How to Get Dried Old Paint Off Hardwood Floor – Latex, Acrylic, Spray

How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors Image

Hardwood floors can exude a sophisticated and luxurious feel, especially when they are newly installed or painted with a fresh coat. If you have them in your house, I bet you know what I’m talking about.

If you bought a home and found the wood floor with paint splatters, old paint peeling off, or unsightly paint stain, you would want to know how to get paint off hardwood floors.

Here is an easy guide to help you through the up-cycling and restoring your hardwood floor’s aesthetics. Read along.

How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors

There are many options you can choose from to remove paint from hardwood floors. These options include using soap and water, paint-removing solvent, paint thinners, paint scrapers, rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, hand sanitizers, a heat machine, steam stripper, or even sanding.

Some of these methods will require taking extra safety precautions.

How to Know What Type of Paint Is Used On Hardwood

It is crucial to know what type of paint is on your wood floors so you can use the correct method to remove paint stains from your hardwood floors. Here is how you can tell apart the type of paint on your hardwood floor.

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol; rub it on a small patch of the painted floor. If the paint comes off, it is either latex or water-based paint stains. If none of it comes off, the paint is oil-based.

How to Get off Water-Based Paint from Hardwood Floors

Water-based paint stain has been used on hardwood floors for ages due to its unique advantages. Upon painting, the water-based paint can dry faster than oil-based paint.

It is also environmentally friendly, does not have an annoying odour, and is easy to clean and remove if paint spills or gets too old on your hardwood floor.

Here are some of the methods you can use to remove water-based paint stain from hardwood floors.  

1. Using Soap and Water

Image courtesy Refreshmontreal

The fact that this paint is water-based automatically means you can use water to remove it. Water acts as paint thinner for this type of paint. Add a little soap to the water, and you can count on getting the hardwood clean as new.

Materials You Will Need

  • Dishwashing soap or a laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • Cotton rags

Steps to Removing a Water-Based Paint from a Hardwood Floor

Step 1: Put some warm water in a bucket. Add in a bit of dish washing soap and mix with your hand to get a warm soapy solution.

Step 2: Dip your cotton rag in the water, wring out the excess solution and rub it over the water-based paint on the wood floor.

If the paint was wet, it should come off as you rub it. Otherwise, you can rub a wet rag over it and let it soak for a few minutes.

Step 3: Dip the cotton rag in the warm soapy water and wring it. Then, use the damp cotton to wipe away the paint. The paint should all come off. If it does not, repeat the process until all the paint has come off.

Step 4: Wipe with a dry rag to remove any paint spills and excess moisture from the wood floor surface.

2. Using Rubbing Alcohol and Lemon Juice

This mixture is easy to create, affordable, and is effective at removing water-based paint from wood floors.

Materials you will need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lemon juice
  • Cotton rag
  • Paint remover
  • Container

Preparation

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Mix one part of lemon juice with three parts of rubbing alcohol in a container. Use this ratio to adjust and mix the ingredients depending on the size of your painted floor.

Steps

Step 1: Dip the cotton rag in the mixture you just made. Rub the painted wood floor with the saturated rag and let it soak for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the paint to loosen.

Step 2: Rub the paint off using the same rag you used to apply the mixture in circular motions, back and forth, to remove the paint. If there is stubborn paint, use a floor scrub brush to get it out from hard to reach crevices.

Step 3: Wipe the wood with a damp rag to get rid of the paint that came off and exposes any stubborn ones.

Step 4: Repeat the process until you have removed all the water-based paint from wood floors.

3. Sanding

Sanding can get rid of any paint regardless of age and the number of layers applied. That means you can remove water-based paint by sanding. This is especially effective for removing paint from wood floors.

Materials You Will Need

  • Handheld electric sander
  • Sandpapers (60, 80, and 120-grit)
  • Palm sandpaper
  • Face mask and goggle
  • Vacuum cleaner

Preparation

Start by assembling all the equipment you’ll need. For example, you can buy or rent an electric sander from a hardware store near you. Next, ventilate the house and seal off the vents and anything you don’t want to harbor dust. Then, put on your protective face mask and goggles.

Steps to Follow

Step 1: Plug in your electric sander to a power source.

Step 2: Sand your wood floor using the 60 grit sandpaper. This will break down much of the thick layers of the paint. Vacuum the debris and sanded dust off the place.

Step 3: Replace the 60 grit with 80 grit sandpaper. Sand further to remove more paint stain from your floor, then vacuum it clean.

Step 4: Next, replace the 80 grit with 120 grit sandpaper. Continue to sand to remove the most, if not all, of the paint stain from your hardwood floor. The finer the sandpaper grit, the smoother and more even the wood will be.

