When you are climbing on a ladder to apply paint on the wall or the ceiling, it’s next to impossible to keep the ladder clean. While some may find a paint-stained ladder a symbol of the glory of its service, not everyone is going to feel that way.
That’s why people do look out for solutions to clean off the paint stains from the ladder after a painting session. Part of the reason is it becomes pretty messy and looks quite dirty. If you need your ladder to look clean and fresh, you must remove the paint from it every time.
So, how to remove paint from ladders? The easiest methods should include using paint strippers or scrappers, vinegar or baking soda, steamer, and using professional chemicals.
In this piece, we will go through some of the popular and effective methods to remove paint from a metal ladder.
Read till the end if you don’t want to miss our bonus tip!
Can I Remove Paint From Any Ladder Material?
Ladders are made from different metal materials. Two of the most common metals used are aluminum and steel. Before you think of removing paint from a metal ladder, you must consider the type of metal used in it.
That’s because some metals, like aluminum, can cause oxidization when it comes into contact with the paint. This oxidization can create a bit of headache as you need to take extra caution while removing the paint. On the other hand, steel makes fewer issues when it comes to cleaning.
How To Remove Paint From Aluminum Ladder?
As aluminum has an oxidization problem, you better be careful while cleaning the aluminum ladder. So, before applying any type of paint-removal technique, you must first clean it up.
Here’s How to Clean an Aluminum Ladder
You need to use a bucket of soapy water for this. Use a clean and soft fiber cloth and dip it inside the soapy water. Next, rub the cloth against the entire ladder to remove the dirt and other particles (apart from the paint) completely. This way, it will make it easier for you to remove the painting.
1. Using a Paint Stripper
After cleaning the ladder with soapy water, you can use paint strippers to get rid of the paint. You can get a number of strippers. The best one you can get is one made from soybeans.
You need a clean container and put the solution inside. Then pour the stripper into the container and keep and apply a thick layer over the ladder. You can apply it like you are brushing it. Then let it soak in for around an hour. Then wipe it off or rag it to remove it from the surface.
This will take off the paint stains pretty easily.
2. Baking Soda Mixture
A nifty solution to this problem can be using baking soda. Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the water and mix it well. Apply the mixture to the aluminum surface for about half an hour. The paint will start to loosen, and you can rub it off.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from An Aluminum Ladder?
Although some may get skeptical about using vinegar to remove paint from an aluminum ladder, this is a pretty clever solution.
Vinegar is a natural solvent that can easily remove paint stains from the aluminum surface. It has mild acid that breaks the bond between the surface and the paint molecules.
It’s a good idea to heat the vinegar up before you use it to maximize its bond-breaking capacity by allowing it to concentrate its acetic acid.
The next thing you should do is to apply the solution with a paintbrush to the surface of the ladder. Do this for around 20 minutes, and then use a paint scraper to rub the paint off.
How To Remove Paint from Other Metal Ladders?
Apart from aluminum, other metal ladders are prone to the same paint-stain problems. Cleaning the paint off is easier if it’s a steel ladder rather than an aluminum ladder. Here are some quick solutions you should definitely try out!
1. Steamer or Heat Gun
Using a heat gun, you can easily get rid of paint stains from a metal ladder.
Heat guns use high temperatures to melt paint on the surface of the ladder and make it easier to scrap them out.
If you don’t have a heat gun, you can also use a dry blower.
Put the heat gun at the lower temperature and place it around two to three inches away from the metal surface. Be careful as you don’t want to melt the metal itself. Slowly increase the temperature, and you will see the paint bubbling up after a while.
Once the paint starts to melt, use a scraper to scrape the paint off. Then you can use warm, soapy water and a clean cloth to clean it up.
2. Chemical Solutions
If you are not really into home remedies, you can easily apply commercially produced chemicals to get rid of paint stains.
Ammonia and acetone are two of the widely used chemical solutions that are used to clean off paints from metal surfaces.
These chemical solutions stabilize the acrylic emulsion of the paint by increasing the pH level. This way, the bond between the metal and the paint starts to loosen, and it can be peeled off.
Don’t have enough time? Well, you can go for a quick solution with little effort by using acidic concentration.
Acidic concentrations can peel off the paint from the metal surface and also help the paint to evaporate.
Some of the most common acidic solutions are phosphoric acid, hydrochloric acid, and nitric acid.
Tips for Removing Paint from Metal Ladder
Here are some useful tips that you will find beneficial while removing paint stains from a metal ladder.
- Do not use coarse sandpaper or any type of wire-bristled brushes if you are using them on metal surfaces. It will damage the surface.
- You can use an old toothbrush if a paintbrush is not available .
- Clean the surface with a soft rug after all the paint is cleaned off.
- Dispose of all the paint, chemicals, and other materials properly
Safety Tips for Paint Removal
You have to make sure you don’t hurt yourself or anybody else while working with chemicals. So, here are some quick safety tips that you need to follow.
- Place the ladder in a well-ventilated area while removing paint. If there are any flammable objects around, place those items in a safer place, further from the place you are working.
- Use hand gloves all the time to avoid your skin from any type of accident.
- If you are working with acid, follow the instructions on the acid packaging.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to remove paint from ladders, especially if you are not a professional painter. However, the methods that we have discussed here are pretty generic and should work for almost every household ladder.
The thing is, regular paint isn’t that hard to remove, and these nifty homemade solutions should do just fine in scrapping these off from a metal ladder.
So, pick any of the methods we’ve mentioned and try finding out which one works for you! Let us know in the comments below if you’ve found a better solution for yourself. We will be glad to hear from you!