How To Remove Enamel Paint? Some Tips And Tricks We Know

Removing some paint is a very hard task. But sometimes it’s vitally important for your project. If you can’t paint over the old coat, you should remove it without damaging the surface which makes the task even harder. We don’t recommend painting or using any other products over the old layer of paint because you never know when this layer may start chipping off.

Before you start painting your project or covering it with any other products for your purpose, better remove the old paint. Today, we’ll tell you how to remove enamel paint without spending too much time and effort on this task. And you will be surprised with some options. Knowing and using these techniques may help you a lot in completing your current project.

Here’s what we’ll be discussing today:

  1. Old enamel paint problems – why do you need to get rid of it?
  2. What are the main ways and materials to remove enamel paint?
  3. What are the stages of removing old enamel paint?
  4. What should you know before you start cleaning off the paint?

Let’s get started!

Why should you remove the old enamel paint?

If you try to investigate this question, you will bump into some tips to paint right over enamel paint. And these guys will give you a lot of wonderful tips and even explanations of why you should do it. But you should remember that if you do so, your project may look bad in a month or two. You never know how long the old enamel paint will survive.

Here are some precautions and considerations:

  • you should choose materials carefully because not all paint types are compatible with enamel paint;
  • you will have to prepare the surface using special techniques and this will take your time, so your advantages are not obvious;
  • you can get cracks on the surface soon after painting just because the enamel paint base was too old and weak;
  • also, the paint may start chipping off because it’s old or it was painted without obeying some rules and recommendations;
  • the process of preparing the enamel paint for painting over it can be even more complicated than the process of removing the old paint.

Once you understand all the disadvantages, you will not need to know the advantages of painting over enamel paint. We don’t recommend painting over old paint. It’s much better to sand it down using some of the techniques we offer in this article than to redo all the work again. Also, painting over old enamel paint limits you much in the choice of painting materials and techniques.

How can you remove the old enamel paint?

First of all, you need to know what surface you are working with. For example, you may want to remove the enamel paint from your woodcraft project. Or you may want to remove the paint from your hands after working. Or maybe some paint got to your clothes and you want to remove it from there. We’ll focus on the project because this is what we know well.

If you are removing the old enamel paint from any surface, you may use different methods. We know at least four of them.

1. Razor

This paint forms kind of a hard cover over the hard surfaces. So, in most cases, you can just scrap it off with the razor. This method is not very fast and it’s not the best from our point of view. Because it doesn’t guarantee that the surface will be still smooth and ready for being painted with a new layer of paint.

In most cases, the razor will leave big scratches and deep tracks on your wood or on any other material, so you will need to spend some time preparing it. But if the paint is old and it chips off easily, the razor can be the most economical and the fastest way to get rid of old paint.

2. Sanding

You can easily sand away the paint if you are working with a wood project. Just choose medium-grade sandpaper to succeed in this. Any fine-grade sandpaper should only be used after you have completed the main task to prepare the surface. Otherwise, the fine-grade sandpaper will be clogged up with paint particles immediately and you will need a lot of it.

Sanding away the old paint is not the easiest way to deal with it, but it’s the best way if you need a smooth surface. You will need to work a lot but the results will be great. Buy different types of sandpaper to start with a middle-grade and gradually turn to a fine-grade option. This way, your project will look nice and will not need any additional preparation before painting.

3. Different thinners

If the paint is not very old, a paint thinner may help you. Just put a cloth into a thinner and wipe it onto the paint. Rub the paint and let it stay a little with some thinner on it. Then wipe off the paint that was thinned and repeat the procedure. You may also try using vinegar instead of a professional thinner. It’s cheaper and offers the same results as enamel paint.

This method is not the fastest, but it works well with all types of surfaces, not only wood. Also, this method doesn’t change the way your surface looks. It doesn’t leave any scratches and dents that you need to deal with after that.

4. Warming up

If the paint is not very old, you can clean it off by heating it with a hair drier or with a heat gun if you have one. Heating enamel paint will melt it. But this method will only work with relatively fresh paint. Once the paint is cured completely, it will not be melted by a hair drier.

Be careful, you may breathe in some fumes of the paint if you don’t use any precautions. When you work with paint or any chemicals, you should always follow the rules and be careful. Otherwise, you may get poisoned.

Removing the enamel paint from your clothes

If you need to remove the paint from any fabric after working on your project, you should know that once the paint is cured, nothing helps you. If some paint got onto your clothes, you should act quickly.

First of all, take the paper tissues or towels and soak up the paint. This will help you see the actual problem.

Then, you should take any laundry detergent and cover the stain with it. Take a toothbrush and start cleaning off the paint by adding some water. The detergent will react with water and gradually clean off the stain.

Then, you should just let the clothes rest in a water-soap mixture for some time. Unfortunately, saving your clothes and bringing them back to normal will not always be possible because the paint forms a strong bond with the fabric. But now you at least know how to try and save the clothes.

Precaution measures you should consider

There are basically two possible dangers when you are working with old enamel paint: fumes and dust. The fumes appear when you use thinners, vinegar, or when you heat up the paint. The dust appears when you use sandpaper to sand away the old paint. Both factors are pretty harmful to your health.

You will need to use appropriate instruments and also follow some rules that will help you avoid problems with your health. Here are the most important things we can advise:

  1. Respirators or even more effective ways to protect your nose and mouth. The biggest problems come when you inhale the fumes or the dust. Some professional respirators are made to protect you from this.
  2. Open or well-ventilated area. Never work with paint, thinners, and other chemical products in a totally closed room. The ventilation should be very efficient. The best option is to work outside.
  3. Protect your hands from all the chemical products that can get onto your skin. You may get chemical burns or your skin may become too dry because of the contact with chemicals.
  4. Always change the conditions of your work once you feel that something is wrong. If you feel dizzy, feel bad, you should just stop working and get outside. Then think about what could lead to these consequences and try changing the way you work with your project.

Final words

We know that many woodworkers use old methods to get rid of old paint on their projects. But today you have a choice. You can buy some professional chemical products or use some machines with sandpaper to improve the results. We’ve told you about some ways to remove the old paint. But of course, you may use some other ways that you find easier or more effective. Just remember that your safety and health are the most important factors and always use all possible ways to protect yourself during your work.