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topic 9541

How to remove paint from a brass plated keyhole plate



I have an old house with lots of great original detail including nice brass plated keyhole plates that have been painted with possibly oil based paint over the years.

I've read plenty of warnings that attempting to strip paint off something brass plated will strip the brass finish off too. Unfortunately, with these warnings I haven't read any solutions or alternatives. Is there a method/chemical/natural product that I can use to get the paint off without destroying the brass finish?

Some of the keyhole plates luckily have not been painted, but they are completely covered in blackness. Again, I've read the same things about using products designed for removing tarnish off of brass - if it's not solid brass, it will take the brass plating off along with the tarnish. Is there a way to get the tarnish off without destroying the brass finish?

Thanks in advance for your reply,

Lynn Massimo
- Brooklyn, New York


Looks like you may have to just strip em and have them re-plated. Good luck.

Tim Stone
- New York, New York


We have a 130 yr. old victorian house. Everything is original, including the window and door hardware (hinges, latches, etc.). The door hinges are beautifully ornamental and I don't want to hurt the hinges. All of the hardware has years of gunk and paint on it. How can I safely and easily remove paint and gunk without hurting the hardware? I heard vinegar, but not sure how to go about it. Any suggestions?

Denise Robinson
consumer, hobbyist - Hamburg, New York


Yes, vinegar works really well. I'd suggest letting whatever it is you're trying to clean set in a container filled with vinegar for about 24 hours and then with a metal brush you will have no problem removing build-up on said objects. Afterwards, if anything remains on the objects you might either let them remain in the vinegar for a time longer or simply place them in some boiling water and that should have things looking like new.

Hans Finley
- Boston, Massachusetts

June 17, 2008

Hi! When removing paint from door hinges, most remedies suggested taking off the hardware and treating it, soaking it, etc.
My problem is the hinges on this old door were painted over including the screws and can't get the paint off just to get to the screws to remove the door hinges? What can I do when the door is still up, without making a mess?
Thanks, Cynthia

Cynthia Pyles
- Kempner, Texas

June , 2008

Hi, Cynthia. You may be able to clean the slots of the screws out by using a small screwdriver as a chisel. If it is impossible to do that, the screws can be drilled out and removed with an "easy out".

Although you might be able to sand some paint off, I would definitely not try a chemical stripper because it can run down inside the frame and set fire to sawdust or a scrap of old newspaper or other easily flammable material that may be in there. Chemical strippers are more dangerous than you might think.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 13, 2009

Will vinegar soaking strip the brass plating off the hinges I will soak to remove the years of paint build up?

Can I discard the vinegar with the paint particles (must be lead based paint) down the drain?

Thanks for posting information on the web for us to read. I appreciate your help.


Wally Wallnut
Designer - San Francisco, Ca. USA

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