Step 4: Chemical soak (if needed)

chemical cleaning hardware
Photo: Eric Piasecki
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While hot water is amazingly effective at removing paint from metal, it needs some time to work. But if time is something you're running short of, then a chemical stripper will hasten the process. Fast-acting methylene chloride will do the job in less than an hour; a less volatile, less toxic stripper needs several hours.

TIP: Whichever chemical you use, be sure to protect skin and eyes and always work outdoors.

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