How to Install Cabinet Hardware

A quick way to update a kitchen is to switch out the hardware. Though drawers and pulls tend to be small, they make a significant impact on the overall appearance of the room. Installing new hardware isn’t complicated. Use ordinary tools and materials to create an extraordinary new look.

Reusing Old Holes

If you purchase new hardware that matches the holes of the existing pulls and knobs, the replacement process takes minutes.

  • Start by using a screwdriver to remove screws on the inside of the doors and drawers.
  • Line up each new piece of hardware with its holes, and put in the screws.
  • Tighten the screws well, and you’re done.

Some old-style pieces of hardware might have nuts and washers holding them on.

  • Loosen and remove the nut, slip off the washer and pull off the knob or pull.
  • If the new hardware has the same fastening system, insert the bolt through the original hole.
  • Slide the washer all the way up, then twist the nut on tightly.

Creating New Holes

Sometimes the hardware you really want doesn’t match the existing holes. That’s not a problem — it just takes a few extra steps.

  • After removing old hardware, determine the spots for the new holes. Many hardware and home improvement stores sell templates that guide you to properly position new holes so they’re both functional and pleasing to the eye. Using a template, mark the spots for your new holes and drill them out.
  • It’s easier to camouflage the old holes before you put up the new hardware. You have far better access for filling and covering holes up.
  • Use wood putty to fill them completely.
  • Remove any excess filler with a putty knife.
  • Let the putty dry. Depending upon the size of your hole, this can take a few hours or the entire day.
  • Lightly sand the area with 150-grit paper to make sure it’s smooth.
  • If the hole is gone, prime the area and then cover with paint or finish.
  • If you can still see the hole, repeat the wood putty application process.
  • When the paint or finish has dried, screw your beautiful new hardware into the new holes you made.

Replacing cabinet hardware can make a dramatic difference. With minimal work and expense, you’ve refreshed and updated the room’s appearance.

Kitchen Cabinet Knobs vs. Pulls: Which is Right for You?

knobs vs. pulls

Your kitchen is the central hub of your home, and most people consider it the most important room of the house. You probably begin your day in the kitchen with a cup of coffee or a quick breakfast with your family. Everyone gathers in the kitchen to socialize, and it’s where you cook meals and eat together. Kitchens are a main bonding area of the home. When you, your family and your guests are attracted to your kitchen and want to spend time in it, your kitchen is a success.

A highly functioning and aesthetically pleasing kitchen is an investment in your family’s health and happiness — and all the little details matter. When designing your kitchen, you typically start with the cabinets and appliances, and from there you can personalize it with corbels, aprons, pulls or knobs. There are many hardware details to consider — and the smallest often make a big impact.

The Importance of Kitchen Cabinet Knobs & Pulls

One of the smallest details in your kitchen is the knobs and pulls on your cabinets and drawers. The hardware you choose should not be an afterthought in the process of remodeling or updating. Cabinet knobs and pulls aren’t always given the consideration they deserve, but the style you choose can significantly impact the overall feel of your kitchen space. The hardware is equally as important as the cabinets themselves!

As you begin to shop around for knobs and pulls, you’ll quickly discover a dizzying selection of finishes, shapes and styles. For example, moderno-style pulls pair excellently with cabinets in a modern kitchen, casting a sleek essence of elegance upon the space. If you’re looking for an old-world feel, antique-style knobs might be just what you need to complement your décor. It can be overwhelming to approach the topic of knobs vs. pulls, but it’s a choice that deserves your time and consideration.

After you choose new cabinets and appliances for your kitchen, the last thing you want to do is agonize over the hardware, which is why many people don’t give much thought to knobs and pulls. Many people also realize their kitchen space needs an update, but they don’t want to sink thousands of dollars in a complete remodel. Fortunately, swapping out your knobs or pulls can make a significant difference in the look of your kitchen — and you’ll spend a fraction of the cost that comes with a traditional renovation.

The costs for knobs and pulls can vary greatly, depending on the option you choose. Knobs start at a few dollars for one but can be a hundred dollars or more if you choose a high-end option, such as a knob made of Swarovski crystal.

