How To Boil Paint Off Hardware

When we were house hunting 4 years ago, we knew we wanted an older home.  I’m very passionate about historic architecture, and love the character that comes with most of these homes.  Though our Craftsman home was partially flipped in the 90s, it still retains some beautiful historic character.  One such piece of character I love is the original hardware on the doors upstairs.  Unfortunately, all but one door’s hardware was covered in thick white paint.  I never understood why people would want all the details one color (they did the same on the house, ALL beige…I quickly fixed that).

A few months, while redecorating our bedroom, I stripped our hardware in that room.  It was my first time doing so and I was amazed at the results!  I couldn’t wait to do the rest of the doors, but the project fell by the wayside because other projects took precedence.  Well, the quarantine gave me LOTS of time, so yesterday I took half the day and finished the rest of the hardware.  It looks so good!  I enjoy the patina and irregularities, but I could always shine them up more later on.

IMG_3394 2It takes a little bit of elbow grease and time, but it’s surprisingly easy to remove the paint.  If you have some hardware gunked up with paint too, read below for the tutorial.

How To Boil Paint Off Hardware:


  • An old or really cheap large pot
  • Tongs
  • Paint scraper (A metal one is more effective, but can scratch the hardware, so be careful)
  • Stainless steel scrubbing pad
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Old Towels or paper towels

**All these supplies cannot be used for food or dishes again after this project!  Keep them around for other house projects, but they are no longer food safe.**


  1. Remove all hardware from doors.  This includes hinges, door plates, knobs, and screws.  Keep each door’s hardware separate from other doors.  Old doors have quirks and the hardware from other doors might not fit as well if you mix them up.

IMG_3364 2

2. Place all hardware from your first door in a large pot on the stove.  Fill the pot halfway with water (make sure all hardware is covered with water).  Set the stove to high and bring to a boil.


3. Boil the hardware for 20-25 minutes.

4.  Set up an area with paper towels or old towels for when you start scraping.

5.  Turn off the burner and use your tongs to carefully remove the hardware.  Place them on the towels.  I only removed one piece at a time.  It’s easier to keep the pieces in the hot water while working since it keeps the bubbled paint soft.


6.  Start carefully scraping the bubbled paint off the hardware.  Much of it will start peeling off, but crevices have to be scraped at harder.


7.  Once most of the paint is removed.  Bring the hardware over to the sink. Use the stainless steel scrubber in swirling motions to get the remaining tiny pieces of paint off.  The scrubber is also good with any rust that might be on the hardware.

8.  When all paint is removed, use dish soap and a sponge to wash off the hardware.

9.  Set on another set of clean towels to dry.

10.  Repeat steps until all hardware in the pot has been completed.


11.  Once you are ready to start on another set of hardware, remove the dirty water from the pot and use fresh water to boil.

12. When all hardware is completed, clean your work areas thoroughly.



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