Stripping Paint from Plastics

Ask an Expert From: Products Finishing,

Posted on: 9/1/2008

Can I use a paint stripper to sand to paint off of the ABS?

Q. I’m the paint line manager at my plant. We produce a number of plastic parts for various industries. One of the parts we are painting is an ABS plastic substrate finished with acrylic and polyurethane paints. This product requires a Class A finish. Every once in a while we must repaint one of these parts.

The current procedure is to sand the paint off of the ABS. This is not only tedious, it’s time consuming, and I have the problem of finding out how to remove paint from the ABS plastic substrate without harming the surface. Can I use a paint stripper? If so, what kind of paint stripper do you recommend? Thanks in advance. S.S.


A. Be very careful! Since paint strippers are formulated to remove organic coatings, they will very possibly dissolve, etch or otherwise destroy other organic materials such as ABS plastics.

For this reason, using paint strippers on plastic is not a good idea. Your best course of action is to do abrasive blasting using media such as plastic beads, cereal grain or dry ice particles. Any supplier of abrasive blasting equipment can recommend the right media to remove paints from your ABS products. 

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