Care & Cleaning

Top Tip for hardware items fitted externally 

We recommend spraying any door furniture items with WD40 or similar lubricant spray if fitting externally. This will coat the product and provide an invisible barrier to the elements, along with any lubrication required. Make this a bi-yearly task and your door furniture will last many years longer with this simple process. Coastal areas may require this procedure more often dependent on exposure. Please also remember to treat hidden fixing bolts and screws in this way, which may also be prone to rusting dependent on conditions.



Cleaning door handles has always been important, but after recent world events, we’ve all become increasingly aware of the reasons why it’s a task we should be doing more regularly. The pandemic has taught us all to wash our hands – but let’s apply that to the hardware we, and those around us, touch on a regular basis, too.


Even without concerns of a virus on your door handles, there’s the unfortunate fact that, over the lifetime of a door’s hardware, they’ll pick up general grime. This can eventually result in tarnishing, making the door handles look old, unclean, and a bit of an eyesore. A regular cleaning habit will ensure the handles look their best for longer.


The process of cleaning door handles will depend on the material they’re manufactured from. Different materials will react to cleaning products badly if they’re not suitable. So to help you avoid this, here at Handles4Homes, we’ve broken down exactly how to clean your door handles based on what they’re made of.

Cleaning Lacquered Brass Handles


Cleaning copper, bronze, or brass door handles is a fairly similar process. These metals are typically used in traditional door handles and have featured in many homes for many years. These handles look fantastic but are unfortunately prone to tarnishing, which is a natural process.


You should regularly dust lacquered brass with a soft cloth. To prolong the life of lacquered brass it is advisable to regularly clean the item using a cloth moistened with soapy water. The occasional application of a good quality wax polish will also help to seal chips and scratches in the lacquer itself.


In exposed and external situations, more regular waxing is advised to keep it clean.


Eventually, it is possible that the lacquer will deteriorate beyond your maintenance capabilities, when this occurs, all traces of the lacquer should be removed using an acetate lacquer remover and polished back to its original finish using a good quality brass cleaner.


Once the lacquer has been removed, it is advised not to re-lacquer but to regularly clean as unlacquered brass.


To keep un-lacquered brass in a polished state you will need to clean it with a high quality metal cleaner. Indoor pieces such as door handles, knobs and hooks will need a polish 3-4 times a year or more often if the piece is regularly handled. Exterior pieces such as your door knocker and letterplates may need attention monthly to keep them looking good, dependent on exposure.


Additionally, WD40 or similar is an ideal product to periodically wipe all over any metal products fitted externally, providing a very good barrier to the elements.


Cleaning Chrome and Nickel Door Handles

All external or exposed surfaces require regular cleaning with a soft cloth, using warm water and mild detergent to remove built-up dirt.


For persistent stains and marks use a soft cloth, sponge or brush with a small amount of household, detergent-free mild abrasive.


Surface oxidation can appear as a result of contaminants, and it is recommended to clean with a cloth and warm water, before cleaning with stainless steel cleaner.


After each and every clean, wipe down products with a separate clean dry cloth.


The use of steel wool and steel brushes can leave particles on surfaces which can lead to rusting or corrosion - these should be avoided.


It is recommended that routine cleaning is undertaken on a monthly basis and in areas of extreme environment or contaminants this should be increased accordingly.


Additionally, WD40 or similar is an ideal product to periodically wipe all over any metal products fitted externally, providing a very good barrier to the elements.


Cleaning Pewter Door Handles

Pewter is extremely hard-wearing metal. Generally, the product will not deteriorate. There is a good chance of dirt deposits building up over a long period of time, however, so using warm soapy water to remove any dirt build-up will ensure that the pewter stays pristine for as long as possible.


Occasionally, an all-purpose (non-silver) metal polish can be used on pewter to make it look its best. However, if you’ve purchased a pewter door handle that has a patina that makes it look antique, then this step is not necessary.


Additionally, WD40 or similar is an ideal product to periodically wipe all over any metal products fitted externally, providing a very good barrier to the elements.


