Metal hinges on doors, cabinets and furniture are often accidentally painted over when the wood is being painted. Hinges are not intended to be painted and don't look as sharp and clean as they should when they are layered with paint. Small areas of paint splatter can be removed with a little paint stripper and a cotton swab. Layers of old paint require a little more work. You can restore paint-covered hinges to their original finish with a few simple steps.
Cut around the hinge with a utility knife so it can be removed from the door without pulling up the paint on the door. Remove the hinge from the door with a screwdriver. Rinse the hardware under warm water. Dip a toothbrush in ammonia-based cleaner and scrub the hinge to remove any surface dirt. Rinse the hinge under clean water. Dry with a clean towel.
Put on rubber gloves. Apply a thick coat of chemical paint stripper to the hinge with an old paintbrush. Cover the hinge and the paint stripper with a piece of cling film to prevent the paint stripper from evaporating. Allow the paint stripper to sit on the surface of the metal for 20 minutes.
Scrub the hinge with steel wool to remove all paint. Rinse under cold running water to remove the paint stripper.
Dip a clean, soft rag into metal polish. Choose a metal polish that is safe for the metal you are working with. Polish the hinge to remove all tarnish.
Buff the hinge with a clean, soft cloth to remove all polish and bring the hinge to a high shine.
Don't forget the screws. If your hinge was covered in layers of old paint, the screws were covered too. Follow the same process for cleaning the screws that you used for the hinges.