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How To Remove Paint from Hardware

Updated on December 7, 2014

What You Will Need

  • Pot or Coffee Can, Not to be used again for food
  • Water, To 4-5 inches above the hardware
  • 3 Tablespoons Dish Detergent, This does not have to be precise
  • Old Toothbrush or Nylon Scrub Brush
  • Paper Towels or a Rag
  • Bowl, Not to be used again for food

Tools Needed to Remove Old Paint From Hardware

From what I could tell, the built-in cabinets in our kitchen had about eight layers of paint on the doors and the hardware was not spared! I spent a significant amount of time online findest the easiest and cheapest way to remove the paint from the hardware effectively. After combining a few ideas, I got lucky that the first approach I tried using things I already had laying around the house worked like a charm. Be careful not use use abrasive materials like steel wool as you risk scratching the metal. If you are lacking any of the tools you need reach out to your friends and family, they may be glad to get rid of it. Alternatively, you could visit a thrift store or yard sale and pick up inexpensive items.

Painted Over Hinges From a Kitchen Built-In

I was afraid there was no hope for these.
I was afraid there was no hope for these. | Source

Removing Several Layers of Paint from Hardware

The pictures to the right show three of the hinges that were in the worst shape. Because we are restoring the built-in, we want to use as much of the original hardware as possible and the hinges are an important part of maintaining the original look. Based on what was removed from the cabinets themselves, there are as many as eight layers of paint on these hinges. Using the process below the paint was all removed on the first try.

Old Hinges After DIY Paint Removal

Same hinges as above after paint removal process.
Same hinges as above after paint removal process. | Source

The Process of Removing Paint from Old Hardware

This is a very easy process and most of it is accomplished while you are doing something else. Place the hardware in the pot with a few tablespoons of dish detergent. Fill the pot slowly enough to avoid creating suds, with enough water to be at least 3 inches above the hardware. Some of the water will evaporate so be sure to use enough and check every once in a while and add more water if necessary. Cover the pot and place on the stove on low heat. I left the hardware on the stove for four hours, you may need more or less time depending on how much paint you are trying to remove.

You can test whether the hardware is ready to be removed from the stove by scraping it with the toothbrush. If the paint comes off easily you are ready to start cleaning. Carefully remove the hardware from the pot and place in ice water in an old bowl that you are willing to throw away or use for other DIY projects. Once the metal has cooled (this takes only a few minutes), you can start scrubbing with the old toothbrush. It will not take a lot of effort to remove the paint. Use paper towels or a rag to remove any excess paint. I've taken on a lot of DIY projects in our house, this is by far one my most successful.


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