How To Strip With Dettol
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
I have used a few different chemicals to strip models, but this seems to be the fastest, safest, and most gentle method. This method works for resins, Breyers, and Stones. I’ve not used it on rubber models like CollectA, though. I learned about using Dettol from a Warhammer miniatures tutorial about a year and a half ago, and have not gone back to other stuff since!
Gather your supplies:
Cheap vacuum bag - I like to use one that is large enough to fit my model and still be able to fit both hands in and move around so I can scrub the model inside the bag. This is for a number of reasons, one being that it keeps me from splattering sticky Dettol-paint mixture all over the place, secondly, I’m able to cover more of the model in Dettol.
1–2 750ml bottles of Dettol Chloroxylenol 4.8%. Do not use any other of the Dettol cleaners, the active ingredient in the original (similar to what’s in Pinesol) is what removes the paint.
Stiff-bristled scrub brushes, toothbrushes, green scouring pads. Toothbrushes are great for getting in those tight spots, and for manes and tails.
Gloves, gloves and more gloves! Dettol, although used as an antiseptic for wounds, will dry your skin out very badly and cause it to peel. I use a new pair for each soaking/scrubbing session, and for the dish soap sessions.
Fairy Liquid or other dish soap with no lotions or moisturizers added.
Place your vacuum bag into a sink or small plastic tub and lay your model inside so that it's laying on its side. Depending on the scale of your model, pour 1 or 2 bottles of Dettol over it so that it's completely coated. You don’t need to completely submerge your model, just make sure that at least half the model is sitting in Dettol. Let soak for 30 minutes.
Check the model and, with gloved hands, reach in the bag and scrub the model with your brush to start to loosen the paint. Dip the brushes in the Dettol as well to scrub all over the model. If the paint is extra stubborn, leave it to soak another 15 minutes and repeat the scrubbing, or lay the model on the other side to soak for 30 minutes.
Repeat Step 2 as many times as needed until most or all of the old paint and primer has come off.
Remove the model from the bag and use your gloved hands to wipe as much of the dirty Dettol off the model as you can. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, DO NOT USE WATER TO RINSE DETTOL OFF YOUR MODELS!!!!! Drench the model in dish soap to “rinse” it and scrub with the brushes until you’ve got a really thick suds going. Scrub really well in mane and tail grooves, canon bones, groin area and eyes, ears, and muzzle to get the sticky bits out of the details. If you use even a tiny bit of water (don’t rinse your brushes in water either, use them to scrub with dish soap to clean them first) your model will become a sticky, horrible mess and you’ll have to start all over.
Once you’ve scrubbed and sudsed up the model really thoroughly, rinse with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Scrub in the same grooved areas as before while you rinse. Then give the model a final rinse in hot water and let dry.
Put lotion on your hands… lots and lots of lotion.
If there are any remnants of primer or sticky clumps, let them dry completely and they can be sanded or scraped off with jewelers files or carbide scrapers.
Your model will inevitably reek of Dettol — it is what it is. But, you can give it a scrub with Ajax to help remove some of the smell. Plus the new paintwork and sealants help cover up the smell too.