8 Best Paint Stripper for Wood-(Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

Don't settle for any stripper
Best Paint Stripper for Wood Image

When it comes to remodeling and redecorating your wood floors or furniture, the preparation and condition of the surface always determine the quality of the finish. 

That’s why you need to remove all the flaking, crackling, and chalking layers of paint before applying a new finish.

In great delight, we bring you the best paint strippers for wood that works in no time using minimal effort. When putting together these strippers, our major focus was the products’ effectiveness.

In a hurry, here’s the list;

Best Paint Stripper for Wood

Best Paint Strippers for Wood Reviews (Updated List)

Our list of the eight best paint strippers for wood reviews reflects hours of research into real customer reviews, expert woodworking advice, and products descriptions. That said, we know our comprehensive guide will help you find the best paint stripper for your wood furniture or floors.

1. Best Overall– Safe ‘n’ Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish

Safe ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel, Strips 15+ Layers of Paint Safely, No Hazardous Fumes, Non-Toxic, Citrus Orange Scent (1/2 Gal)
704 Reviews
Safe ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel, Strips 15+ Layers of Paint Safely, No Hazardous Fumes, Non-Toxic, Citrus Orange Scent (1/2 Gal)
  • REMOVES MULTIPLE LAYERS OF PAINT, VARNISHES & COATINGS– Professional Strength Citrus Paint Stripper works on Wood, Metal, Masonry, Concrete, Brick, Cinderblocks, Stone, Plaster, Fiberglass, Tile, Decking, Porcelain, Bathtubs, Moldings and Glass.
  • CITRUS NON-DRIP WATER-BASED GEL FORMULA – Clings to the surface. 100% Biodegradable. No Harmful Smells. Fume Free. No dangerous chemicals or caustics, such as Methylene Chloride or NMP.
  • WORKS INSIDE & OUTSIDE - For easy removal of 15+ layers of old paint and varnish. Apply, let set and rinse off. No fuss. No Mess. Best on post 1980 paints and varnishes. Love that Orange Citrus Aroma.
  • EFFECTIVE & SAFE- MADE IN THE USA – DYI Homeowner friendly to remove Latex and Oil-Based Paints and Varnishes. Trusted by Painting Professionals.
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED – If for any reason you’re not completely satisfied with your Safe ‘n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel just contact us for a full refund.

To top our list is Safe ‘n’ Easy citrus paint stripper. It’s a unique product that gets rid of more than 15 layers of latex and oil paints in a single application.

Aside from removing paint flickers on wood, you can use the Citrus stripper on other surfaces as well. These include brick, tiles, metal, porcelain, masonry, concrete, brick, stone, plaster, fiberglass, bathtub, moldings, cinder blocks, glass, and deckings.

Many woodworkers love this product because it’s eco-friendly and has no harmful chemicals or smells. This creates a safe working environment even when stripping post-1980 paints and varnishes.

Made for DIYers, this paint remover is super easy to apply. Safe ‘n’ Easy recommends you spray or brush the painted surface. The paint will bubble after sitting for a few minutes, allowing you to scrape it off pretty easily. Wipe the area clean and you’re left with a new surface ready for refinishing.

PROS

  •  Non-drip water-based gel.
  •  100% biodegradable  
  • Fume free.
  •  Non- flammable and non-carcinogenic. 
  • Pleasant orange citrus scent.

CON

  • Ideal for small jobs.



2. Fastest Working Paint Stripper -Sunnyside Corporation Ready Strip Paint

Sunnyside Corporation 65664 Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Quart Trigger Spray, 1/2 Gallon
2,084 Reviews
Sunnyside Corporation 65664 Hi-Speed Ready-Strip Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Quart Trigger Spray, 1/2 Gallon
  • Capable of removing up to 3 layers of oil or water based coating
  • No-drip formula makes removing paint convenient and easy
  • Clings to vertical surfaces; stays wet longer
  • Starts to work in about 30 minutes
  • Easily cleaned up with water

Our second on the line is Hi-speed ready-strip spray, a Sunnyside Corporation product since 1893. The product offers a faster, suitable, and easy way of stripping up to 3 layers of oil or water-based paint from wood in a single application.

The best part? It works super fast – within 2 minutes. So if you’re looking for the quickest and fastest way to remove paint from wood, this powerful product will get the job done.

This paint remover has a low odor and is non-flammable and environmentally friendly. Why? Because it contains no methylene chloride, caustic, or any other harsh chemicals.

Its ability to stay wet for long is great for vertical surfaces and filling detailed areas.

In addition to using it on wood, it’s also ideal for plaster, concrete, metal, stone, brick, veneers, marble, and masonry.

