They may be one of the smallest pieces in your kitchen décor, but they can create quite an impact if they are properly shined and primed. The drawer pulls, hinges and handles on kitchen cabinetry can become dingy when they aren't cleaned regularly. Cleaning cabinet hardware with commercial or homemade cleaners will instantly brighten a dreary space.
Tips for Cleaning Cabinet Hardware
Before you begin, know what you are working with in the kitchen. Most hinges, handles and drawer pulls are built to last. However, make sure you are using the correct product and tools for the metal, plastic or wood material.
Cleaning old door hardware can create problems if you aren't careful. Painted metal door handles, which were popular in the midcentury, require a tender touch and gentle cleansers. Old hinges can become bent or caked with grease and need to be removed, repaired or given a good soak in an acidic-based cleaner, such as vinegar.
To remove unwanted paint from kitchen hardware, soak them in turpentine or mineral spirits for at least 30 minutes. Use a nylon scrub brush to remove any paint that continues to cling to the hinges, nooks or crevices.
Remove and Clean Hardware
To clean truly dirty hardware on kitchen cabinets, it's easier to remove them. When they are free from the surface of the cabinet, it's easier to get around the curves and into the hinges of the hardware. Remove them with a Phillips screwdriver or drill. Label the hardware if needed by numbering the cabinet and the corresponding hardware. This is particularly helpful with older cabinets that may be finicky or ornate hardware with complicated components.
Place the screws and any nuts and bolts along with the hardware in a bowl of equal parts of warm water and vinegar to soak. The acidic vinegar will eat away at the first layer of grease and get into the difficult divots and recesses of the decorative hardware. Soak the hardware and all its parts for at least an hour if not overnight.
Follow that with a bath of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap, about a 4 to 1 ratio, and allow that to sit for about an hour. Use a soft sponge or nylon brush to remove any remaining grease or grime. Rinse the hardware and allow it to dry thoroughly before returning to the corresponding cabinet. Once the kitchen hardware is clean, bright and shiny, Merry Maids recommends wiping them down daily with a warm, damp cloth.
Restore Brass Door Handles
To clean brass hinges on kitchen cabinets, grab a commercial cleaner or create a homemade natural cleaner that is just as effective and safe around areas where fresh food is handled and stored.
A paste of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking soda will clean and shine the brass cabinet hardware, according to Simply Beautiful Kitchens. Rub the paste onto the brass door pulls and handles with a clean cloth or toothbrush and rinse with clean water. This can be done without removing the kitchen hardware, although the items will get a more thorough clean if you can scrub them inside and out with a toothbrush or other soft scrubbing tool.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.