Step 5: Proceed with handheld sandpaper to get to the paint in between floorboards and the corners.

Step 6: If there is still stubborn paint on the wood, you can remove it with warm soapy water or a mixture of rubbing alcohol and lemon juice. Follow the steps elaborated above on how to use them to remove water-based paint from wood floors.

Step 7: Give the wood a final wipe with a damp cloth to remove any excess paint and sanding marks.

How to Remove Latex Paint from Hardwood Floors

We all have at least one item, if not several surfaces, coated with latex paint. It is a beautiful finish while it lasts. So if you are wondering how to get latex paint off your hardwood, here are some of the ways to go about it.

1.     Using Paint Stripper                                         

Image courtesy of Bobvila

A chemical paint stripper specific to latex paint should be one of your options as a latex paint remover. Commercial paint removers are the quickest ways to get off paint. It dissolves the paint quickly and can be used to remove thick layers of latex paint.

Make sure to use a non-toxic paint stripper to reduce the chances of accidents occurring.

Materials and Tools You Will Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Protective gloves
  • Goggles
  • Paintbrush
  • Brass-bristled brush or steel wool
  • Odourless mineral spirits
  • Plastic putty knife
  • 2 Plastic bowls
  • Face mask or a respirator

Preparation

Assemble all your tools and materials. Ensure the room is well ventilated before you begin working. Put on your mask, goggles and gloves. Remember that chemicals can be hazardous and need to be handled with caution.

Steps to Get Off Latex Paint from Hardwood Floors                                   

Step 1: Put some paint stripper in a plastic bowl.

Step 2: Use a paintbrush to apply the paint stripper to the wood. Apply a generous amount and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Work on a section at a time.

Step 3: You know the paint is ready to lift off once you see bubbles on the surface of the painted area.

Step 4: Go in with your paint scraper. Angle it slightly, facing away from you and push it along the wood grain to remove the dissolved paint. Peel off as much paint as you possibly can.

Step 5: Repeat the process to remove latex paint stain from all the painted parts of your wood surfaces.

Step 6: In case of trapped paint between floorboards, you can scrub it off using mineral spirits and a ball of steel wool or a brass-bristled brush.

Step 7: Wipe the wood clean with a damp rag and leave it to air dry.

2.     Using Heat Machine

Heat is one of the ways you can remove dry or old latex paint from wood floors. Here’s a detailed guide to using this method.

Items You Will Need

  • Heat machine
  • Putty knife 
  • Face mask
  • Heatproof gloves

Precaution

Ensure the room is well ventilated to avoid getting overwhelmed with heat or paint fumes from lots of heating. Since fire can occur, be sure to have a fire extinguisher close by just in case. Also, wear your gloves and face mask to protect yourself.

Follow These Steps to Remove Latex Paint From Wood Floor

Step 1: Plug in the heat machine to a power source.

Step 2: Hover the heat machine in circular motions over your hardwood floor. Ensure the heat machine is eight to ten inches away from the wood to avoid scorching the wood.

Step 3: Once you see the latex paint begin to wrinkle and form bubbles, go in with the putty knife and scrape the paint off slowly. It is recommended that you heat the paint using one hand while peeling with the putty knife on the other hand.

Step 4: Repeat the process on the entire wood floor where you planned to get rid of the latex paint.

Step 5: Turn off the heat machine, clean your wood floor and dispose of the debris appropriately.

If you cannot remove all the paint stain using a heat machine, consider sanding or using any other method of your choice, provided it gets the job done.

3.     Using Steam Stripper

Consider using this method if lots of heat and chemical exposure doesn’t sit well with you. This method is also environmentally friendly and equally efficient. It may be a little slower than other methods we have discussed, though, but patience pays.

Materials You Need to Remove Latex Paint from Hardwood Floors

  • Steam stripper
  • Latex paint remover
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Protective face mask

Steps to Follow to Remove Latex Paint from Hardwood Floor

Step 1: Plug in the steamer to a power source.

Step 2: Hold the steamer about three inches away from the surface of the floor. Hold it there for about 20 seconds.

Step 3: Check for bubbles beginning to form on the latex paint surface. The bubbles indicate that the latex can now come off.

Step 4: Use your plastic putty knife to scrape off the latex paint from wood floors.

Step 5: Repeat the process on all the areas where you want to remove the latex paint. 

Step 6: Dispose of the debris appropriately, switch off the steamer and store it well.

4.      Using a mixture of Lemon Juice and Rubbing Alcohol

Notice that you can remove latex paint using materials readily available at home. The good part is, these materials do not pose any health threat to you or the environment.

