How to Clean Old Hinges

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Old or antique hinges, doorknobs, and other door hardware can greatly add to your home's decor, especially if you have an older home or are trying to decorate with a retro theme. Brass hinges become tarnished over the years, almost taking on a greenish tint or sometimes appearing black. Silver hinges, too, can lose their brightness and shine over time, as can other metals. You can bring your door hinges, cabinet hinges, and other hinges back to life by cleaning them with a few basic supplies.

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Things You'll Need

How to Clean and Restore Old Hinges

Step 1: Remove the Hinge Pins

Remove the hinge pin with a screwdriver or a cold chisel. Place the screwdriver or cold chisel under the edge of the head of the hinge pin. Tap on the handle of the screwdriver with your hand. If you can't get it out with your hand, use a hammer. The hinge pin should begin to work its way up through the hinge. Pull out the hinge pin with your fingers and set it aside.

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Step 2: Remove Hinge Screws

Remove the screws securing the hinges with a flat-blade screwdriver. Three screws hold it in place on both the outside and inside of the door frame. Hold onto the door as you remove the screws so that it doesn't fall on you. This is easier if you have someone to hold the door for you while you remove the screws.

Step 3: Prepare Cleaning Solution

Fill the sink or shallow plastic tub with warm water and a few squirts of dishwashing soap.

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Step 4: Scrub the Hinges

Scrub the hinges and the hinge pins vigorously with a scrub sponge or coarse steel wool. Try to remove all dirt, debris, and any rust that may be present. If there is a lot of rust on the door hinge, use steel wool for this task. Dry the hinge pins thoroughly with a towel. Be sure to dry the areas in the screw holes as well to prevent more rust from forming.

Step 5: Clean Off Paint

Remove any paint that is present on the hinges or the hinge pins with a paint remover. Apply the paint remover with a 1-inch paint brush. The paint will bubble up on the hinges and pins. Use a 1-inch putty knife to remove the paint after it bubbles up.

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Step 6: Polish the Hinges

Rub either brass polish, silver polish, or metal polish on the hinges and hinge pins with a soft cloth. The type of polish depends on whether your hinges are brass, silver, or another metal. Pour a small amount of polish onto the cloth. Rub and smooth the polish on the hinges and pins. Wait 15 minutes for the polish to cloud up, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth. Polish the remaining hinges and pins in the same manner.

Step 7: Install the Hinges

Reinstall the door hinges by screwing them back in place on the door frame and door. Align the door and reinsert the hinge pins to hold it in place.

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