6 Tips for Removing Enamel Paint

Cupboard door blue paint removal close up
  • 1-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-30
What You'll Need
Paint stripper
What You'll Need
Paint stripper

Enamel paint can be difficult to remove, especially if there are several old layers. Using sandpaper on enamel will take a long time and require a lot of elbow grease. A heat gun can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Here are six tips to help you with the process of removing enamel paint and ensure a good outcome.

Choose the Right Paint Stripper

When choosing a paint stripper, you will want to consider that there are two different kinds. The chemical strippers need to be used in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. They are toxic and you will need to wear protective gear such as a ventilator mask, gloves, and safety goggles. An alternative is a soy paint stripper. It is non-toxic and biodegradable. It works just as well as the chemical strippers.

sanding a wood chair

Remove the Paint Residue

After you have the majority of the paint removed, you will have some residue left on the surface. You can remove this by using fine-grit sandpaper to gently rub in a circular direction to remove the leftover paint specks and debris. After you have this completed, wipe the surface down with a soft cloth to pick up any leftover paint dust.

Make Cleanup Easier

Have a trash bag on hand as you remove the paint. This will make cleanup easier after the paint is removed in order to get going on your project. Toss the layers of paint in the bag as you scrape it off of the surface you are working on.

Safe Disposal

Dispose of the stripped paint and paint stripper in a responsible manner. If you are using a chemical paint stripper, you will need to seal the debris in a container. Do not place this debris in your trash. It is considered toxic waste. Contact your local authorities to inquire about their method. All cities are different in this regard, so you will have to check into it. If you are using a soy-based paint stripper, you can put it in your regular trash. Since it is non-toxic and biodegradable it is no threat to the environment.


Use the Right Application of the Stripper

No matter what type of paint stripper you decided to use, you will need to properly apply it so it is most effective. You can use a paintbrush or a foam paint applicator. Instead of applying it as you would paint, you will want to place blobs of the stripper on the surface that you want to remove and move it around. You will want a thick application in order for it to work well. If you do not apply enough to the surface, you will end up having to repeat the process. It is less costly to use plenty the first time.

Cover the Stripper

If you cover the stripper with aluminum foil after application, it will help the stripper stay moist and allow it to work better. The longer the stripper can stay damp, the longer it will work and will remove more paint. This is especially helpful if you have several layers to remove.