The Best Way To Clean Crystal Hardware

A passel of cleaning supplies already in your kitchen might be all that's needed to remove even the most stubborn dirt and grime from your crystal hardware. Soiled drawer handles, knobs, pulls, chandeliers, and glassware can all be restored with a minimum of fuss, time, or expense. In fact, generic cleaning products along with a few natural additions are basically all you'll need.

Careful handling is the main ingredient of the crystal cleaning process. Knowing the dos and don'ts of crystal maintenance is also fundamental. Washing by hand, eschewing cleansers with potent solvents, and not using harsh abrasives are some of the important rules. Many of the crystal hardware items are "high touch," so they might also require sanitizing as well as cleaning to remove bacteria.

Crystal is a natural or synthetic material that's clear and transparent. Also known as lead glass, it can contain as much as 25% lead oxide. The more lead oxide, the heavier and shinier is the crystal. In nature, its components occur in repetitive sequences, which are responsible for its crystalline appearance, per online shopping store HomeClick. Synthetic crystals can be cut to resemble the natural form and mimic faceted gems. Crystal hardware first achieved popularity as an alternative to metals required for use in World War I, according to Direct Door Hardware.

Here's how to clean the crystal hardware in your home.

Cleaning crystal knobs, etc.

If yours is a typical home, it'll have dozens of knobs, hinges, and door knockers, many of which may be made of crystal. Per Great Valley Lockshop, instead of using a dishwashing liquid or other commercial cleaner to clean your various hardware, you can concoct a solution of white vinegar and warm water. Spray onto the hardware surfaces and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Forcefully wipe it off and then allow the hardware to air dry, repeating the process if necessary. How To Clean Stuff suggests using a hair dryer set to cool can speed up the drying time. A touch of isopropyl alcohol added to the cleaning solution can also work to sanitize the items.

Cleaning crystal with a paste made from white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt is effective to use on stubborn spots and stains. For a more thorough and complete cleaning, the hardware should be unscrewed or twisted off, and separated from its source. The pieces can then be submerged in the water/vinegar liquid for approximately a half hour. Scrubbing all the nooks and crannies using a soft-bristle brush can top off the cleaning routine. When working on the crystal hardware, be sure not to overlook any backplates that might also require your attention.

Glassware and fixtures

While not hardware, cleaning a crystal chandelier has its own set of issues. For example, having to take it down or disassemble it first are two likelihoods. Leaving it intact but needing to work while on a ladder is another possibility. However, routine feather dusting may preclude the need for such drastic measures. In any case, a mixture of 4 parts distilled water and 1 part alcohol is the best cleaner, according to Molly Maid.

Take the following precautions when cleaning a crystal chandelier: Spread a blanket underneath it as a safety net; turn off the power and tape over the switch to prevent someone else from turning it on; if deconstructing, photograph first and take notes for putting the chandelier back together; and as with any crystal glassware, use gloves when handling to protect against fingerprints. Spray the solution onto a lint-free cloth, not directly on the chandelier. Dry immediately.

A mild dishwashing liquid can be used to clean crystal glassware, and you can rub a bit of baking soda to get rid of stubborn stains. Soaking overnight in white vinegar and water, along with a denture cleaner, is also an effective approach. Glassware can be polished after the vinegar-and-salt paste is allowed to sit for 10 minutes, then rinsed with warm water.

A tip to erase water spots: coffee filters. The Maids recommends this tactic for crystal glasses that look hazy: Fill with hot water and plunk in an antacid tablet. Remember to never put the hardware or glasses in the dishwasher — crystal is not dishwasher-safe.