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June 5, 2024

11 Best Paint Strippers For Metal Surfaces, As Per Experts, 2024


If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’ll probably understand the difficulty of applying paint to metals. However, paint application is not the only hassle. You may also be met with the arduous task of removing the paint from metal. While you can always paint over surfaces that already have a coat of paint, we know that it just won’t cut it as doing so may make the surface much thicker and even rougher. Luckily for us, there are paint strippers that work great with metals.

Paint strippers are capable of working with varnish, lacquer, shellac, etc. And, if you’re here, it’s probably because you’re looking to learn more about the best paint strippers for metal and what material they may be best suited for. So join us as we review different trusted paint removers that may be best suited for your needs.

Types Of Metal Paint Stripper

Before we dive into the list, let’s learn about the various types of metal paint strippers.

Solvents are a common yet versatile kind of paint stripper made up of strong chemicals that can break down the bonds of the paint on any surface. This type of paint stripper includes limonene (or other terpene solvents), n-methyl pyrrolidone, dibasic esters, aromatic hydrocarbons, and other solvents. However, the formula mainly required depends on the paint type and the composition of the underlying surface. Another commonly used solvent is nitromethane. If you’re looking for a less corrosive solvent, solutions using dimethyl sulfoxide are a great alternative.

Caustic paint removers, such as sodium hydroxide (also known as lye or caustic soda), break down the paint’s chemical bonds mainly through hydrolysis of the chain links of the polymers that make up the paint. Antique sellers who want to restore ancient furniture by removing aged varnishes, for example, frequently employ caustic aqueous solutions. Caustic paint strippers are alkaline and may interact with the paint on a chemical level, turning the paint into a soapy substance that makes it easy to remove paint from metal surfaces.

Biochemicals are another type of remover that is less harsh when compared to solvents and caustic strippers. It is a mix of plant-based solvents and organic compounds. However, it does not work with other types of paints that are not either water-based or oil-based. These kinds of solvents can be trusted by DIY workers as it is safe to work indoors, but of course, taking basic precautions while testing any chemical product is a must as you can never be too sure how it may affect you.

Zero-VOCs are the most reliable and safest type of removers as they are made of natural solvents such as benzyl alcohol that have the least harmful effects. This type of paint stripper is much like biochemicals as it is safe to use indoors and for DIY projects. However, unlike the latter, it is much safer than biochemicals as it produces the least amount of toxic fumes in comparison.

11 Best Paint Strippers For Metal Surfaces In 2024

1. Best Fast-Acting:Citristrip Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel

4.3

Citristrip Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel Image: Citristrip

Citristrip is a powerful commercial-grade paint remover with a gel-like formula that remains moist and active for a full day, allowing you to remove multiple layers of paint in a single step. It does not contain harmful chemicals like methylene chloride or N-methyl pyrrolidone. Citristrip is non-caustic and is an essential tool for in-house paint removal. It is an effective stripping agent for removing multiple layers of latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, enamel, shellac, acrylics, epoxy, and polyurethane paints from different types of surfaces such as wood, metal, and masonry. If you want to know more about the advantages of this paint stripper, check out this quick review on YouTube, showcasing the tester’s experience.

Material: ‎Plastic | Color: ‎orange | Product Dimensions: ‎5.2 x 2.35 x 7.39 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.4 pounds

Pros

  • Works on wood, metal, and masonry surfaces
  • Easy to use
  • Fast-acting
  • Pleasant smell

Cons

  • May require water rinsing
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“After using this for my projects, I can say it’s pretty versatile. It’s effective even on thicker finishes, though patience is required. While the citrus scent is strong, it’s way better than typical chemical odors. It’s not without mess or effort, but it does the job.”

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It’s Worth Buying

This product is a hit with users, evidenced by the 967 fine reviews on Amazon.

2. Best Water-Based:Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

4

Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover Image: Dumond Smart Strip

Smart Strip is a water-based paint stripper that is safe and can be applied to any substrate or environment. This paint stripper comprises an effective type of formulation that is methylene-chloride-free, non-carcinogenic, non-toxic, and non-caustic. It can effectively remove multiple layers of paint such as oil-based and water-based paints, acrylics, varnishes, urethanes, and even old lead paints. The Dumond Smart Strip paint stripper is versatile and works on different types of surfaces, such as brick, stone, concrete, plaster, metal, plastic, glass, fiberglass, etc. You just need to apply the Smart Strip for 24 hours, and it will get the job done! Here’s a YouTube video where you will find the reviewer testing out the water-based stripper.

