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How to Get Paint Off Metal – 5 Effective Ways to Remove

Have you ever put on a new coat of paint and discovered that the paint just would not come off no matter how hard you scrub? To strip paint from metal, you must first identify the causes of the paint being indelible. Paint is a common and messy problem when you need to remove it from metal. Ultraviolet vacuum cleaners can take out the majority of the labor. However, many of those machines still lose their potency and cannot rid the metal of all its paint. Then, how to remove paint from metals like brass, aluminum or others?

If you want to clean paint off metal, you need to either do it by hand or use a safer, less dangerous method. If you love painting but want to prepare your workspace and tools for the next painting project, this is for you. Read more to know about the following methods before starting your work.

Tools Required for Striping Paint from Metal

  • Plastic sheets and drip cloths are needed
  • Heat-resistant gloves for protection of the hand
  • Chemical-resistant gloves for protection against harmful chemicals
  • Safety goggles are needed for eyes
  • Wear t-shirts that have long sleeves
  • Use a mask for protection against white paint dust
  • Angle grinders become extremely noisy, so use hearing protection
  • Putty knife for scraping-out paint
  • Paint scrappers
  • Chip brushes are needed for mixing several items as they do not contain bristles
  • Pot
  • Tongs for checking the temperature
  • Paint strippers
  • Clean rags for wiping off metal
  • Mineral spirits

How to Remove Paint from Metal (With Baking Soda, Angle Grinder, Others)

5 quick and easy methods to get rid of paint from any metal surface are as follows.

1. Paint Scraper

This tool is handy with plastic or metal blades for removing paint from metals. Paint scrapers will look similar to putty knives because of their work mechanism. If your metal is brass, then use plastic blades. Otherwise, it will harm the metal. Plastic blades are scratch-proof, preventing your metal from being damaged. Paint scrapers are available in various sizes that are flatter, broader, or narrower. This helps in reaching different positions from any angle. Paint scrapers are suitable for working on flat surfaces where you can take off paint directly from the metal without any chemicals.

2. Heat Gun

This tool melts the hard paint from the surface of the metal. There are different heat settings that you can control. First, start with the low point and gradually increase the heat. Do not hold the gun close to the surface and move it continuously. Excess heat can melt the metal and makes it brittle. After the paint comes up by forming bubbles scrape, it using putty knives. These knives come in handy, removing layers of melted paint. If the paint does not bubble, then slightly increase the temperature. For the protection of the hand, wear heat-resistant gloves. It is advisable not to touch the metal until it is completely cooled down. These heat guns are ideal for removing paint from small surfaces.

3. Angle Grinder 

This method of removing paint with angle grinder is not adopted because of excess noise and dust. Instead, strip disks are attached to the side of the metal grinder, and the rest is done by machine. The disk is available in various abrasive materials. Always do the work with less damaged disks so that metal does not become corroded. This is quite suitable for stripping paint off metal like steel, beams, or fences.

4. Baking Soda 

This is the best natural way to remove paint from metal surfaces. A mixture uses baking soda, water, and white vinegar. You will notice heat generated from it. Place the mixture over a burner in a pot and add ¼ cup of baking soda. Boil the mixture for about 15 minutes by wearing heat-resistant gloves. Tongs are available to check the quality of the mixture. Do not put your finger to the test. Place the mixture evenly over the metal and scrap the paint using a putty knife. This method is ideal for removing paint from aluminum or small pieces of metals like hardware.

5. Paint Stripper

Strippers come in various sizes and forms depending upon the surface where you are using them. Take a container and pour the strippers into it. Using a chip brush apply a thick layer of the object on the metal. Allow some time (15 min) for the metal to react chemically. Remove the excess liquid using a cloth. It is recommended to work in an open space area for this method. The method of using paint stripper for metal is suitable for working on outdoor projects and large pieces.

If you are wondering how to remove spray paint from metal, you can apply same procedures as mentioned above. Else, check out this best spray paint for metal buying guide to know the alternative.

Safety Tips to Follow while Removing Paint from Metal

  • Work in an open area to avoid inflammation if caused.
  • Remove all lighters and flammable objects away from strippers.
  • If the paint contains lead on the metal applied, then test it first. Discard the paint immediately and remove the excess using a cloth if it contains lead. 
  • Do not use the scrapping method or grinding to remove the paints.
  • Take help from professionals if required.


Will Vinegar remove paint from metal?

Yes, vinegar works great as a paint remover for metal. Heat the vinegar and apply it on the painted metal. Wait for 10 to 15 min and then brush it off.

Does paint thinner remove paint from metal?

You can remove the oil-based paints from metal using the paint thinner. But it works effectively only while the paint is still wet. Once it is dry you need to choose from other methods mentioned above.

What is the best paint remover for metal?

Currently, the best paint stripper for metal is Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel which is easy and effective to use on surfaces like metal, wood and masonry surfaces.


There are various methods discussed to remove old or new paint from metal surfaces. You should be aware of their safety precautions before opting for that surface. The emulsion can be removed easily without effort in oil paints, but hard paints are difficult to remove. You need lots of effort and chemicals to remove acrylic paints. Therefore, better use chemicals on hard paints and other scraping methods discussed above.