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How to Remove Paint From Metal Without Chemicals

May 19, 2019
    • Many owners of old homes are disappointed to find out that someone painted over beautiful metal components at one time, either inadvertently or out of laziness. Figuring out how to remove paint from metal doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, an incredibly effective paint remover for metal is boiling water. This technique is best for removing old paint from items like hardware, hinges, knobs, etc, and is likely the fastest, easiest, and cheapest option if done correctly. Find out how this process works and how to complete it without scratching or damaging the metal in question.  
    • 02of 07   Gather Your Supplies    Heirlooms at Home You won’t need many supplies to complete this project. To keep any potential lead paint away from cookware, we opted to use a disposable aluminum tin. Some people boil their metal for a longer period of time in a pot or crockpot. The choice is up to you. Just make sure that you dedicate the pot to this kind of work and do not use it to cook any food after this project.  Tools and Materials
      • Metal scrapper or putty knife
      • Disposable aluminum tray
      • Lint-free cloth
      • Boiling water Optional:
      • Crockpot / pot
      • Baking soda
      • Soft bristled brush  
    • 03of 07   Pour Boiling Water Over Metal    Heirlooms at Home The first step is to bring water to a boil. Once you get a rolling boil, carefully and slowly pour the boiling water over the hardware. You can have the hardware in a pot, crockpot, or a disposable aluminum tin. If using a tin, make sure you have it doubled up and resting on something that won’t get damaged by heat.   
    • 04of 07   Let Soak Until Paint Starts Bubbling    Heirlooms at Home If you opt to use a crockpot, turn it on high and let the hardware soak for 5 to 10 minutes. If you have your metal in a pot, simmer for the same amount of time. Most painted items won’t need to sit this long unless there are a lot of layers or crevices where the paint is more stubborn.  We opted not to simmer and just let the hardware sit in the tray filled with boiling water until the paint started to bubble. This took about five minutes. If you notice that the paint isn’t bubbling, carefully fill the pan with more boiling water to reheat the metal.

If you’re looking to repaint your metal hardware or furniture or you’re trying to clean the mistakes of a sloppy painter, removing paint from metal can seem like quite a task. In fact, there are several products on the market to make this task easier. With patience, you can have your metal pieces stripped of all color or varnish. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to remove paint from metal.

  • Removing paint with chemicals There are many types of chemical paint removers. Read the labels before buying one so that you choose the method you like best. You can choose between liquid, aerosol and paste paint removers. The item that you’re stripping should also be a factor in your decision about what chemical solution to purchase. Liquid removers dry quickly so they’re best for small piece of hardware, while aerosol sprays can cover a large item in a short time. Follow the directions on the paint remover. Most will require that you cover your metal with the solution, wait for it to activate and then rinse the metal in water or chisel the now easily removable paint [source: Smith & Arrow, Ace Hardware].
  • Removing paint with baking soda An effective and fast way to remove paint from small metal hardware is to boil it in water and baking soda. Take a pot that you can dispose of and fill it halfway with water. Pour enough baking soda into the pot with to fully cover the bottom of the pot. Place your hardware in the pot and allow it to simmer in the water for half an hour. When you pull the metal out of the pot, you will see that peeling the paint off is effortless. If you don’t want to expose yourself to possibly hazardous chemicals, removing paint with baking soda is a great method [source: Smith & Arrow].
  • Removing paint with heat Another method for efficiently removing paint from metal is using heat. Simply soak small metal pieces in a crock pot full of soapy water. Turn on the crock pot, and let the heat and soap get to work on the paint. Gently scrub the loosened paint off with a nylon brush [source: Baker].

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