The great thing about spray paint is it’s a fast and easy way to paint various projects, as spray paint sticks to just about every surface. Despite how fun and easy spray paint is, accidents do happen in the form of overspray. Learning how to remove spray paint from metal means no more unwanted streaks on random parts of your project.
No matter what you hear about removing spray paint from metal, water alone is never enough. When learning how to get spray paint off metal, you discover that water only works if the paint is still wet, and we all know how fast spray paint dries.
Water doesn’t work to remove paint from metal, or any other surfaces as the binding agents in both the water-based and oil-based paints harden as the paint dries. In water-based paint, as the binding agents set, it becomes water-resistant, making water removal difficult. In oil-based spray paint, water removal becomes impossible as the binding agents are oil or alkyds which don’t dissolve in water.
- Simple and Effective Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Metal
Simple and Effective Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Metal
As metal is a non-porous surface, removing spray paint from its surface is easier than other surfaces like concrete. Whether you are looking to remove spray paint from an old doorknob, your favorite tools, or want to correct a mistake made on your patio furniture, we show you what techniques to use along with the best cleaning agents to get the job done.
Removing Spray Paint from Metal the Easy Way
When removing spray paint from metal objects, the process you use depends on the size of the object. No matter the size, there are certain safety precautions to take to protect yourself when cleaning metal deck furniture and other items.
For smaller metal objects, such as tools, small décor pieces, etc., use an old cooking pot and add a thin layer of baking soda, about one-eighth of an inch thick, to the bottom. Fill it halfway with cold water and place the metal inside.
Set everything on the stovetop and turn the burner on low. Simmer for about 30 minutes. The baking soda is an abrasive cleaner and, when combined with heat, causes the paint to loosen and bubble from the metal surface.
Wearing gloves and using a long pair of tongs, remove the piece from the hot water and lay it flat on a clean cloth. Allow it to cool slightly and then peel off the loosened paint with a paint scraper. Don’t scrape too hard, as you don’t want to scratch the surface.
Larger objects, such as patio furniture, require the use of a chemical paint stripper. When using chemicals, be sure to wear a respirator mask along with gloves and safety goggles. Use a chip brush to apply the stripper to the area you are cleaning.
Once the recommended time is up, use a stiff-bristled brush to remove the loose paint gently. Repeat the stripping process if any paint is left over. Once all loose paint is gone, wipe the metal object with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits. The spirits remove any leftover paint flakes and rid the metal of any traces of the chemical stripper.
For extra spray paint on cars, use liquid or aerosol carnauba wax. The wax dissolves the acrylic paint without damaging the clear coat underneath. Once removed, wash off the wax residue to prevent the re-adhering of the flakes.
For large equipment, such as tractors or other oversized equipment, rent a blasting rig. To avoid scratching the metal, only use blasting soda or a finely ground media made from walnut shells.
If you accidentally get some paint in the garage or on the driveway, use this solution to remove spray paint from concrete or drips from your brush or roller. It typically offers excellent results.
How to Get Spray Paint Off Metal Easily
Chemical paint removers are the easiest option for removing excess spray paint without damaging the metal beneath. Paint thinner or liquid paint remover works well for soaking smaller items as they soften the paint. Once softened, remove with a natural bristle brush.
For objects with tight or numerous angles, as well as rounded surfaces, opt for a spray-on paint remover. The spray-on remover allows you to apply an even coat to the object, making total paint removal more manageable. Purchase professional-strength varieties at local hardware stores or automotive shops.
How to Remove Spray Paint from Metal with Stripping Gel
When using Citristrip Stripping Gel or another type of chemical paint remover, always wear a respirator, eye protection, and gloves. With a paintbrush, apply a thick coat of the gel over the paint you want to remove. Allow it to work for around 30 minutes or the time recommended on the manufacturer’s instructions. Test a small section after 15 minutes.
If the paint is bubbling up, it’s ready for removal. Use a plastic scraper to remove bubbled paint. Place old paint inside a plastic bag for easy disposal. Use a rag to wipe down large areas of excess paint.
An old toothbrush works well in hard to reach or small areas. Continue wiping with a cloth or scrubbing with the toothbrush until no more comes off. Repeat the process if there is paint left behind.
Once you remove all of the paint, wipe the object down with a cloth dipped in acetone to remove any trace residue of the stripping gel or any film left behind.
Use Dish Soap and a Clay Cleansing Bar to Remove Spray Paint
When removing excess paint from metal, use a microfiber cloth to prevent scratching. Apply about three drops of liquid dish soap, which is a natural grease remover, directly to the overspray. Dip the microfiber cloth into warm water and gently rub the paint, making sure to rinse the cloth out frequently.
Avoid using nail polish remover, lacquer thinner, gasoline, and other rubbing compounds as they damage the existing paint, not just the excess spray. If liquid dish soap and warm water aren’t effective, use a cut off piece of a clay cleaning bar.
Before using the clay cleaning bar, spray the area with a clay bar lubricant. You can purchase it at a local home improvement store or make your own with three drops of dish soap mixed with one pint of warm water.
Rub the clay bar directly on the paint stain. If necessary, spray on more lubricant as needed while rubbing. Once you remove the unwanted paint, wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any excess paint traces and lubricant.
Simplest Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Metal Surfaces
To safely eliminate paint stains from all metal surfaces, use lint-free rags soaked in rubbing alcohol. You don’t want the rags dripping with rubbing alcohol, so be sure to squeeze out all excess liquid. Rub the cloth over the paint until it’s gone.
Rubbing alcohol works best on water-based paint; for oil-based paints, use acetone in place of the rubbing alcohol. When working with rubbing alcohol or acetone, always wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Another DIY option is to lightly rub away the paint using steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. If using either one, be careful not to apply too much elbow grease, as you run the risk of scratching the metal surface underneath. When the old spray paint is completely gone from the surface, you can use a DIY metal polish before re-painting to ensure that the new paint adheres smoothly.
A high-pressure washer also works to remove old paint jobs or at least get the process started. Follow these methods with a rust remover made from home remedies to prevent future rusting.
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