How to Remove Paint From Chrome

If you are restoring a vehicle, you may need to remove paint from chrome. You want the eye-catching shine that only chrome can provide, but if you make a mistake during the removal process, you might end up with scratches or dull spots. 

This might seem like a Catch-22 situation, but there are materials and techniques to remove paint and restore the chrome’s like-new shine. 

Here is how to remove paint from chrome without damaging what’s underneath.

How to Remove Paint From Chrome
How to Remove Paint From Chrome

The Best Ways to Remove Paint from Chrome

Before you learn how to remove paint from chrome, you need to consider your safety. If you are handling paint-removal chemicals, you need to protect your hands, skin, eyes, and lungs. 

  • Work in a well-ventilated area so that you are not in a confined space with chemical fumes. 
  • Wear rubber gloves to avoid contact with your skin.
  • Apply the chemicals to the paint carefully to avoid splashing.
  • Wear eye protection to avoid chemical splashes and paint chips. 
  • If needed, cover your mouth with a mask to avoid inhaling fumes. 

Once you’ve handled the necessary safety steps, you can move on to choose a paint removal method. 

Paint Stripper

What you’ll need:

  • A paint stripper
  • Tape and plastic to cover the treated area
  • Safety equipment
  • A soft scrubber to remove the paint after treatment

Paint stripper products available at home improvement stores can remove spray paint from chrome. Paint strippers contain different chemicals. Acetone removes spray paint from chrome, and other chemical components could include turpentine or ketones. 

The paint stripper needs time to soften the paint. You apply it with a rag, brush, or other method detailed in the manufacturer’s instructions. After the application, you need to cover the treated area with plastic. A plastic bag or wrap will work fine if you hold it in place with masking or painter’s tape. 

Paint strippers typically need to remain on the surface for several hours. If you have time, you can leave it overnight, giving the chemicals time to soften the paint. 

The final step is to scrape the paint off. You should avoid abrasive materials like steel wool. A plastic scraper, a cloth, and a non-abrasive scrubber will remove the paint without damaging the chrome underneath. 

Lacquer Thinner

What you’ll need:

  • Lacquer thinner
  • Two cloth rags or towels
  • Safety equipment
  • A soft scrubber to remove the paint after treatment

Lacquer thinner is another option for removing paint from chrome. It is stronger than paint thinner and works quickly to remove paint. You can apply the substance directly to the paint or soak a cloth in it and leave it sitting directly on the painted surface. You can check the paint every 15 to 30 minutes to see if the paint is softening. 

When it begins to soften, you can use a second cloth, plastic scraper, and non-abrasive scrubber, such as a nylon brush, to remove the paint. Lacquer thinner works on lacquer and enamel-based spray paints. 

Oven Cleaners

What you’ll need:

  • Oven Cleaner
  • Plastic and tape
  • A cloth
  • safety gear
  • A scrubbing implement

Perhaps you want to know how to remove paint from chrome with something you already have in your house. Oven cleaner can serve as an alternative to paint stripper or lacquer thinner. You can use it in the same way as an oven, and it usually foams so that it is easy to see when the surface is covered. Most oven cleaners spray on, so the application process is straightforward. 

Like paint stripper, you need to cover the treated surface with plastic and let it sit, preferably overnight. You then use a cloth or scraper and scrubber to remove the paint. 


What you’ll need

  • White vinegar
  • A pot
  • A cloth or brush
  • A scraper

Vinegar is an acidic substance that can strip paint from metal. If you are looking for a non-chemical alternative, you can try vinegar before moving on to more-potent paint strippers. 

You need to heat the vinegar in a pot or in the microwave. Once it is hot, use a cloth or brush to apply it to the paint. After about 15 minutes, you should start to see the paint soften. You then use a plastic scraper or scrubber to remove the paint. 


These three substances can remove paint without damaging the chrome, but you should not leave them on the metal after the job is done. If you leave traces of the paint-removing solvent on the chrome, it may damage or discolor it. 

After removing the paint, you should wash the surface with soap and water, ensure it is thoroughly rinsed, and dry it with a cloth. 


How do you get dried paint off chrome?

You can remove dried paint from chrome with paint stripper, lacquer thinner, or an alternative like an oven cleaner. These substances soften dried paint, making it easy to scrub off.

Does acetone remove paint from chrome?

Yes, paint strippers and lacquer thinners containing acetone can safely remove paint from chrome. 

How do you get paint off chrome rims?

Chemical paint removers can soften oil-based paints on chrome rims. You can then scrub the paint off with a cloth. If the cloth does not work, a plastic scraper or nylon scrubber should do the trick. 

Does vinegar remove paint?

A vinegar solution, if heated and applied in several layers, may remove paint from metal surfaces. If you are looking for a non-toxic, skin-safe alternative, a vinegar solution could work.

Will paint remover damage chrome?

Most common paint removal products use acetone or similar compounds. When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, they should not damage chrome. However, you need to ensure you use fine or non-abrasive tools for scraping off the paint. 

How do you remove paint from chrome plastic?

Acetone-based products can remove paint from chrome-colored plastic. Plastic is not as strong as metal, so you need to use non-abrasive scrubbers to avoid scratches. 


You can safely remove paint from chrome with paint stripper, lacquer thinner, oven cleaner, or a hot vinegar solution. Regardless of your choice, you need to take the proper steps to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs during the job. You must also use non-abrasive tools to scrub off the remaining paint without scratching the chrome.  If you take these steps, you can restore the original, eye-catching shine to your car’s chrome components.

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