How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal (DIY Tips & Tricks)

Spray paint for metal is a great way to touch up and redo surfaces until you get it on something you didn't want it on. Fortunately, you can learn how to remove spray paint from metal without too much fuss. So whether you accidentally spray painted your aluminum door or were a victim of graffiti, this guide will help you find the right method to remove that dreaded spray paint from unwanted surfaces.  

Fortunately, metal is porous, which means it is not that difficult to remove unwanted spray paint. The challenge you will face is trying to remove it without damaging the surface underneath the paint. There are a variety of ways you can remove spray paint from metal surfaces that you can choose from. Let’s take a closer look: 

Chemical Removers 

Various types of chemicals can be used to remove spray paint from metal surfaces. Here are the most common chemical paint removers used: 

  • Paint stripper or liquid paint remover
    Liquid paint remover is ideal for small items like brass knobs or metal hardware. You would soak the items in the liquid paint remover then use a stiff bristle brush to scrub off the loosened paint. Make sure to dispose of paint thinner properly after using. 
  • Spray-on paint removers
    This type of chemical comes in an easy-to-use spray bottle. It is ideal for spraying on surfaces that can't be soaked, such as rounded surfaces on bikes and patio furniture. You can find it at automotive stores. 
  • Brush-on gel remover
    If you have thick paint on a metal surface, you would want to use the gel-type paint remover. This is because the gel doesn’t evaporate the way liquid remover does. So, you can leave it on longer. 
  • Carnauba wax
    Carnauba wax is ideal for the metal on vehicles. It comes in aerosol or liquid and is specifically designed to dissolve acrylic spray paint on vehicles without damaging the coat underneath it. 

Blasting 

There are two ways of blasting spray paint off of metal surfaces. Blasting uses a blasting rig to remove spray paint from large projects such as construction or farm equipment. You can either use sandblasting or soda blasting. Let's take a look at the differences: 

  • Sandblasting
    Sandblasting uses sand particles to scrape the surfaces by blasting them with small particles propelled at high pressure. 
  • Dustless sandblasting
    This process uses sand just like sandblasting; however, you also add water and typically a rust inhibitor with it to minimize the dust. 
  • Soda blasting
    Soda blasting uses sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, to blast the spray paint particles away. 

How To Remove Paint From Metal (Tips & Tricks) 

Although there are a variety of methods you can use to remove spray paint from metal, knowing how to do it properly will result in a much better makeover.  When it comes to removing spray paint from metal surfaces, your method will depend on what precisely you are working with. Below, we will show you how to remove old spray paint from metal siding, doors, and furniture.  

How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal

How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal Siding 

If you are using spray paint and accidentally sprayed the wrong section, you can easily wipe it off while it is still wet with water or water and dish soap. However, if you are trying to remove old spray paint, you will need to use a chemical stripper. We recommend using either liquid paint thinner or the brush-on gel remover to get the best results. Here' what you need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Plastic paint scraper 
  • Paintbrush 
  • Chemical stripper 
  • Rag or old towel 

After you have the above items, follow these steps to remove the spray paint: 

  1. 1
    First, put on the rubber gloves. Rubber gloves will protect your hands from the stripper, which can cause skin irritations.  
  2. 2
    Next, using the paintbrush apply either the brush-on gel remover or liquid paint thinner.  Allow the chemical stripper to sit for several minutes.  
  3. 3
    Then, use the plastic paint scraper to gently remove the unwanted paint.  
  4. 4
    Use a rag or an old towel to wipe away any residue.  

How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal Doors 

Let's say you are using spray paint to paint the trim around your door, but you accidentally get it on the door; you can easily use water or water and soap while the paint is still wet. But, if you missed it and it was allowed to try, you can easily remove the spray paint using a chemical stripper. We recommend using carnauba wax because it is a gentler remover designed to prevent ruining the door's surface. Here's what you need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Metal scrubbing pad 
  • Paintbrush 
  • Rag or old towel 
  • Carnauba wax 

After you have gathered all the above supplies, use the following steps to remove unwanted paint from your metal doors.  

