Home Decor

How to Remove Paint From Metal Without Chemicals

Numerous proprietors of more established homes are baffled to discover that somebody covered up excellent metal segments all at once, either accidentally or out of apathy. Sorting out some way to eliminate paint from metal doesn’t need to be convoluted or costly. Indeed, an amazingly viable paint remover for metal is bubbling water.

This method is best for eliminating old paint from things like equipment, pivots, handles, and so on, and is possible the quickest, most effortless, and least expensive alternative whenever done accurately. Discover how this interaction functions and how to finish it without scratching or harming the metal being referred to.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Slow cooker or saucepan (optional)
  • Kettle or teapot
  • Metal scraper or putty knife
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Soft-bristle brush


  • Disposable aluminum tray or pie pan
  • Baking soda (optional)


  • Choose a Container
  • Pour Boiling Water Over the Metal
  • Let the Hardware Soak
  • Scrape Off the Paint
  • Buff With a Lint-Free Cloth
  • Remove Tarnish as Desired
  1. Choose a Container

    Decide what you will use as the container for soaking the metal. A disposable aluminum tray or pie pan works well for small items. Alternatively, you may want to treat your metal items in hot water for a longer period of time, using a saucepan or pot or a slow cooker.

    Disposable aluminum tray next to painted metal knobs on wood surface

    Whatever container or vessel you use, be sure to dedicate it to this kind of work and do not use it to cook any food after this project.

  2. Pour Boiling Water Over the Metal

    Place the metal item into your container on a heat-resistant surface. Heat water in a kettle or teapot until it reaches a rolling boil. Then, carefully and slowly pour the boiling water over the hardware, submerging the item.

    Boiling water from tea kettle poured into disposable aluminum tray with metal knobs

  3. Let the Hardware Soak

    Let the hardware sit in the tray filled with boiling water until the paint starts to bubble. Often, this will take about 5 minutes. If you notice that the paint isn’t bubbling, drain the pan and then repeat the process with more boiling water to reheat the metal.

    If you opt to use a slow cooker or sauce pan, heat the water on high until it simmers, and let the hardware soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Most painted items won’t need to sit for longer unless there are a lot of layers of paint or there are crevices where the paint is more stubborn.

    Metal knobs soaking in aluminum tray with boiling water

  4. Scrape Off the Paint

    Once you notice the paint starting to peel away, carefully scrape off the loosened paint while the hardware remains in the try or pie pan. Make sure to wear gloves and be careful not to burn yourself.

    If you’re using a slow cooker or pan, you can remove the hardware from the water before scraping.

    When most of the paint is gone, remove the hardware from the water and continue scraping with the scraper or a soft-bristle brush. Avoid using items like steel wool or metal bristles because these can scratch the surface of the metal.

    Paint being scraped off metal knobs in water with paint scraper and gloves

  5. Buff With a Lint-Free Cloth

    In most cases, the metal is going to be tarnished underneath all that paint. Use a lint-free cloth to buff off as much dirt, gunk, and tarnish as possible. If you still have paint stuck in hard-to-reach spots, repeat the entire stripping process as needed.

    Buffing metal knobs with lint-free cloth

    Before adding the hardware back to boiling water for a second time, consider adding baking soda into the mixture. The baking soda will help to dislodge stuck paint and remove tarnish.

  6. Remove Tarnish as Desired

    After all the paint has been removed, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to clean the metal. You might want to leave the old metal tarnished and darkened with age, or you might prefer to carefully remove all tarnish so the piece looks new.

    Another option is to remove some but not all of the tarnish. This way, the items will still look old but will have some shine. You can leave tarnish in recessed areas by polishing only the raised sections.

    Metal knobs removed from tarnish next to lint-free cloth

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