How to Remove Paint From Hardware

Vintage metal hardware with green paint on some.
What You'll Need
Slow cooker/crock pot
Hot water
A pair of gloves
Newspaper or container
Plastic brush with stiff bristles
Garbage bag
Paper towels or cleaning cloths
Metal polish
Large old pot
Baking soda

After many applications of paint, no matter how careful you may be, a certain amount of paint is going to get on hardware. Whether it’s a doorknob, entry and exit door hinges, or kitchen and bathroom cabinet and vanity door hinges, the paint needs to be removed. Not only are painted hardware fixtures a detraction from the overall décor, but when too many layers build up, the paint can affect the functionality of the hardware.

Removing Layers of Paint from Hardware - Crock Pot Method

A red slow cooker on a kitchen counter.

One of the easiest ways for removing built-up paint on hardware is with water and a slow cooker.

Step 1 - Place enough water in a slow cooker to cover the pieces of hardware. Note: use an old slow cooker or buy an inexpensive one for the project. Do not reuse the cooker for your food as the integrity of the pot will most likely be compromised, stained, and contaminated.

Step 2 - Place the hardware into the water.

Step 3 - Set the temperature on the slow cooker to "high."

Step 4 - Let the hardware remain inside the slow cooker overnight.

Step 5 - Use a pair of tongs to remove one piece of hardware at a time to work on.

Step 6 - Place the hardware in a container or a tray or on a piece of newspaper to catch loosened pieces of paint as they slip off the hardware.

Step 7 - Use the brush to gently scrub off any paint that doesn’t come off on its own.

Step 8 - Collect all the sludge from the paint and place in the trash. This is especially important if the paint is lead-based.

Step 9 - Use a paper towel or soft cloth to dry the hardware.

Step 10 - Use a metal polish product to restore the shine to the hardware.

Warning: The slow cooking method to remove paint has various effects on different materials. For steel pieces plated with brass or chrome that may be showing areas of flaking, the cooking process may cause more. Steel hardware tends to cause rust, but not enough to inhibit the functionality of the hardware. Metals not prone to rusting such as aluminum or copper will not be affected by the slow cooking method.

Removing Layers of Paint From Hardware – Baking Soda Method

A pot of boiling water.

The water/baking soda combination is a simple method with positive results.

Step 1 - Fill a large old pot with one quart of water.

Step 2 - Add a ¼ cup of baking soda.

Step 3 - Place hardware in the pot.

Step 4 - Allow the water and baking soda solution to boil for 15-20 minutes.

Step 5 - Carefully remove one piece of hardware using the tongs and place on newspaper or in a container and use the brush, if necessary. Follow steps 8-10 from the steps above to complete the process.

Removing Layers of Paint From Hardware: Alternative Methods

A couple of easy alternative methods can also make paint removal from hardware easier.

Method One

Step 1 - Fill a large pot with water.

Step 2 - Put the hardware in the pot.

Step 3 - Bring water to a hard boil for 15-20 minutes.

Step 4 - Turn down the temperature to a slow boil and let the hardware cook for several hours.

Step 5 - Follow the steps for removing, draining, and brushing hardware and disposal of sludge.

Method Two

For individual pieces of hardware such as a door hinge, place a washcloth or other type of soft cloth that has been soaked in the hot water/soda mixture over the piece of hardware for a few minutes to loosen the paint. Repeat as necessary.

Tip: As the hardware cools, the paint will begin to harden. For this reason, it’s best to work with one piece while the other pieces remain in the hot water or hot water solution.

Warning: Before applying these methods, put on gloves to protect hands from being burned by the boiling water, and use the tongs to remove hot hardware from the crockpot or regular pot.