Cleaning Stainless Steel Door Handles

Stainless steel is a fantastic metal for door handles, and unlike other materials, cannot wear away with excessive cleaning. The way that stainless steel protects itself from corrosion is actually the chromium added to the steel, which bonds with oxygen in the air (which would normally cause rust in iron-based metals) to form a passive barrier of chromium oxide on the surface of your stainless steel door handles.


However, when stainless steel has foreign bodies and substances on the surface, dirt or oils from hands, for example, it’s actually possible to reduce the effectiveness of this natural chromium oxide layer. Cleaning your stainless steel is essential to the longevity of the material.


  • Regularly clean your stainless steel surfaces with a soft cloth and warm water mixed with a mild detergent or soap.
  • For stubborn stains or dirt, use a mild, non-scratching abrasive powder such as typical household cleaners. A more aggressive form of sponge, cloth, or bristled brush can be used here. However, steel wool and carbon steel brushes should be avoided, as they can leave particles embedded in your stainless steel surfaces, leading to rusting over time.
  • For the most aggressive cleaning required, add a small amount of vinegar to your powder as you clean.
  • After you have cleaned your stainless steel surface, immediately rinse with hot water and dry with a clean cloth or towel.


This routine is recommended once a month, more only on surfaces that are more regularly handled. If routine maintenance is required for compliance with a guarantee, a maintenance log should be kept for each installation.


Grade 316 stainless steel has the very best corrosion resistance and should be considered for projects anywhere close or by the coast, or in humid areas such as swimming pools, etc.


Cleaning Black Iron / Antique Handles

Cast and malleable iron products are always at risk of corroding and rusting, more so if used externally.


Items with moving parts such as hinges, door knockers and door handles etc, unavoidably have parts that constantly rub against each other and over time the protective coating applied to them will wear away.


To prolong the lifespan of these products and to help maintain their aesthetic appearance it is recommended to apply an occasional light oil into the moving joints, this will help to reduce the speed of the rusting process and keep it at bay.


In coastal environments where the moisture content in the air is much higher, the corrosive effect on iron will be more advanced. In these conditions, it is recommended that the addition of a lightly oiled cloth be used to regularly wipe over your black antique products to remove any harmful deposits from the sea air. Alternatively, WD40 or similar is an ideal product to periodically wipe all over any metal products fitted externally, providing a very good barrier to the elements.


Caring for Wooden Door Handles

Wood itself is a porous material, and it can absorb the substances placed on it rather easily. Most wooden door knobs and handles are supplied with a factory varnish to protect the wood. Over time this finish may wear dependent on usage, so further maintenance using a wax or polish will improve looks and longevity. To clean a solid wood door handle:


  • Use a simple solution of water and vinegar. A dry cloth should then be used to remove all moisture left on the handle.
  • If the stain or mark on the timber is more stubborn, consider a small amount of washing up liquid in water, but avoid using this method too frequently to ensure that the finish on the wood isn’t removed over time.


Cleaning Crystal & Glass Door Handles


While they add a stunning addition to a home, glass and crystal door handles will require fairly frequent cleaning to keep them looking at their best. This can be done simply by using a damp cloth to remove dirt deposits, followed by drying with a soft lint-free cloth to a shine. 


Note: Avoid harsh chemical and glass cleaners as much as possible, and do not soak or immerse door furniture in water when cleaning.


Now you know how to clean door handles throughout your home, you can keep them looking their best for years to come. However, if cleaning your door handles hasn’t done the job or you simply want to give your doors a new look, check out our full range of door handles here at Handles4Homes.

Cleaning and caring for Beeswax handles

Beeswax ironmongery is a simple combination of hand-forged iron which is then finished with beeswax by hand. Beeswax is ideal for internal applications and is not recommended to be used externally, unless in a sheltered area or porch etc..  Care must be taken to apply beeswax to the product as part of a maintenance program to avoid rusting. Should rust deposits or a white bloom appear, the product can be restored with fine wire wool before applying new layers of beeswax (available to buy from our store). Please note that all internal plasterwork must be dry before fitting beeswax ironmongery to a building. Anvil now offer an external beeswax finish on a select range of products which includes external front door items, offering peace of mind against corrosion from the elements - see the range here.