If you’re looking for a quick, but satisfying project to undertake, removing paint from metal items might be for you. Common reasons why people need to do this include wanting to change the color of a lamp, door or other metal surface, or paint has spilled or dripped onto hardware from a previous project. We’ve discovered some simple, easy ways to take care of either need.
Both spray paint and acrylic paint can be removed from metal. With a little patience and the right method, you can restore the original shine.
1. Use Your Slow Cooker
If paint has accidentally spilled over onto metal switch plates, a door handle or the escutcheon surrounding a key hole, carefully remove this metal item and its screws. Put all the hardware into your crockpot, cover with water and add two tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent. “Cook” on low overnight. The paint should come off easily then. Brush off remaining paint with a toothbrush. You’ll need to work quickly or dip the hardware back into the water frequently as the paint hardens fast once removed from the slow cooker. Remove all traces of paint and soap before using your slow cooker for food.
2. Boil in Baking Soda Mixture
Fill a pot that you no longer want (or get one from a secondhand store) halfway with water and add enough baking soda to cover the bottom. Put your hardware in the pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. The paint should peel off effortlessly when you extract the items from the water.
3. Chemical Paint Remover
You can buy liquid, spray and even paste paint removers at your local hardware store. Most will remove the color from a lamp or metal door, but check the instructions to make sure. No matter which you choose, do the work in a well-ventilated area, wear rubber gloves, long sleeves and pants to cover your skin and use safety glasses. You should probably wear a respirator, too. Apply the paint stripper to the metal according to the directions. Paint will bubble up from the surface, then chip it off using a paint scraper. Use a scrubbing pad for the hard-to-reach places. Reapply stripper and scrape as needed. When finished, wipe the surface with a rag dampened with mineral spirits, then wash off the metal with water. Dry with a clean rag.
Tip: If you’ve opted for method number 3, dispose of any chemically-soaked rags by putting them in a sealed container filled with water and dump with the household garbage. Otherwise, they can spontaneously combust.
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