Aircraft Paint Remover

Best Aircraft Paint Remover – 5 Examples For Your Airplane Project

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Choosing the best aircraft paint remover takes a little thought and buying the right one for your airplane will save time and effort. Nothing spoils the look of an aircraft more than the sight of chipped, peeling, or faded paint. It’s like a tear in a fine suit of clothes; from a distance things don’t look too bad but up close the heart sinks a little at the condition.

A freshly finished airplane, whatever it’s age or vintage, is a beautiful thing to behold. It’s also more aerodynamic and therefore more efficient in the air so repainting and polishing it to a gleaming finish is not just aesthetically pleasing, it also makes commercial sense.

Inevitably, with the amount of use they get, the aircraft at your local flying school are probably not the tidiest examples and you can often see worn paint when you’re learning to fly.

The Right Aircraft Paint Remover

Choosing the best product for your aircraft will depend on the aircraft type and the existing layers of paint. Aircraft paint remover is a specially formulated product that is used to strip the types of paint used only on aircraft.

There are different types but all of them work in basically the same way: they dissolve the paint so that it can be washed away with water. They can be used on both commercial and private aircraft, and they are generally safe to use, but it’s always important to read the label carefully and follow the instructions, particularly when being used copiously to deal with layers of baked enamels.

The stronger examples are fast acting while others required a longer removal time and perhaps a repeat application in order to break through mutiple coats of baked enamels to the bare surface beneath.

Safe Practices for Water-Based or Oil-Based Paint Stripping

There are two main types of aircraft paint removers: solvent-based and water-based. Solvent-based are generally more effective and fast acting than water-based products, but they can also be more dangerous to use. Water-based are typically safer and easier to use, but they may not be as effective at removing paint and tend to require a longer removal time.

There are several risks and dangers associated with the use of oil-based paint strippers, including:

  • The potential for skin and respiratory irritation if breathed in or comes into contact with skin.
  • The risk of fire or explosion if the remover is not used in a well-ventilated area.
  • The potential for environmental damage if the remover is spilled or leaks.

To mitigate these risks:

  • Wear the appropriate protective clothing and masks and always work in a well ventilated area.
  • Ensure that containers don’t leak and dispose of surplus material conscientiously.
  • Make sure your workship first-aid kit is equipped to deal with chemical contamination of the skin or eyes.
Aircraft Paint Remover - Harvard Wing

Rust-Oleum® Aircraft Remover

Rust-Oleum® Aircraft Remover is a powerful aircraft paint stripper that quickly and easily removes multiple layers of paint in one application. The aircraft paint stripper is ideal for use on aircraft, cars, boats, RVs, and more. The aircraft paint stripper is safe for use on all types of aircraft finishes, including gelcoat, epoxy, polyurethane, and more.

Rust-Oleum® Aircraft Remover is a fast acting aircraft paint stripper that starts working in as little as 30 minutes. Simply apply the aircraft paint stripper to the surface and let it work its magic. The aircraft paint stripper will remove multiple layers of paint in one application, leaving the surface clean and ready for new paint or primer.

Klean Strip Paint Remover

Klean Strip aircraft paint remover is a powerful product that can remove even the most stubborn aircraft paint. The active ingredients in Klean Strip aircraft paint remover are highly effective at breaking down paint. Klean Strip aircraft paint remover is safe to use on most types of aircraft, including both metal and composite aircraft.

Klean Strip aircraft paint remover is easy to use, simply apply it to the aircraft and let it sit for the recommended amount of time. After the recommended amount of time has elapsed, simply wipe away the aircraft paint with a clean cloth.

Citristrip Pain & Varnish Stripping Gel

Citristrip gel is safe for use on most aircraft surfaces, including aluminum, fiberglass, and composite materials. Citri-Strip Paint Stripping Gel is ideal for removing paint from large and small aircraft surfaces. To use the gel, simply apply it to the aircraft surface with a brush or roller and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Then, scrape off the paint with a putty knife or other blunt object. For best results, follow up with a good washing with soap and water.

Our Pick

Citristrip® Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

CITRISTRIP® is the effective brand of removers that has a fresh citrus scent. Use CITRISTRIP® Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel to remove dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane and shellac from wood, metal and masonry surfaces. It removes five layers of dried latex paint in under one hour.

Evapo-Rust Safe Erase

Evapo-Rust Safe Erase aircraft paint stripper is a unique formula that safely and effectively removes aircraft paint. The stripper is non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for the environment. It also does not contain any harmful chemicals or solvents. The stripper is applied with a brush or roller and can be easily removed with a power washer or hose. It is ideal for removing aircraft paint from metal surfaces, plastic surfaces, glass surfaces, and composite materials.

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

Smart Strip is a powerful aircraft paint remover that is perfect for removing multiple layers of paint. The advanced formula quickly strips away paint, leaving a smooth surface that is ready for refinishing.

Smart Strip is easy to use and provides excellent results with minimal effort. Simply apply the remover to the surface and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away the paint. For stubborn areas, you may need to repeat the process. However, overall, Smart Strip is an effective and easy-to-use aircraft paint remover that can save you time and money.


The most popular types of aircraft paint removers are caustic, solvent-based, and enzymatic. Caustic aircraft paint removers are the most aggressive and can cause damage to the underlying material if not used properly.

Solvent-based aircraft paint removers are less aggressive and can be used on a variety of materials. Enzymatic aircraft paint removers are the least aggressive and are safe for use on all materials.

Choose wisely and always apply to a test area before using on the main areas of the aircraft. Hardened layers of baked enamels may require repeat application and extended removal time before the bare surface is revealed.

Aircraft Paint Remover
Photo by Gary Wann on Unsplash
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