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cleaning black pipe

How can I remove the coating from black iron pipe?

I’m building a couple industrial style tables, using black pipe from Home Depot for the legs. The fittings and smaller nipples are all a faded gray color that perfectly complements the black cherry stain I used on the wood. But the longer segments of pipe come in a black color that is too dark and very patchy and uneven. I would really like to remove it and ideally match the color of the fittings.

Based on some research, I tried using mineral spirits to clean them up. This had very little effect. Next I tried sanding. This does break through the black, but is very slow going and the sand paper quickly fills up with black goop. Also this cuts all the way through to the underlying metal, which results in a shinier color than the fittings. There’s got to be a better way.

According to this video, the black stuff is mill scale and can be removed with Jasco paint and epoxy remover. This does look effective from the clip, but the Jasco stuff is $45/gal and seems pretty toxic. Also I’m skeptical that the black stuff is actually mill scale.

Before I drop the money on the Jasco, can anyone tell me what the stuff is and maybe recommend a less toxic way of removing it? I wouldn’t mind painting over it if I can figure out how to properly prime the current surface so the paint stays on.

How can I remove the coating from black iron pipe? I’m building a couple industrial style tables, using black pipe from Home Depot for the legs. The fittings and smaller nipples are all a faded

How to Clean Plumbing Pipe for DIY Projects

If you have a fun DIY home decor project using plumbing pipe that you’d like to try, this will be a necessary first step. Here’s how to clean plumbing pipe.

When we made our new DIY plumbing pipe sofa arm table recently, this was one part of the project that was a little sticky for us, so I decided to talk about how to clean plumbing pipe for DIY projects today, just in case anyone else is thinking about trying one of these fun pipe home decor projects soon.

When you first bring all of your pipe pieces and your fittings home from the store, you may notice that they’re an absolute mess to work with and they turn everything they touch black. The fittings are usually in individual plastic bags, so they aren’t too bad, but the long pipe pieces themselves are really a problem. We tried a few different things to clean them and it was surprisingly difficult to get them to a point where they weren’t making a mess of everything until we figured out what actually works.

How to Clean Plumbing Pipe for DIY Projects

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove all of the labels from your pipes. They’re usually a paper label that is wrapped in a piece of clear tape. Use a knife to make a clean cut through the tape and remove your label and tape together as one piece to avoid having to scrape the label off in tiny little bits.

Next you’ll need to remove the glue residue that’s left by the label. The best thing for this that I’ve found is the same technique that I use for removing label glue from jars that I want to reuse. The lemon essential oil trick will also work, but I find the first method to be a little more effective for really stubborn glue.

After you’ve removed the labels and the glue, wipe any residue of your glue remover off with a dry paper towel. Eek! Look at all that black stuff still coming off the pipe!

So here’s the trick: Take some regular ol’ window cleaner and spray down your pipes. I use a more natural, environmentally-friendly window cleaner and it works perfectly for this, so no need for any kind of harsh chemicals!

Let the cleaner sit on the pipes for a minute or two, then wipe them clean with another paper towel.

How to Clean Plumbing Pipe: The Results

Just look at those clean pipes!

We actually tried a few other different methods before this, a harsher chemical cleaner that Chris had out in the garage and they all did absolutely nothing. The window cleaner was the clear winner for this task!

So that’s how to clean plumbing pipe! What fun DIY plumbing pipe projects do you have planned?

If you have a fun DIY home decor project using plumbing pipe that you'd like to try, this will be a necessary first step. Here's how to clean plumbing pipe. ]]>