The best ways to remove paint from wood

A fresh coat of paint or varnish is a great way to improve the appearance of wood – from walls in your home to old furniture. Before you start applying a new finish, it is important to remove the old paint from the wood. It is important to get the surface fresh and clean for further work. Learning how to remove paint from wood can also prove helpful if you have a few scattered paint stains or drops from a paint job not done properly around the house.

Before attempting to remove any paint, make sure you test the painted area for lead paint. Especially if it is an older surface or building. Lead paint is very toxic and inhalation of lead paint particles is a health and safety hazard. You can test the painted surface with a lead paint test kit.

The best ways to remove paint from wood

Chemical paint strippers

How it works:Chemical paint strippers use chemicals to break down and release paint bonds. They turn it into a liquid or (sometimes sticky) substance. They are easy to apply. Some paint strippers contain hazardous chemicals and fumes that can be harmful to your health.

Hot air guns

How it works: Hot air guns blister the paint so it can be scraped off, but they can also damage the wood. They work well on large surfaces and are easy to learn to use, but they come with risks and require some practice before you get started.

How to use: Position the nozzle and swing the gun across the paint in a swinging motion. When the paint starts to come off the surface, use a scraper.


removal of paint from wood

How it works: Paint sanding involves using a tool with a rough, coated abrasive surface. Never use sanding to remove lead-based paint as it can spray fine lead particles into the air that can damage the lungs and lead to lead poisoning.

How to use: You can sand the paint with high grit sandpaper or a sanding tool.


How it works: Vinegar softens the bonds of the paint, making it easier to scrape off. This method does not remove the paint completely, but it is a more natural, non-toxic solution than using a paint stripper.

How to use: Boil the vinegar, apply it to the surface with a brush and scrape off the paint after a few minutes. Repeat as necessary to remove any paint you missed during the first cleaning.

Pressure washer

How it works: A pressure washer can be a quick way to effectively remove paint from the exterior of your home. To provide enough pressure to remove the paint, you will need a pressure washer with a range of 2500-3000 psi.

How to use: Use a 15 degree nozzle, stand 15-18 inches from the painted surface and spray in a continuous swinging motion. It is recommended to wear safety glasses and closed-toe shoes during this project.

Scrapers or paint removers

Using hand scrapers or paint removers is simple, but can be more difficult and time consuming. This method works well for smaller jobs or hard-to-reach areas that cannot be reached with a larger tool.

Soy gel or citrus-based paint removers

Like chemical paint removers but without the chemicals, soy gel and citrus based paint removers are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Make sure you read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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