how to remove powder coating

How To Remove Powder Coating (4 Different Methods)

If you’ve ever tried to strip an object that has been powder-coated before, you know it can be stubborn.

Durability is a significant benefit of powder coating. But, it also makes it a pain to remove.

So, how do you remove the powder coating easily?

Powder coating can be removed using chemical strippers such as Benco B17, heat, abrasives (sandblasting with new media), or lasers.



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Each method has pros and cons that you’ll need to consider when choosing one.

In this article, we’ll discuss the main methods to remove powder coating as well as the pros and cons for each, safety precautions you should take, and what supplies you’ll need for each method.

Methods How To Remove Powder Coating

Powder coating uses an electrostatic charge to cover every inch of an object. It’s so effective that it can be hard to remove.

There are four main ways to remove powder coating, which will be covered in-depth in this article:

  1. Chemical strippers
  2. Heat or thermal removal
  3. Abrasive blasting
  4. Laser removal

Why Would You Need To Remove Powder Coating?

Fixing mistakes. If you’ve just started powder coating yourself, you will make errors. On your first few tries, your coating might not appear as good as you’d hoped. So, you’ll want to be able to remove the powder coating to try again.

Refinishing. If you have an old piece of metal, you might want to refinish or update it to keep it looking shiny and new.

Cleaning. After you’re done powder coating, you’ll need to strip your cleaning hangers and racks, or they will keep building up with thicker and thicker coats each time you complete another job.

Chemical Strippers

When removing powder stripping, your first option is to use a chemical stripper.

Miles Chemical Stripper

A great powder coat chemical stripper you may not be aware of is Miles Remove 9000 series of strippers you can get more details here (dipping application) or Miles Remove 9001 a gel version (applied with a bristle brush).

Both are great for powder coat removal from as quick as 15 minutes to 2 hours or overnight, depending on the type of coating being removed. It is Eco-friendly and excellent for job re-work as it can be re-used and even diluted when heated, saving you money!

remove 9000 powder coat removal
Powder Coat Removal

The best part about Miles Chemical stripper removal 9000 and 9001 is they are non-toxic, non-D.O.T. regulated, low odor, and noncaustic (won’t burn your skin.)

If you are looking for innovative powder coat removal/strippers that will work with various applications including stubborn rims and aluminum wheels check out the Miles 8659 Gel or Miles 8660 liquid here.

The 8660 can be diluted with water to save even more when in heated tanks and is an excellent alternative to the caustic Benco products, which are now hard to get.

NOTE: The Miles 8659 gel and Miles 8660 are slightly more aggressive and have mild acid to help accelerate performance. They do require D.O.T. shipping as a corrosive liquid. They do not burn the skin upon accidental contact, but due to the low PH, they need D.O.T. shipping.

All of the Miles products can also be shipped to residential addresses.

Aluminum Wheel Powder Coat Remover

There is a whole range of chemical strippers available from home improvement retailers like Home Hardware and Lowes. There are many different types of chemicals that have various applications, so it’s essential to choose a stripping product that meets your specific needs.

DIY Chemical Stripper

YouTube video

A paint stripper (sometimes called an aircraft stripper) is another example of a chemical stripper you can get on eBay. It has a wide range of applications and is suitable for use at home, so it can be a great place to start.

However, a more stubborn powder coating might not come off with a basic paint stripper.

Powder Coat & Paint Stripper

This option is great for DIYers who are just doing projects in their backyard and might not have the equipment needed for some of the other stripping methods.

By the way, remember that removing rust and corrosion from metal surfaces is also an important preparatory step. Check out this guide on DIY rust removal methods to learn more.

Oven cleaner is another chemical that can strip some types of powder coating and is cheap and easy to get.

You can get chemical strippers in one-time-use aerosol cans or gels. They usually must be applied multiple times to get the job done.

Now that products containing methylene chloride are being more regulated by D.O.T. for shipping, newly developed products like the Miles 8659 and 8660 listed above are coming on the market.

These new products are Low VOC, environmentally friendly strippers, and are more economically feasible methods to recycle paint rework.

Be especially careful with what products you use on powder-coated aluminum. Some chemicals, like caustic soda, are very effective at cleaning steel and iron but will destroy aluminum.

Chemical Stripper Pros

Using chemicals to remove powder coating will leave you with a uniform surface after you’ve removed the coating.

Some other methods, like sandblasting, can scratch or remove tiny pieces of metal. If you’re not re-coating the surface, you’ll probably want it to be smooth and shiny without scratches.

Chemical strippers are cheap and available in small quantities. They’re great for a one-time job or for someone who doesn’t need to remove powder coating very often. They are also available in bulk for more frequent and larger jobs.

Chemical Stripper Cons

Chemicals used to remove powder coating can be bad for the environment and have strict requirements on how to dispose of them. Also, some chemical strippers are more dangerous to work with compared to others.

Chemical strippers also don’t leave a profile for a new coating of paint to stick to. If you plan to re-coat the metal you’re stripping, you might want to sandblast it instead. The scratches and marks from the adhesive make it easier for many types of paint to stick to metal.

