Friday 28 June 2019


(For everyone asking, you can buy this style of handle cheaply now on eBay, search for knurled brass)

The dream, muted brass, but for some reason, very rarely sold like that.

This is the easy way I found to remove varnish/lacquer from solid brass
and with no harsh chemicals.

There's a bit of waffle after the how to
(nothing worse than having to trawl through waffle if you have just googled for a how to.)

It's easy, it only involves baking powder and water.

1. Remove your handles.

2. Fill a pan with enough water to cover them.

3. Add roughly a dessert spoon of baking powder for every pint of water.

4. Bring to the boil and throw your handles in.

5. Boil for 15 minutes
This is long enough for some varnishes, if  the lacquer is still attached throw them back in the pan for another 15.

6. Rinse, any left on bits of varnish should float off like thin gelatine or you can peel it off with your nail.

7. Re-attach and let the natural weathering begin.

Good luck!

Not door handles but shows why I love untreated brass 

Apologies, can't credit this pic to anyone, it has swirled around Pinterest, etc so much, anyone recognises the co?

I love muted or antique style, brass door furniture.
And though, the cost of new handles is not horrific, when your middle floor has orange laminate 'through out' and your toilet has survived a world war, you know where ANY money should be directed...

So having very shiny brass door handles all around my house,
in a reputed to be, Victorian style, I wondered if I could do anything with them?

Standard! Absolutely bog standard!

If I could make mine less Hyacinth Bucket shiny style, and some were shiny style with scratches.
They might be ... passable?

So I did a test run using the as above, easy stripping way, and it came up fine!

Added bonus,
no toxic fumes!
And this is what the brass handle, after about 6 weeks has mellowed down to.

So far so good, it actually looks nicer than the pic is showing.
Why am I such a rubbish photographer? Why??

So I stripped the rest and they are now, all hopefully going to mellow back to their natural beauty.

This one though, I replaced, what do you think?


I bought another of the same bog standard Victorian style brass ones and stripped the varnish off.
Now all doors have matching handles,
another small win.



  1. Just what I was looking for to get the lacquer off the handles of my late father's desk! Will try tomorrow. Many thanks!

    1. Good luck, that is such a nice thing to do. This way worked so well on my door handles, I'm now keeping my eye out for shiny brass planters etc I can strip this way.
      Let me know how you get on.