Types of Knobs and Finishes That Work Well With White

White is a great color for many rooms in your home, especially your kitchen. A white kitchen brings to mind an atmosphere of cleanliness and freshness, which is just what you want in the place where you prepare and sometimes eat your meals. However, some people may be concerned that a white kitchen is too plain and that it doesn’t have enough life to it. A great way to solve that problem is to spruce up your white kitchen with colorful knobs and hardware.

Coordinating Your Hardware With White

You might think a white kitchen demands white knobs and handles. Nothing could be further from the truth. The right contrasting color is the perfect accent to bring out the whiteness of your décor. Some examples include:

  • Simple Black Knobs: Black and white are a classic combination that has lasted throughout the years. Combining some basic black knobs with your white cabinetry can create a simple, minimalistic look many people love.
  • Polished Brass Square Knobs: Brass looks great with just about everything, and the right polished brass can enhance that clean, fresh look of your white kitchen. The square shape adds just the right distinctive element, although round brass knobs will look great as well.
  • Polished Nickel Handles and Hinges: Adding some polished nickel hardware to your white kitchen, such as polished nickel refrigerator handles or cabinet hinges, is another way to continue and enhance your theme of cleanliness and freshness, complementing the white cabinets and other décor without overwhelming it.

If you’re starting to get some great ideas about how to enhance your white room with the right knobs and hardware, the next step is to look over the hardware suites, product lines and quality finishes at Cliffside Industries to find just the right hardware to complete your décor. At Cliffside Industries, you’ll always find top-notch service and elegant, timeless products meticulously crafted out of the highest-quality materials we can obtain. Come to Cliffside Industries and find the perfect finishing décor touches for your home today.

A Guide to Cabinet Hardware Finishes

A guide to Cabinet Hardware Finishes

Getting the right finish for your kitchen cabinets can make the difference between a good and a great space. The right finish offsets other design choices in your kitchen. For example, you can match your appliances to your hardware finish to create a sophisticated, coordinated look. Alternatively, you can use your kitchen cabinet hardware finishes to show off your fun-loving personality, choosing a bright metal or unique design.

When planning your new hardware finishes, you want to keep a number of different factors in mind, including:

  • The advantages of using finish
  • Style of finish
  • Where in the kitchen it should go
  • What styles it works with
  • Any limiting factors

You should do your research ahead of time. Know which finishes work with the colors in your kitchen, and ask questions to determine any drawbacks to a certain style.

Caring for and Picking Out Your Kitchen Hardware

Caring for decorative hardware purchased from Cliffside Industries is easy. Use only a soft cloth dampened with water for cleaning. The most important thing to remember is never to apply any chemicals or abrasive cleaners, including all kinds of soap or detergent. Using these products damages the protective lacquer and may change the appearance of the piece. Any use of chemicals, abrasives or soaps will void your warranty.

For customers who have homes near the ocean, Cliffside recommends choosing non-metal items such as marble or wood for your projects. Salt air acts as an abrasive, and quickly erodes the lacquer coating. If you absolutely need (or desire) metal hardware, Cliffside recommends solid stainless steel, or certain solid brass finishes such as Black, Polished Brass, or Polished Chrome. Note that, even in optimum indoor conditions, no Cliffside finish has a lifetime guarantee under any circumstances.

Due to the makeup of materials, colors and finishes will vary from lot to lot. Cliffside strives to minimize variation, but some manufacturing processes make this unavoidable:

  • Marble and stone are products of nature. These items will always vary in color; no returns will be accepted due to color variations.
  • The same applies to custom-made products, such as glass.
  • Due to order volume, handpicking colors is not offered.

The finishes that vary most are marked with an asterisk (*) below.

The digital images displayed on this website and by our dealers have the most accurate color possible. However, due to differences in computer monitors, Cliffside Industries cannot be held responsible for variations in color between the actual product, your screen, and your printed literature.

Read on for the hardware finish guide that will take your kitchen from good to great.

The 10 Most Popular Hardware Finishes From Our Signature Lines

Our signature lines feature a wide variety of hardware finishes. The most popular colors range from warm to cool, bright to dark and polished to burnished. Here’s how to choose the best one for your kitchen.

Antique Brass*

Antique Brass Information

Pros: The Antique Brass look goes with a wide variety of styles. It’s not as jarring as polished brass, but you can pair brighter oxidized brass with antique when picking out cabinet or armoire hinges. You’ll still get a matching look. Antique Brass is also very durable, because it’s crafted from strong materials like pewter and lead crystal.

Style: Antique Brass is stylish and more sophisticated than polished brass. It is has a classic look that’s attractive to all types of tastes.

Where it’s best suited: This style works for pulls or knobs, and it goes best with lighter-colored cabinets, so the color will stick out.

What styles it works with: Antique Brass has an aged look that’s appealing for kitchens with a country or less-contemporary design.

Avoid: Getting too match-y between the cabinet color and hardware, which can cause the components to blend together.


Pros: Black is a strong color that won’t get lost in your kitchen. Black knobs and handles make a statement. They convey boldness and just a bit of sass. The color’s versatility means it can match a number of kitchen styles.

Style: Black handles, knobs and other kitchen cabinet accoutrements go with nearly anything. They have a clean look to them, and they’re subtle enough that they don’t draw attention from the cabinet itself.

Where it’s best suited: Black stands out against white or other light cabinetry. However, some people even prefer Black on dark wood or painted cabinets, seeing its simplicity as the perfect way to offset a bold cabinet color.

What styles it works with: Black cabinet hardware pairs well with contemporary or traditional designs.

Avoid: Getting Black hardware if you have very young children, as it is easy to see sticky finger marks.