How To Work With A Chemical Stripper Safety

Working with chemicals capable of melting powder coating off metal can be dangerous. Even a small drop will burn your skin; getting it in your eyes can cause permanent damage.

Take the safety warnings seriously and wear the proper equipment.

You’ll want to wear thick rubber gloves, ideally elbow-length. It’s best to get a cheap pair and immediately throw them away when you’re done rather than trying to clean them. Otherwise, you risk getting the chemical on your skin after removing your gloves.

Eye protection like goggles is also a must.

A heavy-duty apron will help protect you from spills or splashes. Wearing long sleeves is a good idea, too.

Finally, proper ventilation is required, too. Many strippers contain dangerous chemicals that could cause cancer or make you pass out if you’re breathing them in a closed room. You might want to wear a full-face respirator when handling these chemicals if you’ve got one.

Make sure to keep any small kids or animals out of your workspace while you’re using chemical strippers, as well.

You might need a chip brush to help scrape the powder coating off your object once you’ve applied a chemical stripper. Be careful not to fling stripper around when doing this.

Using A Chemical Stripper – Steps To Follow

1. Do a spot test first

You’ll want to start by spot-testing your item with your stripper to ensure it works. Apply a small amount of the stripper by following the recommended instructions. Then, try to scrape off the powder coat with a scraper.

If the coating comes off fairly quickly, you can apply the stripper to the entire object. If the coating is still stuck, you can spot-test another area and give it more time. Or you might need to get a more robust product if it still doesn’t work.

2. Apply your stripper

Coat the entire part in the chemical stripper. Let it sit for the same time you used for your successful spot test.

3. Scrape the coating off

After enough time has elapsed, it’s time to clean the powder coating and solvent off. You can use a bladed paint scraper or a chipping brush for this step to start with.

Once most of the coating has come off, you can go over the metal again with steel wool or an abrasive pad to remove any remaining coating.

If you’re struggling to get all of the coatings off, you might need to re-apply the chemical stripper and wait again.

4. Wash your part

Rinse your stripped part with water and detergent to remove all remaining traces of coating and chemicals. Make sure to dispose of the removed coating carefully.

Stronger Chemical Strippers For Larger Jobs

Most of what I discussed above regarding chemical strippers is aimed more at DIYers and hobbyists.

If you need to strip powder coating off large numbers of pieces or you want to do it faster and more efficiently, I’d recommend a stripper designed for more industrial applications, such as Benco B-17 or 1010P.

Benco B-17 Industrial Liquid Stripper

It can strip about 3mm of powder coating in less than 20 minutes. It contains stronger and faster-acting chemicals like methanol chloride, phenol, and hydrofluoric acid that aren’t found in retail strippers.

1010P is less powerful than B-17 but will still work better than anything you can buy at your local hardware store.

Be aware that these industrial chemicals can typically only be ordered in larger quantities – such as 5 gallons, 30 gallons, or 55-gallon drums. So they’re only a good solution if you own a shop and will be stripping powder coating regularly.

You will also need a container to do your stripping in unless you intend to strip items in the drum in which they were shipped.

You’ll need to be extra safe when handling industrial-strength chemical strippers. They can remove powder coating faster than retail strippers, but that means they can damage your skin if not handled correctly, too.

Benco B-17 stripper costs about $200 for 5 gallons. However, many companies will no longer ship it to residential addresses since it’s a hazardous product.

Method Two – Heat or Thermal Removal

Removing powder coating using heat is safer and less risky than using chemicals. They break down the powder coating into ash that can be easily washed off.

You can use a few different methods: a bake-off, burn-off, thermochemical, or fluidized bed system. Each one uses different temperatures. Generally, the higher the oven temperature, the faster the coating will come off.

Thermal removal methods aren’t practical for small shops or DIYers since you need specialized ovens.

Bake-off Method

This method uses 650 – 750 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures and will take about 3 to 6 hours to clean off the powder coating. After baking, you need to wash the powder coating off so it doesn’t re-stick to the metal surface.

Burn off Method

This method uses temperatures of 1000 – 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. All powder coating gets removed in just a few minutes at such high temperatures. It’s hard to do this at home, and it’s usually only used in production facilities that need to remove large quantities of powder coating.

Fluidized bed system

This method uses something abrasive like sand that has been heated up to around 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and rubbed against the product to strip the powder coating off. It’s kind of a mix between a thermal and abrasive method.


It uses a mixture of chemicals and high temperatures to strip coating. It is usually done at temperatures of 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.

No matter which thermal method you use for removing powder coating, it’s essential to ensure that hangers and racks can resist the high temperatures used. For example, soldered joints or parts made of magnesium won’t work since temperatures can reach 1,000F or higher.

All of these methods create byproducts called VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These need a unique exhaust system with afterburners to destroy them.

Heat Removal Pros

Using a heating system is fast and efficient. It’s great for doing large volumes of stripping.

When done correctly, thermal processes release nearly no contaminants back into the environment, unlike chemical strippers.

Heat Removal Cons

The equipment used for thermal stripping consumes a lot of energy and can be expensive to buy. They can easily cost thousands of dollars.

