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How to Remove Oil Based Paint Pen From Metal

Louise Harding

Paint pens are used in many industries. Craft industries utilize many varieties of paint pens, whereas construction and other industries rely on the permanence and durability of oil-based paint pens.

Oil-based paint from paint pens must be removed with paint thinner.

Oil-based paint pens, according to How To Arts and Crafts website, retain their color vibrancy despite exposure to UV light. This resistance to fading makes the oil-based paint pen a perfect candidate for outdoor usage. Craft paint pens are often removed from surfaces with soap and water, but oil-based paint pens require more extensive removal procedures to eliminate the paint from surfaces such as metal.

  1. Hold a steel wool pad over a disposable container, such as a clean margarine tub, and pour paint thinner onto the pad until completely saturated. Steel wool pads and paint thinner can be purchased at discount, hardware and home improvement stores.

  2. Scrub the oil-based paint on the metal in a tight, circular motion. Press the steel wool pad firmly against the metal surface while rubbing. If the metal is a softer metal surface, watch for scratching to the metal. Stop using the steel wool and switch to a cloth rag to avoid scratching the metal. If the metal is painted, the paint thinner will strip the paint from the metal as well as cleaning the oil-based paint pen paint from the metal.

  3. Wipe the excess paint thinner from the metal with a cloth rag. Continue scrubbing the oil-based paint on the metal with the steel wool pad until the paint is removed.

  4. Saturate a clean cloth rag with mineral spirits and scrub the area where the paint remover was used to remove the oil-based paint from the paint pen. According to United States General Services Administration, mineral spirits is necessary to eliminate trace amounts of oil-based paint and paint remover residue. Mineral spirits, alone, are often used as a paint remover. Mineral spirits are available for purchase at hardware, discount, paint and home improvement stores.

  5. Wipe the area with a damp sponge. Dry the metal thoroughly with paper towels or dry rags.

  6. Clean up the steel wool, disposable container, and any rags containing paint removing chemicals by completely saturating with water. Ideally, these items that have been exposed to chemicals should be sealed in a coffee or paint can or some other metal container and disposed of according to your city or county’s hazardous waste codes.


According to Dunn-Edwards Paint, always use paint thinners and oil-based paints in well-ventilated areas such as open garages to avoid neurological hazards. Paint thinners, oil-based paints and mineral spirits are all highly flammable and poisonous and should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.