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What will remove powder coating?

Powder coating provides a tough, durable finish to metal parts and surfaces, but there may be times where you no longer require your current coating. When these situations come up, what chemical will remove powder coating?

Various chemicals have common uses in cleaning and preparing surfaces, such as:

  • Paint remover
  • Acetone
  • Turpentine
  • Isopropyl
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Brake fluid
  • Mineral spirits.

Here, we look at each and whether they will remove powder coating.

Will Paint Remover Remove Powder Coat?

Various makes of specialist paint remover will remove powder coating. Powder coating is, after all, a form of paint, but it's dry rather than liquid. However, you will first need to check what type of powder coating you wish to remove, and the most suitable paint remover for this task.

Powder coatings are designed to be durable. This means removing a powder coating with paint remover isn’t necessarily as straightforward as removing a standard coat of paint.

The other issue is what you plan to do with the surface from which you’ve removed powder coating. If you’re going to re-coat it in the same way, you must make sure you’ve removed the previous coat and cleaned the surface thoroughly.

Always check first that your chosen chemical paint remover will be suitable for this task.

Does Acetone Remove Powder Coating?

You can use acetone to remove powder coating.

Acetone is a mild solvent and is effective as a general cleaner. It can be used to prepare surfaces for powder coating, for example.

However, you can also use it to remove powder coatings as required. 

Although acetone is a relatively mild solvent, it still requires careful handling and disposal. When applying it to powder coating, make sure there's plenty of ventilation.

Does Turpentine Remove Powder Coating?

Turpentine comes from the distilled resin of coniferous trees. The distilled oil or spirit of turpentine is colourless and flammable. Its chemical composition includes various hydrocarbons.

Traditionally, the most common use for turpentine has been as a solvent for varnish and paint, especially as a paint thinner and brush cleaner.

Turpentine is generally more effective at cleaning various residues from powder-coated surfaces than for removing powder coating altogether.

Can Isopropyl Alcohol Damage Powder Coating?

Isopropyl alcohol is the main component in rubbing alcohol, used for household cleaning and in personal care.

It can be highly effective as a cleaner, including removing grease and dirt from powder-coated surfaces.

For this purpose, it's a viable alternative to chemicals containing solvents as it won't damage the powder coating surface when it cleans it.

However, for this same reason, you can't use isopropyl alcohol to completely remove powder coating.

Will Rubbing Alcohol Remove Powder Coat?

The main component in rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol (see above). This can be an effective cleaner when you apply it to powder-coated surfaces.

It won't remove powder coating altogether.

Does Brake Fluid Remove Powder Coating?

The most common component in brake fluid is glycol-ether. It's a hygroscopic fluid. This means it absorbs water from the atmosphere.

Glycol-ether is an organic solvent. It's an effective cleaning agent when combined with other chemicals and substances.

Whereas the brake fluid in vehicles may contain this chemical, this shouldn't affect a vehicle's powder coating if its brake fluid leaks.

Providing the powder-coated vehicle parts are properly cured, they should offer reliable surface protection from chemicals.

Will Mineral Spirits Remove Powder Coat?

Mineral spirits are petroleum-based alternatives to turpentine. Their most common use is as paint thinners for oil-based paints.

You can use them in carefully controlled concentrations. They will clean dirt and grease from powder-coated surfaces. But you need to be careful that they don't damage the coating during cleaning.

How Should You Remove Powder Coating?

If you intend to remove powder coating then there are three main ways of doing this, using:

  • Chemicals
  • Heat
  • Abrasion

These methods involve specific techniques and materials.

You must make the distinction between cleaning a powder-coated surface for maintenance and removing it to prepare for applying a fresh powder coating layer.

You can clean powder-coated surfaces using various chemicals as well as detergent. But if your intention is only to clean them, rather than strip them, then you should proceed with caution.

If, however, you wish to remove an existing coating, you should apply one of the specialist methods designed for this purpose.

We recommend you seek expert advice regarding solvents, thermal stripping processes or abrasive methods such as shot blasting.

For more information, please contact Tomburn.


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What will remove powder coating?

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