How to gently remove old paint from antique hardware – It’s easy!

This topic may not apply to you, but if you know anyone who refinishes furniture or lives in an old house, it may just be their “missing puzzle piece.” They’ll love you for forwarding this post to them. Better yet, share it on your FaceBook or Google+ page. You never know which of your friends are wannabe old house owners!


Unfortunately, it’s a common problem: perfectly good door or cabinet hardware that’s been painted over. For years I used chemical paint strippers, but all the while I thought there HAD to be a more gentle–and hopefully easier–way to accomplish the task.


Good news:  There is!


The hardware on this door was about as *rough* as the door itself, but the door is going in a BARN bathroom, so I didn’t mind.


Some of the hardware was inexpensive, brass-plated, and rusty. Some was solid brass but covered in layers of old paint. (FYI: solid brass doesn’t rust, but it can become “crystallized” in the presence of extensive moisture)



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I removed the hardware and –here’s the trick– placed it in an old crock pot (used for this purpose ONLY). I covered it with water and added some dish soap.


Tip: Old crock pots are pretty easy to find at garage sales and thrift stores..

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Then I put on the lid and set the crock pot on LOW.

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A quick peek at the clock…  and I left it to work its magic.

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Six hours later, I returned to dirty water–and soft paint just waiting to be wiped off.

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I like to use a plastic-covered sponge to “scrape” off the paint.  It makes the job a lot easier.


The door plate on the left is now free of paint.

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Remember: I told you some of this hardware was brass-plated (not solid brass), and it had already rusted and pitted the metal, so some paint got stuck in the grooves.  That won’t happen with solid brass.


“All” paint is removed.

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Since this hardware will go on a bathroom door in the BARN, I’m perfectly happy painting it in my favorite Oil Rubbed Bronze. Painting it. How’s that for irony?

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Did you know this trick? Do you have any “lazy painter” hardware you need to tackle?



I’m joining Mosaic Monday at Little Red House and Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch..



  1. This IS a fabulous idea. Thank you so much. My daughter lives in an old house and she will just love this information.
    Now, I am off to find a crockpot at the thrift store.
    Have a blessed week, Ginger

  2. Oh good-ness. This is a wonderful tip. and I am pinning it. I have been (obvously) quite missing this fall as I try to yield ALL of my time management to God. I have missed you, but I would have missed His voice even more.
    I’m pinning this for future reference. I had to paint some hardware on my dining room furniture because it was a hot mess that I couldn’t clean. I don’t think it was solid brass anyway, but I sure wish I could have tried this first.

    Also, I love the use for the old crock pot. Excellent.