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How to Remove Paint from Vintage Hardware

How to Remove Paint from Vintage Hardware

Our house is old but a lot of the old house details and charm were lost over the years. We lucked out with a few big historic pieces like the beautiful claw foot tub and exposed beams in the living room but most of the small touches are gone. We are trying our best to save as much of the history that's still left and that means removing a lot of paint! We have a few cupboards and closets that still have the original heavy metal latches and brackets and this is my first go at trying to remove the 100 years of paint and see if I have something that's worth saving! Here is what the hardware looked like before we got started.


The two smaller latches on the left and the hinges are from the built-in cabinet in our bathroom that we are totally making over (you can see that project HERE). The more square latch in the center is from the small linen closet in the hallway and the big latch on the bottom is from the large hallway closet. I'm really excited to see how they look all cleaned up.

It was actually pretty time consuming to get the hardware off. Most of the screws were stripped or had so much paint in the heads that I couldn't get a screw driver to grip on. There was so much paint caked everywhere that I actually had to chisel some of it away to find some of the screws! After an hour or so all the pieces were off and I could actually get started.

The first thing you need is an old pot to boil the hardware in. Something you're never going to cook in again! I've seen tutorials that do this in an old crock-pot, but who has an extra crock-pot lying around? I used a pot I bought at goodwill for a dollar - I originally got it to pour my own soy candles and I'm glad I held onto it.  

So the process is pretty simple - Put the hardware in a pot full of water, add dish soap and set the heat on low. That's pretty much it. I used about 10 pumps of Dawn dish soap. I think I might have overdone it a little because I was really skeptical that just dish soap would do the trick so you might not need that much. I could tell it was working right away because after only a couple of minuets the water turned this disgusting brown. YUCK! I kept the water at a simmer just let the brown hardware soup stew. 

After about an hour of simmering. Maxx used a set of metal tongs to pull the hardware out and check on it. This should go without saying but BE CAREFUL the meal is hot! I have a tendency to burn myself so I thought I would just make sure that was clear. We used an old sheet pan to set the hardware on to and let it cool down a little bit. 

It's easiest to get the paint off when the hardware is still warm. We used an old butter knife to help peel the paint off and it literally just peels off! After the first hour most of the paint came off easily. We put the parts back in the pot and checked on them every 20-30 mins until they were paint free!

And here is what the hardware looked like when we were done! Beautiful, shinny and paint free! I really cant wait to get these back in place! There is a lot of prep and painting that needs to get done before that can happen though. I was really unsure of how this project was going to go because I have never tried anything like this before but it was so easy. 

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