No one should ever paint pre-finished hardware like
hinges, drawer pulls, latches locks or handles, right?
Right. But just in case someone who lived in your house or
apartment before you did that, here's a quick and easy
method for removing that paint. You can do it yourself and
make a big difference in the appearance of your home.
You need a shallow enamel or glass pan - whatever size you
have that will sit on a burner on your kitchen stove. You
also need water, a pair of tongs, some paper towels or
clean rags, and baking soda. Yes, baking soda. You will
also need a spray can of clear lacquer to coat the pieces
with after you have cleaned them. You may also want to
have a plastic scouring pad, a utility knife or a dental
pick on hand to clean off pesky bits.
Pour enough water in the pan to be sure the hardware will
be completely covered - at least 1 inch (25 mm.) deep.
Set the pan on the stove. Add enough baking soda to cover
the bottom of the pan at least 1/8 inch (3 mm.) deep.
Don't stir - just let the baking soda rest on the bottom
of the pan.
Turn the burner on and bring the water to a simmer - a
very slow, light boil. While the water is heating, set up
a drying area with multiple layers of the paper towels or
Once the water is simmering, use the tongs to set the
hardware pieces in the pan. Do as many as you like at a
time, so long as they don't touch each other or the sides
of the pan.
Leave them in for about 15 minutes. Each piece is ready
when its paint layers have separated and lifted off. At
that point, lift it out with the tongs and set it on the
drying area. If necessary, clean any remaining bits of
paint off the hardware with the tools listed above.
You can use the tongs to remove the old paint from the
water if you need to do another batch. Dispose of it
properly - it may contain lead. You can add additional
pieces and continue to use the pan until the baking soda
starts to turn dark, or there's too much paint left in the
water, or there's a noticeable thinning of the baking soda
layer - you can see the bottom of the pan.
Once the pieces are completely dry, you can hang them on
wire and spray them with one or two light coats of
lacquer. I would recommend waiting at least 24 hours - to
make sure they are really dry - before spraying the first
coat of lacquer, especially on articulated pieces - hinge
leaves, window latches, sash pulleys or lock components,