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.
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)
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism
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