Jackie, go to http://www.citristrip.com/wwwboard/messages/2236.html to see about the worst situation imaginable. For most paint, you can remove the hardware, toss it in an old coffee can and pour a good, safe paint stripper to cover the hardware and leave it for a few hours. You must be wearing chemical resistant gloves and eye protection anytime you are working with the stripper or residue. When the stripper has done it's work, remove the old paint and stripper goo with a stripper pad and you will not need a holder for the pad to do this.
I am very concerned about using methyl chloride or methylene chloride based strippers. Some other brands seem to be having some problems now but nothing that will bother you in working with matal comes to mind.