Pros: With a deep gray color that’s reminiscent of stone, an Iron finish goes well with a wide variety of styles. The tone of the hardware sometimes appears black, depending what item you choose. Some people love these wide variances, finding them a charming way to hold visual interest throughout a kitchen.

Style: Iron works best in a more traditional kitchen. Unfortunately, it’s not bold enough for most contemporary designs.

Where it’s best suited: Iron sits nicely against cabinetry with a dark stain. It’s also ideal next to a glazed finish, with its rugged finish contrasting beautifully with the smooth. Our Iron pieces have foundations of solid brass, which helps them stand up to the harsh conditions in kitchens or bathrooms.

What styles it works with: Kitchens that have a classic feel can bump their design pedigree up a notch with Iron hardware. Iron finish will stay in style for years, even if you get the kitchen redone.

Avoid: Using abrasive cleaners with iron, which can strip the finish.

Old Antique*

Old antique hardware finishes give a distinctive look

Pros: Old Antique has a purely unique color that’s unlike any other finish. Your kitchen will get a more distinctive and individual look when you use old antique hardware finishes. The deep color becomes a draw in itself.

Style: Old Antique offers a way to pull elements from other areas of the room together. You can paint your crown molding or an entryway door the same color to unify the room.

Where it’s best suited: The finish looks best on knobs in lighter-colored kitchens. The Old Antique look will remain in style for years, so there’s no cause to worry about having to replace your hardware.

What styles it works with: Less-contemporary designs generally look best with old antique.

Avoid: Abrasive cleaners that can strip the metal of its finish. Instead, use warm water and soap.

Old Copper*

Pros: Old Copper has a singular finish unlike anything else in our Signature Line. If you want something no one else will have, Old Copper is a special find. It has an antique feel that’s reminiscent of copper pots that were once staples in every kitchen and now are used for decoration.

Style: The words “funky” and “unique” come to mind when describing Old Copper. People who like to stand out will love this finish. The color has a bit of sass you may not usually associate with kitchen cabinets.

Where it’s best suited: Copper’s unique red tone works great on handles for kitchen cabinetry, because most other finishes are dark. If you have a copper island or taps and faucets, this finish will bring the room together.

What styles it works with: Another very versatile hardware finish, Old Copper looks at home with both contemporary and classic designs.

Avoid: Watermarks and tarnishing by frequently wiping down your Old Copper hardware.

Polished Brass

Pros: Bright and cheerful, this finish adds a spark to any kitchen. It’s a pretty shade that goes with both dark and light cabinetry. For those who prefer vibrant tones to muted ones, Polished Brass has just the right look.

Style: Brass is brash. With a color that’s similar to gold, Polished Brass will stand out on every surface. It’s trendy, too. There’s been a recent surge in interest in polished brass kitchen hardware.

Where it’s best suited: Kitchens with bright colors, such as painted or stained cabinets, can get a wonderful contrast and pop from Polished Brass hardware finishes.

What styles it works with: Polished brass provides a shiny focal point for country-style kitchens or those designed with a rustic flair.

Avoid: Trying too hard to match colors with polished brass. It’s okay if other metals creep into your kitchen design as well, such as stainless steel appliances or copper cookware.

Polished Chrome

Polished Chrome helps any kitchen shine

Pros: Like polished brass, Polished Chrome is brassy, bright and helps any kitchen shine. Kitchens often have chrome faucets, hinges and more. Adding chrome hardware finishes gives the room a uniform look. Polished chrome also nicely contrasts with other metals used around the room.

Style: Polished Chrome has a modern look, but it’s also conservative. You will find chrome in many kitchens, because it’s such a safe pick. It goes with nearly any cabinet surface.

Where it’s best suited: For knobs and handles in the kitchen, many people consider brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze before settling on Polished Chrome. Why? Because it’s so sleek and clean. Any room with polished chrome instantly looks sleeker.

What styles it works with: Modern, contemporary homes tend to favor Polished Chrome.

Avoid: Watermarks by wiping down surfaces frequently.

Polished Nickel

Pros: Nickel is among the most durable of metals. It doesn’t weather or rust, making it a popular choice for cabinet hardware finishes. You can trust it will not need to be touched up as frequently as other metals.

Style: The glossy shine of Polished Nickel offsets nicely against nearly any color but especially darker ones. Compared to Chrome and Brass, Polished Nickel has an understated color, making it ideal for a kitchen where you want the hardware to blend rather than command attention.

Where it’s best suited: Polished Nickel fits into the scheme of kitchens with many other stylistic details, such as chandeliers or glass-door cabinets, because it is more understated.

What styles it works with: There’s almost no style that doesn’t work with Polished Nickel. It’s the chameleon of cabinet hardware finishes.

Avoid: Placing it near stainless steel, as the two surfaces can clash.

Silver Satin

Pros: Slightly more understated than Polished Chrome, Silver Satin complements almost every color of cabinetry. It’s a little softer than polished nickel, too. Not all metal tones look good near stainless steel, but Silver Satin does.

Style: If you like the look of chrome but find it too shiny, Silver Satin may be your answer.

Where it’s best suited: The metal contrasts beautifully against cherry cabinetry, a popular combination among many of our customers. This choice is also far more durable than most other metals. If you have young children, Silver Satin is among the best finishes to use, resisting fingerprints and sticky hands.

What styles it works with: Silver Satin works well in utilitarian kitchens that still want some style. You generally won’t find it in a gourmet kitchen, though it’s very reliable.

Avoid: Placing Silver Satin next to Brushed Nickel, since they’re nearly but not quite the same tone.

Venetian Bronze*

Pros: Venetian Bronze blends well with dark drawers, if you prefer to avoid color contrasts. It’s darker than many of our other finishes but it also reflects light better than Old Antique.

Style: Venetian Bronze is often confused with oil-rubbed bronze. The former has a lighter color and a less-oily feel, with a matte finish.

