Sometimes you come across a spot in your home with some beautiful metalwork, but a previous owner decided to paint over it. Now you want to remove all that paint and restore the metal, but many paint removers are toxic, expensive, and don’t work that well. After some research, you see a few different options that may work, but is vinegar strong enough to remove paint from metal?

Vinegar can remove paint from metal. It can also remove paint from many other surfaces, including old paintbrushes, wood, and your walls. Vinegar is slightly acidic, which helps break up the paint particles, making it easy for you to wipe the paint away after soaking a few minutes.

In this article, we will take a look at how vinegar can remove paint from metal, some of the other surfaces that can benefit from vinegar when you want to remove paint, and a look at the simple steps you can take to remove paint from any metal surface you want.

Using Vinegar to Remove Paint

It is possible to use vinegar to help remove some of the paint on various items in the home. This is true even with some of the metal fixtures that may have painted in the past. As long as you make sure to wipe off all the vinegar when you are done using it, you will find it works as a very effective paint remover.

Removing Paint From Metal

Due to the acidic nature of the vinegar, it is very effective at removing paint from metal, without causing any harm to your body. You will need to heat it up to activate the acidity, and the vinegar will need to soak into the paint, whether you use it on a metal surface or wood or a wall.

When the paint is stuck on the metal, or more than one coat is used, don’t be surprised if you need to go through the process more than once. Two or three times may be necessary. Always wipe off all the vinegar when the paint is done, or the acidity can continue to eat through the metal and ruin that as well.

Removing Paint From Other Surfaces

It is easy to use vinegar to help fix some of your old paintbrushes too. You just need to soak the paintbrushes in some white vinegar, the stronger, the better, until you notice the paint is coming off. You can then wash it off with some soapy water, and your paintbrush is back to new.

Just like the vinegar works well to remove paint from metal, wood, and even concrete, vinegar is possible to help unglue different options like price tags, decals, and stickers. These are often seen as almost impossible to remove, but the acid found in vinegar can help make it easier to remove these items as well as paint from a variety of surfaces.

How to Use Vinegar to Remove Paint From Metal

It is simple to use vinegar to help remove paint from metal and other materials. It is safe and effective to use without having to use expensive and toxic paint remover. Instead of using expensive paint remover that is full of chemicals, you can use vinegar and a few other steps to do the work for you. Some of the steps that you can use to get vinegar to remove paint includes:

1. Warm Up the Vinegar

Pick the right kind of vinegar. White distilled vinegar is the best to work on this, including Lucy’s Family Owned Vinegar. There may be a few others that will give some results. You can then heat a small bit of this in a pan. If you are in a hurry, you can add some into a bowl and heat up in the microwave. The exact amount that you need will depend on how much paint you need to remove.

2. Cover Up the Paint

Once the vinegar is ready, you can leave it in the same pot, or move it over to another dish to carry around. Use a clean sponge or a good paint brush and dab a bit of the vinegar onto the metal where the paint is. You want to cover the paint that you would like to remove and keep the vinegar as warm as possible.

Start with just one area of the metal to help remove the paint. You want to see how stuck on the vinegar is, and you don’t want it sitting there too long. Test out a small area to see how well the vinegar takes. When that is removed, you can decide how much vinegar you need for the rest of the area and work in stages to get the paint removed.

3. Let the Vinegar Set On the Paint

Once the paint is all covered with the vinegar, walk away and give it some time to soften. This will take about fifteen minutes. If you notice the paint is not peeling that well and seems pretty stuck on, then you can do this a few more times, reheating the vinegar for each part.

4. Scrape the Paint Loose

The final step is to remove the paint that has loosened up a little bit. Depending on how stuck the paint is on the metal, you may be able to just use your fingers to get it off. If it is really stuck, then use a paint scraper, like the Bates Paint Scraper, to help you get everything off. When you get most of the paint off, wipe it all down with a damp cloth to help remove any traces of paint and vinegar left on the metal.


Vinegar is a safe and natural way to help remove paint from metal and almost any surface you would like. It is able to get right into the paint particles and help remove them without causing any damage to the metal or anything around it. You simply need to apply some hot white vinegar to the paint and let it get to work for a few minutes before wiping the paint away.

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