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Doors & Windows

How can I remove rust or buildup from exterior door handles?

Hi there,

I've lived in my apartment for about a year and have never paid much attention to the outside of my patio door, since I don't use it very much. I noticed today that the handle on the outdoor side has a lot of discoloration and possibly rust. The handles might be stainless steel, but I'm not completely sure. I live near San Francisco California pretty close to the water.

Here's a picture of the inside handle, looking good:

But here's the outside, looking crummy:

I searched around and saw suggestions including: clean with a water and sponge, clean with water and dish soap, and clean with water and baking soda. I tried all three of those, but none seemed to have much effect. Am I out of luck due to neglecting these for a year, or is there a way to get these looking neat and polished again?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Posted 2014-07-13T23:45:30+0000  by diyster diyster
The interior looks like nickel and maybe it's the camera but the outside looks like brass with some kind of coating.  Is that correct?

Unless this is expensive hardware, it's likely brass plated with a lacquer coating (to prevent oxidation).  You can remove the hardware, clean it with any number of products designed to polish metal, and then hit it with another coat of spray lacquer.  Being close to the ocean, it will require regular maintenance.

Or invest in high quality stainless steel hardware.
Posted 2014-07-15T03:31:35+0000  by Adam444

Hello Diyster,

Welcome to the community.

I don’t think anything is going to work to clean the handle at this point. It appears to me that the salty sea air had pitted the finish. Once the finish has been effected all the way through there is not anything you can do to bring the finish back.

The other thing I wanted to point out is that the handle that you have is called a passage handle and is normally used on interior doors such as a bathroom. The slotted button on the outside can be turned to unlock the door handle. So unless this is a door inaccessible to others from the outside it is not secure.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I would love to help.

Thanks again for joining the how-to community.

Posted 2014-07-18T17:48:50+0000  by Christine_HD_OC
Thanks very much for the replies! I didn't realize that about the passage handle, so thanks for pointing that out!

I think the main lesson to me here is one in the value of preventative maintenance.  :)
Posted 2014-07-28T03:57:11+0000  by diyster
Hello again Diyster,

Your welcome.

I agree 100% that the regular maintenance will help. But unfortunately that salty sea air is brutal to just about any metal. 

Thanks again for joining the community. I look forward to your next question / project. 
Posted 2014-08-06T15:31:22+0000  by Christine_HD_OC
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