How to Clean Old Furniture Hardware

Easily update your old hardware just by cleaning it up! Here’s how to clean old furniture hardware.

Get more DIY Dresser Makeover Ideas here!

boiling hardware and before and after of the hardware with text overlay The easy way to clean hardware for furniture

Today I’m sharing a super easy and quick way to clean old furniture hardware.

This works for tarnished hardware and hardware that has old paint on it.

painted furniture hinges

And it’s the best way that I have found to clean furniture hardware without spending a ton of time scrubbing.

Supplies Needed to clean furniture hardware

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How to Clean Old Furniture Hardware

Follow the simple process below to bring new life back into your old and tarnished furniture hardware!

Remove the Hardware

First, remove the hardware from your furniture if you haven’t already.

I absolutely love using a little electric screwdriver to remove all of it instead of using a manual screwdriver.

It’s super helpful and handy when you have to remove a bunch of hardware in tight spaces.

Boil in Water

Then put it all in a pot of water and bring it to a boil.

hardware boiling in pot of water

I use this old pan I got at the thrift store so I don’t ruin my nice pots and pans.

And I think it’s just a little bit gross to use the pans I regularly cook in. Maybe that’s just me though!

I let the hardware boil in the water for about 5 minutes and then I remove the pan from the heat.

(You can add some vinegar to the water too to help it cut through whatever is on your hardware. I find water to be just fine though.)

after boiling hardware in water for 5 minutes

Then grab the hardware out of the pan with some tongs or something similar and bring them over to your sink.

Scrub Clean

Then sprinkle some bar keepers friend all over one or two pieces of hardware and let it sit for about 30 seconds.

This stuff is the secret sauce!

sprinkling bar keepers friend on the hardware
bar keepers friend -powdered version

It comes in either a powder version or a liquid version. I’ve used both with success!

Then start scrubbing the grime away with a scrubbing sponge or a toothbrush.

scrubbing the hardware with a scrubbing sponge

For really tough spots you can use really fine steel wool, but for this hardware, I stuck with the regular ole toothbrush.

How Long Do You Have To Scrub?

Each piece of hardware took me a couple of minutes to scrub clean, and I left a little bit of the old patina in the details to make it pop a little bit.

If you don’t want to boil the hardware, you can also get away with just getting it wet, and then sprinkling on the bar keepers friend and scrubbing.

I tested it out on one or two of these pieces, and it just took longer to scrub them clean when I didn’t boil them first.

I also have tried to just boil the hardware and not use any bar keepers friend, but it just doesn’t work very well.


Once it’s clean, rinse off the Bar Keepers Friend, and let it dry.

rinsing off the hardware

That’s all there is to it!

You could also decide to paint the hardware with a fresh new look like we did with these Benjamin Moore Advance Nightstands.

So here’s what they looked like before and after a good cleaning.

before and after cleaned brass hardware

How To Clean Old Furniture Hardware

before and after of cleaning furniture hardware

Easily transform your old hardware just by cleaning it up. Here's how to clean old furniture hardware.


  1. Remove the hardware from your furniture.
  2. Boil the hardware in a pot of water for about 5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle some bar keepers friend all over and let sit for about 30 seconds.
  4. Scrub the grime away.
  5. Rinse the hardware.

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And here’s what they look like on the dresser after we painted it.

Check out this Green Dresser’s Makeover here.

cleaned brass hardware after

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

cleaned brass hardware on dark green painted dresser


cleaning furniture hardware by bioling it and using bar keepers friend

More Hardware Tips and Tricks

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