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Home Based Paint Removal Techniques

Updated: Jan 13

Removing or scraping off paint from any kind of surface is not an easy assignment. Every surface absorb and accepts paint differently and each paint type reacts differently to different surfaces. Paint removing techniques and processes vary from place to place and environmental factors which involves a bit of study and research.


Over the years, many professional painters and DIYers have preferred chemical-based paint strippers. Although chemical based paint removers are very useful, but they are considered highly toxic and dangerous to humans and the environment. Mishandling of chemical strippers can cause serious damage to the skin, breathing problems and damage the nervous system as well.


Methylene chloride is the most dangerous chemical and worst offender in the list of paint removers. Prior to the start of a paint removal job, please read out some safety handling details in the material safety data sheet of paint stripping chemical. Other than methylene chloride, there are also some other active ingredients that are potentially hazardous to your health including methanol, toluene, acetone and ethanol.

There are several less toxic paint removers available in the market. If you want to use a chemical based remover, select a paste formula that is less toxic and less volatile because it produces lesser fumes than a liquid formula. Do not forget to wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, safety goggles and a mask.


Soy-Based Gel Paint Removers

Soy-based paint remover is a methyl ester made from soybean oil which contains methyl soyate. This solution is much more environmental friendly and sustainable as compared to petroleum based products. It has low volatility and low flammability, and discourages ozone depletion. Say based paint removers can be used to remove paint from concrete, wood and metal surfaces but take a bit longer to scrape the paint from the surface. The solution can be applied using a paintbrush and can be left on the paint surface for several hours because it does not evaporate or drip. The longer a soy-based stripper remains on the paint, the easier it is to remove the paint layer.


Citrus-Based Paint Removers

Citrus paint strippers are made up of terpenes. Terpene is an organic compound which is usually abstracted from oranges. Terpene removers typically have an orange or citrus-scent and, and likewise soy gels, they work more slowly in removing paint than stronger chemicals. But they are safer and less dangerous to apply on any painted or varnished surface. Although these removers are biodegradable, they still are harmful and should be disposed of properly.


Process of Manual Paint Removal Process

Avoiding the use of paint remover may sound like the most safe non-toxic method to remove paint. You can employ several methods to remove paint by manual means.

· Using a plastic or metal paint scraper, you can scrape away paint. This is effective in getting rid of peeling paint.

· A heat gun can also be used to loosen the paint until it will eventually form bubble which will make scraping easier.

· You may also use an electric sander or a sandpaper to remove sand but removing sand with emery paper requires skill and patience. Be aware of not sanding too deeply otherwise the surfaces will be marred permanently.


Removing Paint from Metal body:

If your metallic accessories such as cabinets, doors, furniture or outlet covers, are painted then use baking soda and boiling water to remove paint. When heat is applied on the metal object, the forces between the metal and the paint start to weaken up causing a break in the bond.


Removing paint from hard plastic object:

The process of paint removal from hard plastic materials is somewhat similar to removing paint from metal items. For removing paint from hard plastic items such as painted outlet covers, boil the water and baking soda mixture and then cool the down. Add the plastic items in the mixture for only five minutes to allow the plastic to soak. Then gently scrape away the residual paint with a flexible scraper once the water is removed.


Instructions of Paint Removal without a Chemical Remover:

Mix Cleaning Solution

Pour at least one quarter of water in a container/ pot to completely cover the painted metal items and then add ¼ cup of baking soda into the mixture.


Heat Water and Add Hardware

Heat water to its boiling point. Use tongs, and add the painted objects while making sure that they do not overlap or touch the sides of the pan. Reduce the heat and allow the items to remain in the festering mixture for around 20 minutes.


Remove From Heat

With the help of tongs remove the hot items and put them on piece of newspaper or disposable towels to let them dry and cool down.


Scrape Away Excess Paint

When they are cool enough to handle, use an old toothbrush or stiff bristled brush to remove any residual paint. You may need to repeat the entire procedure with the same amount of baking soda and water.


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