Removing paint on wood may seem like a simple task until it becomes a health hazard. Almost all chemical paint removers in the market contain some form of a dangerous compound that creates hazardous fumes and cause dangerous effects on health. Stay away from these hazardous chemical-based paint removers and use safe home remedies to remove paint from wood instead.
We have rounded up several home remedies that will help you remove paint without the negative effects of chemical-based paint removers. These techniques may take time to work but are safe and will never put your family at risk.
The different home remedies to remove paint from wood
Regardless of the type of paint remover you want to use, you should always read the product label and follow instructions before you proceed. Even natural-based paint removers may sting and release some harmful fumes but not as much as chemical-based removers. Always wear proper attire when removing old paint especially lead-based paints. Wear gloves, a mask, and an apron for safety.
Use a citrus-based paint remover
Natural acids like citric acids may not be as strong as chemical paint peelers but can get the job done. Citrus-based products have terpenes, a kind of organic compound from oranges and other citrus fruits/plants. One of the most common terpenes that are used to strip off paint from wood is turpentine which comes from pine.
You’ll know that you’re using citrus-based paint removers as this has typical citrus or orangey scent. This may not work as fast as regular chemical-based paint removers but will be safe to use on any wooden surface.
Citrus-based paint removers work slowly and won’t mar or damage wooden surfaces, especially varnished wood. You may need to re-apply citrus-based removers and use sandpaper afterward but don’t worry because these are not as toxic as chemical paint removers.
Citrus-based products are biodegradable but may still contain chemicals that can affect health when inhaled. Be sure to use this type of paint remover outdoors or in a well-ventilated area and to wear protective clothing like masks and gloves.
Apply a soy-based paint remover
Another kind of natural paint remover is soy-based. These are products that have methyl ester which is derived from soybean oil. Soy-based strippers are more environment-friendly compared to chemical-based products which are made of petroleum.
Soy-based products have very minimal volatile compounds or VOCs. These are not as flammable as chemical compounds and do not contain ozone-depleting components. These are very safe on wood, metal, and even concrete. Soy-based paint removers can take time to work just like citrus-based removers. You can use a paintbrush to apply soy-based paint removers and simply leave the gel on the surface overnight. With a gel paint remover, you won’t have to worry about dripping and causing a mess as this will never drip or spill. Take note that the longer you leave soy-based paint removers on the surface of the material, the easier it for you to remove paint.
Remove old paint manually
The best way to completely avoid chemical strippers is to manually remove paint. This is non-toxic but there may still be some risks when handling old paint especially when you’re removing lead-based paints found in old structures and homes. Always wear a mask, gloves, and safety glasses when removing old paint.
You can do any of the following to manually remove paint:
There are many types of sandpaper; start with the highest grain and then gradually move to the finest grain. It can take a long time and a lot of patience to remove paint using sandpaper. Sanding can be done by hand or with a sand block. Follow a pattern when sanding: using up and down movements or move left to right to minimize damage on the surface. Don’t sand too deeply as you may end up permanently damaging wood. Also, vacuum the area clean and make sure every bit is removed especially when you’re removing old lead paint.
Use a paint gun or heat gun
Another way to remove old paint is to use a heat gun or a paint gun. Adjust the temperature of the heat gun and point it at the surface you want to treat. It takes several minutes to work but as soon as you see paint bubbling, use a scraper to remove paint. Using a heat gun is one of the most effective ways to remove the paint but it takes a lot of time to perform especially when you’re working on a large area.
Use a scrapper
Scrappers are made from plastic or metal. This is the best tool to use if you’re removing old, peeling paint. You can also use this together with natural paint removers, a heat gun, and sandpaper. Use a scraper with a wooden handle so you’ll have a steady hold.
Be very careful when using a scrapper as it’s easy to damage the wood with its very sharp edge. Hold the scraper firmly and check the surface you want to work on first before using a scraper.
When removing splattered paint on wooden walls or floors, use a piece of soft, clean, and dry cloth dipped with the natural paint remover product. Gently dab the product on the paint and wait for a few minutes. Use a scraper to gently lift the paint. If the splatter is on a larger area, survey the area, dab only a few amounts of paint remover. It’s best not to let the splattered paint dry so it’s easier to remove.
With these home remedies to remove paint from wood, you’ll be safe from dangerous chemicals like methyl chloride, methanol, toluene, ethanol, acetone, and many others. You can work on your DIY project without causing harm to your health and your family’s health. It may take time for these home remedies to work and sometimes, you need to re-apply the product before you can get good results. But rest assured, you’ll have a nice piece of raw wood that’s ready for your project in no time.