How to Clean Paint off Hinges Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Do you have hinges that look like this top photo and you want them to look like the bottom photo?  There’s a super easy way to clean that paint off without having to use harsh chemicals.

How to Clean Paint off Hinges Without Using Harsh Chemicals

For the past 15 years (!) I’ve been avoiding bathroom improvements because our hinges looked like this:

Painted Hinges

We’re the third owner of our mid-century home and I’m not sure which of the previous two owners thought it looked OK to just slop paint on those hinges when they painted the cabinets and doors.  Not just once!  But four different times!  There really were four different colors of paint that needed to be removed; two coats of Latex over two coats of enamel.

Our main bathroom and guest bathroom have a lot of built-in storage cabinets and the hinges are a really nice, good quality, solid chrome, which I have wanted to preserve instead of replace because they add to the authentic character of our home.

Several years ago we actually stripped down the vanity cabinets and hinges in our main bathroom using chemicals and it was a huge toxic job that I never, ever want to do again.  So a few months ago, when I was seriously looking at these two bathrooms and seriously thinking it was finally time to tackle them, I did some research online to find out if there were any alternatives to chemical stripping.

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I was so happy to learn that good old baking soda, water, and heat will soak that old yucky paint right off.  So grab an old crockpot, a towel, a rag, and a pair of tongs and in just a few hours your hinges will go from horribly painted to shiny-like-new clean!

Cleaned Hinges

Don’t they look beautiful?  I was so happy I just couldn’t keep it to myself.  I kept talking and talking about it to my husband who was as excited as I was at first, but then grew tired of hearing me talk about it so then I started telling practically anyone who was kind enough to listen to this boring-to-them but exciting-to-me story.  And now I’ll share it here with any kindred spirits.

It makes me so happy that they look brand-spankin-new without chemicals or without scraping that beautiful chrome.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Remove your hinges so they’ll be ready to soak.  (Some of the hinges popped right off the cabinets but some I actually had to pry off!)

2) Collect your supplies:

Supplies Needed to Clean Painted Hinges

3) Place about 1/4 cup baking soda in the crockpot or an old sauce pan.  (I liked the crockpot method because I could leave it on all night and not worry about it.  The same procedure can be done in a sauce pan on the stove but it’ll need to be watched more closely.)

4) Put several inches of water in the crockpot (or sauce pan) and stir around to dissolve the baking soda.

5) Put the hinges in the water and make sure they are covered by about 2-inches of water (add more water if necessary).  I also added the screws, hardware, and door hinges that had been painted.

6) Leave the crockpot uncovered and turn on low heat for about 8 hours.  I soaked mine overnight in three different batches because I had so many to do.  Add more water as necessary to keep the hinges covered.

This picture shows some hinges in the crockpot after soaking all night.  The water level has dropped but they are still covered with water.  If you soak yours overnight and wake up in the morning and find that the water level is below the hinges, just add water to cover them by and inch or two and let it heat up for another hour or so. Then they will be ready.

Hinges in Crockpot

7) It’s time to start removing that old paint.  After it’s soaked all night the paint is softened up and easy to remove.  Remove one hinge at a time because the paint needs to be removed while it’s still warm.  Peel off what you can by hand then use your cloth to remove the remainder.  Sometimes there will be a little bit of paint that sticks in the tight spots of the hinge – I used a small pointed knife to gently remove it.
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8) Use the cloth to buff up the hinge and marvel at how easy that was and how beautiful and new your hinges now look.

Cleaned Hinge

I’m just in awe!

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They all look like this – like they’re brand new!

What more can I say?  They’re beautiful.

Cleaned Hinge

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3 Responses to How to Clean Paint off Hinges Without Using Harsh Chemicals

  1. Carol May 6, 2016 at 3:59 am #

    Great idea! I try to minimize the use of chemicals in my home as its more eco-friendly and healthier that way. Not to mention cheaper too. Love baking soda and use it in cleaning but I never would have thought of cleaning paint off hinges. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cameron July 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm #

    Wow, this is amazing! I’ll never need to use the chemicals to clean paint off hinges any more.
    Very helpful.
    Thanks.

  3. Marge Sweigart July 10, 2016 at 4:52 pm #

    Hi Lori! I’m in awe, too! It’s always great when you can find a way to avoid using harsh chemicals. I’m going to pin this article and share it on my Facebook page. Thanks!

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