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Home to get layers of old plastic contact paper off of sheet metal? Answered


I bought this old sink at a salvage yard.  It has a sheet metal bottom with some drawers and cabinets.

They are lined on the inside with this plastic contact paper that's been stuck on for 50 years.

I have tried getting it off by applying extreme elbow grease and a metal paint scraper, after soaking the surfaces for a while in this stuff:


("Cirtistrip Low V.O.C. Adhesive Remover")

but its still pretty much not coming off.

Anyone have a better idea about how to get this stuff off?

A greener, not-so-toxic method would be great... but I'm not sure if there is such a thing?

(FWIW: The sheet metal is not bare, it has a white paint/enamel-type coating.  Which is pretty scratched up in places.  I intend to sand & repaint it, once I get the contact pager off.)


Adhesive remover followed with a good cleaning of Soilax if needed.  Neither is abrasive. Just wear gloves or you'll also shed a few layers of skin. http://www.soilax.net/

This is the recipe I used to remove glue under old laminate flooring from a nice antique penny tile floor and some type of industrial putty/bonder from an old cast iron tub.

Ye-olde paint-stripper should do it, look for something with "toxic"/"harmful" and dichloromethane - methanol on it. But that's not your greener, not-so-toxic method.
Caustic-soda (Lye) may work, but other than that burn it off or keep scraping.


for whatever reason, all i can think of when i read that is the Ving Rhames line in Pulp Fiction

"What now? Let me tell you "what now?" I'm gonna call a couple a hard, pipe-hittin' n****** to go to work on the homes here, with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch"

if you're going to sand it anyway, get some 50 grit or lower (lower number means rougher grit) and an orbital sander and go to town....if you're sanding inside of the drawers and it's a random orbit sander you could even just lock the sander in the "on" position and put a weight on top of it. it would just dance around inside of the drawer without you having to sit there sanding everything for hours.

I like the vision of a sander in a drawer...


That's exactly the thing I was thinking of too.


wd40 could work just spray it then leave it for a few hours and keep respraying until it comes off

Thanks guys!

I will try heat, followed by the other ideas.


8 years ago

After using the heat gun approach (which I agree would probably be the best method) I would suggest using De-Solve-It to remove any adhesive residue.  It is a citrus based cleaner that I have found to be better than GooGone brand.  Spray it on, wait 15 minutes and wipe away with a rag. 

You could try using a heat gun.  The heat may be enough to allow you to peel or scrape the adhesive up.  It works on other types of adhesive paper such as wall paper, and on bumper stickers on cars.  Would be a lot cleaner than a chemical solution.

.  I'd try heat. A hand-held hairdryer may work, but you may need something hotter.
.  Too much heat can warp thin sheet metal (eg, car body), but your cabinet is probably thick enough to take a lot of heat without warping.