Some heat removal methods need a wash phase to remove burnt powder after they’ve been processed.

Using electricity or natural to power your ovens will result in a high utility bill.

The high temperatures used to mean you risk altering the shape of the underlying metal. Heat removal also doesn’t leave a profile for the new paint to adhere to, similar to chemical stripping.

Method Three – Abrasive Blasting

Abrasive blasting (sometimes called mechanical removal) uses abrasive media like sand, which gets shot at the powder coating surface at high speeds. This strips the coating of the metal’s surface.

To use this method, you’ll need a sandblast cabinet. Sandblast cabinets come in two main types: pressure and suction. It’s best to use a pressure sandblast cabinet to remove powder coating. It’s better at removing the stubborn powder coating.

You must set up a sandblast room or tent if your object is too large to fit in a sandblast cabinet.

You can’t simply use abrasive blasting in your garage. The abrasive media will fly beyond the object you’re stripping and damage anything else in its path.

Abrasive Mediums

Depending on how thick your powder coating layer is, you’ll want to consider different abrasives. Lighter abrasives like glass beads will work if the coating is light. But you’ll want something more aggressive for thicker coatings, like steel grit or aluminum oxide.

Other abrasives include:

  • Sand
  • Water
  • CO2 pellets
  • Garnet
  • Dry ice
  • Slag
  • Plastic Media

Picking the correct media affects the profile left on the metal’s surface and how fast it works. The more aggressive media you choose, the quicker it will clean, but it will also leave the roughest surface on the metal.

Abrasive Blasting Pros

Using abrasives is relatively cheap if you do it on any scale. The equipment is much less expensive than using ovens. It can be good for smaller shops between what a DIYer needs and what a large-scale industrial operation would use.

Abrasives are also a portable option. You can use a small sandblasting cabinet or pot to remove powder coating in the field.

Using abrasives leaves a surface profile, which makes it easier to apply some paints and coatings.

Abrasive Blasting Cons

Abrasives can be a bit slower than a stripping method. It usually takes 30 seconds for each square inch of powder coating you want to strip away.

Each part you want to strip has to be blasted individually, which means higher labor costs.

Parts that have irregular shapes can be complex to blast and can trap abrasives, potentially causing problems with future coatings if not entirely removed.

Abrasives are suitable for steel and harder metals but can erode softer metals like aluminum.

Method Four – Laser Removal

Considerable scientific advancements have been made when it comes to removing powder coating. Now, you can even do it with specially designed-lasers!

Lasers work by burning powder coating off metal, similar to ovens, but in a significantly more directed and focused way.

Laser Removal Pros

Lasers are very precise and can strip powder from a small area, but they can also be used for large surfaces.

They can be used on nearly any material since they don’t alter the substrate underneath the powder coating. The laser’s heat doesn’t touch the actual surface of the metal while stripping, making it perfect for aluminum.

Lasers have little to no impact on the environment.

Laser Removal Cons

As you’d imagine, lasers are pretty cutting-edge technology and can be very costly to buy. For that reason, lasers are only efficient for stripping in a production environment.

Like all other methods except abrasives, laser removal doesn’t leave a profile on the metal’s surface, meaning extra steps might be needed before re-applying paint or another powder coating.

Which Powder Coating Removal Method Should You Use?

powder coat strip method

Which method you use will depend on the quantity of removal you need to do, your substrate, and the results you want. Here are some recommendations based on different needs, though:

For the lowest cost. If you’re only stripping once or twice per year, picking up a can of a chemical stripper from your local hardware store is probably the cheapest option. For more regular powder coating removal, abrasive blasting is the most affordable.

For the fastest removal. If you need a part cleaned quickly, a burn-off system is the way to go.

To minimize environmental impact. Lasers are the most environmentally friendly stripping method, followed closely by thermal stripping. Avoid chemicals if there are environmental concerns.

For dirty or greasy parts. Thermal stripping is best if you’re dealing with parts from engines or other equipment that come in contact with oil and grease. It will burn away all of the impurities along with the powder coating.

For steel parts. Abrasives work pretty well on steel since it’s strong enough to

For delicate parts. Lasers are best if your item can’t withstand high heat. Chemical stripping is more affordable if you only need to clean a few aluminum pieces.

For wheels and rims. Sandblasting and chemical stripping are commonly used when you need to remove powder coating from rims and wheels.


Removing powder coating yourself can be a lot of work.

To figure out what method you’ll use to remove powder coating, consider a few things, like the volume of powder coating removal you need to do and the type of metal you’ll be stripping.

If you only need to remove powder coating once or twice a year, it’s probably easiest to buy some commercially available chemical stripper.

For small shops or hobbyists who frequently need to remove powder coating, using abrasives with a sandblast cabinet can be a good solution.

Bake-off ovens, blast rooms, and extensive chemical stripping tanks make sense only on larger (industrial) scales for large batches of work.

Deciding the proper method for removing powder coating normally involves balancing out the time it will take you compared to the cost investment required. Don’t forget to Check Out The Eco Friendly Powder Coating Here

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