4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges (& other door hardware)

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4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges (& more) | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you find yourself in the unfortunately situation of having door hinges that have been painted over? I get your frustration. Almost every door hinge in our house has been painted over. Taping off a hinge when you paint a door is not hard to do. You can purchase pre-cut painter’s tape to cover hinges, so there’s really no excuse except laziness. Today I’ll show you 4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges, and I’ll tell you which is the easiest (in my opinion.)

remove paint from metal hinges

To avoid removing the doors, systematically remove one hinge from each door. For example, start with all the top hinges. Remove them and scrape the paint from all those hinges. Then re-install all the top hinges and remove the middle hinges next. It took me the better part of a day, but eventually all our hinges were beautiful and shiny again.

2 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Door Hinges | Pretty Handy Girl

There are four ways to remove paint from hinges. Three of them involve heat, the fourth involves using a chemical stripper.

Alright, let’s get to this.

4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges (and other hardware)

1. Paint Stripper:

Use a paint stripper like CitriStrip (less toxic than other strippers.) Jessica shares a great tutorial for removing paint from a metal lamp here. This is a good way to remove paint from larger items. Especially ones that can’t be put in a pot or crock pot. But, it will also work on smaller items like door hinges. Be sure to wear gloves.

How to Remove Spray Paint from Metal

2. Heat Gun:

A heat gun is a great tool for removing paint (and stickers.) You’ll need to prep the area underneath to avoid burning anything. A piece of sheet metal on top of tile, concrete or scrap plywood should be sufficient.


2 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Door Hinges | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Heat Gun
  • Putty knife, scraper or 5-in-1 painter’s tool
  • Gloves
  • Detail nylon or wire brush
  • Pliers or metal tongs
  • Sheet metal
  • Fine grit sandpaper and/or steel wool


Turn on the heat gun and allow it to heat up. Lay the hinges onto the sheet metal or protected work surface. Concentrate the heat onto the hinge.

2 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Door Hinges

In a minute or two, the paint should start to soften, liquify or bubble up. Use the pliers to hold the hinge as you scrape the paint off with the putty knife.

2 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Door HingesYou may need to repeat heating the hinge and scraping to get all the paint off.

scraping paint off hinges

Use the brush to scrape paint out of small groves and crevices.

wire brush paint off hinges

After most of the paint has been scraped off. Use fine grit sandpaper to shine the hinge.

sand scraper shine hinges

Finish off by buffing it with steel wool.

steel wool remove paint hinges

3. Boiling Water:

Grab an old pot that you don’t use for cooking (or buy a cheap one at a thrift store) because it’s going to get nasty. Fill the pot halfway with water and set it on the stove on high heat. Set the hinges in the pot and boil for 15-20 minutes. Lift the hinges out with tongs and wear gloves as you scrape and buff off all the paint. This video will give you a good idea for how to remove paint from hinges using the boiling water technique.

4. Crock Pot:

Similar to boiling the hinges in water, you can put the hinges in a crock pot, turn it on high and let them cook overnight. In the morning use the same steps as with the boiling water. You should have a cheap crockpot reserved for this purpose. Don’t cook your food in this crockpot.

There you have it! 4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges! Which is my favorite? I prefer the boiling water. Not only is it chemical free, but it’s also the quickest technique. Plus, you don’t need to go buy a heat gun if you don’t already own one. And I try to avoid using chemicals of any kind.

crock pot remove paint from door hinges and other hardware

Re-install the hinge and clap yourself on the back for saving money and saving something old.

brass hinge no paint cleaned

It is worth noting one weird thing that happened was the hinges have a pretty copper color instead of the brass color I think they originally were. Any chemists out there have the explanation?

remove paint from hinges and hardware

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23 replies
  1. Marcia Banach
    Marcia Banach says:

    I accidentally discovered that soaking hardware in white vinegar removes paint beautifully. My original intention was to clean the tarnish, and it turned out that old paint just slides right off after overnight soaking.

  2. Tess
    Tess says:

    With the heat gun, be very careful – some paint contains lead and you can be exposed to lead fumes if this is not done outside.

  3. Sandy
    Sandy says:

    I recently removed all of my door hardware so I could repaint the doors. The previous owners had painted over the top of the hardware and I thought at first I would need to replace all of it. I used an old saucepan, sprinkled in a 1/2 cup of baking soda, put the hardware in and filled it with water. I brought it to a boil and then turned it down to simmer for 30 minutes. 20+-year-old paint and varnish wiped away with a paper towel. A little polish with Brasso to remove the tarnish and now I’m happy to be able to keep my vintage brass hardware.

  4. S
    S says:

    The reason you are seeing the copper color is that the orig hinge is Ferrous metal. So when something is chrome or brass plated it is first plated in copper (very thin). reason being chrome and brass doesn’t stick to ferrous metal very well but copper does.

      • Dr Mike
        Dr Mike says:

        More likely it is due to ‘dezincification’. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Water with impurities can selectively remove the zinc leaving pink copper. Serious in brass fittings over time, the remaining copper is porous and weak, leading to failure and floods!

  5. Ros
    Ros says:

    Anyone have a tip for getting a screwdriver to work on the paint-encrusted screws to get the hardware off in the first place?

    Thanks for the tips, and the handy comments!

    • Kate
      Kate says:

      Another trick: If you’re going to strip the rest of the door or cabinet anyway, use a heat gun to remove the screws!

      Once the heat gun has warmed up the surface and the paint starts to soften, use the corner of your scraper to clear out the groove if it’s a flathead screw. Or if it’s Phillips you can just plunge the screwdriver into the softened paint and turn it a bit until it finds its groove. Then apply a little pressure and start turning. The nice thing about this method is that the heat loosens the screw all along its full length, including any paint that the sadistic previous owner jammed in there.

      Obviously, wear a respirator and gloves, use ventilation, and don’t do this on any object where you don’t want to damage the paint.

  6. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Any advice for how to remove paint from hinges that are soldered to a metal door frame? Our house was built in 1950, has metal door frames with hinges soldered to the door frame and was a rental for years so the hinges have piles of paint on them. I can remove the pin and the part attached to the door but half the hinge cannot be removed. I’m guessing paint stripper might be my only option.

  7. Russell
    Russell says:

    My thanks to Marcia, above. Six heavily encrusted hinges placed in vinegar overnight softened everything. Took a couple of days but removed everything – and for a great price!!

  8. Leif Harmsen
    Leif Harmsen says:

    Boy does boiling it ever work better than anything and it’s so fast and easy, thanks for the tip! It’s clearly the best way to remove paint from any hardware small enough to fit in a pot of boiling water. I’m renovating an 1870 house that has a lot of its original hardware – it’s all been painted with multiple coats of what is almost certainly lead based paint. It’s all going to get boiled up, screwdriver scraped and wire brushed. I then dry everything under a strong fan so nothing gets a chance to rust before giving it a spray of tremclad and/or wd-40 as appropriate.

    I’ve tried a heat gun before but the problem with metal hardware it it conducts the heat too much like a heat-sink so it’s hard to get everywhere hot enough.

    I used to use paint remover to do this kind of thing, it inevitably got on my skin somewhere and oh does it burn! Paint remover isn’t cheap either, and wow does it make a hard mess to clean up..

    Old radiators are too big to fit in a pot of boiling water, so I just pressure wash and paint over those, one trick is to turn them around if you can so the less-painted side faces out with all its original detail, while the side with too many coats of paint can face the wall. If you have the money you can get them sand-blasted.

  9. john
    john says:

    thanks handy girl, now I’ll search for how best to paint a new louvre door.
    boil is best, what goes down our drains doesn’t disappear!


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