Before using the formula, mist your surface with water for easy lifting of the layers. Then, pour the stripper and allow it to infiltrate the paint layers. Each gallon covers up to 25 square feet. And for hard-to-reach areas, use a sprayer.

PROS

  • Fit for exterior and interior finishes.
  • Spray application.
  • Non-flammable.
  • No methylene chloride.
  • Easy clean up with water.

CON

  • Most reviewers complained the product was too thick to spray.



3. Best Family Friendly Spraying Gel– MAX Strip All Purpose Remover

MAX Strip All Purpose Remover 22 oz
483 Reviews
MAX Strip All Purpose Remover 22 oz
  • Fast acting spray gel stripper that can be used effectively on virtually all surfaces
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor
  • Non-caustic and low volatile organic compound formula
  • Cleans up with just water
  • Does the work of several products in one

This paint and varnish remover helps you end sticky messes like spills, paint drips, grime, and grease, tree saps, all kinds of stickers, glues, and graffiti from any surface.

You can clean up tough old paints from glass, fiberglass, laminate, metal, furniture, windows, wood, porcelain, flooring, brick, granite, countertops, ceramic, tile, marble, granite, carpet, concrete, stone, clothing, rugs, among others.

Another great feature that you would appreciate is that the product is a fast-acting spraying gel stripper. It is also a Non-caustic product and has a low volatile organic compound formula.

As a water-based formula, it provides a safer wood paint removal option that’s easy to clean with water only.

PROS

  • Skin-safe.
  • Fast-acting.
  • Fume free.
  • No unpleasant odor.
  • Multipurpose.

CON

  • Cannot get rid of automotive or factory-finished paints.



4. Best Paint Remover for Thick Multiple Layers– Citristrip Paint and Varnish

Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel, 1 Quart, Red
3,770 Reviews
Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel, 1 Quart, Red
  • CITRISTRIP Safer Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel is easy to use.
  • Stays wet and active for up to 24 hours allowing stripping of multiple layers in one step.
  • Removes dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane and shellac.
  • Strips multiple layers from wood, metal and masonry surfaces.
  • No methylene chloride or NMP.

Citristrip removes up to 5 layers of dried latex paint, oil-based paints, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac from metal, wood, and masonry surfaces.

This paint or varnish stripper removes paint within 30 minutes. It stays wet and active for 24 hours to allow stripping off many layers in one single step. For best results, we recommend waiting for a few hours after application.

The product is safe and easy to use, as it does not contain toxic chemicals like methylene chloride or NMP. Yet, it uses Benzyl alcohol as its active ingredient. 

We highly recommend you wear a respirator, gloves, and protective glasses when using Citrristrip. It can cause lung irritation and burns. Always keep the product out of reach of children.

 It has a fresh and appealing citrus scent, a feature that makes it suitable for indoor use.

To work effectively on your wood surface, apply a thick coat and cover with plastic (optional). Let it sit, then scrape it off and clean it up.

We highly recommend that you test the product before use on any synthetic surface in an inconspicuous area as strippers can damage these surfaces.

PROS

  •  No harsh fumes.
  • Strips many layers.
  • Appealing citrus scent

CON

  • Causes burns.



5. Best Eco Friendly Paint Remover – Dumond Chemicals Smart Strip

Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3332 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Quart
3,112 Reviews
Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3332 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Quart
  • Biodegradable formula
  • Safe for user, substrate and environment
  • Removes multiple layers
  • Odor free water based advanced paint remover
  • Formulated without methylene chloride and is non-carcinogenic

We are back with a revolutionary paint remover from Dumond chemicals. Smart strip advanced paint remover is a product designed to remove up to 15 layers of paint.

It strips paint on various substrates, including exterior or interior surfaces of woods, metal, stone, brick, glass, fiberglass, decking, tiles, concrete, plaster and so much more!

This remover is best suited for stripping post-1980 coating systems that are oil-based, water-based, latex, acrylic-based, stains, urethanes, and old lead paints and varnishes.

Smart Strip is a water-based, non-toxic formula that is user and environmentally friendly. You can apply it with a brush, roller, or airless spray applicator.

The good thing is that it’s formulated to remain wet and effective over a long period of time. So no peel-away papers are required.

The paste should dwell on the coating for 3 to 24 hours or 48 hours for better results. This depends on the number and the type of coatings being removed. Remove the paste and the softened paint using a scraper after an appropriate dwell time.

Use a sponge and water or power washer to remove any old paint residue. No neutralization is needed after stripping.

PROS

  • PH neutral
  • 100% biodegradable
  • Zero VOC
  • Odor-free

CON

  • Long dwell time.



