How to Restore Vintage Hardware

Many old homes in Philadelphia have doors fastened with beautiful antique hardware although it might not look like it because they’ve often been so thoroughly coated in paint and tarnish they look like junk. In my most recent renovation, I decided to restore the vintage hardware using a crockpot, a mixture of water and vinegar, and a wire brush.

It turned out to be much less daunting a task than I worked it up to be and in the end, these beautiful handles add so much character to the home I could have never created otherwise.

Supplies Needed


First step is to plan out how you are going to keep all the hardware organized. I recommend putting each set of hardware in the crock pot individually to make sure you do not mix sets together. I removed the hardware one door at a time before beginning another set. You can remove all the hardware at once, but I recommend putting each set into a labeled plastic bag to make it easier for yourself in the future.

Place your hardware in the crockpot and add equal parts white vinegar and water until its covering the hardware about an inch. After about an hour feel free to go and check in on your hardware. I left mine in for about 4 hours each time since I was always working on several projects I just left it in there until I finished the other tasks.

Using a wire brush, scrape away at the paint and it should fall right off. If your experiencing some resistance you may not have left the hardware in the solution long enough. Remove as much as you can and if you need to, place it back into the crock pot.

After all the paint is scraped off you can shine it with either Brasso or Bar Keepers Friend. I’ve found both work amazingly to polish and restore vintage hardware!

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Hi! I’m Kristy Pedersen. I’m renovating houses in Philadelphia and sharing the process one step at a time. Follow along for DIY tutorials and home renovation projects.

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