Removing Paint from Hinges: Baking Soda and Other Methods

Removing paint from hinges and other hardware in your painting project does not have to be a big mission. There are simple fixes using household products such as baking soda and simple heat, or chemical paint stripper for a higher-tech finish. At least some scrubbing or scraping may need to accompany the product you use, so a handy scrubbing brush or paint scraper should be in your box of tricks.

The other point to consider is the accumulation of paint present on your hinges. Twenty years of repainting will naturally be more time-consuming and maybe harder than a slip-up of the brush while painting a door. Here are a few methods to try.

Determine What Paint It Is

Your first task is to determine what paint it is. Certain paints require certain methods of removing them. Oil, emulsion, and enamels can easily be removed with household products, whereas epoxy, acrylic, and latex may require something stronger such as a chemical paint stripper.

Lead Paint

If you are renovating a house that dates back to before 1980, you may have to remove lead paint. Ensure that you wear safety equipment including a face mask, as inhaling lead can lead to a host of health problems. You should be able to purchase a lead testing kit from a hardware store. If your paint tests are positive for lead, it is wise to leave your paint removal job and call an expert to handle it.

Using Household Items

If your paint is less toxic there are several methods you can try such as baking soda, vinegar, heat, a heat gun, acids, or chemicals.

Baking Soda And Heat

The advantage of this method is that it is environmentally friendly, and at least some part of it is done while you are busy doing other things or even sleeping. The object is to soften the paint with heat to be able to scrape or brush it off easily.

What you will need:

  • An old pot or slow cooker (that will not be used for cooking food in again)
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • Source of Heat
  • Tongs
  • Gloves
  • Brush or putty knife or fine sandpaper

Remove hinges from doors or wherever they are fastened. Place them in the pot with enough water to cover them. Add a quarter cup of baking soda for every quart of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the paint is soft and starts to peel away from the hinges.

For stubborn paint layers, it may be better to use an old slower cooker and leave for some hours, topping up the water when needed.

Boiling in a Solution of Vinegar and Water

Alternatively, instead of using baking soda, a solution of a quarter of a cup of vinegar per quart of water may do the trick on thin layers of paint. The process is the same as when using baking soda.

Using a Heat Gun

Another effective way to use heat to remove paint on metal involves blasting it with hot air from a heat gun. Ensure that you have a non-flammable surface to work on and the correct nozzle on the gun.

Once the paint has softened, start to liquefy or bubble scrape it off with a putty knife or brush. Ensure you hold the hot metal with gloves while removing the paint.

Without Removing The Hinge

All the above solutions involve removing the hinges from their place of use, but what if you do not have the time, manpower, or inclination to do this? Do not be disheartened, there are ways of removing the paint without taking your house apart door by door. You may have to resort to a ‘no more Mr Nice Guy’ approach, however.


Nitric, hydrochloric, or phosphoric acid concentrations can be an effective way of removing painted metal. These acid solutions react with the metal and evaporate the paint. Always use protective gear when working with acids and treat them with extreme caution.


A less green way of obtaining the result you are looking for is to use various chemicals to remove the paint. This may be the most effective if time is limited. Commercial chemicals such as paint strippers are on the market for just such a purpose. Acetone, mineral spirits, and paint thinners can also be used.

These chemicals may have different methods of application and degrees of toxicity. They come in spray-ons, liquids, and gels. Beware of leaving chemicals and cloths, brushes, and other application materials within the reach of children and pets, and always use protective gloves and eyewear when handling chemicals.


If using a cloth or brush does not remove stubborn dried paint, a razorblade run over it should do the trick. After loosening the paint, use your paint stripper or chemical of choice to remove the rest, give the hinge a good rub, and dry if necessary.

Melamine Eraser

A melamine sometimes called a ‘magic’ eraser contains a nitrogen-rich organic base that has abrasion qualities in its solid form. You should be able to purchase one from a paint store or hardware.

Other Tips and Tricks

Depending on the finish you wish to achieve, be careful of using steel wool or pot scourers to remove paint unless you want a shabby chic look as metal on metal will scratch. Gentle buffing with fine steel wool or sandpaper should give the hardware a shine though. For small crevices in the hinge mechanism, an old toothbrush may be just what you need to remove bits of paint. When your metal is free from paint and safe to touch, use mineral spirits and a cloth to buff it.

Last Thoughts

Removing paint from metal hinges and other hardware may require a varied amount of work and know-how. Relatively new paint can be removed with household products such as baking soda or vinegar and heat, or you may need to use something stronger such as an acid solution or paint stripper chemicals for older paint.

Beware of lead paint. Whether you are working with boiling water, acids, or chemicals, ensure you protect yourself with safety gear. Work carefully and don’t rush, and soon your hinges will be shining like new.