How to remove paint from metal cabinets

Written by tzvi raphael
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How to remove paint from metal cabinets
Remove the old paint from a metal cabinet (red office #2 image by Val Thoermer from Fotolia.com)

Metal cabinets are made of sheet metal and are used for a number of purposes, such as office furniture and kitchen storage. Generally, furniture made of metal can look very dull. You can always choose to paint your metal cabinets and add gloss coats. As long as metal is protected from rust, everything else is simply a question of aesthetics. If you want to repaint or refinish your metal cabinets, it's a good idea to learn how to properly strip paint from metal first.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Mild detergent or multipurpose cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Paint scrapper
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Plastic bucket
  • Thick paintbrush
  • Hard sponge
  • Sandpaper

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place plastic sheets or dust sheets under the cabinet so you don't damage the floor.

  2. 2

    Remove the door handles and other hardware from your metal cabinet with a screwdriver.

  3. 3

    Clean the whole metal cabinet with water and mild detergent or a multipurpose cleaner. Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and wipe the surface of the metal cabinet. Wipe a dry cloth on the surfaces and then let the cabinet dry completely.

  4. 4

    Carefully remove any loose paint with a paint scraper. Apply a small amount of paint thinner on a cloth and wipe the cabinet thoroughly. Wear rubber gloves since paint thinner can damage sensitive skin.

  5. 5

    Pour chemical paint stripper in a plastic bucket. Apply a generous coat of stripper on the cabinet surface using a thick, wide paintbrush. Allow the stripper to soak on the cabinet's surface. Check the instructions on the paint stripper on how long it should remain on the surface. It generally takes five to seven minutes to soak the paint stripper; when the paint starts to wrinkle, it is ready to be removed.

  6. 6

    Scrape the old paint off with a paint scraper. Remove all the paint you can from the cabinet.

  7. 7

    Apply more paint stripper on hard-to-reach areas and corners of the cabinet.

  8. 8

    Clean the stripped metal surface thoroughly with a hard sponge and cleaning solution. Scrape away any paint residue from the cabinet surface.

  9. 9

    Smooth and finish the surface of your metal cabinet with sandpaper.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles when working with aggressive chemicals and cleaning solutions.

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