Cleaning Door Hardware

Procedure code:
National Capitol Region Specifications
Doors and Windows
Last Modified:



1.01     SUMMARY

        A.   This procedure includes guidance on cleaning door
             hardware associated with the restoration of the finish on
             wooden doors.

        B.   See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
             reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
             cover the following sections:

             1.   Safety Precautions

             2.   Historic Structures Precautions

             3.   Submittals

             4.   Quality Assurance

             5.   Delivery, Storage and Handling

             6.   Project/Site Conditions

             7.   Sequencing and Scheduling

             8.   General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)

             These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
             this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
             along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
             Preservation Officer (RHPO).  


        A.   Product Data: Submit manufacturer's product literature
             and instructions to the Contracting Officer's
             Representative for all cleaning materials.


        A.   Environmental Requirements:  Daily dispose of all used
             solutions, finishing products, solvent residue and soiled
             rags in sealed noncombustible containers to prevent a
             fire hazard.  


  1. 01     MATERIALS
  2.         A.   Solvent:  Mineral spirits, turpentine, or denatured alcohol.

                 Mineral Spirits:

                 1.   A petroleum distillate that is used especially as a paint or varnish thinner.  It was developed as an inexpensive replacement for the vegetable-based turpentine, and is a light version of kerosene. It comes in three grades, and cost rises as refining quality increases.

                 2.   Other chemical or common names include Benzine (not Benzene); Naphtha; Petroleum spirits; White spirit; Varisol; Solvent naphtha; Stoddard solvent.

                 3.   Potential Hazards:  TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.

                 4.   Safety Precautions:

                      a.   Work in a well ventilated area.

                      b.   ALWAYS wear proper PPE such as rubber gloves, safety glasses/goggles and a properly rated respirator when handling any solvent such as mineral spirits.

           c.   AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.  If any chemical is splashed onto the skin, wash immediately with soap and water.

                 5.   Available from construction specialties distributors, hardware store, paint store, or printer's supply distributor.


    1. A distilled wood-product, typically used as a solvent and thinner.
    2. Other chemical or common names include spirits of turpentine, turps, and wood turpentine.

                 3.   Potential Hazards:  TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.  Due to the fact that turpentine can cause spasms of the airways particularly in people with asthma and whooping cough, it can contribute to a worsening of breathing issues in persons with these diseases if inhaled.

                 4.   Safety Precautions:                  

     a.   Work in a well ventilated area. 

                             b.   ALWAYS wear proper PPE such as rubber gloves, safety glasses/goggles and a properly rated respirator when handling any solvent such as mineral spirits.

                 c.   AVOID REPEATED OR PROLONGED SKIN CONTACT.  If any turpentine is splashed onto the skin, wash immediately with soap and water.

                             d.   Observe safety rules as turpentine is flammable, and the fumes can trip an ionization smoke detection system. 

                            e.   Store soiled cloths in a metal safety container to guard against spontaneous combustion.

                      f.   Available from hardware store or paint store.

                 Denatured Alcohol:

                  1.  Denatured Alcohol is ethanol or ethyl alcohol that has additives added to it which intentionally make it poisonous and not consumable.  Some of these additives can include acetone and MEK (methyl ethyl ketone).

                 2.   Other chemical or common names include Methylated spirit.

                 3.   Potential hazards:  TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE.

                 4.   Available from hardware store, paint store or printer's supply distributor.

                 5.   Denatured alcohol should be a satisfactory substitute for ethyl alcohol for stain removing purposes.

            B.   Cloths:  Clean, soft, lint-free cotton.

            C.   Mild Soap:  "Ivory Liquid", "Joy", or equal.

            D.   Silicon carbide abrasive pads such as "Scotch-Brite" (3M Company) or standard commercially available pumice stone;  or stainless steel wool.  Do not use steel wool, which may promote discoloration of the bronze.       

            E.   Oxidizing Agent:  If prescribed by a qualified conservator, oxidizing agents such as Aluminum Chloride or liquid sulphur may be used under controlled conditions by trained and experienced personnel.

                 1. Danger: Oxydizing agents such as Aluminum Chloride are corrosive, can cause burns to any area of contact, and inhalation of its vapors can be fatal in some cases. Oxydizing agents are water reactive and under the right conditions they can be explosive.  These agents require special training and handling precautions. Proper PPE MUST be worn when dealing with any Oxydizing agent.

     Further information on Aluminum Chloride in particular may be found at

  3. 02     EQUIPMENT

        A.   Brushes:  Soft, natural animal hair bristle.



        A.   Surface Preparation:  Carefully remove hardware.  Store in a secure location for reinstallation after refinishing is complete.  All refinishing actions on hardware should take place after it has been completely removed from the wooden door.


        A.   Carefully remove adhesive residue, and paint and varnish drips using paint stripper applied with soft cloths.  If necessary, apply light pressure using natural bristle            brush.

        B.   Retain statuary finish on door bronze knobs.  Do not apply solvents which may remove patina.            

        C.   Clean bronze and stainless steel door knobs, escutcheon plates, and kickplates using mild soap and water. 

        D.   For stubborn dirt and hard to clean areas, apply detergent with "Scotch-Brite" pad. Under the direction of a qualified conservator, areas of bright metal work may be refinished with a suitable oxidizing agent to match existing patinas.  Rinse thoroughly and buff dry with soft cotton cloths.

        E.   Re-install hardware after it has been refinished.  If the wooden door itself is also being refinished do not replace the hardware until that process has been completed.    

                         END OF SECTION

Last Reviewed 2017-06-08