The best paint remover for metal hardware is non toxic and super easy! It’s a simple method of removing years of paint from old hardware.

When I was renovating our kitchen, we decided to keep the same window, but just fix the broken glass pane. We found that it saved us hundreds of dollars to stick with the wooden window we already had.

I knew that if I could just build out the framing to make it look really special, it would be worth the savings!

Why not just buy new metal hardware?

One of the problems I ran into was that the hardware on the window was old and covered with thick coats of paint. Since our house was built in 1932, who knows when this window was installed?! Clearly long ago since it had been painted many times.

I went to tons of hardware stores and checked online and couldn’t find any window hardware that had even a smidge of the character of the hardware already installed on the window. They also looked SO cheaply made.

Additionally, all these new locks would have different placement for the holes, which could make things really complicated. The same thing happens if you’re replacing hinges and other hardware. However, when you use original hardware, it maintains the same placement.

So, I made a new plan. I decided that I would need to just work with what I had.

What is the best paint remover for metal hardware?

Would you believe that the best paint remover for metal hardware is water!? What? I couldn’t believe it! It turns out that heat + water + time = my solution.

Step 1- remove metal hardware:

Remove the hardware from your door or window. Since this paint removal process takes a little time, it’s best to do a big batch of all the hardware at once.

You’ll also want to make sure you remove any of the screws and keep it all together. You won’t want to use different screws, since the originals match the hardware, and perfectly fit the holes.

metal hardware with old paint

Step 2 – set up tools:

You’ll need a small crockpot for this project. I have had mine FOREVER, but I linked one that is similar to what I used.

After that, fill the crockpot with water and set it on high. That’s it! Say goodbye to toxic chemicals. No need for rubber gloves. Don’t scrub. No elbow grease necessary. Just a crockpot and water!

Step 3 – remove the paint over time:

After turning the crockpot on high, add the hardware and screws to the water and set the timer for 4 hours. At the end of four hours, check the hardware to see if the paint is beginning to peel off.

Mine was done right at that 4 hour mark, but if it needs longer, set the timer for another few hours and check it again then.

On our hardware, it pretty much peeled right off, but you may need to use a toothbrush to finish removing the last of the paint.

removing paint from metal hardware

Step 4 – shine up the metal hardware:

Shine up the hardware! My favorite trick for this is to use Barkeeper’s friend and a toothbrush.

I’ve used this a lot for brass/gold hardware and it’s amazing how it reveals. I think the modern day gold and brass hardware looks too bright and modern, especially if you’re renovating an older item. I love to just uncover the original metal that was on the piece.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of this part of the process! I use the powdered Barkeeper’s Friend. Get the hardware wet and sprinkle a little on. Then, use an old toothbrush and scrub away. It is amazing what a difference it makes!

Here’s some hardware that I’ve used Barkeeper’s Friend on. The one in the back is the old, worn one. The front handle has been scrubbed with a toothbrush and the Barkeeper’s Friend. I love that it leaves a bit of the weathered dark in the grooves. Above all, it helps to maintain the aged look, but brings it back to life!

shined up old hardware

Step 5 – reinstall metal hardware:

Lastly, just put it back where it came from! Because you are using the same hardware, you’ll be able to put it exactly back where it belongs. No measuring. No redrilling new holes. In short, just screw it back in where it belongs!

And you’re done! There’s just something about original hardware that makes me so happy! I didn’t spend any money, I didn’t have to reposition new hardware, and I maintained the integrity of the older home. It was a win all around!

old hardware with paint removed

So what’s your trick for the best paint remover for metal hardware? I’d love to hear!

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