  1. 1
    First, put on your rubber gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals you will be using.  
  2. 2
    Then, apply the carnauba wax using a paintbrush. This type of chemical is ideal for doors and metal window frames because you do not want to mess up the surface of your door since you probably didn't want it painted anyway.   
  3. 3
    If the paint is bubbling, it’s ready to be removed. Using the metal scrubbing pad, scrub as much of the paint off the surface as you can.  
  4. 4
    Rinse the paint thinner off using water and an old rag or towel.  
  5. 5
    If the paint did not come all the way off, repeat the process until all the paint has been removed. 

How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal Furniture 

Most metal furniture will have tight angles or rounded surfaces, so you will need to use a spray-on remover when attempting to remove spray paint from metal furniture.

The spray-on remover allows you to apply an even coat to the object.

Here’s what you need: 

  • Rubber gloves 
  • Metal scrubbing pad or plastic scraper 
  • Rag or old towel 
  • Spray-on paint remover 
metal

Once you have gathered the above items and the item you want to remove old spray paint from, follow the steps below to properly remove it. 

  1. 1
    First, you should always put on rubber gloves when working with any chemicals.  
  2. 2
    Next, place the object either outside or on an old towel to prevent dripping onto your floor or other surfaces.  
  3. 3
    Then, spray every section of the metal surface with the spray-on paint remover. Allow the chemical to work for about 30-minutes or until the paint begins to bubble.  
  4. 4
    Use the metal scrubbing pad to remove the paint from all the nooks and crannies of the metal furniture. For larger sections, you can use the plastic scraper.  
  5. 5
    After you have scraped the paint, you will want to rinse the object with water to remove any chemical residue.  
  6. 6
    If some of the paint has remained after this process, repeat the process in those areas.  

Can You Spray Paint Over Old Painted Metal? 

Yes, with a little TLC, someone else’s trash can become your treasure, but only if you do it right. Giving an old piece of metal a full makeover requires a little work, and skipping steps can result in a messy-looking finished product. Follow the steps below before repainting any old painted metal: 

spray paint
  1. 1
    Inspect the object. First, inspect the object. You want to look for chipping paint, cracks, holes, and rust. If you notice any of the following, you will need to fix those things before repainting the surface.  
  2. 2
    Fix paint chipping. If the old paint is chipping, you will want to strip the old paint before repainting the item. Use a spray-on chemical paint remover for furniture to remove the old paint first.  
  3. 3
    Fix any holes or cracks. If the object has any holes or cracks, sand the areas to get to bare metal. Then, use an epoxy made for metal surfaces to fill in the holes. Allow it to dry completely.  
  4. 4
    Sand the rust spots. Use a stiff wire brush to sand off as much rust as possible. It’s ok if you can’t remove all of it.  
  5. 5
    Even if there are no visible blemishes to the object, sanding the entire surface before repainting is essential. Roughing up your surface allows the new paint to stick better. Then, use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the entire surface. You can do this by hand or with a power sander.  
  6. 6
    Finally, use a primer especially made for metal surfaces and coat the entire object. Allow it to dry completely before coating with new spray paint. Be sure to use spray paint specifically designed for metal surfaces.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Will vinegar remove spray paint from metal? 

Yes, vinegar is a great solution for removing small spots of paint from metal surfaces. You will want to let the vinegar soften the paint for about 10-15 minutes. Then, scrape it off with a plastic paint scraper.  


What household item removes spray paint from metal? 

Instead of using harsh chemicals, you can use other household items to remove small spots of spray paint. Household items that work usually contain alcohol which breaks down the paint’s bonds. You can try hairspray, nail polish remover, and rubbing alcohol. Be sure to test a small inconspicuous area first.  


Can you burn paint off metal? 

This is not recommended since the heat is retained in metal for a long time which runs the risk of getting burnt. However, a propane torch or heat gun can soften the paint so that it can be scraped off easier.  


Conclusion

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting spray paint where it isn’t supposed to be. Thankfully, we know how to remove spray paint from metal with minimal effort, and now you can too! Whether you use chemicals or household items, spray paint is easy to remove from metal surfaces.  


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