How to Clean Metal Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware tends to attract all kinds of dirt, grime and grease, especially in the kitchen. Since the hardware may not be cleaned as often as the cabinet doors and countertops, these metal knobs and handles may be a bit grungy before you finally clean them. Natural solutions such as vinegar clean and degrease the metal without harming its finish. Salt acts as a gentle abrasive to scrub away caked-on debris.

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General Metal Hardware Cleaner

Pour white vinegar onto a soft cloth. Place the cloth over the cabinet knob, handle or pull and rub the cloth back and forth over the metal to remove grime and dirt. For hinges, wrap the wet cloth over several of your fingers and rub the hinges down with your fingers. Buff the metal with a dry, soft cloth after cleaning, and make sure the surrounding cabinet area is dry as well, especially if the cabinets are made of wood.

Check the cloth and rotate it to a clean area if it looks dirty. Wipe down the next piece of cabinet hardware in the area, working in a systematic fashion so no metal is missed. For instance, on a filing cabinet, work from the top down; in a kitchen, work from the top down in each section, or clean all the upper cabinet hardware first, then work your way down to drawers and lower-level cabinet doors, all the way across the room. When the cloth becomes too dirty to use any longer, replace it with a fresh cloth soaked in vinegar.

Touch and inspect each handle, knob, pull or hinge that has been cleaned to ensure it feels and looks clean. If not, pour some vinegar on a fresh soft cloth and sprinkle some salt on the cloth. Rub the cabinet hardware again; the salt acts as a mild abrasive to help remove any gunk. Wipe the piece down again with a vinegar-soaked cloth to remove salt particles. Dry with a fresh cloth.

Cleaning Chrome and Steel Hardware

Wipe unpainted chrome or steel hardware down with a vinegar-soaked soft cloth to remove dirt and debris. Buff each piece dry with a soft lint-free cloth.

Cut aluminum foil into squares several inches long and wide; an exact size is not important.

Dip a foil square into water or place it under a running faucet for a moment, then rub the foil over a chrome handle, knob or pull to polish the chrome and remove any rust. The aluminum and water cause a chemical reaction that creates a rust-removing polish. Continue rubbing until the surface feels smooth.

Wipe the metal polish away with a soft, dry cloth.