Cleaning Old Doorknobs

Happy Monday! We had a nice, pretty leisurely weekend, finished up a few small projects, and right now our new hallway carpet is being installed. I’m VERY happy about that since ripping part of it out was our first home project of the year, eesh.

So one day last week, out of nowhere, I decided we should remove the paint from our downstairs bathroom’s doorknobs. It seemed like it could be fun to find out what was hiding under layers and layers of old paint… and I was right! Does anyone else ever do that, where you suddenly decide to do some random thing that you’d never really thought about doing before, and you go from idea to elbow’s deep in dirty water in like 5 minutes flat? This is what happens to me when I’m procrastinating some other less appealing project — like actually repainting this door that needs it so badly. Oh well.

how to remove paint from old hardware | Burritos and Bubbly

I had no idea it would be so easy to remove a hundred year’s worth of old paint! The hardest part was taking down the doorknobs/hardware in the first place, because they were really painted on.

how to remove paint from old hardware | Burritos and Bubbly

Mmm, old paint soup. Gross. We used an old pot, one that we’d had sitting in the basement for years — one that we will NEVER use for food again — filling it with water, a spoonful of baking soda, and all the bits and pieces of hardware. Let it boil for about 30 minutes. At that point, the paint was dripping off, and it was awesome. To get some of the stubborn paint, I used an old toothbrush to scrub. The paint came off surprisingly easy.

It’s very likely/pretty much a guarantee that our 1890 house is full of lead paint, but as long as you don’t breath it in or eat it, you’re ok. I made sure to keep all the paint inside the old pot, wore rubber shop gloves whenever I touched the paint or hardware, and didn’t let the paint touch anything that may have contact with food or a person ever.

how to remove paint from old hardware | Burritos and Bubbly

how to remove paint from old hardware | Burritos and Bubblyhow to remove paint from old hardware | Burritos and BubblyWhat was revealed underneath were the gorgeous original copper(?) doorknobs! I love how they look so much, and that they aren’t totally perfect shiny and new. At 125+ years old, they don’t need to be. I’m so happy we took a little bit of time to do this project. Now I want to do all our other doorknobs!

Does your house have any painted doorknobs or other hardware? Have you tried removing the paint to see what’s underneath? It’s so much fun!

— Kerry

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4 thoughts on “Cleaning Old Doorknobs

  1. You can also do this with a crock pot and a little bit of liquid dish soap. I bought a crock pot just for this. Takes a few hours but if you leave it overnight or all day while you are at work, it is ok. Plus you can do it in the basement, garage, wherever and not worry about some random, freaky food contamination.

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