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How to Clean Door Knobs & Handles (Metals, Plastic, Crystal,…)

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to clean door knobs & handles

Dirt and dust that can accumulate inside your door knobs and handles are silent killers. You might not see them directly, but they stick inside the moving parts of your door handle and can completely immobilize it.

Fortunately, there is one simple sure-fire way of getting rid of those dust and dirt — cleaning. If done the right way, you can get rid of those accumulated dust and dirt and extend the lifespan of your door handle and knob.

Read further through this article and find out the proper way on how to clean door knobs & handles.

Steps to Clean Door Knobs and Handles

1. Cleaning Door Knobs

There are multiple ways to clean your door knob, depending on the type of material your door knob is made of. Check out the following ways to get started.

 01  Cleaning brass-plated door knobs.


Brass door knobs and copper handles can be found on antique doors, and their cleaning methods are pretty much the same. Here are the steps you can follow.

  1. Get a scrub pad and damp it in a little water.
  2. Apply a fair amount of door handle polish on your scrub pad.
  3. Scrub the entire door knob while maintaining a steady force.
  4. Insert your scrub pad in every crevice of the door, including the backplate.
  5. Get a dry cloth and wipe the excess polisher to give your brass door knob a smooth finish.

Aside from a commercial cleaner, you can also use equal parts of flour, salt, and vinegar or a paste consisting of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply either of these solutions on the knob then wipe it with clean water.

 02  Cleaning a chrome or nickel door knob.


Due to their slick appearance, chrome and nickel door knobs are used to level up the aesthetics of a house or building. Here are the steps to restore them to their pristine state:

  1. Soak a dry cloth in soapy water then squeeze it to remove excess moisture.
  2. Slowly wipe the chrome or nickel door knob with the cloth.
  3. Get a dry cloth and clean the door handle until it’s dry.
  4. Get another dry cloth and apply a fair amount of wax onto it.
  5. Wipe the wax onto the door handle to make it shinier.
 03  Cleaning silver knobs


The steps for cleaning this type of door knob are also simple. Cover it with baking soda and pour hot water over the silver material. The combination should remove oxidation and other imperfections and make the door knob look brand-new.

 04  Cleaning crystal, glass, and plastic knobs


For these materials, combine vinegar and water in a 1:2 ratio, then use the solution to spray and scrub the door knobs. Once they’re pristine, use a fresh towel to wipe off the remaining moisture.

2. Cleaning Door Handles

Just like door knobs, door handles are also made of different materials which need unique ways of cleaning. The following are some of the processes that you can follow depending on your type of door handle:

 01  Cleaning a brass door handle


Brass door handles can become black door handles when not properly cleaned. Here are the steps to remove dirt and dust from them.

  1. Get a cream cleaner that is suitable for brass.
  2. Get some steel wool and apply a fair amount of cream cleaner on it.
  3. Scrub your door handle and the plate, making sure every corner or crevice is reached.
  4. Apply moderate force in scrubbing to remove gunks that are stuck onto the handle.
 02  Cleaning stainless steel door handles.


Stainless door handles are the most common door handles in the present day. Here are the steps to clean a stainless door handle:

  1. Spray the handle with warm water and scrub it with a clean cloth.
  2. If there are stubborn marks, prepare a mixture of olive oil with vinegar for cleaning. Aim for a 50:50 ratio.
  3. Spray the mixture onto the marks and wipe them out.
 03  Cleaning pewter handles


Use a mixture of salt and white vinegar for polishing pewter door handles. You can add flour to the combination to thicken it as well, but this is optional.

Once the handle is clean and dust-free, wipe the surface with a damp cloth.

3. Cleaning Hard-to-Reach Areas

There are certain areas of your dirty door knob that are hard to clean, since they are difficult to reach. Here are some things you can do to make them look immaculate:

  • Use a brush. Brushes are a suitable door handle cleaner because they have thin soft bristles that can get the dirt out of tight spaces that cannot be accessed by a cloth or paper towel.
  • Remove the door handle or knob from the door completely. If you want to get the inner parts of your door handle or knob washed, you might as well unscrew the fittings and clean them on a table.
  • Use cotton buds. Some gunk that sticks onto tight spaces needs to be wet to become loose. Cotton buds can do the job since they can fit into narrow spaces and can be drenched in alcohol or water to easily remove gunk.

Regular Maintenance and Prevention


Cleaning your door handle or knob extends its lifespan. Aside from cleaning, here are some things that you can do to maintain your door fixtures:

1. Lubricate your door handle or knob.

There are moving parts inside your door knob that rub against each other. Without lubrication, friction is higher, causing the parts to wear out and malfunction.

2. Remove rust.

Rust can be unsightly on your metal door handles and might leave stains when it is in contact with your shirt or hand. Use a polish or cleaner to clean oxidized door handles.

3. Be careful with cleaning materials.

Some cleaning materials like bleach might not be suitable for all door knobs. Check out tutorials and product manuals first before you try to clean door hardware.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why do you need to clean door knobs and handles?

Door handles and knobs are susceptible to bacteria and accumulation of dirt. This makes it a breeding ground for bacteria that might cause illnesses when they enter our bodies, so it’s best to disinfect door knobs.

The accumulation of dirt and dust will also disrupt the inner working mechanism of your door knob or handle, which will cause blockage, loosening of the door handle or knob, and even immobilization of the fixture.

How often should I clean my door knobs and handles?

To maintain safety from bacteria and the function of your door knobs and handles, it’s vital to clean the door knobs and handles once a week. In addition, you might want to clean the fixtures as often as you can if there is someone in your house who has a contagious illness.

Can I use the same cleaning method for exterior and interior door knobs?

Yes, as long as they are made of the same material. It’s also worth noting that since an exterior door handle is more vulnerable to dust and dirt compared to interior door knobs, you must clean your exterior door knobs more often.


It’s important to properly maintain the things inside our house. This does not only extend their lifespan but would also ensure that they work the way they are supposed to.

Knowing how to clean door knobs & handles is something that you should learn in order to save money from hiring maintenance professionals. A simple cleaning technique goes a long way.

Other tips about door knobs you can read:

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