What's the best way to clean spraypaint off a flight case?
May 4, 2006 4:36 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to clean spraypaint off a flight case?

I have a standard flight case (like this one, with metal edges and clasps, black textured plastic sides) that's been spraypainted in various garish colours with lots of 'this way up' arrows and what I assume is the name of the band that owned it before me.

So, how can I best remove the paint without damaging the plastic? Turps just seems to spread the paint around.
posted by jack_mo to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Oven cleaner works on fresh spraypaint, but as always it's best to test a small area to see if it will damage the surface.
posted by one at 5:33 AM on May 4, 2006

Why don't you just mask off the metal bits with masking tape, and respray the case matte black?
posted by Nicholas West at 5:43 AM on May 4, 2006

respray the case matte black

Seconded. That's what you do with secondhand flight cases.
posted by mendel at 7:30 AM on May 4, 2006

I used to work in an A/V warehouse. We often would spray paint the cases, but it doesn't look so nice. To actually remove the paint without damaging the plastic, I would use the orange citrus Goof Off. The regular stuff would just melt the plastic, but the citrus stuff was okay, though it often took a lot of elbow grease. And it wasn't so much paint as an ink that was used. Also great for taking off shipping labels.
posted by Roger Dodger at 7:44 AM on May 4, 2006

Depending on how much an area needs to be cleaned and how thickly it's been painted. Since the surfaces are plastic and (looks like) unpainted aluminum, small areas should rub off easily with some nail polish remover(any drug store, a few $), or the Goof off, like Roger suggested. Textured plastic will require some extra work to clean. If the area to be cleaned is large, paint thinners from hardware stores come in larger quantities. Gently dab, with cloth, and test first, on a small obscure area.

I'd reserve coating the entire case option for if cleaning fails. Coating it seems like a easy solution, but I've always found it near impossible to have it turn out well. Spray paints tend to run if not careful to layer it thin and evenly. Also, since there are two different materials involved, you run the risk of the finish not lasting, peeling, cracking, and that's even harder to clean up.
posted by MD06 at 9:25 AM on May 4, 2006

Meths is very good. As is Sugar Soap. Or Barkeep's Friend. All available from any good hardware store in the UK.
posted by brautigan at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2006

Thanks for the tips, gang.

I'll try and find the UK equivalent of Goof Off's water-based paint removers first, and if that doesn't work, time for respraying (which I'm tempted to do anyway - much more fun than cleaning!).
posted by jack_mo at 4:39 AM on May 5, 2006

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