How To Remove Paint from Antique Brass Door Hardware

Antique brass door hardware is a beautiful accent to your home. In your excitement to renovate the house, you may overlook this and accidentally get paint on it. Beautiful doorknobs and door handles can be a topic of conversation for your guests. However, a spec of dried paint can ruin the elegance it brings to your home. There are several ways to get rid of paint on your door hardware.

  • Use a hairdryer or heat gun. Heat usually helps remove the paint on antique brass doors. If you have a lot of time to spare, leave the doorknobs under the sun for several days. The paint should easily come off and will feel like rubber. The heat gun, however, may be too hot and can affect the finish of the antique. Exposure to the sun may be a better option for precious antique since it is a gradual heating process over several days.
  • Submerge the brass in boiling water. Another way to apply heat and a much quicker way is to submerge the hardware in a pot of boiling water. The pot should be anything but aluminum since it may affect the antique finish. Glass pots are most often used.
  • Add vinegar to your boiling water. Adding 1 part vinegar to 1 part water may also help remove paint if it does not get out with just water. The risk you take is the antique finish may also come off. Or it may change the original appearance of the brass door hardware. If you can take the hardware apart, try it on a part that is not visible and see the effect before you try it on everything.
  • Apply gentle abrasion with sandpaper. Peeling it off with a knife after heat treatment may not remove all the paint. You may need some sandpaper. Be gentle and apply light strokes only so you do not scratch the original finish. Use 1000 grit wet/dray sandpaper with some warm water.
  • Try using paint strippers or solvents. Paint thinner and paint lacquer will surely get the paint out. However, it will also take out the antique finish. This technique can be tricky, but if you are skilled enough you can take out just the paint. Alcohol can sometimes work for some paints. Together with scraping it may just come off. Test the solvents on hidden parts and see if the antique finish will be ruined. Always be on the safe side.
  • Spray the door hardware with polyurethane. If the antique finish gets out in any of the techniques you used, spray it with polyurethane and hope you get the original look back.

Another option is to get new brass door hardware if the paint will not come out. Compute the amount of time you need, the deadline you have to meet and the effort you place. The value of all that and the value of the antique brass door hardware may just be the same and you are better off getting new hardware for your project.


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