Sanding paint off from metal may seem tricky—or even downright impossible.
If you’ve been struggling to get paint off metal in or around your home, don’t despair.
To sand paint off metal is actually quite easy once you know what you are doing, but it’s important to follow the procedure so that you end up with a job well done.
In this guide, we’ll go over a few ways you can easily sand the paint off metal objects in your home, garage, or industry.
By following the information here, you should be equipped to get paint off metal in any situation.
With this in mind, let’s jump in and first look at the few best ways to sand paint off metal, especially if you’re looking to get rid of unwanted surface paint.
Best Way to Sand Paint Off Metal
No matter whether you are sanding metal to paint it fresh or need to sand off the old peeling paint from your metal before spray painting, there are a few efficient ways that can be tried out.
Some of the most common ones include;
1- Sanding Block
If you’re not ready to throw out money for fancy equipment, you can start by sanding paint off metalwork in an old-fashioned way.
Sanding blocks require a bit of effort, but they can effectively sand any paint off metal, especially if it’s a large area like metal doors, cars, etc.
If you choose to use this method, keep in mind that it could take a bit of time for you to remove all the bits of paint.
To start, purchase a quality sanding block. These cheap tools are handheld and need to be covered with a sheet of sandpaper before use.
Start by applying a sheet of 80-grit paper to the block and sanding down your metal to remove the paint.
You may find it easier to go up and down with your motion, but you could just as easily sand in a circular pattern. The choice is up to you, but remember that your piece of metal will begin to acquire marks in the direction of your sanding.
Once you’ve sanded off most of the primer or paint from metal work, switch the paper on your sanding block to the 200-grit variety.
This is because 200-grit is much softer and won’t dig into the surface of the metal as fiercely.
If you use only 80-grit paper, you will risk ruining the quality of the metal as you get closer and closer to removing the paint.
After you are done with most sanding, remove the sandpaper from the block and use it to get to the smaller and harder-to-reach spots if you find some corners or crevices left.
To finish the job, take a piece of steel wool and rub it in a circular motion across the metal or stainless steel surface.
While this helps to give the metal a smooth look, in some cases, you may not find it necessary to do so.
2- Orbital Sander
If you don’t wish to do it all by hand using a sand block, an orbital sander can make your life a lot easier.
The rules of using an orbital sander for sanding paint off metal are almost exactly the same; only it will be the machine and not you putting effort into the work.
After fixing an 80-grit sheet to your paint remover sander, you’ll want to move up and down the surface of the metal.
When the paint is almost gone, switch to a sheet of 200-grit to gently coax the remaining paint off the metal’s surface.
You may need to sand a bit by hand (without a sand block). So, start by using 80-grit paper on the remaining paint, and then switch to 200-grit.
Once the paint is removed, you may choose to rub steel wool in a circular pattern to give the metal a smoother finish.
3- Use Baking Soda
If you really want to turn up the heat, try the paint removal method with baking soda.
This works great for those who don’t have time to wait overnight and need to clean their metal hinges immediately.
The good news is that you’ll only need a throwaway pot, water, and baking soda for this to work.
Simply add some baking soda to the water and boil it before dropping your metal inside.
Cut the heat down to simmer and let it sit for around thirty minutes—at which time, the paint should be all but gone.
Keep in mind, however, that boiling metal and paint can send off potentially hazardous fumes, so do this only with the proper protective equipment.
4- Use a Chemical Product
If you’re looking for a more official way of removing paint from cast iron metal, consider using a chemical product designed to do just that.
Currently, there are many chemical paint removers on the market that you can use on your metal furniture (like tables and chairs) to strip the paint off.
Just keep in mind that you’ll want to buy the remover specifically designed for the type of metal you’re using. This will ensure safer, more efficient results.
Additionally, be aware that these chemical products may also be hazardous, so handle them safely according to the directions and with the correct equipment.
Remember to wear gloves as you work to protect your hands.
5- Add Some Heat from Your Slow Cooker
One of the more outside-the-box methods of getting latex paint off metal is to essentially cook it off.
That’s right—but it’s not the oven that you’ll be using.
It’s your slow cooker.
Putting metal in a slow cooker on the lowest heat setting can help loosen paint from metal—so much so that you’ll find it shining after letting it sit overnight.
Make sure the lid is on and the heat setting is low, or this method might backfire on you.
Additionally, you may find that some of the metal remains are covered in paint or paint flecks.
If this should occur, there’s no reason to worry.
Simply wipe your piece of metal down with a toothbrush and a cloth, and the remaining paint should quickly come up.
As you may have guessed, if you do plan on using this slow cooker for cooking and eating later, you’ll want to give it a very thorough clean.
You may choose, instead, to buy a separate slow cooker for the garage so that you don’t have to worry about potential cross-contamination.
The above paint sanding methods are all but guaranteed to sand paint off your metal!
But in case you do not want to use sanding paper or an electric sander, you can perform the paint sanding with homemade paint removers for metal – you already have at your home.
Alternatively, if the metal pieces are small, you can use sonic cleaners with simple tricks, and you can be back to having shining, like-new metal in no time – without a sander or a sanding block.
The Bottom Line
Cleaning paint off your metal no longer has to be a nightmare.
By trying one of these five steps, you can be on your way to the paint-free metal in no time!
You can also try them to sand metal for painting or sanding between the two coats of paint on metal.
For this reason, make sure to reference this guide next time you wish to sand off primer or paint from the surface of the metal.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get sanding!
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.