When we began remodeling our 1950’s home we found the original owner had painted over some of the gorgeous door hardware. Using this method we removed the years of paint with little elbow grease. And the extra blessing was no harsh chemicals were involved!
Hot Water Paint Stripping
Soak painted hardware in hot water to loosen many layers of paint and make cleaning much easier.
If you want to strip paint from metal without the nasty fumes and mess of chemical strippers, just fill a slow cooker with water and set the dial to high. The heat and moisture will soften the paint, and often it will fall off as a single piece.
This works on oil, latex and spray paints, but it may not remove some clear finishes like lacquer. Cooking the hardware may stain or contaminate the pot, so use an old one or I bought mine from a thrift store for $3.
We let our hardware cook overnight. If the paint doesn’t fall off by itself, scrub lightly with a stiff plastic brush. The paint will harden as it cools, so scrub the hardware as soon as you pull it out of the water. To clean the metal and restore its shine, use a metal polish like Brasso. Old paint sometimes contains lead so make sure you catch it all and throw it away.
I found the below information on the internet but I had no problem with ours.
This method won’t harm hardware made of non-rusting metals like copper, brass or aluminum. You’ll end up with a little rust on steel—not enough to ruin hidden parts like hinge pins or screws, but possibly enough to roughen shiny surfaces. If the steel has a plating like chrome or brass and the plating is already flaking off, this method will cause more flaking.)