11 Best Paint Strippers For Metal Surfaces In 2022


If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’ll probably understand the difficulty of applying paint to metals. However, paint application is not the only hassle. You may also be met with the arduous task of removing the paint from metal. While you can always paint over surfaces that already have a coat of paint, we know that it just won’t cut it as doing so may make the surface much thicker and even rougher. Luckily for us, there are paint strippers that work great with metals.

Paint strippers are capable of working with varnish, lacquer, shellac, etc. And, if you’re here, it’s probably because you’re looking to learn more about the 11 best paint strippers for metal and what material they may be best suited for. So why not join us as we browse through different paint removers that may be better suited for your needs.

11 Best Paint Stripper For Metals

1. Best Fast-Acting:Citristrip Paint And Varnish Stripping Gel

Types Of Metal Paint Stripper

  • Solvents

Solvents are a common yet versatile kind of paint stripper made up of strong chemicals that can break down the bonds of the paint on any surface. This type of paint stripper includes limonene (or other terpene solvents), n-methyl pyrrolidone, dibasic esters, aromatic hydrocarbons, and other solvents. However, the formula mainly required depends on the paint type and the composition of the underlying surface. Another commonly used solvent is nitromethane. If you’re looking for a less corrosive solvent, solutions using dimethyl sulfoxide are a great alternative.

  • Caustic

Caustic paint removers, such as sodium hydroxide (also known as lye or caustic soda), break down the paint’s chemical bonds mainly through hydrolysis of the chain links of the polymers that make up the paint. Antique sellers who want to restore ancient furniture by removing aged varnishes, for example, frequently employ caustic aqueous solutions. Caustic paint strippers are alkaline and may interact with the paint on a chemical level, turning the paint into a soapy substance that makes it easy to remove paint from metal surfaces.

  • Biochemical

Biochemicals are another type of remover that is less harsh when compared to solvents and caustic strippers. It is a mix of plant-based solvents and organic compounds. However, it does not work with other types of paints that are not either water-based or oil-based. These kinds of solvents are great for DIY workers as it is safe to work indoors, but of course, taking precautions with chemicals is always crucial as you can never be too sure how it may affect you.

  • Zero-VOC

Zero-VOCs are the safest type of removers as they are made of natural solvents such as benzyl alcohol that have the least harmful effects. This type of paint stripper is much like biochemicals as it is safe to use indoors and for DIY projects. However, unlike the latter, it is much safer than biochemicals as it produces the least amount of toxic fumes in comparison.

Citristrip is a powerful commercial-grade paint remover with a gel-like formula that remains moist and active for a full day, allowing you to strip multiple layers of paint with a single step. It does not contain harmful chemicals like methylene chloride or N-methyl pyrrolidone. Citristrip is non-caustic and is an essential tool for in-house paint removal. It can be an enduring agent of a stripping gel for removing multiple layers of latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, enamel, polyurethane, shellac, acrylics, and epoxy from wood, metal, and masonry surfaces. If you want to know more about the benefits of this product, check out this quick review on YouTube.


  • Works on wood, metal, and masonry surfaces
  • Easy to use
  • Fast-acting
  • Pleasant smell


  • May require water rinsing

2. Best Water-Based:Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

Smart Strip is a water-based stripper and an innovative revolution for paint removers as it is safe and can be applied to any substrate or environment. The formula of this paint stripper is methylene-chloride-free, non-carcinogenic, non-toxic, and non-caustic. It can effectively remove multiple layers of paint such as oil-based and water-based paints, acrylics, varnishes, urethanes, and even old lead paints. The Dumond Smart Strip paint remover is versatile and works on exterior surfaces like wood, brick, stone, concrete, plaster, metal, plastic, glass, fiberglass, etc. You just need to apply the Smart Strip for 24 hours, and it will get the job done! Here’s an honest review of the product.


  • Removes multiple layers of paint/coatings
  • Odor-free
  • Safe water-based formula
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Works on lead paints older than 20 years


  • May require a pressure wash

3. Best Mess-Free:Safe ‘N Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel

The Safe ‘N Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel can remove multiple layers of paint, coatings, and even varnish. It was developed specifically for DYI homeowners and is easy to use and highly effective. It is safe for the user and the environment as it leaves no foul smell and is also free of hazardous chemicals. Being a water-based remover, it works both for interiors and exterior surfaces and can remove paints and varnishes from the 1980s too! Completely home-friendly, capable of removing latex, oil-based, and varnishes, this is a favorite remover even amongst professionals.