Where it’s best suited: The distinctive finish of our Venetian Bronze deeply offsets light colors, if you are looking for knobs decorative knobs.

What styles it works with: Venetian Bronze blends well in kitchens with a classic, rustic or country style.

Avoid: Panicking if the hardware oxidizes. This naturally occurs over time, and will only change the color slightly.

Rustic Hardware Finishes

Our rustic hardware finishes give traditional metals such as iron and bronze an aged look. The result is hardware that looks as though it’s been around for decades, but functions as though it’s brand new. You can use rustic hardware in kitchens that have both classic and rustic looks, for a fun twist on traditional hardware.

Antique Iron*

Antique Iron Finish interesting imperfections

Pros: The imperfections in this gorgeous finish make it extremely interesting to look at. Strong and sturdy, Antique Iron can give you a great alternative to Polished Chrome or Stainless Steel to soften the look of your kitchen.

Style: Antique Iron has a sophisticated, entirely unique look.

Where it’s best suited: You should use Antique Iron when you’re not sure if you want light or dark hardware. It can take on the appearance of both, depending on the lighting.

What styles it works with: Antique iron looks at home in rustic or country kitchens, though we also know people who use it with contemporary kitchens to great effect.

Avoid: Mixing it up with wrought iron — those are two completely different finishes.

Antique Silver*

Pros: Antique Silver has a beautiful “aging” pattern that sets it apart from traditional silver. Replacing chrome hardware with Antique Silver represents a definite step up. Along with Antique Iron and Bronze, Antique Silver has been blended, rather than plated, in an effort to increase durability.

Style: Antique Silver is a shabby chic style. When you want to give a bit more sophistication to an older kitchen or drab décor, you can’t go wrong with Antique Silver.

Where it’s best suited: Use Antique Silver in situations where you may have had chrome to begin with, such as hinges or handles on darker cabinets. It looks especially good next to dark cabinets.

What styles it works with: Like everything in our Rustic Hardware collection, Antique Silver fits best in a classic or country kitchen, with traditional decorating touches all over the room.

Avoid: If you do not like bright gray, which is what this color equates to.


Pros: The hardware will stand out well against a light stain. It’s quite dark, and the natural imperfections in our Rustic Hardware series add visual interest. Bronze is also quite strong.

Style: Bronze looks natural in any area where you’d consider using copper. It lacks copper’s reddish glare, which is appealing to many people.

Where it’s best suited: You can replace all your hardware with Bronze for a bold look, or just use it as an accent color on hinges or a few handles.

What styles it works with: Bronze pairs best with classic, rustic, farmhouse and other traditional styles.

Avoid: Trying to match new Bronze pieces to existing ones. It can be hard to get them to line up.

Rustic Antique*

Pros: This stunning finish is a blend of brass and zinc. No two Rustic Antique pieces are the same, because the materials mesh differently every time they’re combined. The results are visually quite impressive.

Style: Rustic Antique is less conservative than our other Rustic finishes. It’s a good choice for those whose personal style is more daring.

Where it’s best suited: Use Rustic Antique in situations where you want to make a statement. It will always stand out, so skip it if you need something muted.

What styles it works with: You can use Rustic Antique with rustic or classic styles, of course, but it can also work with contemporary because of its snazzy coloring.

Avoid: Abrasive cleaners that can ruin its finish.

Additional Hardware Finishes

Beyond our Signature Line and Rustic Hardware finishes, we also offer four other options.

Stainless Steel

Pros: Stainless Steel offers a clean and sharp look to your cabinetry. It’s extremely durable, and in fact, is among the strongest pieces we offer.

Style: Among the many kitchen cabinet hardware colors, Stainless Steel has one of the sharpest colors. It goes with nearly everything.

Where it’s best suited: In kitchens with dark colors, Stainless Steel hardware stands out. It is practical and familiar to most people. You can use it for handles, hinges or accent knobs.

What styles it works with: Stainless Steel goes best with contemporary and modern design.

Avoid: Getting too match-y in kitchens with Stainless Steel appliances.

Nickel Chrome

Pros: Nickel Chrome has a matte-style finish that looks good against any sort of cabinet stain. It’s much darker than Polished Nickel but has its same durability.

Style: Nickel Chrome is more muted than most of our additional finishes.

Where it’s best suited: It works best in contrast to soft colors, helping your hardware to stand out.

What styles it works with: Rustic and classic kitchens will benefit from the addition of Nickel Chrome hardware finishes, because they’re dark and sophisticated, a winning combination.

Avoid: Aggressive scrubbing of the surface, which can strip the color.

Old Silver*

Pros: This utterly unmatched tone is made from solid brass, making it both attractive and durable. You won’t find any other finish like it.

Style: Old Silver looks almost like it’s been scuffed, giving it an antique feel. It has character and adds visual interest to any cabinetry.

Where it’s best suited: Old Silver makes an excellent handle on a cabinet where you store antique pieces or as knobs on a buffet with your treasured china.

What styles it works with: Old Silver works well in any style kitchen. Though it’s perhaps best-suited to rustic looks, it can also give a modern kitchen a fun, kitschy vibe.

Avoid: Trying to match Old Silver to other finishes, since it’s so unique.

Satin Brass

Pros: Satin Brass has a lighter tint than many of our other finishes, and is a strong material that will stand the test of time.

Style: Satin Brass is bright and shiny, giving it a cheerful coloring.

Where it’s best suited: On dark kitchen cabinetry and islands, where it stands out beautifully.

What styles it works with: Satin Brass goes better with a modern look than a rustic one.

Avoid: Trying to match similarly colored brass accessories, which aren’t really needed.

