We've been talking a lot about painting kitchen cabinets lately. And we've made it pretty clear that you're supposed to remove all the hardware from your doors and drawers, label the pieces according to your handy map (you're supposed to make a map!), and then get to painting.
But what if you've moved into a home where the previous owners painted right over the metal hardware? We see it all the time: DIYers just paint right over drawer pulls, door hinges, hooks, and other hardware.
Luckily, it's possible to remove the paint without ruining the hardware. This may be especially good news if you have antique metal hardware that you're hoping to restore and reuse. Here's how to do it.
There are two major things to note before we get started. First: You should only do this with an old pot that you do not plan on using again for cooking. (You've heard of lead paint, right?) If you have an old slow cooker, you can use that too — just let it run overnight. Also, you may notice that our hardware isn't exactly decades old and only has one coat of acrylic-based paint. Fear not! This method will still work with antique hardware that's been painted and painted many times with all sorts of paint.
How To Remove Paint from Metal Hardware
What You Need
- An old pot
- A clean toothbrush
- A microfiber cloth
- A putty knife (optional)
- Put the hardware in your pot: Add water to the pot (enough so that the hardware will be fully covered) and then drop in your hardware.
- Bring the water to a boil: Put the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium heat. Let the water boil and then set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the hardware: Using tongs, carefully pull the hardware out of the water. Seriously be careful — the hardware will be hot!
- Scrape off the paint: Grab your toothbrush and use it to peel off the paint. The paint may come off in one big piece (like this acrylic-based paint), but older paint that's been there for a decade may need more elbow grease and more scraping (rather than peeling). For larger pieces, you can use a putty knife.
- Check the details: If your hardware has grooves or embellishments, make sure you get the paint in those spots, too. A microfiber cloth can help remove the paint and polish the hardware at the same time.
- Repeat until all your hardware is done: If you have a lot of hardware to clean off, we recommend working in batches, because some of the pieces may cool down and the paint could re-harden to a degree before you have a chance to get to work.
- Again, only do this with an old pot that you do not plan on using again.
- If you have to use a putty knife and you end up with scratches (they may be unavoidable), then sand the whole piece of hardware with a piece of sandpaper (400 grit or higher), so that the entire surface has the same finished look.
- You can rub the hardware with a little vegetable oil to restore the finish and bring back some of the original color.