How to Restore Metal Hardware?

Metal door hardware, especially that which is found in older homes, can retain years of patina and may even be covered with several layers of paint. With the help of a slow cooker, water and dish soap, caked-on paint can be easily removed to restore the original details that give character to a home. This method works on all sorts of brass and metal hardware, from doorknobs to plates and hinges, locks and door knockers. When working with hardware that contains several layers of paint, there’s a good chance it contains lead-based paint if the piece dates prior to 1980. It is important to use caution and wear protective gear, such as gloves and a face mask, when working around these materials to expose the paint.


Step 1

Remove the metal hardware from the door by first locating the screws and then gently scraping the paint around and in the centers to grip with a screwdriver.


Step 2

If the hardware is stuck to the door after removing the screws, use the screwdriver to gently loosen and pry it away using one of the screw hole openings.


Step 3

Drop the hardware into a slow cooker, adding water to cover the metal pieces by at least 1 inch. Add a healthy squeeze of dish soap (about 1/4 cup). Turn the cooker to the low-heat setting, cover with the lid and allow the metal pieces to soak for six to 10 hours or overnight.


The warmed water and soap work to slowly soften the paint, making it simple to peel away from the original metal pieces.


Use either a dedicated spare slow cooker for this project or use a liner bag.

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