Find the Best Cabinet Hardware for Your Home Today

Which cabinet hardware would look best in your home? Armed with these ideas, you can start figuring out what type of style you’d like to add. Contact us today if you want additional assistance on pricing or to answer any questions about our hardware finishes.

Stainless Steel Hardware Care


Do you have what it takes to deploy effective stainless steel hardware care? Cabinet hardware that consists of stainless steel will dazzle if you know how to maintain it properly. To fully understand stainless steel hardware care, let’s take a closer look at stainless steel and the importance of proper stainless steel kitchen cabinet hardware care and maintenance.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is all around us and is used in a variety of appliances, hardware and tools. It includes a group of alloys that contain 10.5 percent chromium, which helps the material fight off oxidization. Unlike iron and other alloys, stainless steel boasts a passive layer on its surface that provides added protection against corrosion. Thus, stainless steel represents an exceedingly versatile and popular option in kitchens of all shapes and sizes.

There are small amounts of carbon, manganese and silicon in stainless steel. Other elements, such as nickel and molybdenum, may be incorporated into different types of stainless steel, as these elements can provide stainless steel with improved corrosion resistance and formability.

Stainless steel commonly is all around us in our kitchens, too. You may notice it as part of your blender, coffeemaker or refrigerator, along with your kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Recent data indicates the demand for stainless steel kitchens is increasing.

stainless steel appliances

Houzz’s 2016 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study revealed the majority of today’s homeowners deploy stainless steel appliances in their kitchens. These appliances will maintain their appearance for an extended period of time and are designed to complement the décor in a traditional or modern kitchen. Therefore, the demand for stainless steel appliances continues to increase, and this trend may continue into the foreseeable future.

As the demand for stainless steel in kitchens rises, it is becoming more important for homeowners to understand how to maintain the appearance of stainless steel.

For homeowners, ensuring stainless steel hardware looks great day after day may help improve the value of a house and reduce the need for replacement hardware at a later date. Homeowners who spend time cleaning and maintaining stainless steel hardware may be able to save both time and money down the line. Thankfully, the process of keeping stainless steel hardware looking shiny and bright can be simple, especially if you understand what can damage its appearance.

What Causes Stainless Steel to Corrode?

On ordinary metals, corrosion may result in rust and long-lasting damage that is impossible to repair. Stainless steel delivers immense strength and versatility, but it can corrode if you fail to care for and maintain it properly.

Unfortunately, like all materials, stainless steel is not immune to corrosion. And if you’re not careful and diligent with your stainless steel kitchen hardware, you may notice corrosion happens sooner rather than later.

One of the most common causes of stainless steel corrosion is “pitting,” which occurs if an environment overwhelms stainless steel’s passive layer. When pitting happens, you may start to notice dark brown pits on the surface. These pits usually are tough to eliminate as well.

Furthermore, there are three common kinds of corrosion you may notice with stainless steel:

  1. Atmospheric — If stainless steel kitchen hardware is exposed to harmful airborne liquids, solids or gases, atmospheric corrosion may occur. Atmospheric corrosion frequently impacts stainless steel that is located outdoors, particularly in a marine setting.
  2. Chemical — A material that includes a high chloride concentration or corrosive solution may damage the appearance of stainless steel. Also, chemical corrosion can become more severe based on the chloride concentration level of a material, how frequently stainless steel has been washed, and how long the dangerous chemical has been in contact with stainless steel.
  3. Contact — Even a small piece of carbon steel, copper or scale can negatively impact the appearance of stainless steel. Contact corrosion results in the destruction of stainless steel’s passive layer, increasing the likelihood that the material’s appearance could be damaged.

If you understand the importance of cleaning stainless steel hardware in your kitchen, then you should have no trouble keeping this hardware looking great.

How Can You Maintain the Appearance of Stainless Steel Hardware?

To clean stainless steel hardware effectively, you’ll first need to be able to identify and address common stainless steel surface contaminants.

The Specialty Steel Industry of North America, or SSINA, notes the most common stainless steel surface contaminants include:

  1. Dirt

Cleaning stainless steel

Even the most diligent housekeeper may encounter dirt in the kitchen, and this dirt may damage the appearance of stainless steel if it remains unaddressed. Dirt can contain contaminates that may affect stainless steel in a variety of ways. Although some of these contaminates may be simple to wipe off and remove instantly, others may require you to pick up various household cleaners for proper removal.

In many cases, you many need to test different household cleaners and evaluate their effectiveness in removing dirt from stainless steel hardware. You also may be able to use a combination of warm water with a gentle detergent, which could allow you to break up dirt and eliminate it entirely. Also keep in mind:

  • There are many mild, non-scratching abrasive powders that may provide value as well, and these items can be used in conjunction with warm water, clean cloths and sponges for effective dirt removal.
  • SSINA recommends adding a small amount of vinegar to a scouring powder for additional support with dirt removal from stainless steel.
  • The use of carbon steel brushes should be avoided, as this may result in rusting if these brushes leave particles embedded in the surface of stainless steel hardware.

Of course, don’t forget to rinse any cleaning areas in hot water to finish your dirt clean-up efforts. By doing so, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of water spots on stainless steel surfaces.

  1. Fingerprints and Stains

If you have stainless steel doorknobs and drawer handles, it makes sense that fingerprints and stains may become noticeable after prolonged use. Fortunately, those who are prepared to deal with fingerprints and stains can dedicate the necessary time and resources to eliminate these eyesores from stainless steel hardware immediately.

Usually, fingerprints and stains are easy to remove. They rarely affect the corrosion resistance of stainless steel and can be minimized with a traditional glass cleaner. Or you can remove fingerprints and stains by utilizing sodium carbonate and water that are applied together with a soft rag. And, as always, you’ll want to finish up your cleaning efforts by rinsing any cleaning areas in hot water.