Pulls are generally more expensive because they’re larger, but like knobs, there’s a wide range in price that depends on the option chosen. Regular kitchen cabinet pulls begin at a few dollars but can be over a hundred dollars or more for a single pull, such as an embellished antique bronze option. Cup pulls are a little more expensive to start, with the less expensive options starting around $7 for one.

General Guidelines for Choosing Kitchen Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

It’s important to choose hardware that will complement the rest of your kitchen décor and accentuate its worthy features. Generally, most people want their cabinet and drawer hardware to coordinate with the handles on their appliances. The colors should work well together, and the finishes shouldn’t clash. Drastically different shapes can also make your kitchen feel cluttered. You should use functionality and your personal preference to approach choosing knobs vs. pulls, but there are a few general guidelines to follow that correlate with your style of cabinets.complement your kitchen

  • Shaker style cabinets.

    The most common style of cabinet offers flexibility in design, and they work well with knobs or cup or bin pulls. Shakers are known for their simplicity and clean lines, so simple hardware is often used, such as round knobs.

    Traditional nickel or steel knobs or pulls are common, as well as vintage glass or ceramic knobs. Vintage pulls with exposed screws provide a classic touch or industrial feel to a new kitchen with shaker cabinets. Tubular bar pulls — which can be short or long and dramatic — modernize a traditional kitchen with shaker cabinets. Flat bar pulls offer a contemporary edge, while wire pulls keep your décor traditional. Arched and footed bar pulls offer a classic look on shaker style cabinets.

  • Flat-panel cabinets.

    Most often seen in modern or contemporary kitchens, flat-panel cabinets embrace minimal embellishment to focus on natural materials. Subtle hardware choices are best, such as stainless steel bar pulls. You often see long, extended versions placed on the door or drawer.

    If you prefer square edges, you can choose a flat bar pull. Recessed pulls offer a functional option that work especially well for high-traffic kitchens. If you’re aiming for a minimalist look to your kitchen, you might consider discreet tab pulls for your flat-style cabinets.

  • Inset cabinets. Inset cabinets offer flush, inset doors with an edge detail that evokes fine craftsmanship. Many insets have exposed hinges, giving you something else to consider as most people prefer knobs or pulls to match them. Both pulls and knobs are often paired with inset cabinets.
  • Distressed cabinets. Rustic hardware pairs nicely with distressed cabinets. Consider adding back plates for a Mediterranean style, rustic or antique knobs, or sandcast bronze pulls.
  • Louvered cabinets. Both pulls and knobs work with louvered kitchen cabinets, but knobs are most common. Keep in mind louvered cabinets have more detail than a plain, solid cabinet. There’s more to look at, so they naturally require more attention, which is why many people choose simple or classic knobs or pulls to complement louvered cabinets.
  • Beadboard cabinets. These cabinets offer a cottage chic look, which pairs nicely with knobs and cup pulls. Like louvered cabinets, there’s more detail to view, so simple hardware tends to work best. Adding elaborate hardware might be too distracting and take away from the character of the beadboard.

Ultimately, you should choose your hardware according to your personal preferences, kitchen style and goals for functionality. If you’re concerned about resale value, recognize that the most popular hardware finishes are satin, nickel and bronze. There are no hard-set rules to follow when it comes to adding the final details to your kitchen, and many people choose a combination of knobs and pulls. If you’re unsure of which to choose for your kitchen cabinets or drawers, it’s wise to examine the pros and cons of both.

Knobs or Pulls: The Pros and Cons

The choice between cabinet pulls and knobs isn’t easy — both come with positives and negatives. Keep in mind that you’ll be using your knobs or pulls every day. Whatever you choose should feel natural in your hand and flow with the décor of the room. You should consider your kitchen’s décor and style, the look you want to achieve, your budget, ease of cleaning, ease of use, the weight of your drawers and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Knobs

Knobs are the most basic type of kitchen hardware, and they’re easy to swap out yourself. They’re usually installed using a single screw. Knobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they’re made from various materials such as stainless steel, brass, stone, zinc, crystal, glass, marble, ceramic and more. Common shapes for kitchen knobs include round, square and birdcage. There are also plenty of novelty pulls to choose from, so you can add an element of your personality to your space.knobs over pulls

The pros of choosing knobs:

