Paint stripper for metal

The best way to remove paint from metal at home: Chemical paint stripper

Whether you want to respray or repaint your metal furniture, renew defective coating from motorcycle and bike parts, or recoat a tank, the first step will be stripping paint from metal furniture and objects. In other words: Use the best paint remover for metal – mostly that’s a chemical paint remover for metal. Proper adhesion of any new paint or coating is only achieved if the painted metal surface is completely stripped and then carefully pretreated.

Paint removal from metal surfaces at home is not recommended for everyone, especially when you have no experience in safely handling chemicals. The best way to remove paint from metal is always going to be to take it to your local metal stripping service. However, if you feel confident in your paint stripping abilities, you can try to save money and remove paint from metal at home with chemical paint strippers. Keep in mind that even the strongest paint stripper will only perform its best if used as instructed.

In this article you learn the safest and best ways to remove paint from metal. We also list some of the best paint stripper products you can buy in the UK. In the interest of safety, we provide you with information about the dangers of chemically stripping paint by yourself.


Take these safety precautions when using chemical paint stripper

Before you buy paint stripper to strip paint from metal parts at home, it is paramount to create a safe working space that protects not only personal health but also the environment. Don’t rush; paint stripping takes time and attention.

Before removing paint at home you should follow these safety steps:

  • Make sure your work space is well-ventilated
  • Find a space with a solid floor (a garage is a good option)
  • Wear safety clothing (long sleeves and trousers), including gloves, goggles and a mask with an air-purifying respirator
  • Have a surface prepared to place the item on during the stripping process, such as a drop cloth or cardboard

If you decide to not strip the paint from metal yourself, there are professionals in practically every part of the UK who strip even powder coating from metal for you at a reasonable price. Stripping paint off larger parts of metal is always best left to professionals.

Active ingredients in paint stripper for metal

Paint removers for metal at hardware stores are available for everyone. That doesn’t mean those paint removers aren’t dangerous for health and environment. Therefore, you should try to stay away from paint removers for metal that contain carcinogens. Most paint strippers for metal contain the following toxic, polluting solvents:

  • N-Methyl-2-pyrrolidon (NMP)
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Perchloroethylene
  • Methylene chloride (MC/DCM)
  • Toluene

Even without the mentioned ingredients, paint strippers are composed of hazardous ingredients. The product works because it contains potent solvents that penetrate the coatings and loosen or detach it from the surface. The best option is to always read and carefully follow what’s on the safety data sheet and technical data sheet that comes with the paint remover for metal. It is also vitally important to be aware of the possible health and environmental damage that paint strippers can cause. For example, never allow them to reach groundwater.


Where to buy best paint remover for metal in the UK

If you are confident that you are able to use paint stripper at home, you will find the best paint removers for metal at your local specialist paint shop or even online. Below are some of the paint removers suitable for metal surfaces along with price indications and chemical active ingredients. The list helps you make the best choice in buying the best paint remover metal:

Paint stripper metalType/applicationRemovesBased onAverage Price
Tiger Brand Paint RemoverLiquid/brush or rollerMost types of coating and paintDichloromethane, Methanol, Naphta (Petroleum)£8 for 1Liter
Mesa Paint Paint RemoverMilky opaque viscous liquid/brush or rollerDecorative paints, marine paint, industrial enamel, most types of coatingMethyl Chloride (Chlorinated hydrocarbon and thickening agent); no acidic nor caustic ingredients, water-cleanable£11 for 1 Liter
Klean Strip Premium Sprayable StripperThin liquid/sprayLatex and oil-based paint, polyurethane, epoxy, varnishDichloromethane (Methylene chloride), Methanol£80 for 946ml

Spot-test paint stripper on small area

After having bought the paint stripper of your choice, you can apply it on the coated metal part as described in the data sheet. However, to avoid incompatibility with the substrate or paint you should first:

  • Spot test the metal item with the paint remover.

By testing the paint stripper you will be able to see after several minutes to hours if it works for the type of coating on the metal part. If you see bubbles and loose chips, you have green light for the next step: applying paint stripper on the whole metal part.


How-to Guide: Paint removal from metal surfaces

A lot of chemical paint strippers for metal are either liquid or have a gel-like and creamy consistency. The advantage of a rather viscous paint stripper is that you can apply it on angled surfaces where liquid paint strippers for metal would run off. If you want to remove paint from a metal door a liquid paint stripper will do fine.

Before you start, follow the safety steps previously described → ventilation, solid floor, safety clothes, air-purifying respirator, prepared surface.

This is the best way to strip paint from metal:

  1. Apply the paint stripper to the painted metal surface with a brush or roller. Work in manageable sections, i.e. 1m x 1m
  2. Leave the paint stripper for the time recommended in the instructions.
  3. Cover the treated section with plastic film or sheet to keep the paint stripper from drying too quickly.
  4. After some hours, remove the plastic and try to scrape the paint with a bladed paint scraper.
    • If the paint is still stuck fast, allow more time for it to work.
    • If you are able to lift the paint off, move ahead and begin applying paint remover on the next section.
  5. Collect the scraped paint material in a bucket and make sure to dispose as hazardous waste.
  6. Use a scrubbing pad for places that are hard to reach.
  7. Repeat the procedure if needed.

After successfully stripping the paint you can:

  • Wash residue off carefully, wash it down with detergent, and dry the surface.

To prepare it for following steps, ensure it will not corrode, and completely remove all the paint and solvent:

  • Go over the part with an abrasive pad/ steel wool or electric sander.

Depending on the type of metal and the intended follow-up coating, abrasive sandblasting is the next step of treatment to ensure ideal adhesion before applying paint or powder coating in the colour and finish of your choice.


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