  • 100% biodegradable
  • Non-drip formula
  • Mess-free application
  • Beginner-friendly


  • May leave a residue

4. Best Dust-Free:MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper tackles the toughest stripping tasks with its patented wet work system for safe dust-free removal. Designed specifically to remove most types of paint and varnish safely from a variety of surfaces, it has no toxic fumes or chemicals like methylene-chloride or NMP. It is skin safe and requires no special ventilation for safe use indoors on materials like glass, laminate, fiberglass, metal, wood, porcelain, plastic, furniture, and more!


  • Easy to clean
  • Simple application with non-drip gel
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor
  • Leaves no unwanted residue


  • May not work on factory-finished paints

5. Best Semi-Paste:Sunnyside Corporation 634G1 Paint & Varnish

This 2-minute remover is designed to remove multiple layers of finish in one application. Its methylene-chloride-free, semi-paste formula clings to surfaces to make paint removal easy. It quickly acts on the finish and lightens wood stains but does not harm wood or corrode metal. It can be used on wood, metal, masonry, marine, and automotive finishes and can even remove lacquers, shellacs, varnishings, epoxy, and polyurethane finishes.


  • Fast-acting formula
  • Safe to use on vertical and horizontal surfaces
  • 100 sq. ft. per gallon coverage
  • Available as gel or liquid


  • Scrubbing may be required for removing the residue

6. Best Methylene-Chloride-Free:Super Remover New Generation Remover

Super Remover’s New Generation Remover is a newly launched, high-quality stripper with a new formula as effective as its original formula. This revolutionary formula is free of methylene-chloride, NMP, or other highly toxic chemicals but works on par with methylene-chloride products. It is ideal for all stripping jobs and can remove up to 5 layers with a single application. The formula is a fast-acting stripper that only requires 15 minutes to set in before the paint can be removed.


  • Works safely on wood, metal, and concrete
  • Removes varnish, epoxy, shellacs, etc.
  • Adds a natural finish to surfaces
  • Industrial performance


  • Sanding may become harder

7. Best For Hardwood:Good Off FG900 Paint Remover

Goof Off’s paint splatter remover for hardwoods is trusted among professional craftsmen and DIY project masters. It can safely remove dried paint splatter from any hardwood floor and is an effective, quick-acting, and versatile product as it works on a variety of other hard surfaces such as glass, metal, brick, and concrete. Capable of removing dried latex and oil-based paint splatters, the remover has a simple application system, where you can spray the solution on the required area, then simply wipe it away with a cloth.


  • Safe for hardwood surfaces
  • Fast-acting on contact
  • Works on a variety of paint types
  • Can also remove crayons, adhesives, decals, etc.


  • May leave a residue if left to sit for too long

8. Best For Indoor And Outdoor:Dumond Chemicals 1005N Peel Away Paint Remover

The 1005N Peel Away Paint Remover is one of the industry-leading paint removal products formulated to remove up to 32 coats of paint with a single application. The formula of this product is the safest way to remove lead-based paints and coatings, and it is also water-based, making it a breeze to prime and use. The solution emulsifies the coating, eliminating the need for sanding and reducing the possibility of airborne dust that may be hazardous.


  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor use
  • No harmful fumes
  • Perfect remover for antique surfaces
  • No sanding required


  • May need a deep clean after the procedure

9. Best Fume-Free:Safe ‘N Easy Graffiti Remover

Safe ‘N Easy has manufactured one of the top-tier paint removers that can remove, epitomize, and clean DIY items. This graffiti remover gel works great on non-permeable surfaces that have been marked with either spray paints, colored pencils, or any other form of paints or coatings. This formula is designed to be non-dripping and fume-free with the added bonus of leaving no surface damages that some removers may leave.


  • Simple application
  • Non-drip remover formula
  • 100-150 square feet per gallon distribution rate
  • Versatile solution


  • May not be suitable for smooth surfaces

10. Best Biodegradable:Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover

Krud Kutter is a company known for its diverse assortment of cleaning solutions, and its latex paint remover is no exception. The remover works well at removing both fresh and dried latex paint stains that you may find either in the interior or on the exterior of your home or workspace. The solution is biodegradable, and with its low VOC, it quickly soaks into the paint and starts to loosen it within minutes of application chemically. The remover can be used on multiple surfaces such as carpets, wood, fabric, brick, etc.