  • You enjoy many options. You have seemingly endless options for kitchen knobs. You can choose something economical or opt for a luxurious knob to accent a formal, elegant kitchen. Large or small, colorful or wood, round or square, there’s an option to suit any kitchen. You can get as personal and detailed as you like when you choose knobs for your kitchen.
  • Knobs are generally less expensive. You can purchase standard knobs at a lower cost than standard pulls. Of course, high-end knobs will cost more than a standard pull, but if you’re looking for the most economical choice, you will find a larger variety of inexpensive knobs than pulls.
  • Knobs are easy to install. Within minutes, you can transform the look of your kitchen by switching out the knobs. They are attached using a single screw, so all you have to do is unscrew the old knob and screw on the new one.
  • Round knobs will never go crooked. Knobs are attached with screws, and screws can become loose over time. If you choose a round knob, it will always be centered. Novelty knobs, square-shaped knobs, and knobs that aren’t round can lose their center and look unbalanced when a screw inevitably becomes loose. Although not a difficult problem to fix, it can be annoying to see crooked and uneven knobs throughout a kitchen, which is why many people prefer round options. Cliffside’s knobs have brads at the base of the knob that stick into the cabinet and prevent rotation.

The cons of choosing knobs:

  • Knobs are harder to grasp. When compared to pulls, knobs are typically harder to grasp and pull. This can be an issue for people with arthritis or people with a disability.
  • They can be hard to clean. If you choose novelty knobs or highly embellished knobs, they may be hard to clean. Grease splatters, messy hands and occasional spills are common in kitchens. Intricately detailed knobs will add flair and personality to your kitchen, but if you can’t easily clean them, you may end up replacing them too soon.
  • Some drawer knobs and knobs on lower cabinets can catch on clothing. Although pulls that extend on both sides are more likely to catch clothing, knobs can also pose the same problem. Depending on the size, shape and location of the knob, it can catch on clothing and become an annoyance.

Everything You Need to Know About Pulls

Pulls are also easy to install, but they usually involve more than a single screw. Most pulls require two screws, and like knobs, there are many options to consider. The most common types of pulls include:

  • Bar pulls
  • Cup pulls/Bin pulls
  • Arch pulls
  • Ring pulls
  • Drop handle/Bail pull
  • Birdcage

pulls over knobs

There are many lengths available, but the most common are three to four inches. Length is an important consideration because if the pull is too small, the size of the cabinet will overpower it. This can also be a problem with heavy appliance doors. If you are using a small pull, it can actually become warped over time. If the pull is too large, it can look overwhelming. You can mark your cabinets with a piece of painter’s tape to determine which length you prefer.

Choose What’s Best for Your Kitchen

So which is better: knobs or pulls? It’s clear there’s no definitive answer. It’s a matter of personal preference and considering the other elements in your kitchen space. You should give extra thought to the function you want your hardware to serve, and then make the best choice for your needs. Homeowners often find that a combination of knobs and pulls works best for their needs, and there’s no lack of variety and options from which to choose.
whats best for your kitchen

Consider Cliffside Industries for your decorative kitchen hardware needs, including your kitchen knobs and pulls. We’ve been in the bath and kitchen industry since 1987, and we look forward to helping you! Browse our impressive inventory of kitchen cabinet hardware, sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive product information and updates, or contact us today to discover how Cliffside Industries can help you choose the right hardware to update or put the finishing touches on your kitchen space.

12 Quick & Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen

easy ways to update kitchen

Kitchens are often thought of as the heart of a household. We spend a lot of time in our kitchens every day, and they’re usually the backdrop of most social gatherings in our homes. If your kitchen style is beginning to feel outdated and uninspiring, there are a number of quick and easy ways to update your kitchen that will save you the time and expense of a complete kitchen remodel.

Here are 12 ideas that are sure to have your kitchen looking new and improved in no time:

  1. Update Cabinet Knobs

Updating certain hardware pieces throughout your kitchen is a simple change that can have a big impact on the overall look of your kitchen. Replacing basic ceramic or plastic knobs on your cabinets with heavy-duty stainless steel or brass knobs can give your kitchen cabinets a whole new refreshed style. Depending on the look you’re trying to achieve in your kitchen, you’ll find metal cabinet knobs that range in aesthetics from simple and contemporary, to ornate and decorative.Hardware Pieces

Solid brass, bronze and stainless steel knobs are durable and long lasting, even under heavy use. If elegance is your thing, then opt for knobs made of crystal or marble to take your cabinet décor to the next level. These materials look sophisticated and classy. This simple change of replacing cabinet knobs is easy to implement on your own, and it will cost a whole lot less than replacing your cabinets entirely.

