To restore and refurbish antique handles, it is necessary to clean, repair and paint or polish the hardware. Antique handles may be rusty or grimy. The first step is to remove each antique handle from the furniture, door or door frame to which it is attached.
Antique handles may be made of wood, ceramic, glass or metals such as copper and brass. Clean wooden hardware with a solution of water and a gentle cleaning solution, or use water and vinegar. Clean brass antique hardware with vinegar and baking soda or a brass cleaning solution. Clean copper antique hardware with lemon, ketchup, vinegar or a copper cleaning solution. Clean ceramic and glass with a damp rag or glass cleaner.
Remove rust from metal antique hardware with vinegar or a lemon juice and borax solution. Dip or soak the hardware in the solution, then wipe it clean with a dry rag. Remove residue build up or tarnishing with a cleaning solution, then brush the hardware with a soft brush and repeat if necessary. To remove old paint, soak the hardware in paint thinner, methyl chloride stripper or washing soda.
Many antique handles have broken hardware and screw holes. Repair the broken screw holes, hinges, cracks and splits with wood putty. Wait until the putty dries, then sand the affected area to create a smooth finish. If the individual is planning to paint the antique hardware, he should use the appropriate type of paint for the hardware's material.