Cleaning Vintage Items

Cleaning Vintage Door Knobs

I had some door knobs that I wanted to use for a Christmas project. As you can see by the picture below, the door knobs were a mess of old paint and grease.  And while I love a good patina on a vintage item, this old paint would not do.


The two knobs on the right, are wood and the remaining three are porcelain.  Over the years we have primarily acquired these from box lots at sales and auctions and a few were from friends and family. I don’t think we ever paid more than $1 a piece for the ones pictured above.

Whenever starting to clean a vintage item, I always start with the least harshest method. In this case, that was an old toothbrush and hot soapy water, which did absolutely nothing to clean these knobs, much less remove any of the paint.

My next choice for cleaning hard surfaces is a wet/dry sanding sponge.  I picked up a medium grit sanding sponge (affiliate link below), and proceeded to scrub one of the wooden knobs and the paint just came right off.  I managed to clean all five knobs in less than 25 minutes.


I love how you can now see the age on the wooden knobs.  Some areas are dark with age and some areas are light after being scrubbed clean.  I thought about sealing these knobs with polyurethane to help preserve the variations in color, but after they dried, they still looked good, so I didn’t feel it was necessary after all.

Check out my post tomorrow on what I did with these door knobs.

Some products you may find useful:


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