From gleaming stainless steel hinges, decorative polished brass knobs and antique drawer pulls, well-maintained hardware goes a long way in enhancing the appeal of your favourite furniture pieces. These small parts often go unnoticed, but they help adorn and add character to cabinetry.

With tarnish, rust, grime, gunk and grease everywhere, most people get discouraged and end up buying new hardware.  What’s surprising is that simple cleaning techniques and easy home remedies are all it takes to keep your cabinet handles and hardware looking brand new.

For the first part of our guide, let’s discuss hardware material and the type of cleaning they need.


In traditional and rustic themes, wood hardware does well to add warmth and charm. To maintain their elegance, clean pulls and knobs by spraying with a mild, soapy solution or a mixture of water and vinegar.

Either way, do not let water sit on the hardware for too long as it can warp or swell the wood. You could also rub gently with a toothbrush to remove tougher stains. Remember to wipe dry with a soft cloth in the end.

Ceramic and glass

Ceramic and glass knobs or pulls might look high maintenance but they are just as easy to clean. For the former, rubbing the hardware with a damp rag will do. For the latter, spray with a glass cleaner or a solution of water and vinegar and wipe clean with a newspaper so as to avoid streaking.


Metal hardware is expensive and adds a touch of glitz and shine to living spaces. They are a popular option in Indian homes, especially the kitchen, where they tend to accumulate a thick, stubborn layer of grime. Soaking the hardware in a soapy solution for a few hours or overnight can loosen up and do away with most of the dirt.

Rusting is also a common problem with metal hardware. Soak everything in vinegar or a solution of lemon juice and borax, and your hardware will be as good as new.

However, for tougher stains, different metal variants need specific care.

  • For copper, rub lemon or a mixture of salt and vinegar to get rid of grime.
  • Chrome and steel hardware can be easily cleaned with a vinegar-soaked cloth but for rusts, use an aluminium foil soaked in water and then scrub. Avoid using steel wool or rough cloth on stainless steel, since they can damage the surface.
  • Brass is beautiful but tarnishes easily. This can be treated with a mixture of vinegar (½ cup), salt (1 teaspoon) and flour. Alternatively, you can use a chemical cleaner like Brasso.
  • On the other hand, pewter never tarnishes and can be easily cleaned with a vinegar, salt and flour paste.

Now that we’ve covered cleaning solutions for different materials, here are some handy tips to make cleaning a lot easier:

  • Always dismantle your cabinet hardware entirely so that you can clean the knobs, pulls, hinges and other parts thoroughly.
  • When soaking hardware in cleaning solution, ensure that they are fully submerged for best results.
  • To finish up, wipe off any residual soap or water and buff with a clean cloth for shine.
  • Toothbrushes are great for cleaning nooks and corners that you cannot reach with your fingers. This is especially true if your knobs have intricate details on them.
  • When cleaning, ensure that you keep screws, knobs and other small parts in one jar. This way you do not lose anything.
  • If you want to avoid streaking, use a newspaper instead of cloth.
  • Sometimes oil from your skin might leave fingerprints on surfaces when cleaning, so avoid direct contact.
  • Always leave your hardware parts to dry completely before mounting your cabinets again.
  • A thin layer of liquid coat or beeswax will ensure that hardware does not soil easily. Alternatively, you could use polish with a soft cloth to get back the original lustre.

Kitchen hardware can easily become a breeding ground for germs and the like and hence requires timely care. With these simple steps and limited resources, you can make your furniture hardware shine for a brighter and cleaner living space.