How to Darken Brass-Plated Hardware

Take some brassiness out of your brass-plated hardware
Take some brassiness out of your brass-plated hardware (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Brass-plated hardware can seem too bright for some decors or preferences. Fortunately, you don't have to keep the brassy shine if you don't want it. Use a chemical process to darken the hardware to a color you like better. The process requires the use of liver of sulphur, another name for potassium sulfide. You can find it at home improvement stores or at jewelry making supply stores. One small bottle of it should be plenty to color whatever hardware you'd like.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 plastic or steel pans or bowls
  • Latex gloves
  • Teaspoon measure
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Mixing spoon
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper towels
  • Tongs
  • Liver of sulphur
  • Baking soda
  • Warm and hot water
  • Metal polishing cloth

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Remove the hardware and set aside any screws.

Put on the latex gloves. Mix dish soap and warm water in one pan. Scrub the hardware with the soapy water and the toothbrush. Rinse the hardware under warm water and then set it on paper towels to dry. Allow it to dry fully before moving to the next step.

Mix 2 tsp. of baking soda in warm water in one of the pans, stirring to dissolve. Set it aside.

Mix a pea-sized lump of liver of sulfur in 1 qt. of hot water in one of the pans. Stir until the liver of sulfur is dissolved.

Dip the hardware in the liver-of-sulfur solution with the tongs. Agitate the hardware in the solution continually until you get the desired color you want.

Dip the hardware immediately in the baking-soda solution to stop the darkening process. Set the hardware on paper towels to dry.

Polish the darkened hardware with the polishing cloth if desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't want to darken the entire piece of hardware, use a paintbrush to apply the liver of sulfur only in the areas you want to darken.
  • Liver of sulfur has a strong rotten-egg smell, so use in a well-ventilated area. Do not touch the hardware during the process unless you have on gloves. The oils on your hand can interfere with the darkening process.


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