Getting Down To Brass Tacks – How to Remove Paint And Polish Brass Hardware The Green Way

32

March 19, 2013 by Decorum DIYer

Happy Tuesday!

On Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, I shared with you my little gems.

Beautiful little emeralds, they are. (Pardon the awful background, but I just finished.  No time for styling.  I promise better pictures, once they have fully cured.)

I have a few finishing touches to do, but I will share better pictures soon. 

Two campaign night stands painted in the most gorgeous emerald color, Behr’s ‘Precious Emerald’.

In that post, I promised that I would provide a tutorial at a later date.

Well, today is the day that I share with you how I stripped all of the nasty silver spray paint from the original, brass hardware (which is iconic of campaign-styled furniture).

Furthermore, I will show you how I did it using general household items that are completely non-toxic.  Actually, it was like a mini science project in my very own kitchen!

As a reminder, here is what the silver, spray-painted brass draw pulls and corner brackets looked like after I removed them from the night stands:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I did a little research and came across this tip from both “This Old House” and also “Apartment Therapy“, which only requires boiling water in an old pot (not one to be used again for food) and baking soda.  Click here to be linked to the corresponding article on “Apartment Therapy” and here for the article on ‘This Old House”.

greenclean

I also found a great post by none other than theCentsational Girl“. She pretty much wrote the bible on cleaning brass, campaign hardware.  You can see her post – “Brass Hardware:  Polishing It, and Faking It”.  She has great tips and mucho information.  I’ll be paraphrasing some of it here, because, honestly, it works!

c149b54ef4ad4c3fea0d10d4a99ea0b5

My version:

citris polish

~
Now the ‘getting down to brass tacks’ of it all:
  • Step #1:  Remove hardware.
  • Step #2: Boil at least one gallon of water (in a pot not to be used for food afterward) with four (4) tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Step #3: Carefully place your paint/spray-paint covered hardware into the pot.
  • Step #4:  Let the hardware boil for a good 20 minutes.
  • Step #5:  Check the hardware, you should be able to tell if the paint has boiled off, as it will be floating in the water, although your brass will look scary at this point.
  • Step #6:  Dry hardware.
  • Step #7:  Mix fresh lemon juice (or in my case, I used freshly squeezed orange juice) and salt.  You should have a paste of sorts.  Not clumpy, but not a liquid.
  • Step #8:  Using a soft rag (and possibly steel wool, although gingerly) wipe the lemon/salt mixture on the hardware and remove the tarnish.
  • Step #9:  Admire your results! (and your free hand exfoliation to boot!)

~

So, now that you know what to do, allow me to show you my journey.  If you are like me, a list is great, but I want pictures!

  • Step #1:  Remove hardware. (done)
  • Step #2: Boil at least one gallon of water (in a pot not to be used for food afterward) with four (4) tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Step #3: Carefully place your paint/spray-paint covered hardware into the pot.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Step #4:  Let the hardware boil for a good 20 minutes.
  • Step #5:  Check the hardware, you should be able to tell if the paint has boiled off, as it will be floating in the water, although your brass will look scary at this point.  For me, it was very scary as my pot boiled over (I was a bad girl trying to do two things at once.) and made a huge mess!  But, the paint was off!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Step #6:  Dry hardware. (Trust me.  It is at this point that I began to worry, “What have I done?”).  Wait, were these solid brass or brass plated?  Did I just remove the brass plating and the paint?  A reference to “Centsational Girl” again and I was reassured.  A little magnet helped me cool my jets.  Brass plated items are magnetic (thanks to the base metal on which the brass is plated) and the handles are solid brass, as they are non-magnetic.  So, since they both looked the same at this point, I decided to hold off any panic attacks until the polishing portion.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Step #7:  Mix fresh lemon juice (or in my case, I used freshly squeezed orange juice, although I’d imagine any slight acid/fruit juice would work) and salt.  You should have a paste of sorts.  Not clumpy, but not a liquid either.  (Sorry, no photo of this.  I was too excited to get started!)
  • Step #8:  Using a soft cloth (and possibly steel wool, although gingerly) wipe the lemon/salt mixture on the hardware and remove the tarnish. Be careful of using steel wool on brass-plated hardware, as you could scrub off the brass-plating.  Do as much as you can with the soft cloth (white is best to see your progress), then proceed with steel wool, if needed.
  • Step #9:  Admire your results! (and your free hand exfoliation to boot!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I think the results are stunning.  Quite honestly, I’m more thrilled and impressed with the how well the hardware cleaned-up than I am about any other part of the night stands’ transformation.  I really thought I might be forced to spray-paint that hardware again after all of my hard work.  I don’t mind the little dings and variations in color and sheen.  That is how one knows it is real brass hardware.  The slight patina on the hardware is perfect!

I love that they are so perfectly imperfect!

So, here’s a reminder of what the stripped and polished hardware looks like in place:

Gorgeous, brass hardware.

Gorgeous, brass hardware.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m in love!

(Pssst…, do you want to see these beauties in place and all dolled up?  You can, just click here for the full post.)

So, do you have any green cleaning or polishing to do for your brass hardware, now that you have seen how well this actually works?

Until next time….

TT logoThe Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday

LinkButton-5

One Project Closer’s, The Better Half – The Humble Brag

banner

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “Getting Down To Brass Tacks – How to Remove Paint And Polish Brass Hardware The Green Way

  1. Lauren says:

    This is impressive!

