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How to clean your front door hardware

Most of us put a lot of effort into looking after the insides of our homes. We constantly clean our furniture and hoover our floors – but how often do we think about the outside? After all, the front door is often the first thing visitors see, so why not give it the same care and attention? Here are some tips on how to keep your door hardware looking spick and span.

Choose the right tools

As with any cleaning endeavour, you need to use the right tools for the job. First, note what material the hardware of your front door is made from. Usually the doorknob, letterbox, and keyhole will all be made from the same type of metal. Even so, it’s a good idea to check this before you start.


For brass hardware, begin by cleaning with warm soapy water. Buff more stubborn stains with a small amount of distilled vinegar, then rinse. Brass will scratch easily, so stay away from abrasive tools like scouring pads. Instead, use a soft cloth. For a shiny finish, you could opt for a wax polish (check to make sure yours is suitable for brass). Alternatively, try buffing with a small amount of olive oil.


To make chrome hardware shine, try applying baby oil. Like brass, chrome scratches easily, so use either a soft cloth or a cotton pad. You could also try brand name chrome cleaners to get rid of any tough stains.

If your chrome is rusty, try the ‘foil trick’. Crumple a section of aluminium foil into a ball then dip it in some warm water. With medium pressure, gently rub the foil against the rust until it comes away. Make sure to keep the foil damp and take care to avoid scratching the chrome as you go. Finish by drying the area with a soft cloth.

Wrought iron

Wrought iron door hardware can be cleaned using warm water and washing up liquid. Again, it’s best to apply this with a soft cloth or sponge to avoid accidental scratches. Once your hardware is clean, rinse off the soapy solution with clear water before drying. A good way to manage this process is with two separate spray bottles. Use one for the soapy mixture and another for the clear water.

Whatever cleaning products you choose, always follow the instructions on the packaging. Remember to spot test all products to ensure they don’t damage your surfaces.

Top tips for cleaning

  • Remove all dust and loose debris before cleaning.
  • Wear protective gloves, especially when working with chemicals.
  • Clean your door furniture on a clear, dry day.
  • If it’s going to be a big job, take regular breaks to move around and stretch your legs.
  • Clean methodically from one side to the other and from top to bottom.
  • Have a container ready to catch any drips as you clean.
  • Dry from top to bottom, to avoid streaks and water marks.

[Photo by cocoparisienne]