Best Way to Remove Paint from Metal

Close up of ornate metal patio furniture painted a dark green.
You have been looking at that faded metal chair on your deck for a few weeks now and finally decided it’s time to either paint it or replace it. You’re leaning towards painting it, but aren’t confident about the best way to get it done. One of the biggest questions you’re probably asking yourself is, “How do I remove paint from metal?”  

This is a common question, and luckily, we have some answers that should give you the confidence needed to take on this DIY project. We’ll walk you through a few of the best ways to remove paint from metal, including tips on which tools and supplies you will need. 

Removing Paint from Metal 

There are several ways to remove paint from metal, so let’s look at a few of the more common options and the best way to use them. 

Removing Paint from Metal with Baking Soda  

Baking soda is a cleaning agent that is commonly used throughout many homes. What you may not have known is it can also be used to remove paint from metal.  

To remove paint from smaller metal items, combine water with baking soda in a 16:1 ratio (1 qt water with ¼ cup of baking soda). Bring the solution to a gentle boil and place your metal item in the solution for 15 minutes. (If your metal item is too large to boil, there are other options to consider).  

Once the item has been submerged for at least 15 minutes, remove it. You should be able to remove any remaining paint relatively easily. Using a common household cleaner like baking soda to remove paint from metal may raise the question, will vinegar remove paint from metal? Yes, it will. In fact, you can substitute vinegar for baking soda and achieve similar results. 

Best Used For: Small items like door hinges, tools that accidentally got paint on them, etc. 

Removing Paint from Metal with a Paint Stripper 

If you have an item that is too big to boil, a paint stripper is a more viable option. Paint stripper can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store. You can apply using either a brush or a rag. Since the paint stripper is chemically based, make sure the area where you are working is properly ventilated. Ideally, it’s best to apply a paint stripper outside where ventilation is not an issue. This method is one of the best ways to remove spray paint from metal. 

Best Used For: Bigger items, outdoor items, spray paint, fixed items. 

Removing Paint with a Heat Gun  

Another effective method for removing paint from metal is with a heat gun. Applying heat to the metal surface should help you remove the paint with minimal effort. As the paint is heated, it should begin to crack and peel. As this happens, use a scraper or wire brush to remove the peeling paint from the metal surface. To minimize the risk of injury, it’s best to wear protective goggles and gloves during this process. Also, once the old paint has been removed, do not attempt to apply a new coat of paint until the metal surface has cooled completely.  

Best Used For: Small to medium size items. Also, for targeting small areas on larger items.  

Removing Paint with an Angle Grinder  

One of the quickest and easiest methods to remove paint from metal is with a grinder because the machine will do most of the work for you. Since you’ll be using a power tool, make sure to wear proper safety gear (eye protection and gloves), and select a grinding disk that will not damage the metal beneath the paint.  

There are a variety of different grinder attachments that can get the job done. A wire wheel is very effective, but will also throw off the most debris. Therefore, it’s best to start with a less aggressive method. To start, try using a flap disc, which is available in a variety of different grits (abrasiveness). Once you get started, you can always change to a coarser grit, or wire based on results. 

Best Used For: Large, sturdy surfaces (this method isn’t a detailed process). 

Contact Five Star Painting

Hopefully, our tips above will help you take on this DIY paint project with confidence. When it comes to those bigger paint projects, you can have confidence in your local painting pros at Five Star Painting. We are the experts when it comes to interior and exterior painting. To learn more, give us a call or request a free estimate online today!