6. Best for Tough Stripping & Dust Free– Max Strip Paint & Varnish Remover

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper 1 Qt
790 Reviews
MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper 1 Qt
  • Does NOT contain toxic chemicals like Methylene Chloride and NMP!
  • Convenient easy to use no drip gel
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor
  • Non-caustic and low volatile organic compound formula
  • Cleans up with just water

Next on the line is Max Strip Paint and Varnish stripper, a powerful, easy-to-use, and convenient no-drip gel. This product removes exterior and interior paints and varnishes without damaging the surface that is being stripped.

If you are looking for a tough stripper to handle your paint stripping tasks, max strip stripper is here to save your day. 

It is water-based with an impressive wet work system for safe and dust-free paint removal options. 

This product removes almost all types of paint and varnishes from a variety of surfaces. Max strip has a professional strength to strip off paint, latex, shellac, acrylic, polyurethane finishes.

Being eco-friendly, this remover doesn’t contain any harsh fumes or chemicals like methylene chloride or NMP. In addition, it is skin safe and requires no ventilation for safe use when indoors throughout the year.

It is perfect for use by professionals, consumers, and DIYers.

PROS

  • No NMP formula
  • No methylene chloride
  • Water cleanup
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor.
  • Non-caustic

CONS

  • Cannot remove automotive or baked-on paints.
  • May etch plastics



7. Best for Rust and Corrosion Removal- 3M Paint and Rust Stripper

3M Paint and Rust Stripper Brush - 7771
1,732 Reviews
3M Paint and Rust Stripper Brush - 7771
  • Cleans rusty surfaces and has a double-thick edge to strip quicker
  • Features Scotch-Brite abrasive web that will not rust or splinter
  • Conforms to contours and leaves a smooth paintable surface
  • Fits all standard household drills
  • Use as a rotary disc (on face) or as a brush (on edge)

This wood paint remover works quicker, lasts longer, and cuts faster than ordinary sandpaper to strip off scales, old paint finishes, and corrosion.

Made from durable, non-woven synthetic material, it cleans up the surface corrosion to reveal the surface below. This makes the otherwise tough job faster and much easier.

It attaches easily with a standard electric drill with a quarter-inch mandrel. When applied directly to collision or old paint, the drill does much of the work faster and efficiently, saving effort.

Compared to sanding by hand, the power of the electric drill saves a lot of time and effort. This amazing product works best on wood, plastic, fiberboard, fiberglass, metal, clear coat, filler, putty, and paint.

Our 3M paint and rust stripper is popular for automotive restoration works. It uses the science behind synthetic materials to remove stubborn rust and old paints from any surface with ease, bringing them back to life.

It is an excellent tool for automotive repair and restoration. It makes quick work removing paint and rust, leaving a good surface for filler or repainting.

PROS

  • Multi-usage.
  • Saves on time
  • Easy to use

CON

  • Gouges wood. Not a wood-sanding product.



8. Best Heavy Duty Paint Remover– Dumond chemicals, Inc.

Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3301 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Gallon,White
3,109 Reviews
Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3301 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Gallon,White
  • This product adds a great value
  • Safe for user, substrate and environment
  • Removes multiple layers
  • Does not contain methylene chloride, any caustics, or toxic chemicals. It is odor-free and safe for the environment
  • This paint stripper is exceptional for the safe removal of lead-based paint and is excellent for intricate, carved, or molded surfaces

It is a water-based paint remover that is odorless and non-flammable. This product helps you remove many layers of architectural, industrial, and most lead-based paints in a single application.

This product helps you remove up to 15 coats of almost every coating on any surface. It works well in wood, brick, metal, stone, concrete, plaster, fiberglass, and plastic surfaces.

It works best for both interior and exterior surfaces. This product has zero VOC and does not contain methylene chloride or caustic. It is 100%  biodegradable, user-friendly, and safe for the environment.

It is available in 1 gallon, which equals 3.8 liters. This single aspect differentiates it from smart Dumond chemicals, Inc. 3332, which is available in 1 Quart which equals 946 ml.

You can apply this product with ease using a brush, trowel, or a roller

Smart strip paint removers do not need neutralization after application.

PROS

  • Eco-friendly
  • Safe and effective.
  • 100% biodegradable.
  • Odor-free.
  • Zero VOC.

CON

  • Eye irritants.



Paint Stripper for Wood Comparison Table

When shopping for the best paint strippers, there are major factors you should keep in mind. For instance, the type of paint stripper, materials it works best with, safety, and the important characteristics of the stripper.

