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Remove Paint from Aluminum Window Frames

Low odor Mineral Spirits
(12 quarts)

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September 18, 2008

I need to remove old dark brown paint from aluminum window frames and I've tried the mineral spirits, scraping, sanding and the stuff is really stubborn ... any ideas?

Kevin Callan
painter - Gurnee, Illinois U.S.

September 22, 2008

Hi, Kevin. Aircraft Stripper should do it, but it's pretty noxious as it contains methylene chloride.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 29, 2010

Well, I know I'm out of my league on this website -- I'm just an amateur trying to rescue my brown, anodized aluminum window frames from a really bad paint job by the super before I moved into my apartment. So, I'm just throwing myself at the mercy of you and your readers. I took your advice and bought the aircraft paint stripper, reading the back panel carefully.

Good respirator mask: Check.
Chemical-resistant gloves: Check.
Common sense: Uh oh.

Is a plan to use this stuff inside an apartment -- as quickly as possible and then leaving for several hours -- reasonable, or laughable? And what do I even use to put the stuff on (I'm imagining dipping a brush into it and taking out a bare handle after it dissolves the bristles) once it's worked, what do I use to scrape the stuff off and then clean up the windows so they're safe to use again?

Please help -- the only alternative right now is the use of very ugly plaid curtains.

Pamela S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- New York, New York, USA

July 24, 2012

Hi Pamela. Safety and toxicity are relative, of course. Plan A would be to not need aircraft stripper, and Plan B would be to use it outdoors. But if you can get good flow-through ventilation with a fan and open windows, blowing the fumes away from you, and you only work for a few minutes at a time, it's called Plan C, not Pl...tonium. But remember goggles, too -- you don't want a drop in your eye.

The instructions on the can will tell you what kind of brush and how to scrape it. It's volatile (that's why you smell it), so I don't think there's anything to worry about regarding getting the traces off your window frames. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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