Things You'll Need
Heavy-bodied paint remover
Bladed paint scraper
There are many brands of non-toxic, environmentally friendly paint removers on the market (see Resources). Non-toxic strippers can cost $35 to $65 per gallon, and may take 4 to 24 hours to work. Buy a strong formulation of non-toxic stripper for powder coating removal.
There are several industrial processes for removing powder coatings from metal, including sand blasting and thermal treatment. But if you’re planning to do it yourself, you will have to use a solvent treatment. Powder coating is basically paint, so you will be using a strong paint-removing solvent. Follow these steps to remove a powder coating.
Find a well-ventilated area with a solid floor, like a garage with the door open or a patio. Put on chemical-resistant gloves and wear safety glasses. If the stripper has toxic ingredients, use an air-purifying respirator. Break down a large cardboard box to set the powder-coated item on during stripping. Use a plastic drop-cloth if the floor needs to be protected.
Test a heavy-bodied solvent stripper by applying it to two small test areas of the item. Allow the solvent to work for the length of time recommended on the stripper packaging, then use a bladed paint scraper to remove the powder coating. If coating is still adhered to the surface, allow the solvent to work on the second test area for about twice as long as the first, then use the scraper. If results are still unsatisfactory, return the product and try another paint remover.
Apply the tested paint stripper to the entire item. Leave it on for the length of time you determined during testing. Use a bladed paint scraper to remove most of the paint and solvent mixture. Place stripped paint in a cardboard box for disposal.
Complete the powder coat removal by going over the surface with an abrasive pad. Medium fine steel wool can also be used to remove residual powder coat and solvent. Spray the item lightly with water, and wipe down with shop rags to remove residues. The item can be washed down with detergent and rinsed with water to complete the process.