Easy way to remove paint from metal heating grates / grilles
I'm redoing my daughters bedroom. My house is nearly 50 years old and the metal heating grates have, conservatively, 10 coats of paint on them. In the past I tried chemical strippers and while they worked after a fashion the smell was overpowering and if you get a little on your bare skin it starts to burn within seconds. I heard recently that you can remove paint from metal by boiling it in water with a little baking soda added. I decided to try it out.
My wife donated a large aluminum stock pot that she never uses - say's it's too big for the burners (?). I added the smallest grate and covered it with the water - it only needed a little over two inches. I added the baking soda and fired it up. Within 15 minutes it started coming loose! I took it out and started scraping it off. With a little effort a good bit came free. Back it went into the water solution (which was turning black!) The second attempt got nearly all of the old paint off; the metal slots gave me the most trouble. I used an old toothbrush on them but wished I had something a little more substantial; anyway it took maybe 40 minutes start to finish. I then did two others; one was so long I could do only one end at a time so it took extra time.
BTW I wouldn't cook in that pot anymore, likely some of the old paint had lead in it.
A few light coats of spray paint and they look brand new, which is good because they are odd sizes and can't be replaced easily.
If you find yourself in a similar situation you should give it a try. You won't be disappointed; I've never lied to you before, have I?