How to Remove Paint From Door Hardware

Written by cindy mikel
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How to Remove Paint From Door Hardware
Removing paint from door handles and hinges is time-consuming, but not difficult. (door handle image by yang xiaofeng from

The easiest way to keep paint off door handles, locks and hinges is to remove the hardware before painting or covering it with painter’s tape. Not all painters do that, however, leaving a mess that ruins the door's appearance. Paint can also ruin the look of antique doorknobs. However, paint can be removed from door hardware without using toxic chemicals or requiring expensive tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver
  • Slow cooker
  • Plastic tongs
  • Nylon brush
  • Liquid washing powder

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  1. 1

    Score around the door hardware with the pointed end of a utility knife.

  2. 2

    Remove paint built up into any screw slots with the utility knife.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the screws with a screwdriver and gently pry off the hardware, using the edge of the utility knife. Be careful not to gouge the metal.

  4. 4

    Put enough water in the slow cooker to cover the hardware.

  5. 5

    Add 2 tbsp of liquid washing powder to the water.

  6. 6

    Place the hardware into the water.

  7. 7

    Cover the slow cooker and turn it to medium.

  8. 8

    “Cook” the hardware all night.

  9. 9

    Remove the hardware with plastic tongs the next morning.

  10. 10

    Scrub the hardware with a nylon brush to remove the softened paint.

Tips and warnings

  • If soaking in hot water doesn’t remove all of the paint, you may need to try a chemical stripper.
  • To protect the hardware, polish with a wax polish every six months.
  • You can use a mixture of vinegar and water (half and half) instead of plain water.
  • Do not use a wire brush because it can scratch the hardware.

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