How to Restore Kitchen Cabinet Hardware


Kitchen cabinet hardware includes the hinges on cabinet doors and the knobs and pulls for the drawers and doors. Most hardware is made of brushed nickel, chrome, brass, pewter or bronze finishes and can be restored easily if you use the appropriate cleaning and polishing methods as well as natural solvents for restoration.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Sponges
  • Warm water
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Citrus oil
  • Flour
  • Soft dry towels
  • Olive oil
  • Milk
  • Fine grade steel wool
  • Aluminum foil
  • Assess your hardware's metal. You'll need to follow different methods of cleaning and restoration, based on whether it's chrome, brushed nickel, brass, pewter or bronze.

  • Remove the hardware you want to restore by unscrewing the inside screws on each door or drawer that hold the hardware into place. Set the screws safely aside so you can reattach the hardware after you restore it.

  • Lay the knobs, pulls or hinges out on a table to be cleaned. Clean each piece with mild, fragrance-free soap and water and dry them thoroughly with a soft cloth.

  • Use a solution of one-half part water and one-half part vinegar to restore brushed nickel or chrome and rinse with clear water before drying again with a soft cloth. For brass pieces, make a paste of one cup vinegar, two tbsps. salt and four drops of citrus oil with flour. Rub the brass with the paste and a dry sponge before rinsing with clear water and drying thoroughly with a soft cloth. Polish with olive oil. For bronze hardware, apply equal parts of flour, salt and vinegar to make a paste and rub on the hardware. Allow the paste to dry 20 minutes before rinsing. Buff and dry with a soft towel. After initially washing pewter pieces with mild soap and water and drying them with a soft towel, buff the pewter very lightly with very fine steel wool.

  • Reinstall the hardware with a screwdriver, screwing the screws from inside each door or drawer to affix the knobs, hinges and pulls. Make sure to align the screw holes with the screws before attaching each individual hinge, knob or pull. Tighten the screws so the hardware fits snugly to the door or drawer of the cabinet.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also restore brass hardware by allowing it to soak in equal parts of milk and warm water. The lactic acid in milk is a natural solvent.
  • To remove rust on chrome, use fine grade steel wool or crumpled aluminum foil, and dip it frequently in vinegar. Apply moderate force to remove the rust spots, and rinse with tepid water. Dry completely with a soft towel.
  • Never use abrasive cleansers, commercial household cleaning solutions, bleach or ammonia on metal hardware. Only use mild dishwashing liquid or vinegar and water to clean the pieces for restoration.
  • Only buff pewter with a fine grade steel wool once every few years; otherwise, you'll damage the finish.

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  • Photo Credit kitchen doors image by willem169 from
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