Best Way to Remove Paint From Wood

Removing Paint From Wood

Removing paint from wood can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are many different options, and working out which one is the best way to remove paint from wood for your wood paint stripping project can be difficult. Whether you’re looking to remove paint from wood furniture or from a door or wooden deck, there’s an option out there that can work well for you; it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you and understanding how to use each one properly.

Here at Best of Machinery, we’ve put together a guide to some of the best ways to remove paint from wood to help you understand the process better. With our helpful introduction to some of the best options, you’ll be confidently stripping paint from wooden objects in no time!

Using Sandpaper to Remove Paint from Wood

One of the easiest ways to remove paint from wood is to use sandpaper. Sandpaper is easy to obtain in any hardware store or many other common stores, making this one of the easiest options to use if you don’t have any specialist equipment available. Make sure you have two different types of sandpaper on hand: rough sandpaper for removing the majority of the paint, and smoother sandpaper to tidy up the last traces and smooth off the wood underneath.

Start by ensuring that the wood you’re sanding is completely dry; wet wood is difficult to sand and can cause damage to both the wood itself and the sandpaper you’re using for cleaning. Then start by using your rough sandpaper to clean the paint from the wood. Don’t worry if there are some smaller areas of paint in difficult corners that you can’t get to!

The coarse grain of this sandpaper will leave a rough, unpleasant surface on the wood, though, so you’re going to need to finish it off with the fine grain sandpaper. Use the finer sandpaper to tidy up any remaining traces of paint, and then lightly sand the entire surface with it to smooth off the rougher wooden surface left by the first step of the sanding process.

Using a Sanding Machine to Remove Paint from Wood

Sanding by hand is the option for removing paint from wood that’s easiest to obtain all of the equipment for but depending on your level of experience it can produce fairly rough results, as well as requiring a great deal of physical effort. Old paint clogs up sandpaper, making the process much harder. Using a sanding machine can make the process far easier than using sandpaper by hand.

Follow the same process as using sandpaper, and ensure that you move your sander along the wood grain rather than across it, as it can cause damage to the wooden surface if you sand across the grain with a sanding machine to remove paint from wood. This option leaves a great deal of wood dust behind, which can pose a problem for repainting.

If you’re going to repaint or varnish the wooden surface, wipe down the wood with a cloth dipped in paint solvent to remove all traces of wood dust or leftover paint particles. Once you’ve wiped it down like this, you’re ready to repaint or varnish the wooden surface!

Heat Gun for Removing Paint from Wood

Using a heat gun to remove paint from wood is a much easier option than using sandpaper, but much more dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. For this method, you’re going to need a heat gun, as well as a range of safety equipment. When using a heat gun to remove paint from wood, always wear goggles and a face mask, as well as ensuring that there’s water easily to hand.

Using high-intensity heat on wood is dangerous, as the wood can easily catch fire, so having an easy source of water is very important. Switch the heat gun on, and hold it 6 to 8 inches away from the painted wood you’re trying to remove paint from. Slowly move the heat gun across the wooden surface without leaving it to rest in any one place for too long.

This will weaken the paint, but focusing the heat on one spot for too long will burn the wood, damaging it or potentially setting fire to it. Once you’ve weakened the paint, it’ll start to wrinkle a little. As that happens, scrape it upwards with a metal paint scraper, lifting it from the wood. Do this in one small area at a time, carefully scraping off the paint while it’s still warm.

Chemical Stripper to Remove Paint from Wood

Chemical paint stripper can be an easy and effective way to remove paint from wood. This is a simple option; just follow the instructions on your chosen brand of paint stripper, as they all have slightly different safety recommendations. An easy way to apply chemical paint stripper is to pour it into a spray bottle and mist it onto the surface from about 4 inches away from the wood.

Leave the paint for about 30 minutes after spraying, and then start to scrape the weakened paint away from the wood with a metal paint scraper. If you’ve applied the chemical paint stripper correctly, it should be weak enough to scrape off the wood relatively easily!


The methods described above are some of the best ways to remove paint from wood. There are other options available, but these are the easiest and most effective methods. If you follow our advice carefully, you should be able to remove paint from wood with ease and confidence using any of these methods for removing paint from wood, helping you to keep your wooden furniture and doors looking fresh and new and simplifying the process of repainting wooden areas effectively.

About the Author

Bob Robinson has been a tool enthusiast and lawn care expert for the past 11 years. First working with John Deere to reduce their impact on the environment, whilst building his love for writing in his spare time. Now, Bob runs the editorial team at BestofMachinery and tends to his garden in his spare time.

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