How To Remove Paint From Wood Without Sanding?

by Alex I on Dec 06, 2022

How To Remove Paint From Wood Without Sanding?

Did you find a piece of old furniture that you’re sure will appreciate a new start?

When paint forms blisters and cracks on the surface, it is tempting to just add another layer of paint over it. However, this isn’t an ideal way to maintain the quality of the wooden surfaces in your home.

What Else Should I Do Then?

Well, we’re glad you asked. The best approach to dealing with receding paint is to start over. Remove all the previous layers smothered on the wood surface. Start anew, and build your way up from there.

That will not only make your wooden furniture and frames look brand new but will also help the wood stay fresh for longer.

Does the Paint You’re Removing Contain Lead?

Before you use any of the methods, do a quick test to ensure the paint you’re removing doesn’t have lead in it. Although lead paint in itself isn’t dangerous, it proves to be a health hazard if inhaled during removal. The material is highly toxic when released into the air and must be avoided in closed spaces.

How to Remove Paint From Wood?

We can use various methods to remove paint from wood, and almost all of them require different products to get results. This article lists a step-by-step process to guide you through every stage of the given methods.

Why Should You Not Use Sanding to Remove Paint From Wood?

The first step to removing paint from wooden surfaces is getting to the wood underneath.

The question, however, is how we can remove all the layers of paint that are already present on the wooden surface. A standard answer is sanding. Although sanding is a faster method of removing paint from wood than using chemicals, it isn’t the best option.

Firstly, proper sanding calls for experienced professionals. Inexperience can result in the wood being uneven or damaged.

Secondly, it creates a lot of airborne dust that can be dangerous. Without proper practices and measures, surrounding buildings, areas, and individuals are at risk of contamination. Such risks are not desirable for a DIY.

When there are several layers of paint over the wooden surface, the sander often gets clogged up. It becomes hard to remove paint as the sander’s pads need to be cleaned repeatedly.

On top of that, sanding creates dust—a lot of it. The years’ old chemicals present in the paint mix with the sand and are released into the air. For example, sanding lead paint releases toxic gases in the air, which is a significant health hazard in itself.

For the multiple reasons above, sanding is not suitable for use in indoor work or lead paint.

Don’t worry; we have plenty of ways you can use to remove paint from wood without sanding. Here are a few methods commonly used to remove paint from wood:

1. Heating Devices

Heating devices use temperature to soften the old paint coatings from the wood surface. Once the layers are softened, you can easily scrape them off with minimum dust.


It is tricky to find the right temperature for the paint coatings to soften. If the temperature is too high, it may burn the wooden surface and leave marks.

2. Infrared Devices

Infrared devices use IV rays to heat up and loosen the bond between paint layers. These devices work at just the right temperature and are relatively faster in removing the paint.


The devices are bulky, and most people find it hard to use them on narrow surfaces.

3. Chemical Strippers

Chemical strippers are a practical, simple, and safe option. They do not create any dust or release harmful gases. Using these strippers helps you remove paint from spots that may be close to impossible with the other methods.


The process of using chemical strippers can be messy, smelly, and slow. Some products may contain harmful ingredients, so read the label carefully.

What Is the Safest Option to Remove Paint From Wood?

So far, the safest option to remove paint from wood is by using chemical strippers. These products are far less toxic than various other options.

Preparing to Use Chemical Stripping to Remove Paint From Wood

Although using chemical stripping makes it more manageable to remove paint from wood, it requires some preparation. It is essential to follow the proper procedures and take the advised safety measures.

1. Prevent Spilling or Seeping:

Before you start, lay down some polythene dust sheets or old newspapers under the wooden surface. The sheets should be wide enough that the paint doesn’t seep through. If possible, tape the edges to avoid any risk, or cover it with another sheet.

2. Control Dust:

If you are working indoors, make sure to keep the door and window open to prevent fumes. If possible, do it in a secluded area where there is no chance of the dust invading the rest of the house.

3. Safety Gear:

You can either wear disposable overalls or any clothes that cover as much skin as possible. Remember to protect your eyes and hands in all cases.

4. Test to Prepare the Surface:

At the start, test the chemical stripper on a small area to see whether the surface is compatible or not.

Steps to Using a Chemical Stripper to Remove Paint From Wood

Step 1: Choose a Product

You should be extra careful when choosing a chemical stripper. Some of the products may contain harmful ingredients that turn into vapors.

The most distinguishing feature of this paint stripper is that it has a mild smell, making it suitable for indoor use. It contains wax components that slow down the evaporation process. As a result, the chemical sticks to the wooden surface longer.

Step 2: Apply the Paint Stripper:

Shake the container of the paint stripper for a few minutes. Mix the components and then pour them into a shallow vessel. Stir the mixture till it reaches a good consistency.

Step 3:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to spread the Paint Stripper over a section of the surface. Use a small paintbrush to smooth it over evenly. Apply a generous amount of the stripper and then cover it with a thin foil.
  2. Leave the mixture for 15-20 minutes, although this duration can differ according to the nature of the project. You will know to remove it when bubbles start forming underneath the film coat.
  3. Use the scraper to remove a tiny section of the stripper. If it doesn’t come off easily, apply a small amount of stripper and wait for a few minutes.
  4. Once you remove most of the coating, use a clean toothbrush to scrape off paint from the stubborn areas.
  5. If you see it necessary, apply a second coat of the Paint Stripper.
  6. Wait for another 15 minutes to remove the second coat.
  7. Then use the Osmo Cleaner and Thinner to scrub off any residue on the surface.
  8. Wipe off the section with a soft microfiber cloth dipped in warm water.
  9. Let the wood dry thoroughly.

Afterward: How to Wrap Up

While the wood dries from the Paint Stripper, you should get started on disposing of the plastic sheets you spread earlier. Mist the surface to keep the dust down on the sheets. Fold the sheets carefully and then seal them shut before disposing of them. If possible, use a vacuum to filter any remaining dust. Make sure to wipe all surfaces down using a wet sponge and detergent.

What to Do Next?

Once you have gotten rid of the paint layers, the wood is now ready for a new start. In this step, there are various options for you to choose from and breathe new life into the wood. You can use wood polish, color, oil, or preserver to keep the wood protected while looking good. Head over to see the full range of products on our website to help you choose.


The given methods allow you to remove paint from wood with ease. You can keep the wooden surfaces in your home looking brand new with this method. Using the above methods also simplifies repainting the wooden surfaces as it leaves them dry and clean.