Homeowners are faced with many options when embarking on a kitchen renovation project. Along with the selection of flooring, cabinets, and color options, there are many cabinet hardware decisions to make. One option for kitchen hardware that requires very little care and that maintains its beautiful shine for years is pewter.

Pewter is a tin-based alloy that has been used for items such as dishes, jewelry, and utensils for centuries. Modern pewter is composed of approximately 95% tin with small amounts of copper and antimony. While some pewter used to contain lead, modern pewter does not and it is not dangerous to have in the home today. Pewter is considered by many experts to be the fourth most valuable metal today, only after platinum, gold and silver.

For the busy homeowner looking to combine easy maintenance with beautiful hardware, pewter is the obvious choice. It is durable, long-lasting, and easy to clean. An interesting and unusual note about pewter is that it will actually look better the more it is handled. This is certainly not the case with most hardware finishes, and it makes pewter stand out in the hardware market. The more the pewter is handled, the more the warm patina of the pewter will come out, creating a lovely shine and texture. Pewter does not require polishing, as do silver and copper hardware, and will tarnish very little over time.

While little care is required with pewter to maintain the charm of the hardware, it is helpful to perform light maintenance on pewter hardware periodically. To create a homemade pewter cleaner, simply use warm soapy water on pewter hardware. Rinse each pewter piece and towel dry with a soft cloth.

If you notice a slight tarnish on your pewter hardware over time, there are simple ways to fix this problem. Purchase a commercial metal polish (not one used for silver) and gently rub the polish on the hardware with a soft cloth. Make small circular motions and watch the black residue fade away. Wash each piece and dry completely. If you don’t want to buy a commercial cleaner, you can make a household cleaner just as easily. Mix together a teaspoon of salt, a cup of white vinegar, and enough flour to make a paste. Spread this paste on each piece of hardware where tarnish is visible and let it dry for about an hour. Rinse the paste off the hardware pieces with warm water and allow each piece to dry. If you are working with a satin finish pewter, rub the paste into the finish in only one direction.

Pewter hardware is the perfect answer for busy homeowners. It’s hardware that will shine and maintain its beauty for years to come with very little maintenance. Also, in homes with heavy foot traffic and constant use of hardware, pewter will benefit from constant handling and will become richer in hue. Enjoy an easy pewter home renovation decision.

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