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Can You Paint Cabinet Hinges? If So, How?

Photo collage of different Cabinet Hinges.

Do you have cabinets with hinges that look worn or rusted? Perhaps you simply want a more aesthetic look when you open the cabinets, or you want to prevent rust from developing on the hinges. Painting the hinges on cabinet doors is one way to update your kitchen or other rooms that have cabinets. 

Some homeowners likely dread the thought of removing all the cabinets to install new hinges. The cost of replacing hinges is a reason to consider painting them. Do not buy any type of paint and slap it on cabinet hinges.

There are several factors to consider before taking on this task. One question that homeowners are likely to have is, “Can I paint cabinet hinges?” Another question to consider is, “What kind of paint should I use?”

Get answers to all your questions about painting cabinet hinges, including whether you can paint the hinges without removing them, and the steps to take when painting cabinet hinges. 

Can You Paint Cabinet Hinges? 

Are you confused by conflicting information about whether you can paint cabinet hinges? Do not worry about conflicting information. The answer is that “yes,” you can paint cabinet hinges.

You need to know important information on how to properly paint the cabinet hinges before you get a paintbrush or a can of spray paint. Painting your cabinet hinges, whether on a kitchen cabinet, a bathroom cabinet, or a cabinet in another room in your home, requires some knowledge about whether you can paint any hinge, the type of paint to use when painting the cabinet hinges, and if there are any types of cabinet hinges that you should not paint when taking on this project. 

Do I Need to Remove the Cabinet Hinges to Paint Them? 

A very resistant iron hinge, painted black.

Some people prefer to paint the hinges without removing the cabinet doors and hinges. Is this the right way to paint your cabinet hinges? Homeowners who want to paint cabinet hinges often remove the cabinet doors and hinges to complete this task.

Is this the best way to paint cabinet hinges? The answer is that whether you remove the hinges or leave them in place to paint them is a personal preference. There are several things to consider before you grab a paintbrush and get to work painting over the existing hinges. 

A Remodel or Move contributor indicates that, among the things to keep in mind, is the fact that the paint that you use should be able to adhere to the cabinet hinges. This means that you cannot use any type of paint on every type of cabinet hinge.

Type of Paint to Use on Cabinet Hinges 

Do not buy paint and assume that it works on all cabinet hinges. Do you want the color of the hinges to match the color of the paint on the cabinets? Some sources indicate that choosing a paint specifically made for the metal hinges is best, or a paint that is suitable for painting wood hinges if the hinges on your cabinet are made of wood. 

The type of paint that you use matters if you want the paint to last and you want to achieve your vision. You can choose any color of paint that you want for the hinges. You have the option of painting the hinges the same color as the cabinets, painting them the same color as the metal, or painting them a contrasting color.

One example is that people sometimes choose to paint the hinges on their white cabinets black, rather than a matching white or natural metal color. Do not paint hinges with regular wall paint, and do not use acrylic paint on cabinet hinges. These types of paint easily chip off, and do not stick to metal very well.

It is important to note that while it is okay to paint your cabinet hinges white, the white paint highlights imperfections. Latex paint usually adheres better than some other types of paint, and lets the wood grain show through if you have wooden hinges on your cabinets. Many people use spray paint when they paint metal cabinet hinges.

Do not start spray painting brass hinges and think that they will soon look like new hinges. The result is likely to be a disappointment because painting brass hinges requires special preparation and materials. 

What About Rusty Hinges? How Do I Remove Rust Before Painting Cabinet Hinges?

Close-up shot of Rusty Hinges.

There are some secrets to removing rust before you paint old, rusty hinges. One tip is to soak them in cola. Let rusty cabinet hinges and screws soak in the cola until you see that the rust is gone.

If any rust remains, lightly wipe it off the cabinet hinges and screws. Let them dry before you proceed to the steps to prime and paint the hinges. Are you fresh out of cola?

Soak the hinges and screws in white vinegar to remove the rust. Soaking them in vinegar softens the rust, making it easy for you to remove the rust with fine steel wool or a cleaning cloth.

Steps to Take for Painting Cabinet Hinges

Close-up shot of woman painting cabinet.

The steps to painting cabinet hinges depend on your decision regarding whether to remove the hinges or to paint over the hinges while leaving them in place. The first instructions are for painting cabinet hinges without removing them. 

  • Wipe the cabinet hinges down with a clean cloth.  
  • Sand the hinges and tops of screws before painting them to have a smooth finish. 
  • Tape the area around the cabinet hinges to avoid paint buildup. 
  • Paint plastic hinges with water-based paint. 
  • Paint the wood cabinet hinges with oil-based paint. 
  • Paint metal hinges with oil-based paint or water-based paint. 

Painting Removed Cabinet Hinges 

Removing the hinges is a preference among many homeowners. Once you remove the hinges, the next step is to remove the old paint. Do you want to soak the hinges in a paint stripper, as recommended by some sources, or would you like to use a method that does not require the use of chemicals and that avoids strong smells?

If so, soak the cabinet hinges in a bowl of water with mild soap. Scrub hinges with an old toothbrush to remove the paint. People sometimes place the hinges in a pot of water on the stove and boil the water in an effort to remove the old paint.

You may still have to remove some paint, but it is likely easier once you let the hinges cool after the boiling water process. Rinse the cabinet hinges and allow them to thoroughly dry. Use a fine sandpaper to remove any remaining paint.

Open the windows and work in a well-ventilated area when you paint the hinges. Remember, you need to paint the screws that go into the cabinet hinges. First, use sandpaper to “rough up” each hinge to allow primer to stick to the hinges well. 

Start spray painting the hinges with steps that include: 

  • Put on a mask and shake the can of rust-inhibiting metal spray primer. 
  • Spray each hinge and screw with a light coat of primer. 
  • Turn the hinges and screws over and spray the opposite sides. 
  • Allow the primer to dry for approximately one hour. 
  • Spray each cabinet hinge and screw with high-quality metal enamel paint. 
  • Let them dry, then repeat on the opposite sides.
  • Cover the cabinet hinges and the screws with a coat of lacquer if you wish. 

Painting Brass Cabinet Hinges 

Rusty screws in an old brass hinge.

Painting brass cabinet hinges requires special preparation and procedures. A Hunker contributor explains that failing to properly prepare brass hinges can result in disappointing results. It can also prove to be dangerous. 

Work in a well-ventilated area. The steps to painting brass cabinet hinges include: 

  • Clean the brass hinges and screws by using mineral spirits and allowing the hinges to dry for about 10 minutes. 
  • Hunker recommends using a PCB etch to roughen your brass cabinet hinges. 
  • Rinse the hinges and then apply a thin coat of primer to each side of the hinges and screws. 
  • Apply an oil-based brass spray paint or a brass stain to brass hinges and screws. 
  • Let them thoroughly dry before re-installing the brass hinges and screws to the cabinets. 

Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using products to remove stains or old paint, and to prime hinges and screws. Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions when applying paint or stain to your cabinet hinges. 

FAQs

Do I need to paint my cabinets if I paint the hinges?

Painting cabinets is a personal decision. Some homeowners want a simple, yet noticeable way to update their rooms with painted cabinets and hinges.

Can I use these steps for all cabinet hinges?

Follow manufacturer’s instructions on all products that you use to prime or paint cabinet hinges.

Why do I have to paint the screws?

Painting the cabinet hinge screws gives a more uniform and updated look to the cabinets and the hinges.

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