Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) liquefies the oldest paint. Wet paint thoroughly and cover with plastic to prevent evaporation. Paint will wash off with water after a short time. Latex paint may be removed from clothing by soaking followed by machine washing. The results are gratifying. Remember that alcohol is quite flammable. Detergent and water will remove latex before it dries.


Various petroleum distillates are available with names like "Odorless Turpentine" and ordinary solvents like acetone (fingernail polish remover) will work. These chemicals can be quite harsh and gentler chemicals may be tried first. A light oil such as lamp oil or Kerosene will dissolve the paint (also good on grease and tar) allowing removal with ordinary detergent. Naphtha (lighter fluid) is gentle on most finishes and may prove useful as might various alcohols. Lacquer thinner is a combination of petroleum distillates, alcohol, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, and butyl acetate which is enough to soften most finishes, waxes, or greases but damage to the underlying surface should be considered .


Lacquer thinner, acetone, and various petroleum based products work well. Paint strippers are available which contain highly volatile and extremely effective solvents. The strippers typically contain additional chemicals which form a vapor barrier to slow the evaporation of the volatile solvents. Follow the directions quite closely for maximum effectiveness.


Try various alcohols and other solvents which do not hurt the underlying surface. Isopropyl alcohol was found to dissolve the paint on clear plastic boxes without hurting the plastic finish for example. Epoxy paints and other finishes may prove quite resistant to solvents or the underlying surface may not tolerate the harsh solvents and strippers. In such instances it may be necessary to consider mechanical removal with sandpaper, steel wool, wire brush, or scraper. Polishing compounds may be used to restore the surface finish with surprisingly good results. Start with a coarse grade of compound on a polishing wheel and switch to finer grades washing the wheel between steps. Even clear plastic may be restored to complete transparency although some experience may be necessary : most novices overheat the plastic. Try using water to cool the surface.


Naphtha (Lighter Fluid) is the best choice for most adhesives used on tapes since it will not harm most finishes. If possible, position the tape or label vertically and drip in a bead of naphtha between the tape and surface. As the tape is pulled away the bead of liquid will drop down onto the newly exposed adhesive. Squirt in a little more naphtha as needed - the tape or label will come off in one piece! Even old masking tape may be removed with a little patience. Many tape adhesives are water based and will soften when soaked. Use warm water and perhaps a little detergent.

Phil Ngai <> recommends warming the tape with a lamp or hairdryer. The heat softens the adhesive but take care not to damage the item with excessive heat. This works better than I expected and is now my first thing to try!
"Hinermad" posted this suggestion to the hobby discussion: "I saw the article on removing paint and adhesives - definitely a keeper! But I'd like to suggest an addition: I've found that light mineral oil (3-In-1 brand household oil, or even baby oil) is good for removing the greasy goo that's left behind by various adhesive labels like price stickers or diskette labels. It's kind to most surfaces, and baby oil smells a lot prettier than Goo-Gone(TM)."
Tom Bruhns suggests, "On the subject of adhesive removal, a good thing to know about is...peanut butter!  Seriously.  It's 'oil-based,' non-toxic (to most people), doesn't smell bad (to most of us, I think).  The ground peanuts are very mildly abrasive, and flooded with warm water and perhaps a bit of detergent, it emulsifies easily so it's easy to wash away.  It's also commonly available in many households.  If you think I'm kidding about its effectiveness, just try it sometime on some tape residue or the like.  I was once visiting friends who have horses, and one of the horses had been rubbing up against a pine tree which was oozing sap.  She was distressed that she would have to cut the horse's mane off to get rid of the matted, sticky mess. I suggested peanut butter, and a few minutes later, the horse's mane was at least manageable, if not completely cleaned, and she looked at me in amazement..."


Epoxies resist almost everything but epoxy strippers are available from industrial suppliers. These organic acids are caustic and must be used with great care. Spot removal of epoxy may be accomplished by chipping or using the tip of a soldering iron. Be prepared for a bad smell. Someone suggested paint stripper but I have not tried it.


Most silicone rubbers may be removed by applying ethyl alcohol to the interface. Let the interface soak under the alcohol, if possible. After a few minutes the rubber may be pulled off. Make sure the alcohol has dried before applying new rubber.


Those "crazy" or "super" adhesives (cyanoacrylate ester) that bond instantly may be released with a special debonding agent usually available at hobby stores. 

Reader Joy Richards suggests, " Cyanoacrylate glue (crazy glue) can be cleaned up (mostly) with acetone.  That's all those special 'debonding agents' are in most cases.  And it's cheapest by the large bottle in the beauty supply store (like Sally's Beauty Supply) or perhaps hardware stores. There will be a layer that's bonded to the surface of whatever was 'glued', but the glue in the middle can be dissolved (like when moi glues her fingers together.  I can still feel a glued surface, which will grow out in a day or two, but the fingers are no longer attached to each other.)"


You will learn to hate the inventor of this tape when you endeavor to remove it. Since it is waterproof, the trick is to get the naptha to the adhesive. Not recommended for the short of temper. Hot air will usually help, but the tape acts like a thermal insulator, too!


Joy Richards suggests, "Soak the rusty part in Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper overnight.  If the part is not removable and fixed, build a small dam around the part and fill it with the liquid so it'll soak overnight."

I wonder if carbonated water would work or a mild acid solution. (Maybe Zud, or similar product containing oxalic acid.) I have good luck with penetrating oil and a little heat.