Veronica asked: My doorknobs have a funny smell. What can I do to clean them?
Old doorknobs can develop a smell over time, especially metal doorknobs, such as brass. When your doorknob starts to smell, it needs a thorough cleaning. However, you should regularly sanitize your doorknob as well to remove any germs that have been deposited from your hands.
Washing the Doorknob
Start by giving the doorknob a general cleaning. Washing off the oil deposits left by people’s hands that have built up is often enough to remove the smell.
- Mix some dish liquid with water in a bowl to make suds.
- Dip a cloth in the soapy water, then use the cloth to thoroughly wipe off the doorknob. Don’t forget to wipe behind the handle and along the edges of the base as well.
- If any smell remains, follow the procedure below for sanitizing the doorknob.
Sanitizing the Doorknob
- For a more thorough cleaning, add a tablespoon of salt to ½ cup of white vinegar and stir the mixture well to dissolve the salt.
- Wipe the mixture onto the doorknob with a cloth and let it stay wet for several minutes.
- Moisten a cloth with plain water and use that to rinse off the vinegar solution.
- Rub the doorknob with a dry cloth afterward to polish it.
Additional Tips and Advice:
- Doorknob covers can be used to prevent oils from building up on metal knobs, as well as to conceal any odor coming from the metal itself. These can easily be tossed in the wash as needed.
- Hang a sachet from the doorknob. Every time the door opens, air is moved through the sachet, releasing a nice scent.
- There are disinfectant wipes that are quick and easy to clean with. Some common brands are Lysol and Clorox wipes. Simply wipe them over the surface of the doorknob and allow it to dry. These are designed to kill bacteria which can cause odors.
- View our metal cleaning guides to find specific cleaning instructions for the various types of metals.
- No-Hassle House Cleaning by Christina Spence
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart
- The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money by Richard Freudenberger and the Editors of Backhome Magazine