Material: ‎Wood | Color: ‎White | Product Dimensions: ‎5 x 5 x 5 inches | Item Weight: ‎2 pounds

Pros

  • Removes multiple layers of paint/coatings
  • Odor-free
  • Safe water-based formula
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Works on lead paints older than 20 years

Cons

  • May require a pressure wash
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“In my experience, this paint stripper is surprisingly odorless and gentle on my sensitive skin. It works well for my DIY projects without the harsh chemical fumes. It doesn’t really make a mess; I usually scratch and sand to finish off, especially with wood or tough spots. It’s an efficient option overall.”

protip_icon Caution
Certain paint strippers may contain strong chemicals that can cause breathing problems. Thus, ensure you open your windows when using them (3).

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It’s Worth Buying

The 665 positive reviews on Amazon are proof that this product meets customers’ expectations.

3. Best Non-Flammable:Evapo-Rust Safe-Erase Paint And Varnish Remover Gel

4

Evapo-Rust Safe-Erase Paint And Varnish Remover Gel Image: Evapo-rust

Strip off layers of rust without manually scraping it for hours with the help of Evapo-Rust Safe-Erase varnish remover gel. This quality paint stripper has a powerful solvent formula that quickly removes multiple layers of paint without giving out fumes or vapors. Available at an affordable price, this rust-removal gel is suitable for indoor use and is strong enough to remove layers of epoxy, latex, and powder coatings from smooth or textured surfaces. Apply a coat of this gel onto the paint you want to remove, let it sit for an hour, and then gently scrape it off with a knife or spatula to get the desired results.

Color: Gray | Product Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 2.2 Pounds

Pros

  • Non-flammable and non-carcinogenic
  • Easy to use
  • Quick acting formula
  • Non-acidic
  • Free of hazardous chemicals such as caustic alkalis, methylene chloride, and N-Methyl Pyrrolidone

Cons

  • May not be suitable for use on rubber and plastic
  • Might have a strong smell
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“This paint stripper is practical and easy to use. It’s helped me tackle various paint types, including latex and aerosol, though it’s not as effective on powder coat and heavy-duty car paint. I’m glad it doesn’t produce much fumes, but I wear a mask nonetheless. It’s a solid option for routine tasks.”

Citristrip Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel

Best Fast-Acting

Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

Best Water-Based

Evapo-Rust Safe-Erase Paint And Varnish Remover Gel

Best Non-Flammable

Material ‎Plastic ‎Wood
Color ‎orange ‎White Gray
Dimensions ‎5.2 x 2.35 x 7.39 inches ‎5 x 5 x 5 inches 5 x 2 x 7.5 inches
Weight ‎1.4 pounds ‎2 pounds
Weight 2.2 Pounds
Rating
Reviews 967 665 27
Price $15.98 $19.54 $12.46

4. Best Dust-Free:MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

3.8

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper Image: Max Strip

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper tackles the toughest stripping tasks with its patented wet work system for safe dust-free removal. Designed specifically to remove most types of paint and varnish from various types of surfaces, it has no toxic fumes or chemicals like methylene-chloride or NMP. This paint is skin-safe and a trusted choice for safe use indoors on textured or flat surfaces such as glass, laminate, fiberglass, metal, wood, porcelain, plastic, furniture, and more!

Product Dimensions: ‎5 x 2.5 x 8 inches | Item Weight: ‎2.22 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Non-drip formula allows mess-free application
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor
  • Free of hazardous chemicals
  • Leaves no unwanted residue

Cons

  • May not work on factory-finished paints
Our Tester’s Experience

“This varnish stripper is easy to apply and has no unpleasant odor. I didn’t need to scrape. While a single application was enough, a few tougher spots required a second coat. There wasn’t any sticky residue after use either, which was a plus!”