  • Easy to use
  • Simple application
  • Versatile paint remover
  • Fast-acting


  • May not be suitable on leather

11. Best For Antiques:Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash With Centaurus AZ Gloves

Klean Strip Paint Stripper After Wash is ideal for eliminating stains and reducing leftovers from stripping while conditioning the surface for paint, stain, or topcoat in the refinishing process. Apply small batches of liquid paint stripper to freshly washed and clean stripping pads until all surface residue is erased. The remover is ideal for antiques as the unique formula is designed not to stain or damage the surfaces it is applied on. It can be used with any variety of paint remover and materials like wood, metal, and bricks.


  • Works well on multiple surfaces
  • Safe for beginners to use
  • Prepares surfaces for new paint
  • Centaurus AZ Chemical Resistant Gloves provided with purchase


  • Solution is highly volatile

Now that we’ve reached the end of this list, we hope that we have in some way assisted you in gaining a better understanding of the 11 best paint strippers for metals, and hopefully, you’ve been able to reach a verdict about which paint remover would best suit your needs. But of course, if you are still not sure about it, our buying guide may assist you further in deciding which paint stripper to go for if you’re still not too sure.

How To Choose The Right Metal Paint Stripper?

  • Toxicity

Specific removers are less toxic than others, and hence it is safer to work on your own without outside help. Certain paint removers, such as solvents and caustic removers, work best as there is a shorter wait time for the paint to begin dissolving. However, they produce a lot of toxic fumes and can damage certain surfaces, depending on the type of metal the object is made of. It is also wise to remember while employing caustic paint removers, the chances of side effects and health hazards must also be considered as each type of paint remover has its pros and cons and depending on your needs and requirements. It is advised that you analyze the work you require the paint stripper for and make the purchase accordingly.

  • Application

Just as there are different types of paint, there are different types of removers with varying application processes. For example, solvents are generally applied with thin layers and can be removed with a paint scraper. Caustic removers require a much thicker layer and are required to be applied for a longer duration in comparison to solvents (approximately 30 minutes or more). Biochemicals must be applied with thick layers, and due to their mild nature, they must be applied for anywhere between 3 to 4 hours. Low-VOC paint strippers need to be applied for a whole day with a thickness of 1/8th of an inch. You cannot use the same brush that you apply the remover with for painting, as these brushes are usually disposed of once used with a remover.

  • Safety

When using paint removers, you must always ensure the safety of yourself and any other individual or pet that may be around you. It is best to cordon off the area in which you will be using the remover and ensure the area is well ventilated. The fumes that some removers give off are toxic, especially the solvent removers and caustic removers. So it is also advised to equip yourself and whomever you may be working with personal protective equipment (PPE). The low-VOC paint strippers are ideal as they are the most environmentally friendly and the least hazardous and toxic form of paint remover. However, they do require 24hours to dissolve the bonds of the paint stain or droplets fully.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Wedetso Chirhah has considerable experience writing about household tools and items for home improvement. His passion lies in curating research-driven information to help you choose the right product. In this post, he has compiled a list of the best paint strippers for metal surfaces after considering user feedback posted on multiple websites. Moreover, he has also mentioned the different types of paint strippers and added useful tips on choosing the right product.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you dispose of paint strippers?

Paint strippers/removers are usually highly hazardous in nature, so one must take great care at its disposal by referring to the container for the disposal recommendations. You can also contact local garbage disposal services to help you gain some insight on how to dispose of them.

2. How do you remove the paint stripper?

Paint strippers are usually removed using a scraper, a steel wool cloth, or a fabric wiping cloth along with some water when used on paint stains. However, if you have accidentally spilled some paint stripper and want to remove it, you can use a disposable cloth along with some generous amounts of water to ensure it is completely cleaned and does not leave unwanted stains on your flooring. With wooden surfaces, as with the application you must remove the paint stripper by following the grain of the wood else you will find yourself at risk of damaging the wooden surface.

Repaint your home efficiently and effortlessly using the best paint strippers. As opposed to sanding, which can be immensely challenging and time-consuming, paint stripping is much quicker and enables you to scrape the paint off the metal without a hassle. The options listed here can make all your DIY tasks simpler as they are fast-acting and easy to use. Moreover, some of them even have a pleasant smell. However, before zeroing in on one, it’s important to understand the different types of paint strippers and choose the ideal product for your needs after considering factors such as toxicity, ease of application, and safety.

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Wedetso Chirhah

Wedetso Chirhah holds a masters degree in English Literature from Mangalore University. He had written content for more than 15 B2B websites and edited school books before joining MomJunction as an editor. Wedetso ensures the articles meet the highest editorial standards. He enjoys making content understandable and relatable to readers, and he is a big fan of the versatile em... more