  2. […] it was so worth it.  A full tutorial as to prepping, painting, and paint removal from hardware (click here), is forth-coming in another post, but I wanted to share ‘mi lucky charms’ today on St. […]

  3. I’m going to try this with some knobs I found at my local Salvage yard, Love ya for giving me such great tips and tricks!

    • Please do try this method. So easy, smells great, and isn’t dangerous at all (unless you cook food in the hardware boiling pot :)). Please be sure to post pictures of your before and after. I’m curious to know how it works for you. I’m already thinking of my master bedroom ceiling fan….

  4. Whoah! I can’t hardly believe that you didn’t spraypaint that hardware…but just shined it up! Amazing results. Now I wish we had some brass hardware around, just so I could watch the magic take place before my very eyes.

  5. xo Dee says:

    I love the color!!!!!! Plus, thanks for the old hardware tip.. I am going to need all the advice I can get when I tackle my hideously old, painted kitchen cabinets.

  6. That looks amazing! I’ll have to keep that in mind if I come across some brass that needs paint removed or maybe I’ll just go find something so I can try it 😉 Also, if you read “NaHCO3” too fast, it looks like “nachos”. Ha ha, 4 Tbsp. of added nachos would have given you an entirely different result.

    • I can’t stop laughing about your nachos comment! Too funny! Being the little nerd that I am, I wasn’t entirely sure that used the correct chemical formula representation for baking soda (and I didn’t have the time to check it out). It actually consumed about 15 minutes of a dance class because I just had to ask my chemist friend during class. 🙂 Now, I will remember that ‘nachos’ is the representation and never forget the correct formula. Thanks!

      • I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a ‘Liebster Award’ on my blog today, if you want to participate. The rules, if there are any really, is that you accept the nomination, answer the questions and nominate some other bloggers, ask them some questions, etc. It’s really more of a way to connect and broaden the blogging community, than anything.

  7. Wow!! That hardware looks amazing!! Fabulous job and great tips!

    • Thank you! Although, as I stated, I found the tips elsewhere, I thought it was important to share that I deviated and used orange juice instead of lemon juice and my process and journey. I am still in amazement with the transformation.

  8. jocieopc says:

    ooooo love the emerald!! I haven’t had the guts to paint a big piece that color, but i LOVE it!

  9. OMG this is crazy. So many people would probably just paint over the silver or buy new knobs. You go girl!

  10. Corinna says:

    What a great tip! I can’t wait to give this a try….

  11. Littlefew says:

    Hi!!
    I´m Laura from Spain, and I write a little blog: littlefew.blogspot.com

    I´ve met you through Jenny´s blog, “sugarshellandbutterknife”, and I really love your blog!!! So, you can visit my blog too, and we can follow each other, because I´d like to share all pretty things of our lifes! Have a lovely week and nice to meet you! 😀

    Laura
    littlefew.blogspot.com

  12. twistnpout says:

    This is a fantastic tutorial. Thanks so much. I always hear about this kind of green treatment, but am skeptical. Nice for you to include your very own step by step with pictures.

  13. This is awesome!!! Wish I would have found your tutorial months ago. Pinning now and will return!

    • Uh oh. I’d love to hear about your experience polishing brass. Hopefully you can use this method in future. Easy and it smells fantastic! Please do return, we’d love to have you visit and stay awhile. 🙂

  14. […] I removed, cleaned, and polished the hardware.  (You can see that process here.) […]

  15. Stephanie says:

    I just cleaned some hardware myself two weeks ago!! SOOO MUCH WORK!! I soaked them in salt & Lemon mixture and then scrubbed them with Brasso!! I absolutely love them 😀

  16. Justine says:

    Thanks for the boiling tip! I have a campaign dresser that I painted, but I couldn’t get the hardware off beforehand, and let’s just say I’m not happy with the results. I will have my husband get the hardware off to repaint it, and the boiling tip is much needed!

    • You are quite welcome, Justine. I wish you the best of luck. Don’t worry when after boiling you think you have done more harm than good (unless the items are brass plated, not solid brass). Things will work out. Please, feel free to share your results with me. I’m eager to see someone else’s results.

  17. […] are different ways to do this, including the green method that I learned about from Christine at Decorum DIYer, but my method involves a bunch of toxic, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. It couldn't be any easier!

Join 330 other followers

Top Posts & Pages

Seach by category…

The Thinking Closet

Better After

One Project Closer

Featured on The Humble Brag

Power of Paint

Somewhat Simple

Somewhat Simple
Little Victorian

"Decorating is about creating a quality of life." A Hadley

Letting Go of Keeping Up

Keeping up...it's overrated

The D.i.Y. Amatuer

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

The Glen House

dreaming, living, loving

Our Corner House

So much to do it hurts

Can't Get There From Here

...But don't worry. There's a plan. A 8-year plan filled with bumps, hiccups, and plenty of adventures.

Martha Leone Design

infusing everyday objects with order and beauty

thehomebarn.ie

The Home Barn is an Irish online lifestyle and home store for all home lovers

Rugs and Interior Design at NW Rugs in Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Area Rugs and Interior Design Inspiration, Tips and Advice

LifeEclected

Procrastinating my way through DIY projects, my faith journey and clean eating!

exscapes.wordpress.com/

A DIY, Home & Garden, Lifestyle, Simplicity, Mindfulness Blog

ROWE SPURLING PAINT COMPANY

DIY & DESIGN FROM BERMUDA'S OLDEST PAINT STORE

DOVETAILS & Decorum

hand-painted furniture

%d bloggers like this: