Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cleaning Vintage Hardware

There's nothing in the world that I love more (okay may be there's a few things) than fresh, unpainted, vintage hardware. Ever since we moved into this house I've become hyper alert to all hardware everywhere ... It's a bizarre obsession, and almost everyone has a hinge or two in their house that has a bit of paint on it. I'm pretty determined to be one of the few that doesn't. 

During the week I need laborious projects to keep my mind busy. Monday I decided to take down a couple of doors that were hindering the functionality of this house. When the doors down I carefully removed each piece of hardware, including the hinges on the frame. I now plan to place the newly cleaned hardware on existing doors and remove the painted hardware and work my way through the house. 

I now have a burning desire to strip the paint from the doors I removed ... all sources say this is crazy, which is probably why I'm going to do it. 

I will give you a quick run down on what I did to clean the hardware. I visited This Old House online (my lifeline) and discovered that in order to remove paint from hardware you don't need to use harsh chemicals , which is awesome because we have kids in the house, the environment doesn't prefer harsh chemicals, and mostly because I'm cheap and didn't want to go buy something to do the job. 

One of the best ways to remove paint is by applying heat. I soaked these knobs and hinges in an old crockpot (that I had purchased from Goodwill in a hoarding moment) with water and a little bit of dish soap for about 24 hours. The paint literally peals right off, it was amazing, I did use a nylon brush to clean paint and grime out of the crevasses, don't use steal bristles, as it will score your vintage iron. Finally you can shine them up a bit with some beeswax oil, I used furniture oil which you can get a your local hardware store for about $5.  

Im pretty stoked on this project, even though it's incredibly dirty work, I feel like our beautiful old house is thanking me. Also I was majorly excited when I realized I had the perfect materials to take a "things neatly organized"photo. It's the little things in life, like staring at things neatly organized, it just makes sense. 

Before and After (may be some process) photos to come ... Sometimes I get too excited to take a before shot, working on that. 


  1. We have an old house in the Swedish forest that we're renovating. We try our best to use as little "new" stuff we can while doing it, paiting with linseed oilpaint etc. I'll definitely try these tips on removing paint! And check out this Swedish site, it's great (use google translate :) They've got some great ideas too and a webshop that I'm forever spending waaay too much money in!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I will definitely check that site out ... You should definitely soak your hardware if you need to remove paint, it was so easy! You have an old house in the Swedish forest?? That sounds amazing!