Remove Anodizing Color

Scrub parts with an old toothbrush after stripping the surface.

Many car parts, paintball marker components and other aluminum items are anodized. Anodizing creates a protective oxide coating on aluminum objects, preventing corrosion and strengthening the surface. Anodizing can also be used to create a durable colored layer on the surface of a piece of aluminum. Over time, anodized finishes can fade. They may also develop scratches and nicks. In these cases, it may be best to remove the old finish so that you can re-anodize the piece.


1. Clean the aluminum part thoroughly. Remove all dirt, grease and other contaminants with soap and water or a commercial cleaner. If the part is not clean, you may not be able to evenly strip the anodized surface.

2. Place the part in a nonreactive container, such as a disposable plastic bucket or glass baking tray. Do not use metal containers, which may react with the stripping agent.

3. Apply stripping agent. Spray the part evenly with oven cleaner, making sure all surfaces are covered, or combine water and household lye until the color on the parts lightens. You may see dye seeping away from the aluminum. Always add lye to water, not water to lye.

4. Wait for the finish to dissolve. If using oven cleaner, wait three minutes, then rinse the parts thoroughly, scrubbing with an old toothbrush. If using lye, wait approximately 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the strength of the solution, then rinse the part in vinegar and scrub it. If any anodized finish remains, repeat the stripping process. Don’t leave the stripping agent on too long, or you may pit the surface of the aluminum.

READ  Remove Anodization

5. Rinse all parts in clean water. If the surface of the metal has become blackened from the stripping agent, polish it with a mild abrasive cleaner and a toothbrush. You may use the deanodized parts as-is, or re-anodize them.