Are you renovating an old house and have a lot hinges and latches that are gunked-up with 100 years of paint, oil, and general nastiness? Don't get rid of them only to buy replacements from a salvage store. Put the lot of them in a crock pot filled with water on high and let them soak for an hour or two. This will loosten up the grime and make it easier to scrape, sand, or wire brush the pieces clean. You'll save money and retain your home's original hardware.
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