Tips & Tricks On How To Get Paint Off Metal Door Handle

Painting your interior doors is a DIY project that can be enjoyable yet a bit messy.  But what about the mess created from the paint spillages? But, how can you get paint off metal door handles and other door hardware once you’re done? 

a close up of a hand holding a doorknob to open the door

Luckily, it’s very easy to clean as long as you know the hacks to do it correctly without removing the handle’s finish. And that’s why we are by your side. We are about to share with you all the tips and tricks on how to get paint off your metal handles. Are you ready to find out? Let’s get started!

How to get paint off metal door handles

Whether you want to remove lacquer, spray paint or any other kind of paint, you can get it off from your metal or brass door handles or hardware hassle-free.  Below, we have six chemical-free ways plus one using a special cleaning product

White vinegar

Vinegar is the most used ingredient in cleaning tasks. You can use it to clean everything from carpets and mattresses to mould off walls, bathroom tiles or even your paintbrushes. Vinegar, due to its acid properties, can loosen the paint, and along with the heat, it will soften the paint even more, making it easier for you to remove it. Here’s what you need to clean paint from metal doorknobs.

Needed materials:

  • White vinegar
  • A pot
  • A putty knife or paint scraper
  • A soft cloth

Steps to follow:

  1. Place a pot on your stove, fill it with white vinegar and bring it to boil. You can also use a microwave oven to heat vinegar if you like.
  2. Place the handle into the hot vinegar and let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Once the paint is loosened, use a putty or utility knife (a paint scraper would work as well) and scrape any remaining strip paint left on the surface.
  4. Finally, wipe the handle with a clean, dry, soft cloth.

Boiling water

Water is probably the most natural way to clean many household items, like a stove vent fan filter or silver items. You can also get rid of layers of paint from your metal door hinges and handles from now on. Let’s see how to do it.

A pot with boiling water on an electric hob

Needed materials:

  • An old pot
  • Stovetop
  • Tongs

Steps to follow:

  1. Place a pot without the lid, fill it with water on your hob, and set it to the highest setting.
  2. Keep the window open and your stove vent to prevent your kitchen filled with paint fumes.
  3. Next, place the handle in the pot once the water has boiled and let it cook.
  4. You may need to leave it in the water from one hour up to overnight, depending on the thickness of the paint.
  5. Once the paint is off the handle, use the tongs to remove it from the pot and rinse it under hot water.

You can use this method to remove old paint from the door hinges and other hardware.

Steel wool

Cleaning your handles with a steel pad is a cheap, easy and non-toxic way. It might need a bit of elbow grease, but in the end, you get back your shiny metals and brass hardware and handles.

Needed materials:

  • Steel wool
  • Hot water

Steps to follow:

  1. Place the handle under hot running water and start rubbing it with a steel pad. 

And that’s all—nothing more, nothing less. 

Heat gun

  • A heat gun
  • A 5-in-1 painter’s tool
  • A nylon brush
  • Pliers
  • Sheet metal
  • Fine grid sandpaper

Steps to follow:

  1. Turn on the heat gun and let it heat up.
  2. Lay the sheet metal and place on top the handle or any other metal hardware.
  3. Grab your heat gun and hold it above the handle.
  4. After a couple of minutes, you should see the paint soften or even liquify.
  5. Next, hold the handle with the pliers in one hand and with the other scrape the paint off with the painter’s tool.
  6. Heat the handle a bit more and keep scraping to get the paint off if necessary.
  7. Then, scrape the paint out of all the hard to reach areas with the brush.
  8. Once you have removed all the paint, start sanding with the fine-grit sandpaper to bring the lost shine back to the handle.

Baking soda

Baking or bicarbonate of soda is an eco-friendly way to clean your stainless steel cutlery and appliances, remove stains from wood, get fabric dye off your skin and so on. It’s also an excellent paint remover for your metal handles.

Baking soda isolated on gray background

Needed materials:

  • Baking soda
  • Boiling water
  • A pot
  • A toothbrush

Steps to follow:

  1. Boil some water. When it’s ready, pour it into a pot and add some bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Next, stir the mixture very well to dissolve the baking soda and then soak the handle.
  3. Let it sit for a week or longer if possible. 
  4. After a week has passed, get a toothbrush and scrub the handle.


Another way to get paint off your metal handles and door hardware is an old crockpot you will never use again afterwards. It’s the same with the boiling water method, but we will use one more ingredient for this one. Let’s see:

Needed materials:

  • A crockpot
  • Dish soap
  • Water

Steps to follow:

  1. Fill your slow cooker with water and add a few drops of dish soap and turn your cooker on. 
  2. Place the handle in the cooker and let it simmer overnight.
  3. The next morning there won’t be any paint left on the knob.

Yet, if any paint sticks remain, you can use nylon or a soft bristle brush to scrub them. 

Paint stripper

chemical stripper is a great way to remove paint from larger metal doorknobs. But, you can still use it for smaller hardware as well. Here is what you need to have and the steps to follow:

Needed materials:

  • Paint stripper
  • Paper towels
  • Safety gloves and glasses

Steps to follow:

  1. First and foremost, you have to put on your safety equipment to protect yourself from the harsh chemicals and read carefully the instructions labelled on the package.
  2. Remove the doorknob and place it outside or in a well-ventilated room.
  3. Spray the handle with the paint remover and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the time has passed, wipe the paint off the handle with a few paper towels.
  5. If there is still paint on the handle, repeat the same process. 
  6. When you have removed the paint completely, wash the handle and scrub it lightly with a steel pad to clean it completely.

Warning: The paint stripper is prone to remove the finish of the handle.

Tips and warnings

Just knowing how to get paint off metal door hinges and handles isn’t enough. There are a few more things to consider before starting the cleaning process. Here are a few tips and warnings any homeowner should be aware of.

  1. Always work in a well-ventilated room. You don’t want to inhale paint fumes.
  2. Never use your pots after soaking painted handles. Paint, especially older types, contain toxic chemicals that simply rinsing the pan won’t be enough to remove any contaminants.
  3. After removing paint, use a lint-free cloth to buff off dirt and black tarnish from the handle.
  4. Avoid using a wire brush, a sander or any other aggressive tool, as you risk scratching off the metal.
  5. Don’t hesitate to repeat the above methods. It’s possible not to be able to remove the paint from the first application. You can repeat them several times. It’s safe.

Woman opening a door into a living room

Getting paint off metal door hardware and handles is a DIY craft project. You can do it using ingredients and tools you already have at home. They’re all very straightforward, yet some of them might be a bit time-consuming. Either way, they all have the desired results. Try the one that best suits your needs and give your metal handles their lost shine back.

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