Brass door handles are prominent design features throughout many homes. But, as with any product, frequent use can result in a build-up of dirt, stains, or marks, and you may notice that the style and shine of your brass door handles may begin to diminish. Sadly, this is because brass door handles are inclined to tarnish over time. 

Whilst the functionality of your brass door handles is essential, understanding how to maintain their shine and style through cleaning your handle is also important. Fortunately, cleaning brass door handles can be easy with a little elbow grease and adequate know-how. 

These handles have an interesting history and became known as "gold door handles" because of their yellow colour and golden aspect. Today, "gold door handles" can be found on all kinds of buildings, from castles to office blocks. They are still popular among architects and designers because of their unique style and history.

Here at Hiatt Hardware, our experts have put together an easy guide to show you the different ways you can clean your brass handles. From traditional, tried, and true methods to more unusual techniques, our guides will assist you in keeping your brass door handles gleaming. 

Our experts will walk you through each technique step-by-step and advise you of the products you will need. There will be no requirement to buy expensive cleaning products or tools as all our practices use simple, everyday household items. 

We know it may seem daunting, but by following our easy guide, you will have glistening brass door handles and eye-catching doors in no time. 


Dos and Don'ts of Cleaning Brass Door Handles:

Do: Check if your brass door handles have a coating or lacquer. 

Before you start cleaning your brass door handles, you will need to determine whether they have a coating, or a lacquer, protecting the metal. 

Generally, if your handles have a glossy shine, they will likely have a clear lacquer to protect the metal below and enhance the brilliance of the handles. 

Handles with a coating or lacquer can be more perceptible to damage from any jewellery, keys, and other objects that may bump or scratch the handle. This damage is often visible as minor scratches or marks on the surface of the handle. 

Over time, air can seep into these minor cuts and tarnish the metal underneath. This tarnishing can cause your handles to look darker, dull and lack shine. 

The most reliable way to sustain the brilliance of lacquered door handles is to gently clean the handle with warm water and soft cloth before adding a light layer of natural wax to add some extra protection. 


brass door handle on a white door


Do: Make sure you use a soft, non-abrasive cloth. 

Abrasive cloths, wire wool and other abrasive tools can cause tiny tears in the surface of your brass handles, particularly if they have a coating. When exposed to air, these small tears can cause tarnishing over time.

To protect your handles and avoid causing any damage, ensure you use a soft or microfiber cloth to clean your door handles. 

Using a soft cloth in combination with some warm water and the techniques we will outline later will be enough to clean your brass door handles without causing any further damage.


cleaning a wooden floor


Don't: Use chlorine bleach or any other products which may contain chloride.

Bleach and other harsh chemical products can cause staining and damage to your handles due to their abrasive nature. Our techniques below will highlight safe methods, using natural and less abrasive products to protect your handles.

Many household cleaners are of a powerful solution and can cause more damage to the brass build of your handles than you may be aware. 

Save your money by using only simple household products instead. 

Simple household cleaners for brass door handles


Don't: Use hard water to clean your handles. 

Hard water types can be too harsh when cleaning your brass door handles. In addition, it can leave stains, spots, and streaks behind after cleaning. 

To guarantee you get the most out of cleaning your handles, use distilled or filtered water instead - this will leave your handles streak-free and with a lustrous shine.


brass tap with running hard water 



Cleaning Techniques

Lemon & Baking Soda:

A prevalent and straightforward technique for cleaning brass door handles is using lemon juice combined with baking soda. 


 What You Will Need:

  • Lemon juice. 
  • 1tsp of baking soda. 
  • Two soft cloths.
  • Warm filtered water.
  • Natural wax (optional). 


lemon and baking soda to clean handles




  1. Mix a small amount of lemon juice with the baking soda in a bowl until it forms a thick paste. Be cautious not to use too much lemon juice, as this can be harsh when used in large quantities.
  2. Cover the handle in a thin layer of paste.
  3. Leave the paste to settle for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Wipe away the paste with a soft cloth.
  5. Using clean water, remove any remnants of the paste from the handle. 
  6. Using a clean, soft cloth, buff the handle to improve its shine. 
  7. Rub a thin layer of wax over the surface of the handle for extra protection (optional). 


Salt, Flour & White Vinegar:

Another popular technique that uses household products consists of combining salt, flour, and vinegar. 


 What You Will Need:

  • 1tbsp of salt.
  • 1tbsp of flour.
  • 1tbsp of vinegar. 
  • Two soft cloths.
  • Warm filtered water.
  • Natural wax (optional).


salt,flour and white vinegar to clean brass handles




  1. Mix the salt, flour, and vinegar in a bowl to form a paste. Ensure not to use too much vinegar, as vinegar can also be harsh when used in large quantities. 
  2. Gently rub the paste onto your door handle to form a light layer. 
  3. Leave the paste to settle for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Wipe away the paste with a soft cloth. 
  5. Using clean, warm water, remove the paste from the handles. 
  6. Use a fresh soft cloth to buff the handle or knob to create a glistening finish. 
  7. Rub a thin layer of wax over the handle's surface to add extra protection (optional). 


Tomato Sauce:

An unusual but effective method, cleaning your brass door handles with tomato sauce is surprisingly efficient. 

Tomato sauce has an acidic content of approximately 4% as it contains vinegar. This small percentage of acid assists in dissolving dirt and stains on the surface. The tomato sauce also acts as a gentle abrasive, helping to remove any stubborn residue which may get left behind.


 What You Will Need:

  • Tomato sauce.
  • Two soft cloths.
  • Warm filtered water. 
  • Natural wax (optional). 


use ketchup to clean handles




  1. Apply a generous layer of tomato sauce to your brass handle. 
  2. Leave the sauce to settle for 5 minutes. 
  3. Wipe the sauce from the handle using a soft cloth. 
  4. Use clean, warm water to remove any final residue left behind. 
  5. Using a clean, soft cloth, buff the handle to improve its shine. 
  6. Rub a light layer of natural wax onto the handle for added protection (optional).



In a similar style to tomato sauce, yoghurt also has a low acidic content, with a pH of 4.3 to 4.4. The small level of acid will help to dissolve any dirt or grime whilst acting as a gentle abrasive to remove any residue. 


 What You Will Need:

  • Plain yoghurt (enough to cover the handle).
  • Two soft cloths. 
  • Warm filtered water. 
  • Natural wax (optional).


Yoghurt to clean brass handles




  1. Apply a light layer of yoghurt to the handle. 
  2. Leave the yoghurt to settle for up to 10 minutes. 
  3. Wipe away the yoghurt using a soft cloth. 
  4. Rinse the handle with clean, warm water and wipe dry with a cloth. 
  5. Gently buff the handle to improve its shine. 
  6. Rub a light layer of natural wax onto the handle for added protection (optional).


To Conclude:

We are confident that you can clean your brass door handles with ease and see fantastic results by following along with our four guides. 

Without causing additional damage, our methods are safe, practical, and economical, saving you time, money, and effort. 

With no need to replace your door handles unless necessary, try these tips first for brand new, sparkling brass door handles every time. 

Discover our full range of Brass Door Handles on our website.