Homemade Paint Deglosser: 3 Solutions

Preparing your furniture surface before repainting it is key. Oftentimes, you need to sand the surface to ensure that the new coat of paint or primer sticks to it properly. However, sanding takes a lot of time and effort.

Fortunately, you can degloss old paint instead of sanding it. Deglosser takes much less time to prep a wood surface for painting.

In this post, we’ll discuss the items you can use as homemade paint deglosser.


Paint deglosser can be much more efficient for removing a paint’s shiny finish than sandpaper. Although there are many deglosser products, you can also use the following home items as homemade paint deglosser:

  • Vinegar
  • Acetone
  • Baking Soda

What Is Deglossing? 

Deglossing produces the same outcome as light sanding: it helps to remove the shine from glossy paints. Unlike sanding though, you don’t need to use friction or elbow grease to remove gloss. Instead, deglosser has chemical properties that naturally remove the shine from glossy paint.

Deglosser roughens the existing finish so that a new coat of paint or finish can properly adhere to the surface. However, it’s not abrasive to the point where it removes old paint. It simply changes the texture of the paint slightly. 

The main advantage of deglossing over sanding is it takes less time and effort. Simply wipe the deglosser on the surface and allow the compound to do the work. It’s a far less labor-intensive process than manually rubbing sandpaper on every inch of your furniture. And unlike sanding, you won’t flick paint dust in the air, which can be harmful to breathe in. 

A deglosser can also reach intricate surfaces that regular sandpaper can’t. It’s ideal for pieces of furniture that have tons of complicated designs, grooves, and accents.

However, unlike traditional sanding, deglossing won’t smooth over any deformities on the surface. It won’t necessarily smooth out knicks or scratches.

Another drawback of deglossing is it uses chemicals to do the job, which can give off an unpleasant odor (depending on the solution you use). And while it doesn’t release dust in the air like sanding does, it can be messy in its own way. 

Related: How to Remove Varnish From Wood With Vinegar

Homemade Paint Deglosser

Degloss Paint With Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile household staple, which can be used as a very mild paint deglosser.

It isn’t as powerful as dedicated liquid deglossers that you can buy at your local hardware store, but it does work nevertheless. Vinegar has acetic acid in its makeup which is abrasive enough to slightly dull the glossy finish of paint and even remove finishes like varnish or polyurethane.

Fill a small pale with white distilled vinegar (available here on Amazon). Soak a cloth in the vinegar and lightly rub it on your furniture. 

Regularly resoak the cloth with vinegar as you go to ensure the entire piece becomes thoroughly covered with vinegar. 

Once you have completely covered the furniture in vinegar, let the vinegar sit on the surface for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, wipe the vinegar off with a dry cloth. 

Aside from being a paint deglosser, you can also use vinegar as a cleaning solution to prep furniture before painting. With the right approach, you can even use vinegar and other home items to remove paint

Degloss Paint With Acetone

Acetone is an aggressive paint stripper and cleaner, but it can also be used as a paint deglosser. 

To use acetone as a paint deglosser, you’ll need some safety gear. While it’s non-toxic, acetone is known to have a strong smell. Wear safety gloves and glasses so that it doesn’t touch your skin and eyes. And if you can, use it in a well-ventilated area.

You shouldn’t apply acetone straight on your furniture. Doing so can strip off the paint altogether. Instead, create a solution with about one-fourth acetone and 3 fourths water. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Creating a water and acetone mixture will dilute the strength of the acetone so that it can dull paint without completely stripping it off. 

Once you have created your solution, dunk a clean cloth in the solution, strain it slightly, and wipe down your furniture completely. Resoak the cloth as you go to ensure the furniture gets completely covered in the solution. 

To make sure that no acetone residue is left on the surface, clean it with a touch of soap mixed in water. 

Baking Soda To Flatten Paint

Baking soda is a bit of an outlier compared to the other solutions on this list. You can’t use baking soda to degloss glossy paint once it has dried on a surface, but you CAN use baking soda to “flatten” paint before it’s applied. 

That said, baking soda is a way to prevent your paint from having a glossy finish in the first place. 

By mixing a bit of baking soda into your glossy paint, you can take the shine away from the paint. The more baking soda you apply, the flatter and chalkier your paint will be. Start by mixing a tablespoon of baking soda for every cup of paint (e.g. acrylic paint, latex paint). Add more to make the paint chalkier and flatter. 

Learn how to make homemade chalk paint with baking soda here

Paint Deglosser Products To Use Instead

While homemade paint deglossers work and can save you money, admittedly, they aren’t as effective as the dedicated paint deglossers out there. If you want to get serious about deglossing, consider purchasing some of the following paint deglosser products.

Heirloom Traditions All-In-One Paint Deglosser

This paint deglosser from Heirloom Traditions is easy to use and works fast. In about 2 minutes, it can prep a surface for a new coat of paint or stain. Also, it doesn’t produce harsh fumes, so it’s perfectly safe to use indoors. It’s nonflammable and biodegradable too!

Use it to prep your shelves, cabinets, or furniture. Use a brush to apply and easily cover large areas in a relatively short amount of time. 

View Heirloom Traditions All-In-One Paint Deglosser on Amazon

Klean-Strip QWN285 Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser

This water-based deglosser is less toxic compared to most paint deglossers out there. Use it on paint, stain, lacquer, polyurethane, and varnish.

Like other deglossers, to apply this product, pour it on a clean cloth. Then, rub the cloth on the surface in a circular motion. Let it sit there until it dries. No need to wipe it off as it will evaporate on its own.

If you’re deglossing surfaces regularly, this three-pack product has amazing value and gives you great bang for your buck. 

View Klean-Strip QWN285 Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser on Amazon 

Krud Kutter Gloss-Off

This non-toxic and environmentally friendly paint deglosser does everything a regular deglosser can, only without the harmful VOCs. Use it to clean or degloss furniture, cabinets, drawers, or shelves. Apply it on a variety of surfaces such metal, wood, vinyl wallpaper, and of course, use it to prep a surface for a new coat of paint, stain, or sealer.

Using a clean cloth, wipe it on the surface in a circular motion, and let it do its magic. Wipe off any residue with a clean lint-free cloth.

View Krud Kutter Gloss-Off on Amazon

When It Makes Sense To Remove Paint Instead 

Remember that deglossing isn’t supposed to remove paint. Rather, it simply deadens the glossy finish.

If you’re planning on repainting your furniture, deglossing the old layer of paint is often all that’s needed before priming or repainting. 

However, if the old layer of paint is flaking off left and right, and creating an uneven surface it may be better to remove it instead. Even if the paint does adhere well, if the underlying coat is easily cracking and lifting off, then the new top coat of paint won’t last long.






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