How to Remove Paint From Wood

Restoring a wood surface often requires stripping off its old paint. This way, you have something clean to start with and give it a fresh look.

Sure, paint removal is not something that everyone enjoys. It can be time-consuming and messy, especially if you don’t have the right tools or know where to start. If you look for information on how to remove paint from wood, you will find tons of articles and how-to guides online.

In reality, the best way to remove paint from wood depends on several factors, including the type of coating or paint you intend to get rid of. While it can be a highly labor-intensive job, you can also find it a very satisfying project if you know what you are doing. But if you’re new to this task, we’ll discuss a few methods to get the job done right, from a more natural approach to chemical applications.

Natural Ways to Remove Old Paint from Wood

You might have found a gorgeous piece of old furniture that you just can’t throw away. Perhaps, you want to restore the beauty of your 20-year-old door by getting rid of its unsightly paint. If you are wondering how to remove paint from stained wood without chemicals, here are some options you can choose from:


Male carpenter using orbital electric sander

Sanding, either manually or with the use of an electric sander, is an effective method of removing paint from small to large, flat surfaces. But make sure you wear a face mask that filters dust particles and safety goggles.

Since an electric sander creates dust, you should never sand lead paint. It could release harmful lead dust into the air, resulting in lead poisoning. It is also not recommended for use indoors, so you should only consider sanding when dealing with exterior paint.

Heat gun

removing paint by heat gun and chisel

If you want to know how to remove paint from wood without sanding but still wish to forgo chemical-based products, you can use a good quality heat gun. It is a tool that produces a jet of heated air necessary for stripping paint. It causes paint to bubble as the air and moisture trapped under the paint expand, making paint scraping easier.

You must hold the heat gun a few inches away from the wood surface and keep it moving. This is essential, so you do not overheat the area and cause damage to wood. Although heat guns are generally user-friendly, they can come with risks. Therefore, a bit of practice before you start using them is definitely a good idea.

Wire brush

Wire brushes are ideal for smaller projects, like removing paint from your wood window frames, doors, or old furniture. Their tines are made from durable metal wires to get rid of blistered, peeling, or raised paint.

You don’t need any other specialized tool when using a wire brush. It is also inexpensive and can be used right out of the box. Unlike electric sanders, wire brushes do not require setup time. There is also no risk of chemical contamination or damage when you use this tool.


paint scraper and safety glove on wooden board

The use of a manual paint scraper is an old yet reliable method of removing wood paint. It takes time and requires patience but going slow with rest breaks will surely make for a satisfactory job.

Scrapers are also extremely handy. Not only can they remove latex paint from wood but also eliminate large amounts of paint build-up from metal, wood, and masonry sidings. When used appropriately, these tools can solve problem areas and transform bubbled coatings into something that looks brand new.

How to Remove Old Paint from Wood Using Paint Strippers

citristrip qcsg801 paint and varnish stripping gel

If you’re done your research on how to remove paint from wood without chemicals and want to move on to another reliable approach, why don’t you opt for a quality paint stripper? Chemical stripping is a highly effective method for stripping paint from carved wood, furniture, and hard-to-reach, intricate areas.

In case you’re wondering how to remove acrylic paint from wood, there are three types of paint strippers to consider. These include solvent, caustic, and biochemical, and each has its unique ingredients and characteristics. Make sure you know what product to use for your wood surface to achieve the best result.

Preparation is crucial

Although you might already know how to remove paint from wood trim, undertaking appropriate preparation procedures is essential to your project’s overall success. You would want to make sure that you have the right tools and materials so your work is smooth from start to finish.

If you plan to strip old paint from cabinets, flooring, furniture, or remove stubborn deck paint, ensure that the wood underneath is worth exposing. Therefore, check whether you can still work with the surface even after the paint is gone.

Always prioritize your safety

No matter what paint removal approach or tools you choose, always keep your safety in mind. If you are shopping for a paint remover, look for a product that does not contain potentially harmful ingredients like methylene chloride, toluene, xylene, and formic acid.

Read the label carefully, making sure that the product is suitable for your intended use. You must also be equipped with protective equipment, like gloves, masks, and safety glasses. Wear long sleeves or a type of clothing that provides skin protection.

It is always best to work outside when paint stripping. But if you have to do the project indoors, make sure the space is well-ventilated. Keep as many doors and windows open as possible.

Apply the chemical paint removed according to instructions

Obviously, every product you will find on the market is slightly different. They also have different timescales, which means some paint strippers may take longer than others to work. Therefore, it is important to read and follow the product instruction carefully before the application.

It would also be best to choose the right paint remover based on the surface you are working on. For instance, the product that would work best for your furniture may not be as effective for the flooring or wooden fence.

Also, consider whether you want to keep the wood’s natural look or plan to recoat it with a different paint color. If you are dealing with thick layers of paint or a carved surface, a caustic paint stripper might be a great option. You can always do a patch test to ensure you have the appropriate product for the right application.


Those nasty, old peeling paints on your wood surface can be an annoying sight to behold. Thankfully, there are tons of options when it comes to removing paint from wood, whether you’re looking for natural methods or want to invest in a quality paint remover. This way, you can achieve a beautiful, clean, and fresh-looking stripped wood.

About The Author

MyUnfinishedHome Staff

We are a team of enthusiasts thriving to provide you with helpful advice on buying everything you may ever need to finish your home and make it a lovely place.

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