How to Remove Paint from Wood Furniture

You would be surprised how often people end up getting paint on wood furniture.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to get clients seeking advice on how to remove paint from wood furniture and which paint stripper to use. 

If you are in a similar situation, this article will serve as a guide to help you remove the paint without damaging your beautiful furniture.

Decide Whether to DIY or Hire a Professional

We have all been in the position of wanting to DIY some of the jobs at home to save money. However, it may not be the best choice in this scenario. Though painting your wood furniture may seem like a piece of cake, it is not for everyone. So, the question now is how you decide between DIY-ing and hiring a professional.

 

Hire a Professional Painter if:

  1. You are not familiar with how to use speciality paint. In such cases, it would be best to let the professionals come in and handle the job for you. 

They would also make the best recommendations on what finish will go best on your furniture e.g., lacquer and high glosses. 


Keep in mind that any product that adds shine to your furniture, if used incorrectly, will highlight even small imperfections. 


They’re so tricky that even professionals sometimes make mistakes when using them. Nonetheless, a professional is trained to deal with a mistake if it happens.


  1. Your furniture is in poor condition. Furniture in poor condition doesn’t refer to normal wear and tear. However, if the wood is starting to wear out, you would be better off hiring a professional for the job since, many times, only a professional can salvage such furniture.

  1. Your furniture is older than 30 years. A majority of older furniture is covered in lead-based paint and inhaling the fumes of such paint can cause health issues. So, it is better to leave it to professionals who are equipped to perform the job.

 

It is better to DIY if:

  1. Your furniture is in good condition, and you are not giving it a complete makeover. Rather, you only want to spruce it up with a new colour or maybe a different finish.

  1. You only want to touch up small areas on your furniture to address the wear and tear.

  1. It is a kids’ piece of furniture, and, most  likely,  they will add their own “touches” to it with crayons, markers, etc. :)

 

Even if you choose to DIY it, make sure that you are using the correct tools. It is best to consult an expert for this. Keep in mind that a gallon of paint could cost up to $70! You would not want to waste it by using a roller from Dollarama or Dollar Tree to apply it. Having the correct equipment will dramatically improve your chances of success.

How to Dress when Removing Paint

So, now you have gotten all the necessary equipment and have settled on a colour. You can’t wait to get started! 

Just a note of caution, don’t rush in and start only when you are mentally and physically ready! 

People often forget to dress appropriately when removing paint from wood furniture. We have provided some guidelines below to ensure that you are prepared (and suitably dressed):

 

1. Eye Protection

First and foremost, make sure that your eyes are protected. Your eyes are very delicate and chemical exposure can cause temporary or even permanent damage to them. When you are removing paint from furniture, it is hard to avoid debris and dirt. So, it is imperative to always wear safety goggles while working.

 

2. Shirts And Pants

There are a few criteria for the clothing you should wear to remove paint from furniture. The shirt and pants you pick must be comfortable. They should also not restrict your movement. Lastly, they should not be new and expensive. Ideally, you should have no problem if they get stained. Very loose clothing is also not recommended since it may brush against furniture or get stuck in the edges.

 

3. Footwear

Most people prefer to paint furniture bare feet to avoid getting paint on their shoes. However, experts advise to always wear shoes while painting. Choose a pair that can either be easily cleaned once you have finished painting or choose an old pair of shoes that you won’t mind getting paint on. If you don’t have any such shoes, you can cover them with shoe covers or a plastic grocery bag to protect them.

 

How to Remove Paint from the Wooden Furniture

Removing paint from old furniture is not a hard job and doing it yourself will save you a few hundred dollars. Below are some tips to make it work should you choose to go the DIY way:

 

Prepare The Furniture

Before you start scraping off the old paint, always remove the hinges, knobs, and handles. Check if the furniture is in good shape; if it has any visible damage, it is best to repair it before you start stripping.

 

Test the Finish

Your work will become much easier if you test the finish before applying paint remover to the furniture. Lacquer thinner, varnish, and denatured alcohol can all be used for this. Before you proceed in refinishing the whole piece, apply these liquids (one after the other) in small sections and leave them for about half a minute. Then, wipe it off using a rough cloth. Once you know what substance works best and removes the paint easily, you can use it to remove paint from the entire piece of furniture:

  •     Use lacquer thinner to remove lacquer finish.
  •     Shellac finish can be removed using denatured alcohol.
  •     The shellac-lacquer finish can be removed by using a mixture that is 50 percent lacquer thinner and 50 percent denatured alcohol.
  •     Special removers may be required to scrape off varnish and other specialty paints.

 

Use the Right Varnish and Paint Remover

It is easier to remove paint from wood furniture once it has been softened. Varnishes and paint removers soften the paint without damaging the furniture. Wax is the main ingredient in most of the removers and prolongs the evaporation process. By making the surface emollient, it prevents the paint from sticking firmly on the furniture. Therefore, always use spirit to remove wax from the piece before you start painting it.

In case your remover does not have wax in it, you can use aluminium foil as an alternative. Apply paint remover generously all over the furniture and cover it with aluminium foil. After half an hour, the paint should be soft enough to be removed. Water-away removers are also available in the market but should be used cautiously since they may damage your furniture and, if used frequently, they can also cause your wood furniture to swell.

 

Remove Remaining Traces

After removing the finish from your piece of furniture, it’s time to also eliminate traces of paint. This can be done using steel wool, a scraper, or sandpaper. Keep scraping carefully until you get a smooth surface. Using these items carelessly will inevitably damage the furniture. Hence, remember to be very careful!

 

Non-Chemical Removers

If you are in a hurry, there are other ways to remove old paint off of your furniture. Power sanders are one such option. Though power sanders are a quicker way to remove old paint, if used recklessly, they can damage your furniture as well.

 

5 Best Paint Removers for Wood Furniture

Now that you have the know-how of removing paint from wood furniture, you will need to assess paint strippers to get the job done effectively.

 

1. Dumond Peel Away 1 Heavy-Duty Paint Remover

Dumond Peel Away 1 Heavy Duty Paint Remover is the best option for heavy-duty work since it can remove up to 32 layers of water or oil-based paints. It is also very effective for lead-based paints. Despite being the most effective option, it is not only environmentally friendly but is also safe for the user

 

2. Sunnyside 2-Minute Advanced Paint Remover

A single gallon of the Sunnyside 2-minute Advanced Paint Remover can remove up to 25 square feet of paint. Moreover, a single application is enough to remove multiple layers. Most reviews noted that the product was easy to use and very effective. The improved formula is chloride-free and is safe for use.

 

3. MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper is best suited for users looking to DIY. It is a skin safe formula that contains no toxic chemicals making it safe for use around children and pets. This remover even has a pleasant fragrance.

 

4. Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel

As the name suggests, the Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel has no harsh chemicals or an unpleasant odour. In fact, it has a nice faint citrus scent. But what makes it stand out is its ability to stay wet and active for an entire day. It is effective against most types of paints and is proven to offer results in a matter of hours.

 

5. Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

The Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover is environmentally friendly. It contains zero Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and can remove paint from practically any surface; even the lead-based paints which most removers struggle to address.


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