5 Home Remedies to Remove Paint From Wood

Paint on your wood furniture won’t last forever. You’d eventually have to apply a new coat of paint to give your wood furniture a refreshed look.

When refinishing a piece of wood furniture, it’s often best to strip off the old coat of paint first before applying the new one. If you don’t, the new coat of paint might not adhere well to the surface.

Fortunately, this process is relatively straightforward. You can actually do it yourself with items that you can likely find in your kitchen. 

In this post, we’ll discuss 5 home remedies to remove paint from wood

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Surprisingly, you can use certain items in your home to remove paint instead of using a chemical stripper. They may not be as effective, but they can still get the job done. 

The following home supplies can be used to remove paint from wood:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Heat gun
  • Over cleaner
  • Sandpaper

Vinegar

Believe it or not, vinegar can be used as a paint remover. When properly applied to a surface painted with water-based paint, it essentially breaks down the paint and makes it easier to scrape off. However, it’s not nearly as effective for oil-based paint. 

While vinegar isn’t as effective as commercial paint strippers, it’s much cheaper. It’s more accessible too as you can buy a bottle at any convenience store. And you probably already have it in your kitchen even if you didn’t plan on using it for this purpose.

It’s best to use vinegar as a paint remover for already peeling or chipped paint. It will loosen the paint, revealing the wood beneath. That said, vinegar alone won’t remove the paint. You need to scrape the paint off after letting it sit on top of the paint for at least 15 minutes.

To use vinegar as a paint remover, you should:

  1. Mix a solution of vinegar (preferably white vinegar) and water. The water should be about half vinegar and half water. 
  2. Heat the solution in a microwave or a pan on a stove for about 30 seconds.
  3. Soak a clean cotton rag or cloth in the warm vinegar solution.
  4. Dab the rag or cloth on the painted surface.
  5. Let the vinegar solution sit on the paint for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Scrape off the paint. If it doesn’t budge, apply the vinegar solution again and wait for another 15 minutes.

Related: How to Remove Chalk Paint with Vinegar

Baking Soda 

Baking soda is also one of the best home remedies to remove paint from wood. It’s similar to vinegar in that it’s cheap and easily accessible. Baking soda softens the paint, making it easier to remove.

Baking soda is a go-to solution for painted metal surfaces, but it can be effective on other surfaces such as wood. You need to be careful though when using it on hardwood. Baking soda can taint hardwoods, so it’s not a good choice if your goal is to restore the original beauty of your hardwoods. 

It’s recommended that you test a small patch first before applying the solution to the whole painted surface. If there is noticeable damage, use another paint remover instead of baking soda.

To use baking soda as a paint remover, you should:

  1. Warm 2 cups of water in a pot or heat it with a microwave 
  2. Add a 1 cup of baking soda, then stir the solution thoroughly. The mixture will turn into a pasty substance. 
  3. Liberally apply the mixture to your painted surface with a brush. 
  4. Let the baking soda solution sit on the paint for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Scrape off the paint using a scraper. 

Heat gun or hair dryer

If you have a heat gun at your home, you can also use it to remove paint. The heat generated from the device will soften the paint, causing its adhesion to loosen. This will make it easier to manually strip away even without the help of a solution (e.g. vinegar, baking soda).

If you don’t have a heat gun, a hair dryer is nearly as effective. 

To remove paint with a heat gun, follow these steps:

  1. Point the heat gun to the painted surface at a 45-degree angle. Make sure that there’s a 2-inch distance between the tip of the heat gun and the paint.
  2. Move the gun back and forth in a sweeping motion to loosen the paint. Don’t focus too long on one spot.
  3. Eventually, the paint should blister off the wood. Once this happens, set the heat gun to the side. 
  4. Scrape off the paint with a metal scraper or sandpaper.
  5. Do this repeatedly until all the paint is fully removed.

Oven Cleaner

As the name implies, an oven cleaner is used to clean ovens. But it can also be used as a paint remover. Many DIY enthusiasts consider it the secret ingredient to a quicker stripping process. Oven cleaners are usually less expensive than dedicated paint strippers too.

However, although oven cleaner is an effective paint remover, it is certainly more toxic than vinegar and other household solutions. Depending on the oven cleaner’s formula, it may cause irritation in the eyes and skin. That said, if you’re planning to use an oven cleaner to remove paint, you should wear protective equipment such as goggles and a respirator mask.

While an oven cleaner can effectively remove paint from wood, it’s recommended that you don’t use it on veneer furniture. Veneer is essentially a thin layer of wood, and its finish can potentially get damaged by the oven cleaner. 

To use an oven cleaner as a paint remover, you should:

  1. Shake the can of oven cleaner for 30 seconds
  2. Generously spray the can of oven cleaner on the painted surface
  3. Let the substance sit there for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Use a bristle scrubber or scraper to remove the softened paint from your wood furniture.
  5. Clean off the surface with a dish soap and water solution to remove any remnants of paint.

Aside from removing paint, oven cleaners are also effective at removing wood stains or varnish from wood. 

Sanding

If you want to remove paint from furniture without chemicals, you can go with sanding. It’s much more labor-intensive, but it is a great way to remove paint without damaging the underlying surface.

For removing paint, medium grit to coarse sandpaper (80 – 180 grit) will get the job done. For large areas, consider investing in a palm sander. You can certainly use sandpaper manually on large surfaces, but it’s extremely time-consuming. 

To remove paint from wood through sanding you should:

  1. Sand the whole painted area by swiftly rubbing the sandpaper back and forth on your surface. Use a sanding block to aid with this effort. Better yet, use a palm sander for greater efficiency. 
  2. Use mid-grade and fine sandpaper to remove the final remnants of paint. 
  3. Remove the dust generated from sanding the surface with a damp cloth. 

Final Words 

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of home remedies you can use to remove paint from wood. There are others aside from the ones mentioned above. For example, you can use denatured alcohol to remove paint from wood.

Although home remedies are effective at removing paint, they’re not as effective as dedicated paint strippers. If you want to get serious about removing paint from wood efficiently, invest in a chemical stripper. Citristrip for instance, is a fantastic solution.

 

Sources:

https://www.bhg.com/decorating/paint/how-tos/how-to-remove-paint-from-wood/

https://www.ehow.com/facts_7178477_home-remedy-removing-paint-wood.html

https://www.maisondepax.com/how-to-strip-furniture-with-oven-cleaner/

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