Using a Hair Dryer to Remove Paint and More

updated Jul 17, 2020
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Last week we discussed about getting started on wrangling our cords and cables in our home office, a project that required us to get moving on painting the interior before installing the cable channel guides we purchased. And painting we did! The whole weekend was spent busily taping, painting, waiting, then painting again…

Unfortunately, we discovered the previous occupants or landlord’s painters had painted over a glossy surface instead of properly sanding and priming for best adhesion. What this meant was upon finishing painting some of the elements of our living room, the painter’s tape lifted large sections of the paint off the glossy paint hidden underneath upon removal! A total bummer after all the work that went into painting the room, discovering we’d have to do some more work.

Most of the pieces can be lifted off now just using our fingernails, but that results in a lot of small pieces that add up to a big mess. In the past I’ve used a heat gun to remove interior latex paint, a fast and easy way to remove paint without as much of a mess. But we don’t have one anymore so we’ve had to resort to a backup home appliance for the cleanup duty: our hair dryer.

Set on low heat, low speed, the hair dryer works very well at removing already loose latex paint. We’re using an X-acto blade to carefully define areas where we want peeling off as we use the hair dryer, and equally taking care in limiting the time spent blowing over an area so as not to overheat surrounding paint. Using the hair dryer and the blower attachment, we’re saving about 50% of the time it would take compared to carefully peeling the paint by hand. We knew there were a lot of factors to look at before purchasing a hair dryer, but we didn’t think to factor in its paint removal capabilities! It’s also proven to be remarkable helpful in removing painted over hinge hardware since moving into our new apartment (what is it about rental spaces and people painting over hinges, knobs and latches?!).

Things to note when using a hair dryer for paint removal:

  1. Use it sparingly: hair dryers are not meant for heavy duty work like a real heat gun. Don’t use the hair dryer for periods for longer than you would drying your hair, both for safety and your energy bills!
  2. Plug it into an outlet that can handle the energy requirements; don’t plug it into an outlet which is shared by other important home appliances.
  3. Direct heat at as exact of a space as you can, with setting on low for both temperature and speed; you do not want to stay on a spot too long, lest you curdle more paint than you want.
  4. To be safe, wear a face mask and keep windows open.!

And there’s plenty more where a hair dryer can come in handy around the household. Be sure to check out Multi-Use Bathroom Tech: The Hair Dryer for more ideas.