How to Remove Paint From Tin

Corey M. Mackenzie

When paint starts peeling from a tin item, you may wish to remove all of the paint and either leave the tin bare or repaint it. Removing paint from tin and other metals is not difficult, but it does require some time. You’ll need products to strip the paint, and time--usually several hours--for the product to work.

After that, a little bit of effort is really all you’ll need to get unwanted paint off of tin.


If the tin item you are stripping is portable, place it on a drop cloth before applying stripper. This will help protect the surface the item is resting upon. The more layers of paint you must remove, the more stripper you may need.


Keep wildlife (and pets or children) away from the area until you are finished removing the paint. Although many strippers are eco-friendly, these products are nevertheless not intended for prolonged exposure (to skin, fur or feathers). Do not discard softened paint in the trash. Paint removed with paint strippers should be taken to your local household waste facility (or contact your local household authorities about proper disposal methods).

  1. Supply adequate ventilation to your work area by opening windows and doors (if you are working inside). Put on protective eye wear and protective rubber gloves.

  2. Dip a clean paint brush into a bucket of paint stripper. Use the brush to spread the stripper liberally over the tin.

  3. Allow the paint stripper sufficient time to work. For many non-caustic paint strippers this can be six hours or longer; check the label, however, as it may vary by product.

  4. Scrape off the paint, using a putty knife or a scraper. It should be easy to scrape off--if it isn’t, apply more stripper and wait an hour or two longer before trying again.

  5. Use the putty knife you used for scraping the paint off to push the old paint into a cardboard box or another sturdy container. Remember to contact local hazardous waste authorities for information regarding proper disposal of used paint and paint stripper.

  6. Rinse the tin off according to the product directions. Usually, you will simply need to rinse it off with water.