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Fixture Fix: A Safer Way to Remove Paint

There are moments while crafting or working on a home improvement project when I’ll remember how toxic some of the paints, cleaners and adhesives can be. But, using that not so good for you product is sometimes the only way to get something finished with the desired look, which makes it even more exciting when I find a way to  get something done without having to use any creepy chemicals. Such is the case with this method of oh so easily removing paint from door fixtures with items that I’m guessing you have in your kitchen right now instead of harsh chemicals.

Before and after door fixture

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Door fixtures with caked on paint
  • Safety blade
  • Crock pot
  • Ketchup (optional)
  • Lime juice (optional)

This is what all of our doors looked like when we first moved into our house:

1 Original door hardware

All the original knobs had been replaced with these builder grade versions, all the plates and locks had been painted over, several times.  I began collecting antique glass door knobs so we could bring back some of the historical charm to these very old doors. I’m using the bathroom door as an example since we’re nearing the end of the mini-renovation.

2 before with glass knob

The first step is to carefully scrape the paint off of the screws so you can get the plates off of the doors. You can also gently score around the plate so it pops off more easily.

3 Glass door knob during

While I was at it, I decided to go ahead and clean one of the door locks from a hallway closet too. Every single piece of door hardware  in this house has been painted over at least three times.

4 Door fixtures before

Next, fill your crock pot to the half way point with water, drop in your  door plates and set it to the highest heat setting for six hours.

6 Door fixtures in crock pot

Four to six hours later…

7 Door fixtures out of crock pot

 {note: use tongs to pull the plates out of the crock pot}

Let them cool for a few minutes and then peel off any paint that didn’t fall off already.

8 Door fixtures after peeling off paint

That’s it. Paint removed. And all you had to do was press a button and walk away. And of course, give your crock pot a really thorough cleaning afterward. However, depending on the metal you’re working with, you may want to do the optional steps shown below.

1. Coat the metal in ketchup. The acidity of the tomato helps to remove some of the discoloration. I leave it on for around 20 minutes, gently scrub and then rinse.

9 Door hardware with ketchup

2. Use lime juice. Squeeze lime juice onto the metal, let sit for 10 minutes and then gently scrub to remove more of the tarnish and discoloration.

10 Door hardware with lime juice

Here they are after the all three steps.

11 Door hardware after
They aren’t perfect. But, I like that they show their age and have so much character.

And finally, back on the bathroom door. Side note: I’m waiting until it gets a bit cooler to strip the paint from all the doors, so don’t mind the chipped paint alongside the door plate. 

after paint removal knob

To see more of the bathroom renovation projects, click here.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gretchen #

    I like the aged look! It doesn’t look too difficult – I think I might just give this a try :)

    July 19, 2013
  2. The aged look sure is a lot easier to keep up than the brand new look! :P Also – a family member just shared a tip with me this week for cleaning copper and brass, she uses equal parts vinegar, baking soda and flour to get rid of tarnish.

    July 19, 2013

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