7 Best Citristrip Alternatives

Citristrip has become an incredibly popular paint stripper. It’s non-toxic and, safer to use than most caustic, chemical paint strippers. It doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and it’s relatively affordable. 

However, Citristrip certainly isn’t the only paint and stain stripper out there. In this post, we’ll cover the seven best Citristrip alternatives and where you can find them.


The seven best Citristrip alternatives are:

  • Klean Strip Premium Stripper
  • Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover
  • Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover
  • Max Strip
  • Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover
  • Smart ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel
  • Common oven cleaners

Most of these substitutes are eco-friendly and non-toxic, like Citristrip, so they’re okay to use indoors.

Klean Strip Premium Stripper

Klean Strip works fast: it can remove paint within an hour. For thin coats, you can scrape the paint within half an hour. It also works well with other finishes and on multiple surfaces, such as wood and metal.

This Citristrip alternative is extremely effective but it is very toxic. Although Klean Strip is one of the most popular Citristrip substitutes, it doesn’t have the same eco-friendly benefits. That said, it is extremely important to wear rubber gloves when using Citristrip at the very least. Consider wearing a respirator and goggles as well. 

Between Klean Strip and Citristrip, the latter is cheaper. However, with Klean Strip, you can potentially remove varnishes and other finishes in a shorter amount of time because the solution is easy to clean up. Citristrip is often comparably more difficult to clean up. After all, Citristrip is a gooey solution that can be difficult to remove, especially if has started drying after being left on for too long. 

You can purchase Klean Srip from big box hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. It’s also available at some Walmart locations. Note that it tends to come in two sizes – quart and gallon. 

View Klean Strip Premium Stripper on Amazon

Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover 

Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover is another eco-friendly Citristrip substitute available in spray bottles, quart, half-gallon, gallon, and five-gallon containers. It is non-flammable, unlike Klean-Strip, and less toxic. It also breaks down all finishes, including oil and water-based paints and stains. It also boasts of the signature citrus scent of Citristrip.

One drawback of this product is it’s hard to spray as it has a thick consistency. It also needs multiple reapplications to remove even a single coat of paint and finish. So, while this product is cheaper than other paint strippers, it can be more of a hassle to apply, especially on large surfaces.

It is available online via Amazon or in Walmart and Home Depot.

View Hi-Speed Ready-Strip on Amazon

Related: Does Rubbing Alcohol Remove Paint? Only by Doing This

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover 

Smart Strip, Advanced Paint Remover, is a water-based, biodegradable paint stripper with no harsh chemicals. It also has a very mild odor, and it’s not known to cause mild irritations during use.

Like Citristrip, it is a gel paint remover that is slow-drying and works best if left on the surface for up to 24 hours. You can even leave it on the surface you’re stripping overnight. If you’re stripping furniture, it’s best practice to wrap the piece in saran wrap after applying paint remover so that the paint remover doesn’t dry and harden overnight. 

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover is available in quart, gallon, and five gallons. It is more expensive than Citristrip, but we recommend it for its effectiveness in removing multiple coats of paint and finish. You can get it in a tub or pail from Walmart or online via Amazon or the Sherwin-Williams website.

View Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover on Amazon

Related: How to Remove Varnish From Wood With Vinegar

Max Strip 

Max Strip is another non-toxic Citristrip alternative that works well on metal, tiles, stone, glass, and wood.

Manufacturer guidelines suggest leaving the product for up to 12 hours to remove paint or finish. However, it’s very fast-drying and once it dries it becomes brittle and difficult to scrape off. That said, just like you should with Citristrip, cover the recently applied Max Strip with plastic to prevent drying.

Note that while this product is advertised to remove up to 15 layers of paint, however, it is not strong enough to do so in one go. It dries too fast for the product to remove many coats. Apply the product multiple times to remove multiple layers of paint. 

Max Strip is available at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s and Amazon.

View Max Strip on Amazon

Oven cleaner 

If you already have oven cleaner at home, you can use it to remove old paint, stains and varnishes. However, although oven cleaner can certainly work, it’s not designed specifically for stripping paint and finish. That said, it’s not quite as effective as the other solutions on this list. Think of it as a cheap and convenient option if you already have some around the house and don’t want to buy an official stripper product.

Before applying oven cleaner to the entire surface, always spot test before use to ensure it won’t discolor the underlying surface. However, if you’re repainting the surface, this step isn’t necessary.

Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover 

Rust Oleum’s Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover is a low-VOC paint remover specifically formulated for latex paints. It works well for indoor and outdoor use as it has no strong odors. It’s also biodegradable. 

This paint remover can be used on wood, metal, and even in clothes and rugs. And you can use it to remove either wet or dry latex paint. You only need to leave the product on for an hour or more for the solution to be fully effective.

Although this paint remover is low-VOC, it can still cause mild irritation from prolonged exposure. It only comes in an 8 or 24-oz spray bottle and is relatively expensive. So, it is best for small surfaces only. You can get Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover at Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon.

View Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover on Amazon 

Smart ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel

Smart ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel is a water-based, low-VOC paint stripper with a no-drip formula. You can use it on almost all surfaces, including wood, glass, metal, and tile. Think of this product as a knock-off version of Citristrip: it even has a distinct citrus scent! 

This paint remover is great for removing several layers of paint and finish. For removing multiple paint coats, it is best to leave this for at least 24 hours and cover it with plastic.

It is relatively more expensive than Citristrip and is available in quarts, gallons, and five-gallon containers. You can get it at Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon.

View Smart ‘n Easy Citrus Paint and Varnish Remover Gel on Amazon

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