5. Best Semi-Paste:Sunnyside Corporation 634G1 Paint & Varnish

3.7

Sunnyside Corporation 634G1 Paint & Varnish Image: Sunnyside Corporation

This 2-minute paint remover for wood is designed to remove multiple layers of finish in one application. Its methylene-chloride-free, semi-paste formula clings to surfaces to make paint removal easy. It quickly acts on the finish and lightens wood stains but does not harm wood or corrode metal. It can be used on wood, metal, masonry, marine, and automotive finishes and can even remove lacquers, shellacs, varnishings, epoxy, and polyurethane paints.

Color: ‎2 Minute Remover Advanced Gel | Product Dimensions: ‎4.15 x 6.64 x 10.32 inches | Item Weight: ‎12 pounds

Pros

  • Fast-acting formula
  • Safe to use on horizontal and vertical surfaces
  • 100 sq. ft. per gallon coverage
  • Available as gel or liquid
  • Free of hazardous chemicals

Cons

  • Scrubbing may be required for removing the residue
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“This paint remover performs quite well, especially with the added wax paper technique. I had to wear a mask to protect myself from the strong fumes. However, it could successfully remove finishes from vintage items, although it got a bit messy.”

protip_icon Do remember

Always try to work outdoors when using a paint stripper, as they can be risky for you as well as others in the room.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It’s Worth Buying

Join the 246 satisfied buyers on Amazon who have said the product meets their needs and expectations.

6. Best Methylene-Chloride-Free:Super Remover New Generation Remover

3.8

Super Remover New Generation Remover Image: D Super Remover

Super Remover’s New Generation Remover is a newly launched, high-quality paint stripper with a new formula as effective as its original formula. This revolutionary formula is methylene-chloride-free, NMP-free, and is free of other highly toxic chemicals but works on par with methylene-chloride products. It is ideal for all stripping jobs and can remove up to 5 layers with a single application. The fast-acting paint stripper requires only 15 minutes to set in before the paint can be removed and is a perfect time-saving solution for those of us who are rather impatient.

Product Dimensions: ‎2.36 x 4.61 x 7.68 inches | Item Weight: ‎2.4 pounds

Pros

  • Works safely on wood, metal, and concrete
  • Removes varnish, epoxy, shellacs, etc.
  • Adds a natural finish to surfaces
  • Industrial-grade paint stripper
  • Free of hazardous chemicals

Cons

  • Sanding may become harder
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“I recently tested this paint stripper on my woodcarving project, and it turned out amazing. It removed all the layers of polyurethane and old finishes. Although it took some time and two or three coats on vertical surfaces, it worked well on horizontal ones. Also, it releases minimal fumes, which is a plus!”

7. Best Drip-Free: TotalBoat TotalStrip Fast-Acting Heavy Duty Gel Paint and Varnish Remover

3.9

TotalBoat TotalStrip Fast-Acting Heavy Duty Gel Paint and Varnish Remover Image: Total Boat

Dissolve almost ten layers of paint or varnish in 24 hours with TotalBoat’s TotalStrip paint remover. The low-odor and non-toxic paint stripper is completely reliable and safe to use, free of hazardous chemicals such as methylene chloride, NMP, and caustics, which also makes it a biodegradable alternative to standard paint stripers. This gel paint stripper starts working within 15 minutes of application and does not require neutralization via acid wash, making it ideal for novices or professional painters. Additionally, this easy-to-apply remover has a non-drip formula compatible with wood, metal, stone, and fiberglass surfaces, enabling you to strip paint quickly and effectively.

Compatible Material: Wood | Material: Other

Pros

  • Suitable for indoor use
  • Fast-acting formula
  • Suitable to remove oil-based paints
  • Removes multiple layers of paint
  • Fast-acting formula

Cons

  • Hard paints may need slight scraping
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“This paint remover has become my favorite. It can strip off multiple paint layers without the usual chemical stench. It’s not the easiest to remove, but a sturdy scraper and some patience get the job done.”

