Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Paint Removal

One of my readers (how cool is it to say that I have readers - at least I think it is cool but I am dorky like that) asked about my reference to crock pot paint removal in my post about my old doorknobs.  I think I read about this in This Old House magazine but it was a few years ago.  Anyways, not wanting to keep a fantastic tip to myself here is the nitty gritty.

Say you have a piece of hardware that someone long ago decided to be lazy and paint over instead of doing the right thing and taking it off to paint.  And then the next person that came along was like heck it's already got paint on it why bother taking it off now.  And so on until 50 years later you have what was once a lovely piece of hardware is now a crusted over icky looking thing.

Now this is not a piece from my house.  I found this picture on the web but it does look like a lot of the hardware that is in my house that I worked on.

First you get your crock pot out.  I should warn you that you will never ever never want to use this particular crock pot for food again.  At least I did not want to chance it.  Even though you are not using any chemicals, I'm sure some of the paint I took off had lead and I just don't mess around with that.  So I suggest either doing this with a garage sale crock pot or use your current one if you need an excuse to go get the new fancy stainless steel digital kind.

Fill up your slow cooker with water.  You want enough to cover your pieces with a couple of inches of water.  Also you want to do just one layer of hardware.  Don't stack it up in there because you don't want paint from a piece on top sticking to a piece on the bottom.  Add a few drops of dish soap.  Yep, regular old dish soap. I used Dawn because that is my go-to, forever-and-always, nothing-else-will-do dish soap, but I am not sure that it matters what kind.   Turn your crock pot on low and let it sit.

Check it after a few hours.  On some pieces I found the paint just peeled off into the water.  On other pieces once it was softened I used a toothbrush and a toothpick to help clean out the tiny crevices.  Sometimes I cleaned it off a little then put it back in to soak for a little while longer.  It is not a precise science.  It does, however, clean off your hardware without chemicals and with relatively little effort.

Here are some pictures of some of our hardware that I cleaned using my slow cooker.

Doorknobs and other smooth pieces are super easy and the paint seemed to just float right off of them.  The knobs below had a lot of crevices and it took me a little more time and effort to get those cleaned off.  Eventually I just decided they were good enough, and I didn't drive myself crazy over the last little tiny bits of paint.

You can see in this picture that the knobs have 2 different kinds of screws.  That is because it is super difficult to get painted screws to turn.  In order to get the knobs off the cabinets, in some cases, I had to use a hammer and a screw driver to chip away the paint.   The screws would end up all stripped so I had to use replacements when attaching them back onto the cabinets.

If you attempt this send me some pictures.  I'd love to see what everyone else is up to with their old houses.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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