  1. Grease and Shop Oil

If you’ve been working on your car and decide to enter your kitchen to grab a break-time snack, you may notice grease and shop oil all over your stainless steel hardware. They can be messy, and you’ll want to clean them up immediately or risk suffering the consequences.

Oftentimes, grease and shop oil can soil the surface of stainless steel hardware and affect surfaces you use to prepare foods, so you’ll want to minimize grease and shop oil marks and stains without delay.

To do so, you can start your cleaning with a combination of detergent and water. If that doesn’t work, however, you’ll need to deploy chemical solvents that are specifically designed for grease and shop oil removal.

The use of non-halgenated solvents may deliver immediate results for grease and shop oil removal, and some of the most common non-halgenated solvents you can deploy include:

  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Toluene

Keep in mind that many solvents are sold as individual cleaners and blended or compound cleaners. Each cleaner is different, and you should read the label carefully to ensure any cleaner you purchase is safe for use with cleaning stainless steel hardware. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer for more information.

What Are the Most Common Types of Cleaners and Methods for Stainless Steel Hardware Care?

When it comes to cleaning stainless steel hardware, you’ll want to do everything possible to avoid scratches and post-cleaning corrosion. Scratches may occur if you use abrasive cleaners. On the other hand, if you utilize a soft abrasive cleaner, such as a pumice stone, you may be able to avoid scratches that otherwise could permanently damage your stainless steel hardware.


In the event scratches do happen, you may be able to eliminate them or reduce their appearance by using whitening toothpaste or another light abrasive cleaner. This tactic is ideal to minimize the appearance of light scratches.

A piece of fine-grit sandpaper may serve you well if you need to remove scratches from stainless steel hardware. If you use sandpaper, be sure not to push too hard, as this may do more harm than good and actually cause scratches rather than eliminate them.

For effective stainless steel hardware care, frequent cleaning is a great idea. Using a simple combination of a soft cloth and warm water empowers you to break up dirt and debris on your stainless steel surfaces. And when you’re done, be sure to rinse each stainless steel surface with clean water and dry it with a clean cloth to maximize your results.

Organic Solvents and Common Household Cleaners

Organic solvents also may prove to be valuable options for those who require deep cleaning of stainless steel hardware. You’ll need to apply the solvent on an affected stainless steel surface, i.e., a surface that is dirty and cannot be cleaned using a soft cloth and warm water. Then you’ll need to wipe surface with a clean cloth, which may leave a streaked surface.

Using household cleaners such as detergents and abrasive cleaners remains an option for the care of stainless steel hardware. Both detergents and abrasive cleaners may deliver results, but you’ll need to pay extra attention if you decide to utilize abrasive cleaners.

As SSINA points out about abrasive cleaners, the abrasiveness of a cleaner will vary depending on the product. This means you’ll need to check the acidity and chloride levels of any abrasive cleaner that you use. And even if you utilize a product that states “for stainless steel,” there are no guarantees this product is safe for use on your particular kitchen’s stainless steel hardware.

Lastly, there are numerous commercial cleaners that are formed from alkalis, phosphates and synthetic detergents. Like abrasive cleaners, the performance of a commercial cleaner may vary depending on the cleaner’s strengths. To find out whether a particular cleaner is right for your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware, you can contact the manufacturer for recommendations and instructions.

What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Stainless Steel Hardware?

Maintaining the appearance of your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware may seem like a time-consuming, costly chore. But if you spend a few minutes each day keeping your stainless steel hardware clean, you may be able to avoid long-lasting damage.

To take care of it, here are five tips that you need to know:

  1. Use Clean Cloths Without Exception. If you use a greasy or oily rag as part of your stainless steel hardware cleaning efforts, you may find the appearance of your stainless steel hardware will worsen dramatically in a short period of time. Instead, utilize a clean cloth at all times, without exception.
  2. Avoid Chloride-Containing Detergents. If you use chloride-containing detergents, the risk increases that there may be long-term damage to the stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen. Comparatively, you can eliminate this problem if you avoid chloride-containing detergents.
  3. Wear Cleaning Gloves. Want to reduce the chance of fingerprints or stains from appearing on your kitchen’s stainless steel surfaces? Pick up a pair of cleaning gloves, and you’ll be able to clean to your heart’s delight without having to worry about adding fingerprints or stains on your stainless steel hardware.
  4. Perform Routine Cleaning. The 2015 National Association of Home Builder’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey ranked kitchen remodeling (79 percent) second among the most common remodeling jobs done in 2015. For those who perform standard cleaning of stainless steel hardware in the kitchen, however, there may be no need to remodel. Performing routine cleaning ensures your stainless steel hardware will dazzle consistently, and it may even reduce the need for an expensive kitchen remodeling project down the line. cleaning
  5. Rinse Thoroughly With Water After Cleaning. What good is cleaning your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware if you don’t rinse it down with water afterward? Be sure to rinse your stainless steel surfaces thoroughly with water after cleaning, and you’ll be able to keep these surfaces looking great for years to come.

Let Cliffside Help You Keep Your Insurance Shiny and Looking Good

With the right amount of time and resources, you’ll be able to improve the appearance of your kitchen’s stainless steel hardware. And if you ever need extra support along the way, you can always rely on the team at Cliffside Industries for guidance.

At Cliffside, we have a simple mission — to serve the hardware needs of consumers through our business customers in the kitchen and bath industry with excellent service and ageless, elegant products crafted from high-quality materials. As part of this mission, we supply a wide range of top-notch cabinet hardware in many finishes and styles.

Take another step toward transforming your kitchen into a warm, inviting setting. Contact us today to learn how we can help you personalize your kitchen.

