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How to remove paint from galvanized metal

Updated February 21, 2017

Galvanised metal is coated with zinc to prevent corrosion and rust. Household appliances, tools and steel or iron pipes are most commonly galvanised. Removing paint from these metals can be accomplished using the proper method and the right materials. Most effective paint-removing solvents can safely be applied to galvanised surfaces but deciding on the most appropriate method will depend on the type of paint and the thickness of the coat.

Ventilate the area if your workspace is indoors. Open a window to the room or place an electric fan nearby to help with circulation.

Scrub the galvanised metal with a cleaning brush or scrubbing pad soaked in water. If the paint has not completely cured or was recently applied, it can usually be removed with water; this should be your first resort before applying a chemical solvent.

Dampen a rag with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) if latex paint or acetone if an oil paint. Rub it into the galvanised surface until the paint begins to thin.

Rinse the excess paint with a wet cleaning cloth or sponge.

Use lacquer thinner for especially thick layers of stubborn paint. Protect your hands with rubber gloves and apply the solvent sparingly to a dry rag. Apply it to the galvanised metal and the paint should thin with ease.

Things You'll Need

  • Electric fan
  • Water
  • Cleaning brush or scrubbing pad
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) (optional)
  • Acetone (fingernail polish remover) (optional)
  • 2 dry rags
  • Cleaning cloth or sponge
  • Protective gloves
  • Lacquer thinner
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