Paint spills and splatters during a project can sometimes be inevitable, no matter how careful you might be with drop cloths and plastic sheeting. A rogue spray of paint can escape even the best setup, and end up scattered across your wooden floor.
Or, perhaps your new home has lovely wooden floors that are covered by a coat of paint, and you are hankering to get them back to their original look.
In either case, the process of removing paint from wooden floors can seem daunting to many people. You might be wondering— after the paint has dried and set, where do you even begin?
Well, with the right supplies and a little bit of patience, paint spills or unwanted coats of color can be easily removed from your wooden surface, leaving the original wood behind unharmed!
Remove Paint From Wooden Floors: Best Products
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When it comes to stripping paint safely from your wooden floors, there are plenty of products on the market to choose from, and plenty of reviews to sift through. Shopping for the perfect product can really feel endless at times.
But we can help narrow down your search to only the best products, so you can avoid damaging the wood underneath or marring the finish on your floor.
Read on for a comprehensive roundup of the most effective methods for removing paint from wooden flooring!
1. Guardsman Water Mark Remover Cloth — Best Overall
The Guardsman Water Mark Remover Cloth is great for a variety of applications, including removing paint from wooden surfaces. It is a reusable, portable, and handy cleaning tool recommended by furniture makers worldwide for removing most stains from wooden items.
Style: Spot remover cloth
Application: By hand
Size: 4 x 5 inches
Treatment Area: Reusable
Watch any pesky stains, spills, or marks on your wooden surfaces disappear right before your eyes with the Guardsman Water Mark Remover Cloth, including paint!
Additionally, this product works on both antique wood surfaces as well as new installations, so no matter the age or layout of your home, this will do the trick without damaging the grain, stain, or finish.
Not only does this removal cloth tackle surface scratches and difficult stains like watermarks, but you can also use it to scrub away a variety of latex paint spills—even old, cured paint.
This product works to restore the original luster of your wooden floor or other wooden surfaces without the risk of stripping the finish. Thanks to a formula that was made by a leader in wood construction, you can safeguard your floors while removing paint stains.
And as a reusable product, you can apply this cloth time and time again, making this an investment for the long run. Just make sure to return it to the package container to prevent it from drying out, and this product will last for many uses.
- Removes a variety of stains, marks, and blemishes
- Includes a gentle formula that does not harm or strip the wood finish
- Quick and easy to use treatment for visible results
- Reusable for many applications, so long as it does not dry out or get very dirty
- Some stains can take a lot of scrubbing to get off
- Can only remove latex paint stains
- Only for use on wood with a matte finish
2. Sunnyside Corporation Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover — Runner Up
Sunnyside Corporation’s Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover works to remove excess or spilled paint starting just 30 minutes after application. It uses a no-drip formula for easy cleanup with water, and it even encourages the product to cling to vertical surfaces for comprehensive paint and varnish removal.
Style: Liquid formula
Application: Trigger spray nozzle
Size: 0.5 gallon
Treatment Area: 50 to 60 sq. feet
This product offers fast and safe paint stripping action that starts to work after just thirty minutes, and shows visible results within four hours. It can remove up to 3 layers of paint in one application, due to a unique stripping formula that is safe for wood surfaces.
Rely on Sunnyside Corporation’s Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover for tackling a variety of household paint stains, including oil-based, water-based, latex, and enamel paints, as well as varnishes, lacquers, and stains.
Not only does it work like a charm on all types of wooden surfaces, including floors, cabinets, and furniture items, but it also removes paint from plaster, metal, and masonry as well.
A major bonus is the safety of this product, as it is non-flammable, environmentally safe, and does not include the harsh chemical compounds that other products do. And with a water-based formula, it’s also a breeze to clean up.
- Low odor formula without methylene chloride
- Environmentally friendly with new water-based technology
- Works fast with visible results
- Removes both paint and varnish
- Thicker layers of paint will require more applications and time
- The nozzle sometimes does not spray evenly
- Some users found their container to be leaking upon arrival
3. MAX Strip All-Purpose Remover — Best For Most Surfaces
MAX Strip All-Purpose Remover tackles tough stripping jobs with an advanced gel formula that is able to cling to virtually any surface angle. With an easy application nozzle, this product breaks down the bond between the paint and the surface underneath for a simple peel-and-remove cleanup that won’t damage the finish.
Style: Gel spray
Application: Trigger spray nozzle
Size: 22 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 25 to 35 sq. feet
Paint spills and stains on your wooden surfaces are eliminated once you confront them with this product. The MAX Strip All-Purpose Remover gel encapsulates the paint and works to dissolve the bonds that hold it to the surface in question, safely removing it.
Applications of this product will effectively and efficiently remove most types of coating or stains from a variety of surfaces, including wood, concrete, tile, carpet, ceramic, glass, and many more. Virtually any surface that is stained can be cleaned with this spray.