  1. Replace Drawer Pulls With Stylish Cup Pulls

Cup pulls add a unique style to drawers by going beyond the basic drawer handle. Whether you’re looking for a way to add antique or rustic style to your kitchen or you want to add modern flair, cup pulls enhance any décor. Since cabinet pulls are used frequently each day, look for quality metal styles that are durable and built to last. Cup pulls also come in interesting shapes and designs like leaves and clamshells to give your kitchen a fun aesthetic.

If you have a removable island or a butcher block in your kitchen, an easy way to make that extra piece look cohesive with the rest of your kitchen décor is by adding coordinating cup and cabinet pulls to drawers and doors. This addition will make your island look purposeful and blend it with the rest of your kitchen cabinets — even if the finish or countertop is different.

  1. Swap out Cabinet and Door Hinges

Replacing a door hinge may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about updating your kitchen. However, older and cheaper cabinet and door hinges have a tendency to break or discolor over prolonged use, especially if they are made of plastic.New hinges

If you think about it, you open your cabinet doors multiple times a day. Over a few years, that can take a toll on those hinges holding your doors in place. Replacing them with hinges that are made from a quality material like solid brass will not only help your cabinet doors function better, but it will make them look better, too! Choose a hinge color that matches the other hardware in your kitchen for a unified look and feel. For easy installation, look for hinges that are adjustable so you can use the same hinges to fit multiple sized doors and cabinets. This small change will make your cabinets look updated and keep them functioning properly for years to come.

  1. Choose a Whole New Hardware Suite

When updating your kitchen with new cabinet hardware, one of the easiest ways to achieve a cohesive look is to choose a matching hardware suite. By choosing a hardware suite, all of the guesswork of matching one piece to another is done for you. A hardware suite includes things like cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, door hinges and even window hardware — all with a similar finish and craftsman style.

Many suites come with multiple sizes of each item so you can update areas throughout your kitchen by coordinating hardware on everything from cabinets, drawers, doors and even appliances. Changing your cabinet hardware is an inexpensive way to give new life to your kitchen, and choosing a matching hardware suite makes it simple.

  1. Install a Built-in Wine Rack

If you’re a budding wine connoisseur who wants to someday own various bottles of the best wine from around the world — or if you simply have limited counter space and a standing wine rack won’t do — then installing a built-in wine rack in your kitchen is exactly what you need!Wine logic wine racks

Wine Logic wine racks are built-in right underneath your kitchen cabinets, eliminating the need to take up any counter space with a freestanding wine rack. Wine Logic racks come with two to five separate slide out trays that each hold up to six bottles of wine. And the best part is, Wine Logic’s horizontal design stores wine in the best possible condition, keeping the corks wet and the wine untouched by air.

The shade from the cabinet also keeps your wine shielded from the light and sun, preserving the natural flavors of your wine. When you’re ready to choose a wine from the rack, simply slide out one of the shelves and browse your full selection of prized wine!

  1. Change Your Lighting

If you have dim lighting, dull fixtures or you’re just not thrilled with the lighting pieces you currently have in your kitchen, swapping out lighting fixtures is a quick and easy upgrade you can do yourself.

Check out online home stores to find coordinating fixtures or browse vintage shops to find unique statement pieces. There are plenty of inexpensive light fixtures to choose from if you don’t have a big budget.

Even if you have multiple light fixtures in your kitchen, don’t worry about finding new fixtures that match exactly. By varying the design slightly, each light fixture will stand out and create visual interest in your kitchen. However, when choosing one-off pieces, just be sure to stick with a theme for your lighting so it looks purposeful. In other words, if you’ve picked a rustic metal chandelier for over your dining table, choose something that is also rustic inspired to hang over your kitchen sink, like a simple pendant light, and keep that theme going with other lighting choices as well.

  1. Mount LED Lighting Under Cabinets

The kitchen is one place in particular where the more lighting you have, the better. By installing extra lights underneath your cabinets, you’ll give your kitchen a high-end feel for minimal cost.

