Baking soda as a paint remover

I'm finally tackling the french doors in my diningroom. The house was built in the early 1800s, so the doors are real, solid wood, but before we bought the house some moron not only painted them, many, many times, they also painted over the brass hardware! So, I've removed all the metal and I'm boiling it in water and baking soda. It usually takes at least 30 minutes, but almost all the paint is off after 15. Yay! Really amazing the number of color layers that came off. Some people have VERY odd decorating styles!
Ok, so pretty much everyone here probably already knows this, but since my neighbor's son, who works for a construction firm, looked at me funny when I mentioned it, I thought it was worth a post, in case someone didn't realize how easy it was to strip paint from metal without using toxic and expensive chemicals.
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tmclone wrote:

spray paint requires the chemicals, but if someone just slopped house paint over polished metal with a brush, absolutely, you can get most of it off with just hot water and some scrubbing. BTDT (for exactly the same reason) a previous landlord loved me because he was all ready to replace all the door hardware at a house I was living in and I "restored" all the nice old original brass stuff that way, and even clear lacquered it for him. He couldn't believe that you could do stuff like that yourself... (some people just don't try, I guess)
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On Sat, 8 Aug 2009 14:23:31 -0700 (PDT), tmclone

Plain hot water will do the job.
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Not with oil base paint it won't. Most of the layers on my hardware were done LONG before latex paint. Water just won't cut it. Plus, it does it all by itself while you're off doing another project.
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tmclone wrote:

What proportions do you use?
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Enough water in the pot to completely cover all the hardware. Enough baking soda to completely cover the bottom of the pot. I used about 1/2 a box. Also, don't use that pot for cooking ever again. You're probably ok with stainless steel, but supposedly the toxins/chemicals in the old paint can leech into the metal of the pot and potentially poison you.
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tmclone wrote:

FWIW, A roommate of mine once decided to boil baking soda in my caphalon pot after burning it. The bottom of the pot was badly pitted after this abuse. So aluminum is probably not the best choice for this.
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On Sun, 9 Aug 2009 10:07:17 -0700 (PDT), tmclone

This method really does work; I did this last summer to get paint off some brass hinges I wanted to reuse on some pantry doors I was reinstalling in our kitchen remodel. 30 minutes is about right. Much easier than heat gun and scraper!
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Never heard of that. But, I'll try it next time. Thanks for posting a truly helpful tip.
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Baking Soda is what the Chicago Grafitti Removal crews use, then it kills your grass because its alkaline. Try not boiling, let it sit days.
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On 8/8/2009 2:23 PM tmclone spake thus:

Baking soda's good (never used it myself, but have a client who only uses it for just the kind of paint stripping you're doing).
Other non-paint-stripper substances which work include regular automotive brake fluid, which works on most paints; relatively non-toxic and non-nasty.
My current favorite commercial paint stripper, by the way, is 3M's "Safest Stripper", a thick white glop that stays on vertical surfaces and does a decently quick job of stripping paint; not so fast or powerful as methylene chloride, but much less nasty and environmentally bad.
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