Take a look at the before and after! This hardware was in bad shape!
I used Centsational Girl's tips on polishing brass hardware. I used nearly all of her suggestions, so I'm going to take you through them, and tell you which ones did and didn't work for me.
The first thing I had to do was to figure out if my hardware was real brass or just brass plated. According to the tips in her post, my hardware was real brass because a magnet would not stick to it. If it was brass plated, a magnet would stick, since iron or steel would be the base underneath.
Since I knew it was real brass, I started by soaking it in a mixture of salt and lemon juice. I didn't measure the amounts of each, but it was a sort of runny paste, just enough to cover the hardware.
I soaked it for about 20 minutes and then took it out and started polishing it with a microfiber rag. I made very little progress with this method even after lots of polishing. I didn't even take a picture of the hardware after this step, because you couldn't tell that I did anything to it!
At that point, I decided to switch to brass polish, to see if I'd have better luck. I used Hope's Brass Polish which I had on hand. I soaked it in the polish for about 20 minutes, then took it out and started polishing. I could already tell that this method was going to work much better than the salt and lemon juice! See how the tarnish is starting to come off?
This is what it looked like after lots of polishing!
I was so happy that I was able to get all of the tarnish off, but I wasn't happy with the uneven finish and how it looked silvery in some areas. I don't know if that's because I polished it too much, or if the hardware was just too old and worn to be brought back to life completely.
Either way, I decided to use Rub 'n Buff in Gold Leaf to warm up the finish and even it out.
Finally, I got the result I was looking for! A warm, golden finish!
I did have some trouble with the application though. I rubbed it on with my finger (as the instructions suggest) and it sort of got clumpy in areas and started rubbing off in places when I added a second coat. You can see that a little bit on the handle on the left side.
Overall, I'm still very happy with the finish!
What do you guys think of the hardware now?!
Have you restored old, tarnished hardware before? Let me know if you have any tips to share!