How To Care For Your Cabinet Hardware
The care that your cabinet hardware requires depends on the material it’s made from as well as its finish. Here’s a guide for caring for some of the most common materials.
For all Hardware
Remember that no matter what material your cabinet hardware is made from, it’s crucial for you to gently and carefully unscrew the hardware when removing it for deep cleaning. Always use a hand screwdriver rather than a drill to reduce the chance of accidentally stripping your screws or damaging your piece.
Finished metal pulls are gorgeous and will give your house an enduringly chic look. These products typically have brass as the base material. Then the metal is coated with another metal, in a process known as ‘plating’. Plated hardware typically is then lacquered to prevent corrosion. If your pieces are plated and lacquered, usually simple soap and warm water with a soft cloth will do the job. Just be careful not to use any harsh chemicals that could strip away your lacquer! For cleansers, always avoid harsh chemicals, instead you can mix equal parts flour, vinegar, and salt to form a paste. Rub the hardware gently with a damp cloth, then rinse the mixture off and dry thoroughly. After all, that lacquer is there to protect the metals from tarnishing and we want it to stay put!
If you have an unlacquered piece of hardware, these are delicate pieces that require more attention if you'd like to keep them looking new. However, the lure of unlacquered pieces is that they age over time, forming a beautiful patina. This is what we want when we select unlacquered hardware! So we don't want to strip that beautiful patina away during cleaning. A simple cleaning with water, mild soap and a soft cloth should do the trick! Just be sure to immediately dry the hardware with a dry rag to avoid unwanted discoloration or water marks.
Leather, despite what some will tell you, can be cleaned to a degree. Saddle soaps are a type of soap made specifically for leather and can work when applied to a warm damp rag. If you have more severe staining, you can try using leather cleaning kits, but be careful as these can disrupt the curing of your leather. Always start by spot testing a small, non-visible spot to ensure the cleanser won’t damage your leather. Also try to use as little moisture or cleanser as is necessary. That will allow your leather to dry out faster and more evenly, keeping the look fresher and new.
Lucite hardware should be cleaned with microfiber cloths. Find a cleaning solution made specifically for plastics. Start by dusting off the hardware, then apply a few drops of plastic cleaning solution to a small area of the hardware and polish it with the microfiber cloth. Once polished, move to a new area of the hardware and repeat until it looks new. Light scratches can be refreshed with a plastic polishing kit. And never use ammonia as it can make your clear lucite cloudy!