If you love the look of vintage rustic brass kitchen hardware but cannot afford to buy it from a specialty shop, then you will be pleased to learn that you can easily refurbish items you find at garage sales or at your local thrift store. Follow this simple procedure to update and re-purpose the rustic brass hardware you have found:
Degrease the Brass Hardware
The first step in cleaning and updating your vintage brass hardware is to degrease it. The easiest and safest way to do this is to soak the hardware in a bowl of hot, soapy water. Since liquid dish detergent is formulated to break down grease, it is the best option. Place some dish liquid into a bowl and add the hottest water that comes from your sink. Soak the hardware for a few minutes and then rinse it off with clean water.
Remove the Oxidation and Tarnish From the Rustic Hardware
Brass is a metal that reacts with oxygen in a process known as oxidation. Oxidation of brass causes it to turn a dark color and form a layer of tarnish.
If you want your vintage brass hardware to shine again, then you need to remove the tarnish using an acid. You can purchase a brass cleaning product to remove the tarnish, or you can simply soak the hardware in a bowl of white vinegar. The vinegar is a mild acid and will remove the tarnish layer without damaging the underlying brass metal. Soak your hardware for about an hour and then rinse it with clean water to stop the acid from harming the metal.
Polish the Rustic Brass Hardware Using a Soft Cotton Cloth
Once you have removed the majority of the tarnish from your rustic brass hardware, then you must polish it. You can bring up the shine on your hardware by rubbing it with a soft cotton cloth.
Spray a Coat of Lacquer on the Vintage Brass Hardware to Keep Its Shine
Finally, if you would like your brass hardware to stay shiny without having to regularly polish it and remove tarnish, then you can apply a thin layer of lacquer to each piece. The easiest way to lacquer the hardware is to spray it with a can of lacquer that is rated for use on brass and other metal products. Check out your local hardware and craft stores to find the lacquer.
If you are interested in purchasing rustic hardware for your kitchen, check out retailers like The Rustic Express.