Remove old paint from metal: A long, hot, sudsy soak in a crockpot with water and a bit of liquid detergent to break the paint bond. More often than not, you can slide all the cooked paint layers off with your fingers. A scrubbing with a nylon brush removes the stubborn bits. A beeswax furniture polish after stripping, or a nonabrasive polish like Flitz or Maas can restore the sheen to solid brass or thickly plated hardware.
This tip from AT reader Anna at D16 has to be shared. We've seen the one where you boil your painted hardware, but this is the slow-cook method: 1. Get a crockpot (cheap at Goodwill!) 2. Add hardware 3. Cover with water 4. Add 1/4 cup liquid laundry detergent 5. "Cook" on middle setting overnight