Stainless Steel Hardware Care

Stainless steel is a high quality, sturdy alloy containing at least 10.5 percent chromium. Chromium is essential because it’s the component that helps prevent rust. Without proper care, though, stainless steel can corrode. Follow these guidelines using items commonly found in the kitchen. They’ll keep your stainless steel hardware bright, shining and unblemished.

Avoid These at All Costs

Before you start pulling out cleaning supplies, here’s a list of materials to leave in the cupboard. Do not use any of these on stainless steel:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Oven cleaner
  • Steel wool or another abrasive scrubber
  • Very hard water or dirty water
  • Commercial silver polish
  • Antibacterial cleansers

Certain substances speed up corrosion, so try to keep them away from stainless steel:

  • Standard steel or other metal
  • Seawater
  • Salt or salty foods

Also, if it’s been heated, let clean stainless steel cool before you clean it.

Erase Everyday Buildup

To remove ordinary grime and keep stainless steel hardware sparkling, wipe it with a soft cloth that’s been dipped into a mixture of warm water and mild liquid dish detergent. If you want, substitute a little ammonia for the detergent. Rinse off the cleanser with plain water, and dry it with a clean cloth.

Be sure to wipe off water that’s on stainless steel. Though it’s not harmful, it can lead to hard water stains you’ll have to eliminate later.

Remove Grease

Clear away grease buildup with a nylon scrubbie. Dunk it into hot water with a squirt of dish detergent added, and scour. Be sure to rinse away the soap and towel dry the area.

Eliminate Stubborn Residue and Stains

If a liquid cleanser doesn’t work on dirty hardware, make a paste out of baking soda and dish detergent. Gently clear away gunk using a nylon scrubbie or soft toothbrush. Wipe any remains with straight vinegar. As always, rinse and dry thoroughly.

Get Rid of Adhesives

To remove sticky residue, use an alcohol-based solvent, such as acetone. After the gumminess is gone, wipe away any cleanser left behind.

Buff to Gleaming

After cleansing your hardware, make it really gleam. Apply lemon oil or a dedicated stainless steel polish with a cloth, and buff dry with a second clean, lint-free cloth. Commercial polishes form a layer over stainless steel to help it repel dirt. The protection stays in place for several months. If you want to remove it, rub the area with a soft cloth damped with alcohol.

For best results, don’t use a stronger cleanser than necessary. Choose the one that fits the situation, and always be sure to wipe the surface clean and dry.

The China factor in the hardware factory

For many years now, a wide variety of products sold in the U.S. have been manufactured in Asian countries, especially, and perhaps most voluminously, China. The “Asian Tigers” – small but developed economic powers such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea – were slowly pushed out of their games of innovation and affordable mass production by the sheer size of the labor force in mainland China. With industrial and factory hubs crowding the coastal regions of Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian, as well as the city of Shanghai, the People’s Republic has had a growing influence over global commerce due to the volume of products its economy can produce. Its factories churn out products manufactured from a huge range of materials, from durable goods like metals and plastics, to high-tech electronics, to porcelain and glassware. Meanwhile, its repositories of raw materials to lubricate the gears of their economy of production have swelled to so great a size that China has cornered the market on many commodities to such a point that it can, and does, control the price of goods at a whim.

China at a glance

China is a big country: the third-largest in the world by area, about 4.5% larger than the United States; and the planet’s largest by population. As of 2013, it had the world’s second largest GDP and ranked as a consensus second-place finisher in purchasing power parity. Suffice it to say: as a global player in industry and manufacturing, China has both the size and the funds to be a major power, and with a stockpile of commodities closely at hand, it has the clout to wield that power.

How the labor market affects Chinese manufacturing abilities

One thing China has a hard time controlling, however, is its labor. In 2003, according to the Chinese government, the number of its migrant laborers exceeded 98 million (source: International Journal of Social Welfare), representing more than 7.5% of its total population at that time (around 1.28 billion people). The total share of migrant workers ballooned to 158 million laborers by 2011 (source: Reuters), and as of June 2013, “migrants [made] up about one third of the total urban population” in China (source: China Labour Bulletin). However, as more jobs become available in different industries throughout China, migrant workers from the central and western parts of the country find themselves staying closer to home, rather than venturing to a factory center like Guangzhou or an export nexus such as Shenzhen. Others desire newer, more modern jobs, rather than factory work, like assembling devices, manufacturing shoes, or casting metals (source: CNN). The Chinese government concurs, preferring to shift the focus of economic production within the country out of low-cost manufacturing, which also causes extreme pollution, and into service-based industry (source: Bloomberg). In order to incent workers to continue returning to jobs that are often low-paying, dirty, or even dangerous, factories – and in turn, their ownership – are forced to offer bonuses or higher wages for those workers, and to recruit agents who will locate additional workers to man the assembly lines (source: The New York Times).

In early 2011, China set in motion a five-year economic plan, its twelfth; one of its goals is to ensure a two-fold rise in the average Chinese wage by the end of those five years (2015) by mandating a mean 15% pay increase to workers each year (source: China Daily). In Shenzhen, the minimum wage has increased from “635 renminbi a month in 2005 [about $100] to 1,500 renminbi [about $240]” as of March 2012 (Times) – a gain of 136%. The wages are alluring, even for those migrant workers who choose to stay closer to home. However, their decision to stay at home and find new industries or new sources of income has created an “acute” labor shortage “in many Chinese industrial zones” (Times). So although the wages have increased, there are less employees working at the increased wage, resulting in higher overhead costs per man-hour. This has led many factories in China to re-think their operating strategies: what will they make? What services will they cease to offer? What products can be subcontracted to another company, or to a cottage industry, still doing this type of work?

