Door handles are a part of everyday life that you probably don't think about. As you enter the office, pick up lunch, head into the gym, or return home, you're using door handles, levers, and knobs—you and many others. This is a great place for bacteria to accumulate, and when you touch these parts, you're bringing some of that bacteria along for the ride. In this article, we're breaking down how to properly clean door knobs, handles, and levers of any kind. Keeping these surfaces clean not only keeps you and others safe but helps preserve the longevity of your door hardware as well.

Brass and Copper Door Hardware

Solid brass and brass-plated knobs must be addressed differently to maintain their integrity. A strong magnet will help you determine what your door knob is, as it will only be attracted to plated metal.

For solid brass or copper door knobs, there are a few at-home methods you can try. The first is a paste made of equal parts of salt, vinegar, and flour (a tablespoon of each should suffice). Apply your paste on your knob and let it sit for a few minutes before buffing off.

Another method calls for a lemon and salt. Cut a lemon in half and spread salt inside one half around the pulp. Then, rub the lemon on the knob to erase dirt and tarnish. The acidity of the lemon will address bacteria while also leaving a pleasant, clean smell.

Stainless Steel Door Hardware

The best way to clean your stainless steel door hardware is with a mild soap and water. Using store-bought cleaners containing chloride or chlorine bleach can damage stainless steel. The same is true for using steel wool or other abrasives—these will scratch your stainless steel, diminishing your knobs' appearance. For dried-on dirt and grime, create a mix of equal parts vinegar and olive oil. This will loosen up anything caked on your knobs. Some have found using WD-40 or club soda to work well too.

Sterling Silver and Silver Plated Door Hardware

Sterling silver is beautiful, but tarnishes quite easily! Store-bought cleaners work well on these types of knobs, but there is an easy at-home method you can try first. Using an aluminum tray (like the ones you'd use for a casserole or dessert), fill it with a cup of baking soda and place your knob in it. Cover them in boiling water and watch as the tarnish dissipates. This inherently disinfects your knob as well. After the water cools, take your knob out and dry it. Finish up with a quality polish to restore that lovely sterling silver shine.

Pewter Door Hardware

This is an easy one! Rub your pewter knobs with plain vinegar to fully clean them. How about an old fashioned method? Use white cabbage leaves! These help bring out the shine of pewter. If your pewter is very tarnished, use 0000 steel wool dipped in olive oil and carefully scrub the tarnished areas. Wash and rinse the knob, then buff it dry.

Crystal, Glass, and Clear Plastic Door Knobs

General-purpose cleaners can typically take care of everyday dirt and grime on these types of door knobs. Shoot for a naturally formulated cleaner instead of a harsh one.

With these cleaning tips, you can effectively clean door knobs of virtually any kind! Keep your knobs, handles, and levers clean and you'll reap the benefits.