sunroom door hardware after removing paint from door hardware with a slow cooker

Old House Essential: Slower Cooker For Paint Removal

There are house essentials and then there are old house essentials. The essentials might look the same on each list but their purpose can differ vastly. On my list of old house essentials is a slow cooker – not for cooking but for removing paint from door hardware.

If you own an old house or any home where someone became overzealous with a paintbrush then a slow cooker will be the MVP when it comes to restoring your door hardware back to its original shine.

To make this very clear, I own two slow cookers and I do not confuse the two. One is for making tasty dinners and the other is for removing paint from door hardware.

It’s only a coincidence that it takes roughly the same amount of time to perform both tasks in a slow cooker.

sunroom door hardware beofore removing paint from door hardware with a slow cooker

After living here for almost 4 years, I finally felt bothered enough by the painted escutcheons on our sunporch doors to do something about them.

First of all, I realized the escutcheons (the backplates) were not screwed onto the door. They were held in place by the paint, the doorknob, and the mysteries of an old house.

Speaking of mysteries, you wouldn’t think of the inside of an old door as a good place to hide treasure, but I did find a wadded-up Trident gum wrapper resting behind the keyhole. That’s probably why the key didn’t work.

Once the escutcheons and the glass door knobs were off, I put them in my $3 thrift store slow cooker and waited for the magic to happen. The combination of time, water, and heat helps break the bond of the paint to the hardware.

The nasty concoction you’re looking at below is straight water with a squeeze of dish soap in the slow cooker. Dirt and rust from the door hardware will turn the water orange.

sunroom door hardware removing paint from door hardware with a slow cooker

It usually does take at least as long to slow cook paint off of metal hardware as it does to slow cook stew. If the paint is particularly stubborn, I will leave the hardware to cook overnight.

You know the hardware is done slow cooking when the paint peels off easily. You may need to use something gentle like an old toothbrush to get in the crevices though.

Just don’t use anything too abrasive to peel the paint off as you could scratch the hardware.

If the paint starts to harden back up while you’re removing it, then just put it back into the water to soften again.

Depending on the metal, you can decide how to further clean up the hardware after the paint is removed. For instance, Brasso will remove tarnish on a wide variety of metals. Some websites recommend simply applying wax to the metal and calling it good.

sunroom door hardware removing paint from door hardware with a slow cooker

Some painted hardware cleanup stories have happy endings.

This time, the result was better than what I started with but it wasn’t the happiest ending.

Whatever copper finish was on the hardware started to come off when I was cleaning it. I decided to stop and leave it be.

sunroom door hardware after removing paint from door hardware with a slow cooker

These particular escutcheons share many characteristics with the other architectural details of our old house. They have a great style and shape and also plenty of character from having lived a good, long life.

It’s going to take me a long time to clean up all the door hardware in this house, particularly the door hinges but my trusty $3 thrift store slow cooker will be there each time we tackle one of these cleanup jobs.

Have you ever used a slow cooker to remove paint from door hardware? Do you have other old house essentials? I’d love to know. You can always comment below, email me here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.

Happy DIYing.

Thanks for reading and engaging with today’s blog post! I appreciate it and you. Here are some other blog posts you might enjoy.

All About Rim Locks – Vintage Door Hardware

How To Make a Recessed Into The Wall Toilet Paper Holder

7 Tips For Refinishing A Door With Deep Scratches

One Year With An Electronic Front Door Lock. How Do We Like It?

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