8. Best For Indoor And Outdoor:Dumond Chemicals 1005N Peel Away Paint Remover

3.8

Dumond Chemicals 1005N Peel Away Paint Remover Image: Dumond Global

The 1005N Peel Away Paint Remover is one of the industry-leading paint removal products formulated to remove up to 32 coats of paint with a single application. The formula of this trusted paint stripper is the safest way to remove lead-based paints and coatings, and it is also water-based, making it a breeze to prime and use. The solution emulsifies the coating, eliminating the need for sanding and reducing the possibility of airborne dust that may be hazardous.

Item Weight: 55 Pounds | Product Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 17 inches

Pros

  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
  • No harmful fumes
  • Perfect remover for antique surfaces
  • No sanding required

Cons

  • May need a deep clean after the procedure
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“In tackling household and boat renovations, this paint remover proved efficient, especially when dealing with layers of old paint. It requires some time, and cleaning up can take effort, but it has served me well.”

9. Best Fume-Free:Safe ‘N Easy Graffiti Remover

4.1

Safe ‘N Easy Graffiti Remover Image: Dumond Global

Safe ‘N Easy has manufactured one of the top-tier paint removers that can remove, epitomize, and clean DIY items. This graffiti remover gel works great on non-permeable surfaces that have been marked with either spray paints, colored pencils, or any other form of paints or coatings. The formula of this quality paint stripper is designed to be non-dripping and fume-free, with the added bonus of leaving no surface damage that some removers may leave.

Pros

  • Simple application
  • Non-drip formula
  • 100-150 square feet per gallon distribution rate
  • Versatile paint stripper

Cons

  • May not be suitable for smooth surfaces
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“This graffiti remover stands out for effectiveness. I’ve tried it on various surfaces, including brick and stucco, and it’s mostly worked with a single application. I sometimes needed a power washer for better results, but it works well when used without additional tools as well.”

protip_icon Quick tip

Use chemical-resistant gloves when working with a paint stripper. Also, protect your eyes with goggles and skin with appropriate clothing.

10. Best Biodegradable:Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover

3.8

Krud Kutter is a company known for its diverse assortment of cleaning solutions, and its latex paint remover is no exception. The remover works well at removing both fresh and dried latex paint stains that you may find either in the interior or on the exterior of your home or workspace. The solution is biodegradable, and with its low VOC, it quickly soaks into the paint and starts to loosen it within minutes of application chemically. As per reviews, the eco-friendly paint stripper for wood can be used on multiple other surfaces such as carpets, fabric, brick, etc.

Material: ‎Plastic | Product Dimensions: ‎2.31 x 4.3 x 10.19 inches | Item Weight: ‎1.8 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Simple application
  • Versatile paint stripper
  • Fast-acting

Cons

  • May not be suitable on leather
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“This formula is effective on everything, from deck stains to my favorite wool coat. It doesn’t have a strong, unpleasant odor and is especially handy for reversing accidental spills. I’m quite satisfied with it!”

11. Best For Antiques:Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash With Centaurus AZ Gloves

4.1

Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash With Centaurus AZ Gloves Image: Klean Strip

Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash is ideal for eliminating stains and reducing leftovers from stripping while conditioning the surface for paint, stain, or topcoat in the metal refinishing process. Apply small batches of liquid paint stripper to freshly washed and clean stripping pads until all surface residue is erased. This is one of the best metal paint strippers for professional painters and home use and is also ideal for antiques as the unique formula is designed not to stain or damage the surfaces it is applied on. It is compatible with any variety of paint removers and can be used on metal, brick, and wooden surfaces.

Item Weight: ‎2.14 pounds

Pros

  • Works well on multiple surfaces
  • Safe for beginners to use
  • Suitable for surface preparation
  • Centaurus AZ Chemical Resistant Gloves provided with purchase

Cons

  • Solution is highly volatile
Our Reviewer’s Experience

“I found this product quite effective in clearing away paint residue. It’s a solid choice, though I did find that pairing it with steel wool or a metal scraper, rather than the suggested stripping pad, made the process more efficient. It has become a handy addition to my DIY toolkit.”

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Metal Paint Stripper?

Keep these factors in mind when choosing the best metal paint stripper.

