I hate stripping hardware with a passion. It’s messy, the chemicals are awful and often really smelly. Plus, you have to use precautions to protect your skin, including gloves, goggles, a mask and protective clothing. I feel like I entering a science lab whenever I need to strip a bit of paint. Luckily, my stripping woes are over and I’ve finally learned how to strip hardware without paint stripper.
I have to admit, this isn’t my original idea. I was watching Rehab Addict on HGTV and came across this tip. Instead of using a chemical paint stripper, she used an old crock pot to soak her hardware. I just had to try it.
My dad, luckily for me, has 3 crockpots and offered to let me use one to try the stripping technique. If you don’t have the opportunity to get one from a relative, you can always find one at a thrift shop on the cheap. Nicole Kurtis from Rehab Addict said to not plan on using the crock pot again for cooking, as the hardware can stain the pot and, I assume, leach into the sides. Luckily I don’t like to cook, so this wouldn’t be a problem.
My first attempt at using the crock pot method was on the hardware for my cabinet that I was building from reclaimed materials. This included three various latches and catches, four hinges, and all of the screws that went with them. You can check out the before an after on these pieces in the slideshow above. These pieces weren’t covered in paint, but had a few spots that needed to be removed to make them look extra sharp.
Here’s a list of the tools I used to use the crockpot stripping method:
- Crockpot – Don’t plan on using this for cooking again. Pick one up at a thrift store for around $15.
- Baking Soda
- Dental Pick
- Long-nose Pliers or Tongs
- Old Rag
- Nail Polish Remover
- Nail Polish Remover Pads
Stripping using the Crock Pot
I dumped the whole pile into the crockpot, with enough water so that it covered all the hardware plus some. I set the crock pot to high and let it sit. After an hour or so, I checked the hardware. I’m an inpatient projecter, so I kept going back to check on any progress. I pulled a piece of hardware out using pliers. The water is HOT and so is the hardware when it comes out, so I used an old rag to hold the hardware. I then used a dental pick to scrape off the loosened paint. I’m not sure if I let the items soak long enough, but the paint did seem to loosen and soften in the water after the hour long soak. The hitch was, that as the item started to cool, the paint began to stiffen again. I had to work quick to get as much paint off as possible with my scraper before it cooled completely. You’ll really only have a couple minutes. After an initial scraping, I put it back in the pot to soak some more. I’m sure the longer the soak the better. Nicole even mentioned leaving them overnight.
After a few soaks and scrapings, I got the hardware pretty cleaned up. I did notice there were some tricky spots that scraping wasn’t getting, so I had a brilliant idea! I went and grabbed my nail polish remover. I rubbed the nail polish remover using a cotton pad over the pieces of hardware and it seemed to do the trick. It got the stubborn paint off and served to give the hardware a nice little cleaning and polish.
HELPFUL TIP – Use nail polish remover over your hardware after stripping to get any small stubborn areas of paint off and give it a nice clean luster.
Stripping using the Crock Pot and Baking Soda
After trying the crockpot method, I also learned from a friend that adding baking soda to the water also helps loosen paint. She had originally recommended boiling water with baking soda, but I figured the crock pot method would also work similarly, plus I wouldn’t have to watch water boil (that’s almost cooking).
I added some baking soda to the mix on a future attempt at stripping some other hardware around my house. I’ll have to find the right combination and share the amount, but for now, we’ll call it 4 large spoonfuls. When I used baking soda I put hardware pieces in that was heavily painted, like the door catch pictured above. I waited a few hours and the paint almost completely lifted from one of the pieces of hardware, no scraping. It was awesome. The baking soda method has won out. You do need to make sure to rinse the hardware well though, because the baking soda leaves a bit of a film.
HELPFUL TIP – Use baking soda in your crockpot to help loosen up the paint.
I don’t know if I’d use chemical paint strippers again at this point on hardware. It’s too much of hassle and mess. I’m now a crockpot soaker all the way and baking soda will now also be part of my regimen.
Have any hardware stripping projects of your own? What method have you found most successful?