Plus, with an organic compound formula, this gel remover is non-caustic and has low volatility, making it a safe addition to your cleaning arsenal. The water-based gel formula also makes cleaning up excess product spills easy.
And with only a scraper or stripping pad and warm water needed to finish the job and neutralize the MAX Strip gel, no additional chemicals are required in the process. The product works quickly and leaves the surface ready for repainting or varnishing.
- Removes paint and stains from a range of over 20 surface types
- Non-caustic with an organic compound formula
- Low odor spray
- Gentle formula that doesn’t harm surfaces or finishes
- Great for cleaning out paint trays and paint brushes
- Thicker layers of paint will need more applications and time for the product to sit
- Not formulated to remove automotive or factory finished paints on surfaces
- The product can eat through thinner materials, including plastic bags and gloves
- Application of the product can be quite messy
4. FOLEX Instant Carpet Spot Remover
FOLEX Instant Carpet Spot Remover removes stains and spills from a variety of surfaces, including carpet and wood. As an easy-to-use water-based product, it is free of chemicals and solvents that could otherwise harm the surface or finish of the item.
Style: Liquid formula
Application: Trigger spray nozzle
Size: 32 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 40 to 60 sq. feet
For a variety of stains and spills, this product is the best defense against a permanently discolored surface.
Not only can paint, wood stain, and other products be removed with an application of FOLEX’s Instant Carpet Spot Remover, but you can also eliminate other tough spills like coffee, ink, oil, red wine, and rust.
Though marketed as a carpet and upholstery cleaner, users have found success in using this product on a variety of surfaces, including wooden floors, furniture, fabrics, and even garage doors.
FOLEX has been on the market for many years, and is lauded for its easy application process. In fact, all you have to do is spray it onto the problem area and leave it to work its magic. Tougher spots might need some light wiping, but no rinsing is needed.
- Removes a variety of stains and spills
- Water-based for easy product cleanup
- Can be used on a range of surfaces
- Free of solvents, petroleum, and VOC
- Safe for use around children and pets, if applied as per instructions
- Larger stains and spills may not be removed completely
- Can cause discoloration on some surfaces
5. Goof Off Paint Splatter Remover
Goof Off Paint Splatter Remover takes care of paint spots and drips that have dried onto hardwood floors. Great for homeowners, DIY-ers, and professionals alike, this product erases paint layers and residue from wood surfaces with just one application.
Style: Liquid Formula
Application: Paintbrush or roller
Size: 12 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 15 to 20 sq. feet
For any small areas of paint removal, splatters, or spills, Goof Off is a great option for removing it from your wooden floors. It works to remove what other cleaning products cannot budge, using solvent solutions to destroy the bond between paint and surface.
With a special formula that is easy to pour and spread across the surface of the floor, you can ensure that each dot or swipe of paint is completely covered. Then, let the product work its magic before removing it with a damp cloth and enjoying your clean floor!
- Fast-acting and easy to apply
- Removes latex paint from wood
- Safe for application on several surface types
- Formulated with strong chemicals and caustic substances
- Can strip the varnish and finish off of wood floors
- Difficult to wipe off without leaving a residue behind
6. MiracleWipes for Wood Surfaces
MiracleWipes for Wood Surfaces is ideal for home or office. Use these wet wipes for cleaning a variety of surfaces, including wood, and allow them to dry with no fingerprints or marks left behind. For best results, buff with the included microfiber cloth after scrubbing.
Style: Wet wipes
Application: By hand
Size: Contains 30 wipes
Treatment Area: Approximately 11.5 sq. feet
Remove stains and spills with these MiracleWipes that are specially formulated for wood, and enjoy the clean, smooth surfaces left behind. With a surface-safe compound that targets resilient marks and oils, you can easily remove blemishes and stains.
These wipes are safe for use on a variety of finished wood surfaces, including ash, oak, cherry, hickory, maple, and walnut, among others. All types of varnishes and oil finishes can be successfully cleaned with it, and without leaving behind any sticky or cloudy residue.
- Safe to use on a variety of varnishes and sealants
- Specially formulated for a range of wood types
- Anti-static and safe for use on electronics
- Cannot remove large amounts of paint or thick layers of paint
- Can leave behind stains on some more porous wood types
7. Trade Secret Scratch Remover for Dark Wood
Use Trade Secret’s Scratch Remover for Dark Wood to cover up nicks and scratches on your furniture and flooring, and to loosen and help remove paint drips and splatters. Perfectly matching the dark tones of your hardwood, it softens pesky paint for easier removal and varnish reinforcement.
Style: Liquid formula
Application: With a cloth or sponge
Size: 8 fluid ounces
Treatment Area: 10 sq. feet
Not only does this product work well to strengthen the varnish on your wooden floors, but it also softens any paint flecks and allows them to be wiped away. Additionally, it fills in any surface cracks in the wood and smooths out the entire appearance of the floor.
