Dear Heloise: What is the easiest way to remove old paint from doorknobs and other such hardware? - Gina Richey, West Lafayette, Ind.
Our contact says most doorknobs and hardware have a protective lacquer finish on them. To remove old paint spatters, you would have to use a paint remover, which would probably remove the protective coating. Doing this may permanently damage the doorknobs or hardware by exposing them to the elements, which can cause them to rust.
If the old paint cannot be removed with lots of warm, soapy water, it’s best to leave it alone. Or, install new doorknobs.
So this doesn’t happen again, remove all doorknobs and hardware before painting. Or, protect it with a coating of petroleum jelly or a plastic bag, which will keep paint spatters from sticking until you can wipe them clean. - Heloise