What can you do to make your home easier to sell? Small home improvement projects like polishing brass doorknobs can really help. Because people touch them so often, brass doorknobs pick up oil and grease from hands. Humidity also affects brass doorknobs, causing the brass finish to dull.

“That kind of stuff builds up over time, creates an unsightly dark finish that can–with a little elbow grease and a little bit of polish–can be taken away and create a really nice, bright new look,” says Andy Sjostrom a licensed handyman from Oak Park, Ill.

No detail is too small when you are trying to sell your house, says Sjostrom, and polishing your brassware and doorknobs is an easy do it yourself home improvement project that can make old brass handles and brass doorknobs pop. Polished brass doorknobs and handles create a lasting impression with potential buyers.

So, you are ready to polish your brass and retouch an area of character in your home. What tools will you need to polish your brass?

Materials you will need:
latex gloves
lacquer thinner
steel wool
brass polish
an old t-shirt

Before you get started, remember, you will be working with strong chemicals on this brass polish home improvement project and you want to be careful not to spill or overuse them. Also be careful of the brass polish fumes: “any time you work with chemicals like this you want to work in a well ventilated area,” Sjostrom says.

Step 1. Apply lacquer thinner to some quadruple aught (0000) steel wool–the finest steel wool you can buy when polishing brass.

Step 2. Use the steel wool to rub the lacquer onto your brass doorknob or hardware. This should break through the first coat on the brass and attack the built up grime. “And the steel wool is nice and fine so it doesn’t scratch or mar the finish,” Sjostrom says about this brass polish project.

Step 3. After you have removed as much grime and rust as possible from the brass, you should go over the brass with a nice brass polish. Sjostrom recommends Brass-o. Be sure to shake the brass polish well before you apply it to the brass.

Step 4. Apply about an inch in diameter’s worth of the brass polish to an old t-shirt and then wipe it on to the brass. Applying the brass polish is similar to applying car polish to a car, and you want to lay on an even coat of brass polish.

Step 5. Allow the brass polish to sit on the brass doorknob or brass handle for several seconds before buffing it off. Using an old t-shirt gives you increased flexibility which is great for getting the brass polish into crevices. You can also use the same t-shirt, in a different spot, to buff the brass polish off.

The whole brass polishing process should only take you between 20 and 30 minutes per brass doorknob. And if you often polish the brass doorknobs it will probably take less time. Polishing brass doorknobs is a great do it yourself home improvement project that offers instant gratification.

Hiring a professional to polish your brass won’t cost you much, but it might be more than it’s worth for this easy home improvement project. If you have the time and enjoy do it yourself projects like polishing brass, you can save money on bringing in a handyman or some other licensed professional.

A typical fee for a professional to do this home improvement job would be around $45 plus materials, says Sjostrom of polishing brass.

For more stories on home improvement, home design, how a handyman can help you, real estate and personal finance, visit ThinkGlink.com.

Published: Jul 11, 2008