How to Remove Paint on Brass

By Caroline Baldwin

Things Needed

  • 2 buckets
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Soft cloths
  • Toothbrush, firm bristles
  • Brass lacquer
  • Utility knife
  • Slow cooker
  • Slow cooker liner
  • Heat-proof gloves
  • Plastic tongs
Never use muriatic acid to remove paint from brass, as it could damage it and release toxic fumes.

Brass fixtures can easily fall victim to paint splatters, and sometimes brass pieces are painted over entirely. Removing spots or layers of paint from brass can be simple. You don't need harsh chemicals -- just a little elbow grease and patience.

Spot Removal of Paint

Remove your brass piece or fixture from its original position on the wall, door, window or wherever it has been affixed.

Fill both of the buckets three-quarters full with warm water. Add a small amount of liquid laundry detergent in one of the buckets.

Immerse the cloth in the water with the detergent and squeeze out the excess water so it isn’t dripping wet. Wipe the cloth over the brass to clean the surface.

Dip the toothbrush in the bucket with the soapy water. Begin to scrub the paint spots and splatters. Do not use a circular motion, as this may mar the finish.

Submerge the second cloth in the bucket of plain water and then use it to wipe the brass free of all soap.

Continue scrubbing with the toothbrush and then wiping away soap with the wash cloth as needed.

Wipe with a dry cloth to remove all moisture so the water does not spot the finish. Rub until the finish is shiny.

Apply the lacquer according to the instructions on the packaging to protect the finish.

Stripping Paint from Brass

Remove your brass piece or fixture from its original position. Use a utility knife to cut the paint around the fixture if necessary.

Cover the slow cooker with a liner. Place the brass piece in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Add 3 tablespoons of mild liquid laundry detergent and fill the slow cooker with water. Set the heat to the medium setting.

Leave the brass to heat overnight in the slow cooker.

Switch off the power and then remove the lid of the slow cooker. Put on heat-proof gloves.

Remove the piece of brass with the tongs and then use the toothbrush to remove any remaining paint. Do not use a circular motion -- it can mar the finish. You will need to work fast, as paint becomes more difficult to remove as the brass cools.

Rinse the brass in warm water and then dry with a soft cloth.

Apply the lacquer according to the instructions on the packaging to protect the finish.

Tip

Apply olive oil with a cloth to prevent tarnish from forming after you polish your brass.

To check that an item is made of brass, hold a magnet to it. If the magnet is attracted to it, it is not made of brass.

Instead of chemical brass polish, use ketchup. Rub on with a cloth and remove with a cloth, polishing as you go. Take care to remove the ketchup from all creases and crevices.

Warning

Do not pour the contents of your slow cooker down a drain, as the paint may clog it. Pour it into a container and seal it. Check with your local waste authorities on proper disposal regulations in case the paint may contain lead.

About the Author

Caroline Baldwin, a corporate communications director located in South Carolina, began writing in 1998. Her work has been published in publications across the United States and Canada including Rolling Stone, Boating Life, Waterski and Wakeboarding magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from The College of Charleston.