U.S. imports from China since the Great Recession

Labor rates in China made it a popular destination for outsourced American jobs. Indeed, as manufacturing jobs declined in the United States, exports from China rose quickly; data from the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) show that for the 20-year period from 1986 through 2005, imports from the People’s Republic to the United States grew at double-digit rates, year-over-year, in every year except one (2001). During that period, U.S. imports from China increased at an average rate of over 22% per year. The United States grew increasingly dependent on the types of products that China could offer in volume, and concurrently, on the costs of labor used to keep the prices of those products down. As a comparison, in 1986, the United States imported approximately $4.7 billion of merchandise from China. By 2005, that number had grown to $243.5 billion (USCB); even when adjusted for inflation (4.7 billion 1986 dollars were worth about $8.4 billion in 2005), this equates to a 2807% increase in Chinese imports in just 20 years.

Since that time, however, the rate of increase has slowed. Many more buyers in the United States are interested in specifically “buying American”, or, more generally, avoiding the purchase of products made in China. A contributing factor to be considered is a rash of recalls of defective product from China in 2007 and 2008. Although about 40% of imported consumer goods in the U.S. came from China as of 2009, “the [Consumer Products Safety Commission] named Chinese makers in 69 percent of all recalls, of both imported and domestically produced goods” in 2007 (source: McClatchy Newspapers). Thus, in 2007, the rate of import slowed to less than 12%, and, with the exception of a leap up in 2010 (the Great Recession caused a 12.3% drop in 2009, after which imports returned almost immediately to pre-recession levels), Chinese imports have continued to slow, growing less than 10% Y/Y in 2011, less than 7% the following year, and a mere 3.5% in 2013. If the first four months of 2014 are any indication of what to expect for the remainder of the current year, Chinese imports may actually shrink substantially; through April, the total dollars project to be behind 2013 by approximately 7% (USCB).



Effect of rising Chinese labor costs within the kitchen & bath industry

Due to increasing labor costs, Chinese manufacturers, who previously kept prices as low as possible to retain their customers and keep their migrant workforce employed, have now begun to pass on the burden of higher costs to their American buyers, as well as to other markets around the world (sources: Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and CNBC). To be sure, labor costs make up a large part of the purchasing price of any goods, whether they come from Asia, Europe, or the United States. However, labor never accounts for 100% of the price of a product. By definition, the price of any goods should include the costs of manufacturing: running the machinery necessary to create a product; the costs of labor, including payroll and benefits; and overhead and operating expenses such as utilities and building maintenance. Chinese manufacturers, though, have seen an average 15% cost of labor increase and wrongly concluded that they must raise their end prices 15%—an across-the-board increase on 100% of the price, rather than a proportional increase based on the true cost of labor.

Because of these trends, it has caused many companies in the kitchen and bath industry, especially hardware companies like Cliffside Industries, to seek out alternatives for manufacturing their products. In the garment industry, it’s not uncommon to see jobs outsourced from China to lower-cost labor areas like Bangladesh and Cambodia. The latter is also a common landing place for metals manufacturing, along with Vietnam. For those manufacturers who prefer to keep their production in Asia, receiving shipments from Phnom Penh or Haiphong may seem nearly identical to receiving them from Shenzhen or Hong Kong. Yet, there is always a cost. “No other country can replicate the massive scale of China,” says the Wall Street Journal.

One other effect of the rising labor costs is that, as consumers continue to demand affordable goods from Chinese sources, manufacturers find other ways to cut costs as labor prices increase. This almost inevitably means a decrease in quality. It becomes less profitable for companies in China to do business the right way, because they can do a job that appears similar on the surface but, in the end, is much lower quality. What the manufacturers don’t realize—and perhaps it doesn’t bother them, because it’s not their reputation that suffers—is that this damages their customers and, in turn, has the net effect of reducing their amount of business.

The search for a new home for Cliffside

All of the above issues have hit home for Cliffside in the past few years. First, we’ve received a 15% price increase from our Chinese manufacturer based on the 15% labor rate increase. We never passed that true price increase on to our customers, choosing instead to absorb the lion’s share of it in order to maintain our business. Next, we’ve seen the quality of incoming product from China suffer, which has led to more hardware being rejected, both by our in-house QC teams and by our customers. Finally, we have indeed seen a demand for a decrease in Chinese imports; more and more regularly, consumers, dealers, and manufacturers alike are now specifically requesting products that are not necessarily “made in America”, but hardware that is not manufactured in the People’s Republic.

Cliffside is happy to report that we are making that happen.

Our attempts to locate new manufacturing

In late 2012, our manufacturers in China informed us that they would no longer manufacture products made from brass. They intended to cease production immediately and gave us no advance warning. For those of you who have done business with Cliffside over the long term, you know that we have always prided ourselves on carrying top-quality solid brass cabinet hardware. This has always been our hallmark. We negotiated vehemently with the supplier, demanding that they provide us with more notice. The manufacturer agreed to extend production through the end of 2013. However, in doing so, they moved the manufacturing of our product, without informing us, to subcontractors who did not understand the quality of hardware with which we, and our customers, have been familiar for the last 27 years. They also began to require much larger minimum order quantities, ranging from 400% to 1000% higher than our prior MOQs or even greater in some cases, and discontinues a wide range of our items without notice.

Meanwhile, Cliffside undertook a massive, worldwide search for new manufacturing. We explored other sources for product in Asia, but we found the minimum order quantities to be similar with all manufacturers. We also came to understand that, no matter where we went in Asia, we would not be able to achieve the same quality, because all manufacturers in China are beset by the same problems. Moving our manufacturing to Vietnam or Cambodia was never a strong consideration; although many of our competitors have done the same, they generally manufacture their products from zinc. Although zinc requires a much higher MOQ for a lower monetary investment, it also doesn’t provide the same quality as our standard brass hardware; because it is cast from a hot liquid, it has a tendency to form bubbles which can affect the quality of the finished piece.