- Refreshes and refinishes your wooden floor while softening paint drops
- Able to loosen small paint splatters for safe removal
- Fast drying and easy to apply
- Cannot remove large areas or chunks of paint
- Doesn’t work as a commercial paint stripper
To answer any remaining questions you might have about removing paint from wooden floors, let us now discuss some of the more common queries that others also have. Read on for additional information on stripping paint from wood!
How Do You Get Dried Paint Off Hardwood Floors?
While any of the products listed above can definitely tackle that dried paint spill that’s been bothering you, there are also a few other options for getting it off of your hardwood floors. This includes using a heat gun, sandpaper, or paint scraper to tackle the painted areas.
Heat It Up
Grab a heat gun and get ready to make some paint bubble!
Begin by cleaning all dust or debris off the painted surface while allowing your heat gun to reach a good temperature. Then, apply the nozzle close to the paint, moving it up and down in small sections. Soon, the paint will begin to lift, bubble, and melt.
Once it has become softened enough, begin the scraping process, and try to focus on removing the larger strips of paint. After most of the paint has been removed, address the smaller areas or remaining flakes with a clump of steel wool, and finish it off with a coat of mineral spirits.
Sand It Down
Sanding paint off can be one of the easiest ways to deal with paint on wooden floors. However, you will need the correct sander for the job, as just a small bit of sandpaper won’t do the trick!
The best options for sanding a large wooden floor space are an orbital sander or a belt sander, both of which offer the surface area and power to remove paint layers efficiently.
If you don’t happen to own one, these sanders are typically available for rental from a local hardware store. You will also require swaths of sandpaper in 60 grit, 80 grit, and 120 grit levels to completely remove all traces of paint and get into each nook and cranny of the floor.
Keep in mind that this method generally requires you to finish your floors again, as the sander will take off any surface varnish along with the paint.
Scrape It Off
This method is best done if the paint on your floors has already started to flake and peel.
Use a heavy-duty paint scraper to pry the raised paint strips off the floor and scrape the edges to loosen other areas. If the paint is especially stubborn, you can apply a little more force to encourage it to come off.
This involves angling your paint scraper at a 45-degree angle and tapping the back of it with a hammer. Use gentle, light strokes to loosen the paint and prevent denting or cutting into the wood floor below.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint From Wood?
While vinegar is a great option for many household cleaning projects, it cannot strip paint from wooden surfaces. Instead, careful application of vinegar can soften the paint, allowing you to scrape it away with a tool.
However, this should only be done on unfinished wood surfaces, as vinegar can cause cloudy discoloration by eating through a treated hardwood floor’s finish or varnish. This is especially true if trying to remove lead paints, as the time needed for vinegar to soften the paint can also eat through the finish and dull the wood floor’s appearance.
But for smaller applications on other wooden surfaces, vinegar is useful for softening paint stains.
Heat your vinegar before application, which can be done either in the microwave or in a small pot. Then, spread the vinegar over the paint with a rag or a soft paintbrush and allow it to soak in before scraping it away.
What’s The Best Paint Remover For Wood?
While there are many products on the market for removing paint from wooden floors, it all comes down to which one will not harm the surface below the paint.
For example, if you are dealing with antique, historic, or specially finished hardwood floors, opting for a non-caustic paint stripper is likely the best option for you.
Likewise, if you have children and pets to worry about, choosing a product that doesn’t have harsh chemical compounds or leave behind a dangerous residue is equally as important as keeping the quality of your wood surface.
In general, opting for a non-flammable, low-odor remover that will not harm the wood underneath or leave a subsequent stain behind is the best option to choose for removing paint.
Don’t be afraid to compare brands and product reviews when determining the best paint remover for your particular situation.
And once you make a selection, it’s a good idea to test it out on a small portion of the surface first, away from sight, just to ensure the product does not cause an adverse reaction before spreading it across your floor!
What Is A Natural Paint Remover?
If you only have a small area of paint to remove, you can try scrubbing it with soap and water, or with a compound made of baking soda and warm water. Both can be successful in naturally abrading the paint enough to make it give way.
However, if you’re looking for a more natural paint removal product, opting for a soy or citrus-based stripper is a great option.
Soy-based gel products use methyl soyate, derived from soybeans, as a solvent for removing the bond between a coat of paint and the surface below. Additionally, the soy additives will not harm your wood floors, even after the product has soaked in over time.
Citrus-based paint strippers use terpenes, a natural removal agent that is derived from oranges. These products work slowly to remove the paint, but are safe to use on any wood finish without repercussion. They also leave the room scented lightly with citrus as a bonus!
While removing paint can seem like a daunting task, whether the task takes the form of an accidental splatter or an entire area that has been painted, stripping your wooden floors back to their original glory is fairly simple.
All you need are the correct products and some time, and you should be able to walk across paint-free floorboards once more! And as a DIY task, this one shouldn’t take you more than a weekend to complete in most situations.