What Acid Is In Paint Remover?

What Acid Is In Paint Remover?Some paint removers are really strong stuff, stripping through layers and typically giving us a runny nose and maybe a little dizziness into the bargain. So, what acid is in paint remover? Well, technically it’s a solvent called methylene chloride, so it’s not really an acid – though citrus acids are sometimes used. If you hear about acid being used for paint removal, generally that’s going to be hydrochloric acid or as it’s also known, muriatic acid.

In today’s article we’ll take a closer look at the active ingredients in paint remover and also explore the use of muriatic and hydrochloric acid in paint removal as well. While they sound scary, these acids are used every day and with a little care they can really get the job done!

What is the active ingredient in paint remover?What is the active ingredient in paint remover

Dichloromethane, also known as Methylene chloride, is the active ingredient in a large number of the paint strippers out there. It’s a strong solvent, but a bit toxic, to the point that it has to be used in small concentrations in these commercial products to make their usage safe.

That said, it’s quite good at its job and many methylene paint strippers can remove multiple layers in one go, though you do have other options that you can use if you prefer to keep your environmental footprint small or simply want to avoid using harsh chemicals when possible.

The most common alternatives which you may use are citrus-based stripping gels and soy gels. While I’ve worked with a few citrus strippers, I haven’t used the soy type much, but the citrus products do seem to work well. While they take a little longer, they too can remove multiple layers and they actually smell quite a bit better.

What acid will remove paint from metal?

What acid will remove paint from metalThe citric acid from your citrus-strippers can be used on metal, as it works very slowly so you can use it carefully enough to avoid accidental etching. One brand that you can try is Confined Spaces paint stripping gel. This stuff works not only on metal, but on plaster, wood, brick, and more, and it has a pleasant lime smell to it that won’t make you feel dizzy or slightly ill.

In fact, as the name suggests, this stuff is great for inside use. While you still want to ventilate the area, it’s nowhere near as hard as a number of other paint strippers so it’s a great fit for cleaning paint from metal in your garage workshop or other enclosed areas where you like to do a little work.

Hydrochloric acid can also be used for removing paint from metal, commonly sold in the market in the form of muriatic acid. So, how does it work for paint? Let’s take a look.

Can you use muriatic acid to remove paint?Can you use muriatic acid to remove paint

Yes, but use it with care. When it comes to getting stains and paint out of concrete, it’s hard to beat the amazing power of muriatic acid. If you decide to use it, you’re going to need protective gear. Long sleeves, eye protection, and gloves are a must, because muriatic acid doesn’t just eat paint and you do NOT want to get it on your skin.

That said, as long as you follow the labelling, it’s quite effective for use. Just be sure to pay close attention to how long you leave it on the surface that you are trying to clean. When properly diluted, it works a charm, but even then if you leave it in one place for too long a time, then muriatic acid will start etching it’s way into the item that you are trying to clean.

So, as long as you follow the safety instructions to a ‘t’, then you can certainly use muriatic acid to clean paint. Just never forget that the name says it all… it’s ACID so be careful!

If you’d like some different alternatives for paint removal, be sure to check out my guide entitled DIY Paint Remover: 17 Great Options For You. Here you’ll find a few extra options that are much less caustic and still work a treat.

Some closing words on acid in paint remover

In this article we’ve talked about the acid in paint remover, which technically would be citric acid with some brands, while the active ingredient is a solvent called Methylene Chloride. We’ve also talked about how citric and muriatic acid are good for stripping paint from metal and why muriatic acid should be used with care to avoid dissolving a surface you are cleaning.

While we’re on the subject, if you want to learn more about some of the hazards of chemical paint strippers, you can check out a good 3rd party article here. There are a lot of chemicals to watch out for, so be sure to take a look so that you can make sure that your favorite brands don’t have any potential surprises that you might want to know about!

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