Under-cabinet lighting serves not only a fashionable purpose by creating visual depth in your kitchen, but it serves a functional purpose as well. The added lighting will make everything from chopping veggies to reading recipes to measuring ingredients easier to see as your countertops will be under direct light from above. And as far as style goes, the right lighting can make all the difference!

  1. Refinish or Repaint Cabinets

Installing new cabinets is an expensive and time consuming task you will likely need to hire a professional to do. If you want the look of new cabinets but you don’t want the cost and hassle of completely replacing your old ones, then give your current cabinets a facelift with a new stain or paint color.

When choosing your new cabinet color, the options are limitless! White is a popular choice for cabinet colors because it goes with just about everything and will lighten up your kitchen. If the idea of having a kitchen that stands out is your thing, however, then pastels like sage green and light robin’s egg blue will give your kitchen a rustic feel with a subtle pop of color. Additionally, modern colors like bright red and deep gray are bold choices that will certainly have your kitchen making a statement in your home.

After you have your perfect colors selected, painting your kitchen cabinets can be done in a just a few steps:

  1. Remove cabinets from the wall and lay them on a flat, protected surface.
  2. Take off the doors, drawers and hardware and lay them flat as well.
  3. Get rid of existing paint, gloss and dirt by rubbing a thin layer of deglosser over your cabinets.
  4. Paint on one coat of primer over every surface you’ll be painting.
  5. Once the primer is dry, paint your cabinets with two coats of your chosen color. Make sure the paint has completely dried between coats.
  6. Reattach doors, drawers and hardware, and rehang your newly refinished cabinets!

  1. Add Custom Appliance Covers and Handles

If your old fridge still runs like a champ on the inside but it’s starting to look like a but run-down and haggard on the outside, spruce it up with a DIY custom cover! Appliance covers are fastened directly to the outside of your appliance, masking their appearance on the outside and making them blend in with your kitchen cabinetry. You can take materials like bead board paneling, wallpaper, wood from old pallets or even mismatched wood scraps from barns to create an interesting look for your old appliance.

If you’re going for wood paneling, the process is pretty simple. Fasten the pieces together and cut to the size of your appliance. Then, remove the handles from your appliance and glue the panels onto the front using a hot glue gun. You can either paint the wood and the sides of your appliance to match your cabinets, or you can leave it as is for a natural unfinished feel. Complete the look by adding new appliance pulls to match the rest of your kitchen hardware. Appliance covers can be added to just about any kitchen appliance that has a door like a refrigerator and dishwasher.

  1. Update Switch Plates & Outlet Covers

Over time, switch plates and outlet covers can become dingy and dirty. Replacing your old outlet covers is a quick way to add some new life to your kitchen décor. Switch plates and outlet covers are no longer stuck just being basic functional pieces on your wall. There are many different designs, materials and finishes that can complement the look of any room. Choose switch plates and outlet covers that are made from high-quality metal materials because they are more durable and stylish than basic plastic ones. Plus, you won’t have to worry about kitchen splatter creating unsightly stains on your covers, as this material is super easy to wipe clean!Outlet Covers

  1. Choose New Window Hardware

Updating the hardware on your kitchen windows can take them from standard to standout in seconds! Typically, window sash locks and lift pulls blend in with your window color, but switching these traditional styles up with an elegant bronze or a satin nickel finish will add interest and pizzazz to your windows. You can also choose a finish that matches the rest of your kitchen hardware for a pulled together style.

  1. Install a New Backsplash

Backsplashes are a fun way to break up solid kitchen wall colors while protecting your walls from food splatter and spills. The tiles used in creating a backsplash, whether they’re made of ceramic, vinyl or another material, can be easily wiped clean to remove all food debris after cooking.

When choosing a backsplash color scheme, keep in mind the type of look you want for your kitchen. By choosing a backsplash color that blends in with your wall color, you’ll be creating a streamlined, coordinated look. If you want to make a statement and have your backsplash pop, try choosing one or even a few colors that accent your wall color, making it stand out from the background.

Tiling a backsplash may seem difficult, but it’s actually easier than you’d think. Many home improvement stores sell tile backsplash in larger sections that are partially assembled, so all you have to do is piece them together like you would a puzzle when gluing them to your wall.

