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How to Clean Matte and Brushed Finish Fixtures

How to Clean Matte and Brushed Finish Fixtures

Matte and brushed finishes are popular choices for high-touch fixtures — think sink faucets and cabinet hardware — because they're so forgiving. They mask fingerprints, dirt, and water stains that are often instantly obvious on shinier polished surfaces. These finishes also add a soft glow to the room and work well in a variety of design styles, from traditional to modern.

Since matte and brushed fixtures are predicted trends for 2023, now is the perfect time to review how to clean these surfaces. These smudge-friendly surfaces may not need to be wiped down as frequently as their polished counterparts, but they do need to be cleaned regularly. However, before you spray, wipe, and rinse, it's important to learn the best products, tools, and techniques to use when cleaning these satiny surfaces without damaging them.

Pros and Cons of Matte and Brushed Finish Fixtures

There's a reason matte and brushed finishes are so popular. Black matte gives the room a sleek, sophisticated look. Brushed nickel is a stunning yet affordable option that can have warm or cool undertones.

Pros of Brushed Brass

  • Adds warmth to the room
  • Complements and blends in well with other colors
  • Versatile tone that works well in elegant and contemporary spaces

Cons of Brushed Brass

  • Can be pricier than other options
  • Harder to match with replacement parts

Pros of Brushed Nickel

  • Affordable option that tends to be easy to find
  • Durable finish doesn't show fingerprints and watermarks
  • Matches well with many design styles and color palettes

Cons of Brushed Nickel

  • Clashes with stainless steel
  • Need to pay attention to undertones when matching with other accessories

Pros of Matte Black

  • Affordable and available in multiple price points
  • Easy to match with other colors
  • Hides fingerprints and watermarks

Cons of Matte Black

  • More easily damaged by tools
  • Traps dust and powder on the surface

What Works: The Tools

It's surprising for some people to learn that the best and safest cleaners are often the simplest ones they have on hand. Warm soapy water is a great choice, but you can also use a pH-balanced cleanser with a soap base. Basic dish soap works well, as it typically has degreasing properties that can break down soap scum. Some people prefer using distilled white vinegar diluted with water.

You also need a gentle cloth with enough scrubbing power to tackle soap scum and hard water deposits. Microfiber and cotton cloths are good choices, but make sure they have not been washed with fabric softener. A sponge with a scratch-free scrubber can also work in a pinch, but you may find it easier to work a cloth around and in the nooks and crannies of the handles and the space between them. Grab a spray bottle to distribute the cleaner evenly around the fixtures' surface.

What Works: The Techniques