Types of Paint Strippers

Types of strippers fall into four major categories: solvent, caustic, biochemical, and VOC.

Solvent Paint Stripper

Solvent strippers use toxic chemicals to remove paint by softening the bond between paint and surface. This causes the coating to bubble up. Most solvents have methylene chloride, which has high VOC content.

Other solvent products contain alcohol, methanol, and acetone. This combo works fast, it’s effective, and removes many layers of paint in a single application. However, they have smellier fumes and are more of a health hazard than other strippers like caustic.

Solvent Paint Strippers are very flammable and inhaling them may cause serious brain damage. Neutralization is not needed after stripping the paint as they have high pH.

Caustic Paint Strippers

Caustic paint strippers are water-based solutions that are alkaline (high pH). Lye is their active ingredient which may contain sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. The lye converts dried paint (oily part of the paint film) into soap, causing it to loosen up from the surface.

On the downside, caustic strippers cause lung irritation and skin burns. You can wipe down the striped surface with water or vinegar solution to neutralize its pH.

Biochemical Paint Stripper

Next is biochemical-based stripping products, a combination of plant-based solvents like terpenes (derived from pine and citrus) and organic compound, NMP. They are a safer alternative to solvent and caustic strippers. 

Though they are lower on VOCs and harsh fumes, NMP is unsafe to inhale, can cause skin irritation, and affect respiratory and reproductive systems.

You can use biochemical strippers on various surfaces, including wood, metal, and concrete—sand after treatment for wood projects.

Biochemical strippers take time to strip paint and varnish.

Zero -VOC Paint Strippers

VOC-free strippers do not contain NMP, lye, or methylene chloride. As a result, they have no harmful chemicals, no volatile organic compounds, and are odor-free.

They work on wood, concrete, metal, carpet, and other surfaces. However, zero-VOC strippers are less effective and take a long time. Sometimes up to 3-4 days to work as compared to other noncaustic options.

You should cover the treated area with plastic to maintain moisture.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Paint and Varnish Stripping Product

1. Surface Material

Different types of paint strippers perform better on certain surfaces. Choose a paint stripper that’s best suited for the intended surface application.

For guidance, use the list below.

  • Solvent– wood, masonry, and metal surfaces
  • Caustic– masonry surfaces (concrete floors and brick fireplace surrounds)
  • Biochemical– masonry, metal, and wood surfaces
  • Zero- Voc -metal, masonry, and, to an extent, wood surfaces

2. Safety.

Image courtesy of bobvilla

When it comes to paint stripping, some products are harmful while others are not. Therefore, you must use appropriate protective equipment for whichever type of stripper you choose for your project.

  • Solvent–  Cause brain damage and failure of reproductive organs
  • Caustic– Irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs
  • Biochemical– Cause chemical burns (slight) and breathing difficulties
  • Zero- Voc – May irritate the lungs or redden the skin despite zero VOC products

 3. Method of Application

The type of stripper you choose for your surface determines the method of application to use. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and directions given in the package. This includes recommendations on how thick or thin your layer should be, whether to cover with plastic or adhesive paper if need be and even the square feet coverage per gallon.

Here’s a summary of different kinds of strippers;

  • Solvent–  Apply in a thin layer that is less than 1/8-inch
  • Caustic– Apply in a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch layer and let the stripper settle for least 30 minutes before scraping off the paint.
  • Biochemical– Apply in a thick 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch layer and leave on the surface for 3-4 hours before scraping off the paint
  • Zero-VOC– Apply in 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch and give the stripper 3- 24 hours before removing the paint.

4. VOC.

VOCs contain harsh chemicals in their formula, like methylene chloride and NMP. These chemicals are harmful when inhaled and cause skin, throat, eye and nose irritation.

We recommend that you look for an alternative chemical stripper that does not produce high VOCs, depending on whether you are working indoors or outdoors.

  • Solvent– High VOC products
  • Caustic–  Low VOC products
  • Biochemical–  Low VOC products
  • Zero-Voc– Low VOC products

How to Use a Paint Stripper.

At this point, you have already chosen an ideal stripper for your project. Next, we will guide you on the tools to use and the steps to follow to get your work done.

Tools and Materials

  • Paint brush or roller
  • Putty knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Electric drill
  • Spray applicator
  • Water.

You will also need the following safety tools when using a paint stripper:

  • Chemical-resistant gloves
  • Protective glasses
  • Respirator
  • Clothes (to cover your skin entirely)

Related: How to Remove Stain From Skin

Step 1: Preparation.

Image courtesy of housepainting

Stripping paint is quite a messy job. Cover your floor with plastic, rosin, or kraft paper. Wear your full protective gear and ensure your workplace is well ventilated, especially when working indoors.

