How to Clean Brass Door Handles

Brass door handles give your interior a glowing amber shine which looks great in traditionally furnished and period homes. Many brass levers are simple and plain and others have intricate details and etchings, all of which over time and use begin to tarnish and lose their shine.

If you leave brass handles for any great length of time without cleaning then you may end up having to use harsh chemical based brass cleaners to remove the dirt and grime, which although brings back the shine, ends up damaging the surface finish. If cleaned more regularly you can give the brass handles a fresh and new look with a cleaning solution made from nothing more than natural ingredients found within most kitchen cupboards.

Things you will need

  1. Fine salt
  2. Vinegar
  3. Lemon Juice
  4. Warm water
  5. Scrubbing brush
  6. Mixing bowl or jug
  7. Protective gloves
  8. Old towels or cloths
  9. 5-10 minutes per door handle

Step 1

First you will need to mix the natural ingredients into the brass cleaning solution. Take the mixing bowl or jug and mix 2 tablespoons of fine grain salt with 1 cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of lemon juice.

Step 2

Add 1 cup of warm water to the solution and stir well, ensuring all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and that the salt has dissolved into the solution.

Step 3

Using the scrubbing brush to apply the solution sparingly, making sure it covers the whole door handle and backplate if there is one. If the door handle has a locking mechanism or turn and release then take care that the solution does not run inside.

Step 4

After application leave for a few minutes before scrubbing gently in a circular motion. For intricate details and engraved handles you may find an old toothbrush helpful.

Step 5

Once you have been scrubbing for a few minutes wipe any excess solution from the door handles using a damp towel and check the progress.

Step 6

If you’ve missed parts of the handles or find stubborn areas then repeat step 3.

Step 7

Using a clean damp towel, wipe all solution off the handles. Repeat this again making sure no solution remains. Wipe dry using a clean door and buff to polish.


Clean your brass door handles regularly using the natural ingredients and method outlined so that they don’t require chemical based cleaner creams in future.

As vinegar and lemon juice are both mild acids, make sure you are wearing protective gloves while cleaning the door handles.

The Author:

Looking to upgrade your brass door handles and door furniture then visit our website for a great selection of contemporary handles or follow our blog at for more great how to guides and articles.

Photo. Vonne Huijbens

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