How to Clean Brass Handles

Brass handles can get tarnished, dingy and smudged over time.

Use Ketchup

Although it is a gradual process, the dulling of your brass handles can make a significant difference in the overall look of your home. There are numerous homemade methods for polishing brass as well as proper procedures for using popular commercial products. By following the correct steps for each method, you can ensure that your brass handles shine without causing damage. .

Remove the brass handles from the cabinet or door.

Place the brass handles in a saucepan full of ketchup.

Bring the ketchup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the knobs appear shiny.

Rinse and dry the knobs before reattaching them.

Use Vinegar and Salt

Remove handles from cabinets.

Mix equal parts vinegar and salt.

Soak handles in solution for at least thirty minutes.

Remove handles and brush clean. Dry and polish with a clean cloth before reattaching.

Use a Commercial Product

Apply Brasso or another commercial metal polish to a soft, absorbent rag. Use just enough to slightly moisten the entire rag.

Let the rag sit for 24 hours in a well-ventilated area.

Polish the handles with the rag.

Things You Will Need

  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Ketchup
  • Cloth
  • Brasso


  • If you cannot remove the handle, place masking tape on the wood around the handle. Oftentimes, you can clean brass handles without using any products. Simply rub the handle vigorously with a clean rag to shine it.


  • Avoid using too much polish. This will leave a thick, oily film on the handle and make it susceptible to smudges.

About the Author

Jack Busch graduated from University of Iowa in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with honors and has been publishing web content ever since. He has contributed to groovyPost.com, 7Tutorials.com, PrimerMagazine.com and various other tech websites. He also co-authored "Network Your Computer & Devices Step by Step" (Microsoft Press).