How to Refurbish Brass Hardware

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How to Refurbish Brass Hardware

Thanks to a resurgence in popularity, brass hardware is highly desirable and pieces sporting this type of hardware fit in well with virtually any type of decor from classic to modern and everything in between. Over time, the once-pristine brass surface develops a patina that dulls the glory of the metal and can actually damage the finish if owners leave it unchecked and unrefurbished. Whether the brass hardware is purchased on eBay or from a local hardware or antiques store, it is important for the project undertaker to understand the processes involved in evaluating the condition of and refurbishing the hardware so that the project is completed successfully as well as safe.

Refurbishing Brass Hardware

There are two main types of brass finishes, a shiny finish that exhibits an almost mirror-like sheen and rubbed brass that is specially treated to be smooth but more muted than its shiny sibling. With years of regular use, brass hardware develops a film from environmental particles and the oil from human skin that makes the finish dull and less desirable to many people. If the brass hardware is still in good condition, meaning that it does not have any signs of rust or pitting, the pieces are good candidates for refurbishment.

Remove the Brass Hardware from Furniture or Other Items

Brass hardware is a popular addition to many pieces around the home, from kitchen and bathroomcabinet knobs tofurniture handles, door knockers, and door knobs. Before beginning the refurbishment, it is important to completely remove the hardware from the furniture, doors, or other items to which it is attached. To complete this process safely, owners should use the appropriate tools such as flat or Phillips head screwdrivers being careful to avoid damaging the hardware and the furniture.

Cleaning and Polishing the Brass Hardware

Before beginning the process of cleaning and polishing, gather all of the needed materials such as the hardware, a painter'sdrop cloth or old sheet,latex gloves, brass cleaning solution or paste, and several clean and soft brass cleaning cloths. Owners also need a bowl or bucket of clean water if the solution that they are using requires rinsing rather than buffing.

Step 1

Working with one piece at a time, apply the brass cleaning solution or paste to one of the cloths and, holding the hardware firmly in one hand, apply the product to the hardware piece with the other hand. Rub in a circular motion and work rapidly in order to prevent the cleaning product from drying on the hardware.

Step 2

If the cleaning product requires a rinse, submerse the hardware in the clean water and dry well using a fresh cloth. It is vitally important to remove all traces of the water in order to preserve the integrity of the brass.

Step 3

As is the case with most brass polishes, after applying the paste and waiting the allotted time as directed by the product instructions, owners should use a clean cloth to buff the product off the hardware and set the piece to the side while they clean the rest of the hardware.

Protecting the Brass Hardware

Once owners have polished and refurbished the brass hardware pieces to like-new condition, many so-it-yourself brass refurbishers choose to use a spray or oil protectant to reduce the need for frequent polishing and upkeep.

Brass Lacquer

Brass lacquer usually comes in spray can format and two or three even coats is all that is necessary to avoid film build-up.


If oil is used, owners should use a formula such as Tung oil, applied with a clean, lint-free cloth in a circular or figure-8 pattern, depending on the size of the piece the owner is treating. After the process is complete, leave the hardware to dry for a minimum of four hours so that the protectant does not smudge.

Replacing Brass Hardware

After the brass hardware is clean, polished, protected, and dry, it is time to return the pieces to their former resting places. During this phase of the process, many people prefer to wear cotton gloves to avoid smudges, but this is not mandatory. After the pieces are set in place, attach with screws or other mandatory fasteners or slide the hardware back into place. A final pass with a clean cloth is all that is necessary to complete the refurbishing process and owners can use the pieces as normal.

How to Buy Brass Hardware on eBay

To find brass hardware as well as products to refurbish the hardware successfully on eBay, pay close attention to the keywords and terms that you input into the eBay Search bar. This not only gives you a smaller pool of listings from which to choose, it also saves you time. For example, instead of using the term "brass products," try more focused keywords such as "brass cabinet knobs," "Nevr Dull metal polish," or " brass polishing cloth" for the best results. Refinishing brass hardware yourself is a rewarding project with a beautiful aesthetic reward that only takes the span of an afternoon to complete, but provides lasting shine and enjoyment for many months.

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