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How to Strip Paint From Wood: Follow step by step

Do you have some painted woodwork or furniture that you’re hoping to reestablish? Assuming you need to do the work right, you’ll initially have to eliminate the old paint. While you can achieve this by sanding off the old paint, this might bring about a lopsided completion and cause harm in case you’re inexperienced with sanding. It’s likewise an extraordinarily work escalated and dusty venture. Besides, on the off chance that you speculate you may be managing lead paint, the wood ought not be sanded because of wellbeing hazzards.1

Luckily, there is an approach to take care of business utilizing paint stripper, a substance compound that relax the paint and makes it simpler to scratch off the wood. While paint stripper is infamous for being somewhat unforgiving, present day variants of the mixtures have dialed back a portion of the more harsh components. Indeed, it’s presently even conceivable to purchase paint stripper that utilizes regular fixings to take care of business. The regular items take somewhat more than different adaptations, however, so your choice will rely upon your position on eco-accommodating synthetics and the measure of time you need to achieve your undertaking.

For our undertaking, we chose to utilize customary paint stripper on an old painted milk entryway to take it back to its unique state. Track with to figure out how to take paint from wood in a couple of simple advances. We likewise give some counsel to accelerating the cycle and offer some fundamental wellbeing tips.

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Metal putty knife
  • Rags
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Ventilator
  • Apron


  • Paint stripper of choice
  • Mineral spirits or water
  • Steel wool
  • Sandpaper


  • Apply Paint Stripper
  • Wait for Paint to Bubble
  • Scrape With Metal Putty Knife
  • Reapply Stripper as Necessary
  • Clean With Mineral Spirits
  • Use Steel Wool on Stubborn Spots
  • Prep Wood for Refinishing
  1. Apply Paint Stripper

    First, apply the paint stripper according to the manufacturer’s directions. Most products will advise you to brush on the stripper in a very thick coat using brushstrokes in one direction. Remember, the thinner the layer, the less effective the stripper will work. Don’t skimp on this step.

    If you are using an environmentally-friendly stripper that isn’t as potent, or you have a ton of layers of paint to strip, wrap the entire piece in plastic wrap after the first is coat is applied. Then, wait 15-24 hours for the stripper to start peeling back the paint. We started to see results in under 20 minutes.

  2. Wait for Paint to Bubble

    You’ll know the first layer of paint is ready to be stripped once you start to see it bubble. If you have plastic wrap over your wood, slowly peel back a corner to check.

    Whatever you do, don’t leave the wood too long with the stripper and paint on it. If the stripper and paint dry, they can harden back into the wood and become harder to remove. You want the stripper to still be wet to the touch when you start scraping.

  3. Scrape With Metal Putty Knife

    Carefully start scraping back layers of paint using a metal putty knife. Be careful not to be too aggressive here because you could gouge the wood. In most cases, not all the paint comes up with the first pass, and that’s okay. Don’t force it. Just scrape back whatever paint comes up easily.


    Don’t use a plastic putty knife for this project if you’re using a heavy-duty paint stripper because the stripper could melt the plastic.

  4. Reapply Stripper as Necessary

    You might need to add and scrape off three to four coats of stripper before all the paint is removed. A lot will depend on how many layers of paint are on the wood as well as the type of paint and stripper used.

  5. Clean With Mineral Spirits

    Once you’ve gotten as much paint off as you can, clean up the remaining stripper using mineral spirits and a cloth. Some environmentally-friendly strippers will tell you to use water instead. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, but keep in mind that water can open up the grain of the wood.

  6. Use Steel Wool on Stubborn Spots

    After we cleaned up the majority of the stripper with the mineral spirits and cloth, we opted to go back in with a fine piece of steel wool that was also dunked in mineral spirits. This step helped lift more paint and stain than the cloth alone.

  7. Prep Wood for Refinishing

    Once you get off as much paint as possible, it’s time to prep the wood for refinishing. We opted to give the wood a final rub down with some paint thinner. Once it was dry, we gave the wood a light sanding to smooth the edges, and then it was ready to be refinished and given an entirely new look.

White painted wood cabinet

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