How to Remove Paint from Furniture: The Best 3 Ways

Greetings, everyone. Today, I am discussing how to remove paint from furniture. So what is paint and paint removal? Paint is like a coloured or semi-liquid that we put on the surface. It makes things look nice, and it can also protect the surface.

We use paint on furniture to look gorgeous. Now, come to the point of paint removal. Paint removal is the process of removing paint from a surface. Here are some reasons for paint removal:

  1. To restore a piece of furniture to its original finish:
  2. To change the colour or style of a piece of furniture:
  3. To remove damaged or peeling paint:
  4. To remove lead paint:
  5. To get a surface set for a fresh coat of paint or a new finish.

Importance Of safely removing paint from furniture

Think of it like this: You have a favourite piece of furniture, but it’s covered in old paint. You want to see the beautiful details underneath, right? But we can’t just scrape it off any old way.

We need to be gentle so as not to hurt ourselves or ruin the furniture. Knowing how to remove paint from the table is super important. It’s like being a careful treasure hunter!

How to Know What Kind of Paint It Is

Paints can be of different types. Commonly used paint is water-based or oil-based. If you need clarification on your paint, you can do a test.

Dip a paintbrush into the paint, then try washing it in a cup of water. If the paint washes off, it’s water-based. If it doesn’t, it’s oil-based.

Why You Need to Know the Paint Type Before Removing It

Knowing the type of paint is essential before you start removing it. Here’s why:

  • Getting Ready for New Paint: Knowing the type of paint helps you get ready to put new paint on something.
  • Avoiding Extra Work: Some paints are better and might need more coats. You can avoid extra work if you know what type of paint you have.
  • Throwing Away Old Paint: Different types of paint need to be thrown away in different ways. Water-based paint can go in the trash if we follow some rules. But oil-based paint needs to go to a special waste place.

Best 3 Methods to Remove Paint From Furniture:

  • Sanding:

  • Chemical strippers:

  • Heat guns:

Here are the details of how you can remove paint with the help of those methods.

Sanding Methods:

Sanding is a manual or power tool that uses abrasive paper to remove paint. It is a time-consuming process but also practical and relatively inexpensive.

To remove paint from furniture using sanding, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the work area. Work in a well-ventilated area and cover the floor and surrounding surfaces with drop cloths to protect them from dust.
  2. Remove any hardware from the furniture. This includes knobs, pulls, hinges, and other metal or plastic pieces.
  3. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper. To begin with, for the majority of paint types, use 80-grit sandpaper.
  4. Sand facing the grain of the wood. This will protect the wood from damage.
  5. Apply light pressure and sand the surface until the paint begins to remove.
  6. After all the paint is gone, use a softer sandpaper. You can use one that’s 120-grit to make the surface nice and smooth.
  7. Keep rubbing with the sandpaper until there’s no paint left and the surface feels smooth to the touch.
  8. Use a wet cloth to clean off any dust from the surface.
  9. Scrutinize the surface for any remaining paint. If necessary, sand the surface again until all the paint has been removed.

Once you have finished sanding, you can refinish the furniture with a new coat of paint, stain, or varnish.

Extra tips for sanding paint off furniture:

  • Use a power sander to speed up the process, but be careful not to sand too deeply, or you may damage the wood.
  • If you are sanding a piece of antique furniture, consider consulting with a professional furniture restorer to ensure you do not damage the piece.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from dust when sanding.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dust after sanding.

Chemical Strippers Method:

Chemical Strippers method to remove paint


Chemical strippers, which can be in liquid, gel, or paste form. It is used to melt away paint. They are faster and easier to use than sand but can be toxic and flammable.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide for the chemical paint removal process:

  1. Safety First: Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear safety gear, including gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask.
  2. Apply Chemical Paint Stripper: Apply the chemical paint stripper in temperatures between 60-80°F. Use a brush, a small flat tool, or a roller to spread it. Make sure it’s as thick as about 2 to 4 pencil erasers stacked together. If you’re taking off several layers, let the stripping solution sit on the surface for around 15 minutes.
  3. Scrape off the Paint: Use a putty knife or stiff brush to remove the dissolved coating.
  4.  Remove Remaining Residue: Remove residue using a stripping pad or Scotch-Brite™ pad and water. Finally, remove the remaining residue with a lint-free rag dampened with water.
  5. Personal Safety: It’s crucial to wear the right safety gear (PPE) when using chemical paint removers.

Remember to let the surface dry completely before priming, painting, or varnishing.

Heat gun Method:

heat gun method to remove paint

Heat guns blow hot air to ease paint removal. They’re safe and simple but slow on thick paint. It is one of the greatest methods to remove paint from furniture.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide for the process:

  1. Be Safe! Always remember to work in a place with lots of fresh air. And remember to wear your superhero gear: gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask.
  2. Get Your Space Ready! Imagine you’re having a picnic. Lay down a drop cloth or plastic sheeting like a picnic blanket. This will catch any paint chips and dust that fall.
  3. Ready, Set, Heat Gun! Plug in your heat gun (it’s like a super-hot hair dryer!). Please set it to the right temperature for the paint you’re removing.
  4. Heat It! Hold the heat gun about as far away from the paint as a ruler is long. Apply heat to a small area of the paint. Watch as the paint starts to bubble and blister, just like popcorn!
  5. Scrape It Off! Once the paint has softened, use a paint scraper or putty knife (like a spatula for paint!) to carefully scrape it off. Focus on a tiny area at a time to ensure you get all the paint off.
  6. Clean Up Time! After you’ve removed the colour, you need to smooth out any rough spots with sandpaper or a sanding block (it’s like a nail file for your project!). Then, clean the surface with soap and water and dry it off with a cloth.


Removing paint from furniture can be challenging, but it is possible to do it yourself. Following the tips above, you can safely and effectively remove paint from your furniture without damaging it.

After the paint is off your furniture, you can give it a fresh look with new paint, stain, or varnish.

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