A new finish can brighten up any piece of furniture and breathe new life into a previously out-dated room. However, in order to update any finish you first need to remove the old paint covering the area. Further complicating matters, many older surfaces succumb to rust over the years, making it difficult to simply strip the paint. Luckily, there are relatively simple methods for tackling both rust and paint. With just a few simple products and a little bit of time, you can strip any surface of old paint and rust.
Rust Removal - Apply a commercial rust remover to the rusted surface. You want to get rid of all visible rust before removing any paint. Paint removers don't work very well on rough, rusty surfaces, so the rust must go first. Rusterizer is a good commercial rust remover and is natural, organic and does not have the high acidic content of most other rust removal products, according to MyCleaningProducts.com. Rusterizer is applied by spraying the product onto the surface; other brands may require brushing the product on rather than spraying.
Wait while the rust remover settles. Rusterizer only takes five seconds. Most other commercial rust removers have similarly short sitting times; check the bottle or container for the most accurate timing.
Wipe off the rust and excess rust-removal product with a damp rag.
Repeat Steps 1 through 3, if the rust is not completely gone. For small rust patches, one treatment will usually remove all the rust. However, rust that is caked on in thick clumps may require several treatments.
Paint Removal - Wash the area with soap, water and a sponge to remove any dirt or stray rust particles left on the surface.
Brush methylene chloride paint remover onto the surface. This product is sometimes called "paint stripper" in stores.
Let the painter remover sit on the surface for a few minutes; consult the product's container for the most accurate drying times. Most paint removers must sit about 20 to 30 minutes in order to work properly.
Scrape off the paint with a putty knife after the appropriate amount of time has elapsed. Paint remover can penetrate through several lays of paint, so usually only one coat of paint remover is necessary; however, if there is still paint left on the surface, you'll want to repeat Steps 2 through 4.
Use Rusterizer or another commercial rust remover on any rust revealed beneath the paint.