Chemical-Free Paint Stripping: Slow Cooker Removes Caked-On Finishes
All too often, hinges, doorknobs, drawer pulls, and other vintage hardware are caked with ugly layers of paint. But you can bring them back to life without a single toxic chemical – just throw them in your crock pot.
For starters, remove the hardware (a utility knife can be helpful to slice through dried paint along edges and seams). Lay the hardware in the bottom of a large slow cooker and add enough water so it’s completely immersed. You can also add a couple tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent if the paint is really caked on. Then just set the heat to “medium” and let it sit for 6-8 hours.
A few tips:
- Use plastic tongs to remove the hot hardware from the crock pot so you don’t mar the metal.
- Most paint should peel off cleanly after heating. But if it needs a little help, use a nylon brush, toothpick, or wooden chopstick to gently scrape the hardware.
- Remember that most old paint contains lead, so don’t simply pour the liquid down the drain. Dispose of it properly according to local regulations.
- This method works great for solid metals like brass, copper, and aluminum. Keep in mind that steel items may develop rust spots, and plated metals can flake.
- Beeswax or a non-abrasive polish can add extra luster to the newly cleaned metal
- This should go without saying, but don’t use a food-cooking crock pot for your paint-stripping project. You can find an old one at a thrift store, or pick up a basic model online for $10-15. This 4-quart Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is just $11.09 at Amazon:
(images from ThisWickedOldHouse.com, a blog with some really great information about hardware restoration)