Next, we began to investigate the possibility of making our cabinet hardware here in the U.S. Suffice it to say, there are very few companies left in this country who “do the whole job” when it comes to making brass cabinet hardware. There are a lot of steps involved. First, there are two types of manufacturing: turning knobs and pulls from brass rods; and forging knobs, pulls, and latches from hot brass using molds.

How it’s made

When a knob is turned, it comes off the lathe close to complete. The shape is as expected and doesn’t change much before it reaches your cabinetry. Pulls are generally the same; however, turned pulls have to be bent into the traditional “D” shape before they can be installed. Most of these items appear round (e.g., the 100 knob, the 161 knob, the SP-3 pull).

When an item is forged, a rod of hot brass is pushed into a mold (sometimes referred to as a “die” or “tooling”) to form the desired shape. This allows for the creation of more complex shapes, but requires the manufacturing of a tool that is the “inverse” of the shape required. Each mold itself is two pieces; a top and a bottom. High-pressure drop forges are used to press the top piece onto the brass rod, which is forced into the bottom piece and forms the requisite shape. These molds can be expensive, ranging into the thousands of dollars for each new style of brass hardware. Zinc casting molds are even more expensive; they can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Next, any hardware (knobs, pulls, cup pulls, or latches) has to be machined to accept a screw (or two); without this job, there’s no way to attach your hardware to a cabinet. After machining, the hardware has to be polished to a shine so it’s ready to accept the finishing process.

Brass finishes can vary greatly; there are many different ways to color (and discolor) metal. Finishing is hard, and it requires a lot of specialized equipment. In China, many finishes are simply lacquered on through simple processes without regard for the base metal. Unfortunately, without taking the time to make sure it’s done right and with high quality, the Chinese finishes have a tendency to look different than they actually should and can vary greatly from lot to lot. The finishing process is one of the main reasons why we decided not to continue having our product manufactured in China.

Finally, after all of the manufacturing and finishing, there’s another quality control step, and then the product has to be packaged and labeled. Cliffside takes extra time and care to have products packaged especially well. This ensures that the hardware arrives to your doorstep in good condition. Proper labeling also helps to make sure that you get the product you ordered.

Why we are not manufacturing in the United States

Suffice it to say, there are a lot of processes involved in manufacturing hardware. There are very few companies in the United States who do all of these jobs and do them well. There are many companies who claim their product is made in the United States; however, much of it is actually imported raw from other countries (mostly China) and then finished in the U.S. Is there a difference between finishes made in China and finishes made in the U.S.? Absolutely. The problem is that the cost of the raw material to manufacture the hardware continues to rise. As prices continued to rise, it became increasingly clear to us that China’s prices for fully manufactured hardware would soon be equivalent to, or greater than, our prices from alternative manufacturing sources. These alternative sources promised, and have always delivered, higher quality for the prices they commanded, and we felt that the increased quality was well worth the higher price.

Next, we investigated the possibility of doing the same as our competitors: importing raw hardware from China and then finishing it locally. However, the cost of doing so was nearly the same as our end solution, when all of the costs of logistics were tallied. We did locate very few sources in the United States who could manufacture our products from start to finish; however, due to the cost, it was prohibitively expensive for us to move all manufacturing to the States.

We also attempted to utilize resources with companies here in the U.S. who have their own factories overseas. We explored the possibility of working in a private factory in China, and also using manufacturing in Eastern Europe. Working in China, regardless of the factory, presents the same challenges as listed above, and product coming from Eastern Europe is an unknown quantity to us; we don’t know the quality, the lead time, or what the end result would be.

Finally, we considered changing our product line over to zinc and having it manufactured here in the U.S. However, the upfront cost in investment in tooling alone would have made the prices prohibitively high. Besides, our customers have known Cliffside Industries for years as a supplier of premium-grade solid brass cabinet hardware. It’s part of our mission statement to continue supplying traditional solid brass hinges, knobs, and pulls, and that is what we decided to do. Most of our competition sells zinc—why be like the rest when you can be the best?

Our solution to the China factor

After an exhaustive search of all manufacturing sources, Cliffside Industries is happy to announce that we are returning to our roots. When Cliffside was founded in 1987, our early products were sourced from Europe. After a few years, in order to keep pace with the rest of our industry on pricing, we had no choice but to make the transition to China. Now, after over 20 years in Asian markets, we are returning to European manufacturing.

Those of you who purchase our solid brass cabinet hinges know that they are of impeccable quality. Europeans are fine craftsmen with exacting attention to detail and a reputation for impeccable high-tolerance manufacturing. We’ve also been impressed with the quality of our hinge finishes that come from Europe. The reason for this is because of a difference in the finishing process: our European manufacturers use acid-dipping and electroplating to achieve their fine finishes.

Thus, we are announcing that, beginning this summer, brass hardware products arriving in our warehouse will begin to transition from Chinese manufacturing to European manufacturing. The transition will not be immediate. Because of the restrictions and limitations put on us by our former Chinese manufacturer, we have inventory in the warehouse on many items that still needs to be sold down. Eventually, however, all of our solid brass hardware items will come from one source: our high-quality European manufacturers.

We know that you will be pleased with the improvements we’ve made in our finishes. We hope that this will allow us to reduce lead times and improve our logistics by getting all of our products in from one source. Consolidating shipments will be a great time-saver for us as we continue to import our hardware. This change-over will also allow us to offer exciting new products and new finishes available as special orders. We are thrilled to be able to make this change and give our customers what they want.

For more information on our new hardware programs and product introductions, stay tuned to our blog to see new hardware suites as they become available! Cliffside Industries wants you to know that we truly appreciate your business, and we want to continue serving you as the industry’s premier top-quality cabinet hardware supplier.