The Best Way To Remove Paint From Wood Furniture

As we all know, removing paint is a tough task. However, there are several ways to remove paint from wood furniture. For example, if you are working with small spatters you can wipe the paint with minimal difficulty. For a bigger paint stripping projects, you will have to use chemical removers, force or heat. Here are some of the techniques you can apply depending on the area you wish to remove paint.

Use water To Remove Fresh Latex Paint

A spot of latex paint can easily be removed by wiping it off with soft water soaked rag. You will need to soak your soft, clean rag in warm water, and then wring out the excess water to avert the rag from dripping to the unaffected parts. Afterward scrape the paint away, you might need to rinse and re-soak your rag several times so that you can remove all the paint. To finalize the process, use a separate dry rag to wipe the wood dry.

Paint removal using water

Use Denatured Alcohol

If using water doesn’t work, you can use denatured alcohol instead. Smear enough alcohol to your clean rag to dampen it. Remember to put enough to prevent it from dripping. To remove the paint, pass the alcohol soaked rag through the spot. Rinse and repeat the process as many times as needed. Once you have finished dry the wood with a clean rag.

Denatured Alcohol

Sanding Method

Sanding is used when you need to get a new finish for used furniture. You need to first get a fair supply of sandpaper. The roughness of the paper does the initial work of getting rid of unwanted paint. Use the smother sandpaper to finish up the task and polish the wood. Start with the rough side and finish with the softer one. Remember that if you sand too hand it can cause friction leading to heat production. If you have an electric sander, it will do a nicer job. Once you are done with sanding and wiping, use a rug that is lightly imbibed in a paint solvent so as to get a smooth surface.

sanding paint off

Heat Gun Method

This is a very easy method but requires you to be extra cautious. You will need a gun and ensure you are wearing gloves, face mask, and spectacles when working on unwanted waste. Make sure you have some water close by so that the furniture you are working on doesn’t catch fire. Place the heat gun above the painted wood bit far away with about 6 to 8 inches after you have switched it on.

Slowly move your heat gun over the surface of the wood you are working on. Once the old paint is tender due to the heat, scrape it up as it wrinkles with a broad paint scraper. Repeat the process to other areas until you are done with the whole area. If you want to make your furniture perfectly smooth, scrape the surface with sandpaper.

Heat Gun Method

Use Chemical Paint Strippers

Search for a paint stripper labeled with the type of paint you wish to remove. Choose between a paste or liquid paint stripper. Paste chemicals are used to strip several layers of paint, thus if you want to remove 10 or more layers, choose the paste one. Liquid chemicals are applied in spray form to remove coating or a couple of layers. Before using any chemical read the instructions thoroughly since the details may vary. Use a paintbrush to smear chemical evenly and thickly on the surface of the painted wood.

Don’t brush over the areas you have already covered with paint stripper. Alternatively for liquid chemical, put it in the aerosol and spray it evenly in a thick coating. The chemical will build foaming clinging coat. Let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes or as directed since the exact time might vary. All the door and windows should remain open to prevent harmful fumes from building up. Use a metal scraper to get rid of the already softened paint by pealing it away. Remember to work in the same direction.

Chemical Paint Strippers


PeelAway 1 and PeelAway 7 are products used to remove paints. They were introduced in the 1970s. peelAway 1 works better on the deeper layers while PeelAway 7 works perfectly on modern paints. For some tasks, you might require to work with both of them. PeelAway 1 is acidic based, thus always try to cover first. Acidic based strippers may sear the surface of certain woods such as Mahogany and old Oak. You might need to test both products to find out which will work for you better.


Use Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride is mostly preferred by painters since it works very fast. Nevertheless, it is horrid stuff. If not well handled, it can scorch your skin, and has a strong smell. Its fumes can exacerbate or cause health problems. Always remember to use it in a well-ventilated area or outside. Also wear safety glasses, respirator and cover any of your exposed skin. The one available in paste form is preferred since it clings to the vertical surface and it doesn’t run off the tabletop edges.

Methylene Chloride paint removal

Use Safer Stripper

3M’s safer stripper will not burn your skin, and it has no strong fumes. Its only downside is that it can take even more than 24 hours to work effectively. Also, many stores do not store it. Many strippers like this can raise the wood grain since they contain some water, so it can leave you with some slight smoothing to do. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves.

Use Safer Stripper


This is a less noxious stripper that contains a chemical known as n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP). They work perfectly by removing vanishes and paints although it is a bit slower as compared to methylene chloride based strippers. They have a pleasant smell like that of citrus, but it doesn’t mean that their fumes are safe. You will need to cover your exposed skin, wear eye protectors and work in an open ventilated area.

Use NMP to Remove Paint

Scraping Method

If you want to remove paint that is thick or is in a large surface, you can use the scraper. All you need is a sharp scraper.  Sharpen both ways so that it will be easier to remove the paint. If it is still hard even after sharpening, apply some water, vinegar or spirit. Every time after scrapping you might realize that the scrapper gets blunt; hence you need to keep on sharpening from time to time.

Scraping Method

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