  1. Toxicity: Specific removers are less toxic than others, and hence it is safer to work on your own without outside help. Certain professional paint strippers, such as caustic or solvent paint strippers, work best as there is a shorter wait time for the paint to begin dissolving. However, they produce a lot of toxic fumes and can damage certain surfaces, depending on the type of metal the object is made of. It is also wise to remember while employing caustic paint removers, the chances of side effects and health hazards must also be considered as each type of paint remover has its pros and cons and depending on your needs and requirements. It is advised that you analyze the work you require the paint stripper for and make the purchase accordingly.
  2. Application: Just as there are different types of paint, there are different types of removers with varying application processes. For example, solvents are generally applied with thin layers and can be removed with a paint scraper. Caustic removers require a much thicker layer and are required to be applied for a longer duration in comparison to solvents (approximately 30 minutes or more). Biochemicals must be applied with thick layers, and due to their mild nature, they must be applied for anywhere between 3 to 4 hours. Low-VOC paint strippers need to be applied for a whole day with a thickness of 1/8th of an inch. You cannot use the same brush that you apply the remover with for painting, as these brushes are usually disposed of once used with a remover.
  3. Safety: When using paint removers, you must always ensure the safety of yourself and any other individual or pet that may be around you. It is best to cordon off the area in which you will be using the remover and ensure the area is well-ventilated. The fumes that some removers give off are toxic, especially the solvent paint strippers and caustic strippers. So it is also advised to equip yourself and whomever you may be working with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other protective gear. The low-VOC paint strippers are ideal as they are the most environmentally friendly and the least hazardous and toxic form of paint remover. However, they require 24 hours to dissolve the bonds of the paint stain or droplets fully.

1. What kind of paint stripper works on lead paint?

Choose a paint stripper that contains hydrochloric acid or nitric acid, which easily reacts with lead and does not form lead dust. Avoid paint strippers formulated with methylene chloride because, when it reacts with lead, it can form a very toxic product (1).

2. Can I use a chemical paint stripper on brass?

Yes, chemical paint strippers are safe to use on brass.

3. Can I use a paint stripper on aluminum?

Paint strippers, barring caustic paint strippers, acid paint strippers, and methylene chloride-based strippers, are safe to use to remove paint from aluminum.

4. Can I use vinegar to remove paint?

Yes, you can use vinegar to remove water- or oil-based paint from wood or metal surfaces to some extent. However, do not expect great results.

5. What chemicals are found in paint strippers?

Different types of paint strippers are formulated with different chemicals. For example, solvent-based paint strippers are mainly formulated with dichloromethane or methylene chloride, while biochemical paint strippers are composed of a mixture of plant-based solvents and organic compounds (2).

Why Trust MomJunction?

Wedetso Chirhah has considerable experience writing about household tools and items for home improvement. His passion lies in curating research-driven information to help you choose the right product. In this post, he has compiled a list of the best paint strippers for metal surfaces after considering user reviews posted on multiple websites. Moreover, he has also mentioned the different types of paint strippers and added useful tips on choosing the right product as part of the buying guide.

The Bottom Line

Repaint your home efficiently and effortlessly using the best paint strippers. As opposed to sanding, which can be challenging and time-consuming, paint stripping is much quicker and enables you to scrape the paint off the metal without all the hassle. The options listed here can make all your DIY tasks simpler as they are fast-acting and easy to use. Moreover, some of them even have a pleasant smell. Our favorite picks include the commercial-grade Citristrip Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel, the non-toxic Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover with a water-based formula, and the fast-acting Sunnyside Corporation 634G1 Paint & Varnish. Before zeroing in on one, it’s important to understand the different types of paint strippers and consider factors such as toxicity, ease of application, and safety.

Infographic: A Quick Guide For Using Paint Strippers

Removing paint from the metal surface may be challenging, but it can be less daunting when done with the right gear. Also, remember that the stripper may evaporate sooner in warm environments, so apply a thick coat. In addition, a coat recently applied takes more time than an older coat. Check out the following infographic to learn the tips for safe paint removal.

Tips To Follow For Safe Paint Removal (Infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Jadesola Ayoola
Jadesola Ayoola is an interior designer and a director at London, UK-based design firm FURD. She loves creating spaces that are well laid out and aesthetically pleasing. Having a degree in Psychology helps Jadesola incorporate the psyche and the personality of the users in her designs to create a holistic experience for her clients. She has spent time studying how…read full bio





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