergent. I then put in all the knobs, put the lid on the pot and reduced the heat to allow it to simmer away. Use a pan you don’t plan on cooking with again!
2. Then all you need to do is leave it, so you can get on with something else. Check on it after about an hour and see if the paint has loosened. An hour was all it took for all of the paint on mine to come off.
3. Carefully take the knobs out of the pot. Use tongs if you have them – they’re hot! I used two wooden spoons. I did one at a time, lifting it out onto a cloth and then running it under cold running water for a few seconds to cool it. All the paint should have fallen off at this point.
How to clean brass knobs naturally
Once all the paint was off, I needed to clean and polish the knobs as they were still quite stained. There are cleaners that you can buy but I used natural products that I already had in the kitchen and they worked perfectly!
1. To clean the brass, make a paste with lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda). I put the lemon juice in a cup first and then added the bicarbonate of soda until I’d created a paste. Make sure you add the bicarb a little at a time – add too much at once and it will fizz up and overflow!
2. Once you’ve made your paste, use an old toothbrush to gently rub it over the brass knobs. There’s no need to be heavy handed – you’ll be surprised how easily they clean up and you don’t want to cause any scratches.
3. Once you’ve given them a good clean, rinse the knobs under running water. They should be clean at this point, but give them another clean with the paste and rinse again if not.
4. Once you’ve rinsed them, dry them off and give them a polish with a clean, dry cloth.
5. Admire your reflection in your shiny new knobs and pour yourself a glass of wine to reward yourself for a job well done.
Top tip: when you’re cleaning brass with lemon juice and bicarb, either wear gloves or moisturise your hands afterwards – it’ll leave your hands quite dry the next day
Cost: £0 (if you already have lemon juice and bicarb)
Time taken: 2 hours (to clean 12 knobs)
Click here to see my revamped doors after painting and fitting the knobs