You can also create a one-of-a-kind backsplash by purchasing individual tile pieces and putting them together yourself. This could end up being somewhat time consuming — and you’ll need a steady hand to get those measurements exactly right — but the result could be amazing! Just keep in mind, the smaller the tile pieces are, the longer and more intricate this project will become. There are many tutorials online that will show you the tricks of the trade and give you a handle on exactly what to do before your start.

Get Started Updating Your Kitchen Now

There are lots of ways to update your kitchen that don’t involve taking on an exhausting complete kitchen remodeling project. Sometimes simple upgrades like replacing cabinet hardware and quick changes like swapping out light fixtures are all you need to give your kitchen new life.

Even adding new décor pieces like food-themed wall art, rustic chalkboards and decorative fruit baskets will add extra flair to an otherwise plain kitchen design. If you’re up for making a few simple swaps and working a little DIY magic, then refreshing the look of your kitchen can be quick and easy!

How to Choose the Right Hardware Size

Choosing the right hardware size requires a balance of function and style. Sacrifice one for the other, and you probably won’t be happy. You’ll be frustrated every time you try to pull open a drawer, or you’ll be disappointed whenever you walk into the room. Narrow down the wide selection by determining which size best opens and closes your cabinets, drawers or appliances. From that group you can pick hardware that best reflects your taste.

Getting the Right Hand Fit

You want hardware that looks great and works well. But you also need pulls and knobs that fit your hands. If yours are particularly large or small, select pieces that you can wrap a hand around comfortably. Size is also a concern if your hand strength and dexterity are hampered by arthritis or another condition.

As you choose hardware, pay close attention to the distance from the cabinet surface to where you’ll be gripping the hardware. A piece that’s too small to fit your hand makes opening and closing difficult. In addition, if your hand continually touches the cabinet finish, it’ll start to wear off.

Picking Hardware for Existing Cabinets

When replacing hardware on cabinets and drawers, people often choose to use existing holes — if not, you’ll want to fill and finish unused ones. To switch out hardware, it’s a matter of determining the right size.

  • Find the correct size for a pull by measuring from the center of one hole to the center of the other. When hardware is sold, the center-to-center (cc) measurement is typically shown in inches or millimeters. Common cc measurements are 3 inches, 4 inches, 96 millimeters and 128 millimeters. If your measurement is in one unit and you and need the other, use a handy online conversion tool.

 

  • Depending upon your cabinets, the mounting screws that come with your hardware may or may not be the right size. The correct length for a screw is the distance from the inside surface of the door or drawer to its outside surface, plus one-quarter inch.

Choosing Hardware for New Cabinets

When selecting hardware for new cabinets, options can be almost overwhelming. Start narrowing down your choices:

  • For standard-sized cabinets, 3- or 4-inch and 96- or 128-millimeter pulls are most common. Typical sizes for knobs are 1 1/4- or 1 3/8-inch. “Standard” size doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all. Standard base and wall cabinets typically run from 12 to 36 inches.
  • Larger cabinets generally require larger pulls: 6 to 12 inches cc.
  • The width of a drawer matters. If it’s 18 inches or less, one pull or knob is enough. Many people find larger drawers move more smoothly with two pieces of hardware. An extra-long pull is an option if you want to use just one hand.
  • Knobs 1-inch or smaller are suitable for specialized pullouts, such as apothecary drawers, spice drawers and cutting boards.
  • Larger knobs — at least 1 1/2 inches — are appropriate for larger cabinets. However, they’re also useful if you want a dramatic appearance.
  • If you want knobs on both doors and drawers, use the same size throughout.

Considering Details

  • Depending upon your cabinet, the mounting screws that come with your hardware may or may not be the right size. The correct length for a screw is the distance from the inside surface of the door or drawer to its outside surface plus one-quarter inch.
  • Doors with special decorative accents, rounded edges, raised panels or five-panel construction affect your hardware options. Hardware needs to be flush to the surface. For instance, if a standard 3-inch pull won’t fit properly, try a slightly smaller or larger size.

These guidelines will steer you in the right direction for hardware size, but they’re not hard and fast rules. For cabinets that’ll make you happy, you should also listen to your own preferences.

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.

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