Squeeze powdered graphite, available at hardware stores, into the key slot, then turn the dead bolt with a key to distribute the powder. (Do this every couple of years to prevent sticking.) Steer clear of spray lubricants, such as WD-40, which collect dust.Stubborn Latch Bolt
Latches also need occasional lubrication. A squirt of silicone or WD-40 on the extended latch is just what the locksmith ordered. Splotchy Lacquer
When lacquer starts to peel or wear in spots, remove all the finish with a methylene-chloride paint stripper. Be sure to protect your skin and adjacent door surfaces, and provide plenty of fresh air. Wipe down the clean metal with ammonia, then care for it as recommended below. Tarnished Metal
To keep it shiny, rub on jeweler's rouge, such as Flitz (about $6; doitbest.com
). Keep it away from the keyhole so that it doesn't clog the lock. For a soft patina that fits nicely with an old house, buff on a clear, protective layer of car wax, like Turtle Wax, every three months or so. Waxing will also preserve lacquer that's still in good shape. Buffing on a coat of wax every three months will keep a lacquered finish, like the one on this chrome Baldwin entry set, looking like new.