If you have door hinges that look like they’ve been around for ages, it’s not unusual to find yourself wondering if you can paint them. Similarly, some people want door hinges that have the same color as the door (or wall). If you are this group, you are not alone either.

Technically, you can paint door hinges. However, the project must be completed painstakingly to avoid leaving your hinges worse off. Many people will tell you not to paint your door hinges, though, and for good reasons. The wrong paint can ruin the integrity of the hinge and reduce its shelf life.

The rest of the article will tell you how to paint the door hinges correctly if you are really determined to go with that option. Watch out for tips on how to paint door hinges without removing the door.

Painting Door Hinges

As you’ve seen above, painting hinges requires extreme care if you don’t want to waste your time and money. Door hinges won’t soak up paint like a wall would unless they’ve been properly conditioned to receive the paint.

Walls and wood can soak up the adhesives in paint because they are porous. For door hinges to show such characteristics, they need to be abraded. Since metal hinges are too hard for sanding to work, you need to apply a primer across its surface. This will give the paint something to stick to.

Here’s the process for painting door hinges correctly:

1. Remove the Hinges With a Screwdriver

Use a screwdriver to remove the metal hinges and take them outside. If you don’t have a screwdriver, consider the Amartisan 10-Piece Set.

2. Clean the Hinges

You have two options here.

You can clean the hinges with a rag dipped in mineral spirits and wait for the spirits to evaporate before you go to the next step.

If you have a water-based degreasing cleanser, use some of it on a coarse sponge to clean the hinges. Rinse the hinges with wet rags and wait a couple of hours for them to dry.

The first approach is easier, but if you don’t have mineral spirits, the second option also works. You’ll just have to wait a bit longer. One of the mineral spirits brands to consider is Sunnyside Corporation 803G1. For water-based degreasing cleansers, your options include Simple Green and Oil Eater Original.

3. Protect the Surrounding Area

Create some protection around the area where you’ll paint the hinges. You don’t want your patio floor or carpets to get some paint overspray. Get general-purpose masking paper and professional painter’s tape to cover the area properly. This Scotch Masking Tape can do the job. Place the hinges on the paper (or on top of a piece of cloth if you don’t have enough paper left).

4. Primer First

Spray a thin coat of etching primer to the door hinges. Maintain an 8-inch distance between the nozzle and the hinges, and ensure you are spraying only short bursts. If you go over the top with this process, it defeats the entire purpose. The paint won’t catch on. Don’t have an etching primer? Seymour 20-1675 and SEM 39673 are good options.

5. Wait for the Primer to Dry

This can take a few hours. While waiting, open and close the hinges every half hour so that they don’t end up sticking.

6. Apply Oil-Based Spray Paint

Once the etching primer dries, apply two coats of oil-based spray paint to the metal hinges. Apply it with the same approach used with the primer by ensuring good distance between the nozzle and the hinges.

7. Wait for the Paint to Dry

Wait two hours for the hinges to dry. However, you’ll need to give the paint another four hours for it properly set before you reattach it to the door.

How to Paint Door Hinges Without Removing the Door

If you don’t want to remove the door to paint the hinges, there are two options available to you.

The first option is to remove one hinge, paint it, reattach it and move to the next one until you are done painting all of them. If you want to go with this approach, you have to start with the middle hinge first. Also, you need to consider the length of time required to complete the process, especially if you are working on multiple doors.

The second approach is to paint the hinges right in their position. The painting process will still be in line with the steps above, but you will need a lot of masking paper and tape to protect your door and the surrounding area to avoid stains. Also, you’ll need to ensure proper ventilation in the room during the process.

What Are the Alternatives?

If the process of painting door hinges sounds like a lot of work to you, then you should definitely go with the popular approach and leave it alone. If the hinges aren’t too old or loose and still work perfectly, you can ignore them.

However, if they are too dirty, you can consider cleaning them with a rag and a degreasing cleanser. If you are trying to get rid of old layers of paint on the hinges, it probably makes more sense to just scrape off the paints instead.

If none of the above alternatives work for you, perhaps it’s time to just buy some new hinges and install them. If you can’t handle the installation process, call in your local carpenter. You can buy the hinges on your own first or let them handle everything.


Painting door hinges is a dicey affair that you must think through properly. You need to have all the necessary tools and materials on hand, and also ensure that you can actually do the job. Otherwise, it may be best for you to leave the hinges alone. If buying new ones is practical for you, it might be a better solution in the long run.

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