How to Remove Spray Paint from Metal in 5+ Effective Ways

how to remove spray paint from metal

If you are looking for how to remove spray paint from metal easily, then look no further as in this article, you’ll discover some of the easy and effective ways to remove spray paint from metals.

Spray paint is a fantastic way to paint your various projects easily and faster without wasting any time. But it also sticks to surfaces very easily and these surfaces can sometimes be the wrong surface.

Maybe you didn’t intend to spray paint the metal surface beside your painting project, but due to the overspray, you find paint on its surface area. This will then require you to remove it.

how to remove spray paint from metal

With the many myths about removing spray paint out there, you will hear people say things like just apply water on the surface and it will remove the paint. Well, that is only true if you are dealing with wet paint. But once the spray paint dries up, it’s impossible to remove it with only water.

Water alone does not work because, the binding agents in both water-based and oil-based paints which are water and oil respectively harden or become insoluble as the paint dries, making it difficult to clean with just water.

Now that we have clarified issues, you may be asking how then can one get rid of spray paint on metal surfaces?. Keep reading below to find out more.

Also Read:

How to remove spray paint from wood 

Supplies Needed to Remove Spray Paint From Metal

  • Large cooking pot (one you won’t use again)
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Paint scraper
  • Gloves
  • Paint stripper
  • Chip brush
  • Mineral spirits
  • Cloth
  • Nose mask
  • A tong pair of tongs

What You Need to Know About Removing Spray Paint from Metal

First of all, metals have non-porous surfaces and this makes it easier to remove spray paint from their surface than other surfaces like concrete or wood. So, you can be at ease now that you know you can clean up the mess on that metal surface.

There are a couple of methods you can use to remove spray paint from metal, but it is important to always ensure your safety first. Make sure to wear your gloves, goggles, and nose mask when dealing with chemicals like spirits that may be harmful to your health.

Easy Ways of Removing Spray Paint from Metal

When removing spray paint from metals, the process you employ will depend on the size of the object. Irrespective of the metal size, it’s important to always take the necessary safety precautions.

How to Remove Spray paint from Metal Using Using Household Items

For smaller metal objects such as tools, small decor pieces, and among others, you can make use of an old cooking pot and the baking soda in your kitchen.

Take the cooking pot and add a thin layer of baking soda, about one-eighth of an inch thick. Fill it halfway with cold water and place the metal inside.

Place the pot on a stovetop and set it at low heat, then allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes. We are making use of the baking soda because of its abrasive properties and combined with heat, it will cause the paint to loosen and bubble from the metal surface.

To remove the metal pieces from the hot water, you will need a pair of gloves and a long pair of tongs.

Remove the pieces and place them on a clean cloth, then allow it to cool slightly, peel the loosened paint with a paint scraper. Do it gently to prevent scratch the metal surface.

How to Remove Spray Paint from Metal Using Chemical Paint Removers

Chemical paint removers like paint thinner or liquid paint remover are the easiest way for removing excess spray paint without damaging the metal beneath.

This can also work well for smaller metals as well. These paint removers come with instructions on how to apply it to the metal surface and the duration to leave it for.

Liquid paint removers are effective for soaking smaller items as they soften the paint. Once the paint is softened, remove it with a natural bristle brush.

If you are dealing with tight or numerous angles, you may have to opt for spray-on paint remover. This will enable you to apply the remover evenly to the object, making it easier to remove the paint. You can get professional-strength varieties at your local automotive or hardware stores.

When dealing with larger metal surfaces such as your patio furniture, that will require the use of a chemical paint stripper.

First, observe all the safety precautions by wearing a nose mask, gloves, and goggles. Then using a chip brush apply the stripper to the area you are cleaning. Allow it to sit for the recommended time.

Now using a stiff-bristled brush, remove the loose paint gently. Repeat this process if you still have paint leftover.

After you have stripped all the paint off the surface, wipe the metal object with a clean cloth soaked in a mineral spirit. The mineral spirit will ensure that any leftover paint flakes or traces of the chemical stripper are removed completely from the metal surface.

When it comes to removing spray paint from larger equipment like tractors or oversized machines, it will require a blasting rig. To avoid scratching the metal, only use blasting soda or some finely ground medium from walnut shells.

Also if you dealing with spray paint on cars, you may want to use liquid or aerosol carnauba wax to dissolve the acrylic paint without damaging the clear coat underneath.  Once removed, wash off the wax residue to prevent the re-adhering of the flakes.

Another effective way of removing spray paint from metal is using stripping gel. As usual, wear safety equipment first and with a brush, apply a thick coat of the Citristrip stripping gel over the unwanted spray paint stain you want to remove.

Allow it to sit for about 30 minutes or the time recommended by the manufacturer.

Once you notice the paint is bubbling up, it’s ready for you to remove.  The bubbled paint can be removed with a plastic scraper. after that, use a rag or cloth to wipe down the excess paint.

If the metal has hard to reach corners, you can use a toothbrush to clean those areas. Repeat the process for any affected area until all the stain is removed.

Finally, wipe the object clean with a clean cloth dipped in acetone to remove any trace residue of the stripping gel or any film that may be left.

Removing Spray Paint on Metal Using Rubbing Alcohol

Another effective way to get rid of paint stains on metal surfaces is to rub the affected area with rubbing alcohol. This can be done by using a lint-free rag soaked in rubbing alcohol to rub the paint until it is removed. To prevent drippings, be sure to squeeze off any access alcohol.

The alcohol is only effective when you are dealing with water-based paint. For oil-based paint, use acetone instead of rubbing alcohol.

Removing Spray Paint from Metal Using Sandpaper

Sanding paint off metal is another DIY option to lightly rub away the paint using steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. Using this method, caution has to be taken to ensure you dont scratch the metal surface underneath.

Rub the paint gently away with the steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper. Once the paint is removed, use a DIY metal polish before you repaint the metal again to ensure that the new paint sticks smoothly.

Removing Spray Paint from Metal Using Dish Soap and Clay cleaning Bar

Liquid dishwashing soap is a natural grease remover.  To use this, apply about three drops of the liquid soap directly to the paint stain.  Using a microfiber cloth dipped in warm water, gently rub the paint making sure to rinse the cloth often.

If the liquid soap isn’t effective enough, then you can use a clay cleaning bar with some clay bar lubricant. These you can buy at your local store. Use the clay bar to rub directly the paint stain after spraying it with the lubricant.

Once you remove the unwanted paint, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any excess paint traces and lubricant.

Avoid using nail polish remover, lacquer thinner, gasoline, and other rubbing compounds as they damage the existing paint, not just the excess spray.

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