Next, clean your surface to remove debris and dust.

Step 2: Apply the Paint Stripper.

Shake your stripper well before application. Then, use a disposable brush, roller, or spray applicator to apply your stripper on your surface. The type of stripper and the surface determines the tool for use.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for the application process. Leave the paint for the recommended dwell time for best results.

Step 3: Use a Scraper to Remove the Paint

Once the paint has softened and bubbled up, scrape it off with the appropriate tool depending on the paint stripper you are using.

If the stripper doesn’t work the first time, apply the stripper once more.

Step 4: Clean Up and Neutralize. 

You must clean up the residue of the old paint thoroughly before applying new paint.

Follow the specific requirements given to neutralize your surface depending on the type of stripper you used.

For best results, follow the guidelines given on cleaning and neutralization by the manufacturer.

Allow your project to dry.

Safety Tips When Using Paint Strippers

Several techniques have been invented, including chemical-free methods to remove wood paint. Still, paint strippers are one of the best and effective ways to remove paint from any surface. Yet, most paint strippers contain chemicals that can harm your health if not handled appropriately.

Methylene chloride is a common chemical in paint strippers that’s harmful to human health. Prolonged exposure to this chemical may cause cancer. It also causes skin irritation, nausea, and headaches.

For safe and effective use of any paint stripper, you must follow these safety tips and practices.

1. Protect yourself

Carefully read the label. Follow all the safety instructions, especially when working with chemical paint strippers. Always wear proper protective gear when you are working with any kind of paint stripper. This includes goggles, breathing masks, gloves, and protective clothing.

2. Ventilate

You should ensure there is more ventilation in your workspace. For example, open windows and place an electric fan by the window to blow out the fumes while working indoors.

3. Work Outdoors

 If possible, move the objects you are stripping outside to avoid contaminating the air indoors, risking other people.

4. Protect Your Floor

You should lay a chemical-resistant tarp on the floor and any other furniture or project that you can’t move outside.

Related: How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors

5. Do Not Eat or Drink

You should keep food and drinks away from your working area. Wash off: If you get a paint stripper in your eyes or skin, wash it off immediately with running water. 

6. Take a Break 

If you develop nausea, dizziness, headaches, or breathing problems when working with a paint stripper, get some fresh air right away. You should consider working at a 10 minutes interval and getting a fresh air break.

7. Fire Caution

Most strippers are highly flammable. So keep off anything that might cause a spark out of your working area. Cigarettes included.

8. Get Help

You should consider getting help by hiring a professional to avoid getting exposed to any hazard caused by paint strippers.

9. Be Patient

Safer paint strippers work more slowly and take a long time to work. They do not strip paint in a single application. You should be patient enough and let it work to achieve the best results.

11. Protect Your Surrounding

Paint strippers that are not harmful to human health may still affect the surroundings, including your flowers and shrubs. You should therefore protect your surrounding areas when working outdoors.

12. Disposal

Discard your waste paint bag at a local hazardous disposal site.

FAQs About Paint Strippers

What is the Strongest Paint Remover?

Citristrip paint & varnish stripping gel is the best for wood. This paint remover works well on different types of paints and varnishes. It works on several types of surfaces and has a  fresh citrus scent.

Does Paint Stripper Destroy Fabric Clothes?

No, paint strippers do not destroy fabric clothes. As a matter of fact, most paint strippers work effectively to remove paint stains from fabrics and clothes. However, as a precaution, it often leaves an unpleasant smell/odor on the fabric.

Can Paint Strippers go Bad?

Yes, paint strippers have a shelf life, especially after you open them for use. Even though a paint stripper may not have an expiry date, you should seal it well when not in use to avoid any form of contamination.

How do I Dispose off Paint Strippers?

Don’t throw away paint stripper waste in a regular trash can. Most paint strippers contain harmful chemicals to human health or the environment. Instead, wrap the waste material and put it in a heavy-duty contractor bag. Then, dispose at a hazardous disposal site.

What are the Best Alternative Method of Removing Paint from Wood

More natural ways of removing paint from wood include using a heat gun and sanding.

Related: How to remove paint from wood with vinegar

What Is The Best Product For Stripping Paint Off Wood?

The best paint stripper for wood is the Safe ‘n’ easy citrus paint and varnish remover gel. It is a first-class and biodegradable paint remover that can cover up to 25 square feet per gallon.

This product is eco-friendly, easy to use, safe for humans. Not only that, but it also leaves a pleasant citrus scent. This makes it more suitable for use on both interior and exterior surfaces.

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