What You Will Need

  • Lemon
  • Rubbing (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Clean cloth
  • Brass-bristled brush or a scrub brush
  • Plastic container

How To Remove Paint From Painted Hardwood Floors

Step 1: Prepare your cleaning solution by mixing one-part lemon juice with three-part rubbing alcohol in a container. Mix well.

Step 2: Dip a clean cloth in the solution.

Step 3: Rub the saturated cloth on the latex paint on the hardwood floor.

Step 4: Use a brass-bristled brush to scrub the latex paint out from the wood.

Step 5: After that, wipe the floor using a damp cloth to clean it. Repeat the process until you are pleased with the outcome.

5.     Using Paint Scrapper

You can remove latex paint from wood floors by simply scraping it out with the correct object. Here is what you will need to complete the task.

Tools You Will Need

  • Paint scraper
  • An old credit card

 Steps to Remove Dried Latex Paint From Hardwood Floors.

Step 1: Scrape off the dried latex paint using a pull scraper or the edge of anything made of plastic that you think can do the job. Use one of these items depending on what is available to you.

Sharp objects like straight-edge razors may not be the best option if you want to keep your hardwood free of scratches and cuts.

Step 2: Wipe the paint residue with a damp cloth.  

How to Remove Dried Oil-Based Paint from Hardwood Floors

Painting is one of the ways to spruce up a living space. Oil-based paint guarantees a brilliant glossy finish and long life when given enough time (several days) to dry up.

Here are some of the ways you can use to remove oil based paint from wooden floors.

1. Sanding

Sanding removes just about any type of paint from a wooden surface. Oil-based paint stain is not an exception. Take a look

Tools You Will Need

  • Power sander
  • Different grit sandpapers—60, 80, and 120
  • Palm sandpaper
  • Vacuum cleaner or a broom
  • Gloves and a face mask
  • Cotton rag

Steps to Remove Dried Paint from Hardwood Floors

Step 1: Turn on the sander and begin sanding with 60 grit sandpaper. Sand along the wood grain. The less grit, the more the paint is likely to come off.

Step 2: Vacuum the dust and replace the sandpaper. Use the 80 grit sandpaper for the second round of sanding.

Step 3: Sand further, always along the wood grain. This grit is a little bit finer and will remove whatever paint is left after the first sanding.

Step 4: Change the sandpaper to 120 grit. After this round, your wood floor is going to be a shade lighter since all of the paint should have come off. The wood is also going to feel soft to the touch and look even.

Step 5: Vacuum to clean the wood floor after sanding one more time. In a case where you find some paint left in hard-to-reach areas, use the handheld sandpaper or paint remover to remove paint from corners and floorboard crevices.

Step 6: Give your hardwood a final proper wipe with a damp rag and spare no residue while at it.

2. Using a Paint Stripper

There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to a paint stripper. The first step, ensure you get one designed to remove oil based paint. Then you may also want to get a non-toxic one.

Remember to adhere to the safety precautions recommended on the label while handling these products.

Materials You Will Need

  • Paint stripper
  • Painting  brush
  • Firm-bristled brush
  • Putty knife
  • Gloves, mask and goggles
  • A rag

Preparation

Put on your safety gear. Ensure that your paint removal work is in a well-ventilated area, well lit, and with sufficient air flowing in and out.

Steps to Remove Dried Paint from Hardwood Floors

Step 1: Apply the paint stripper on the hardwood floor using a painting brush or paint remover. Be sure to apply a generous amount and leave it to seep into the hardwood for about 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 2: Once the dried paint is soft enough and ready to lift off, peel it with a rigid plastic putty knife. Be firm but gentle enough not to mar the wood if you are using a metal putty knife.

Step4: Use mineral spirits and a firm-bristled brush to remove dried paint from hard to reach corners and hardwood crevices.

Step 5: Wipe the wood with a damp rag to ensure you leave the wood free of any chemical or dried paint residue.

3. Using Paint Thinner

Ensure you choose paint thinner specific to oil-based paint. This can be turpentine, mineral spirits, or acetone. The paint removers are meant to dissolve the paint and make it easy to remove. You can purchase any of them from a local hardware store or on Amazon.

Materials You Will Need

  • Paint thinner
  • Cotton rags
  • Gloves
  • Face mask or a respirator

Steps to Remove Oil-Based Paint From Hardwood Floors Using Paint Thinner

Step 1: Soak a rag in a paint thinner of your choice. Using a rag, apply the paint thinner to the oil-based paint stains.

Step 2: As soon as the rag is drenched in the paint thinner, rub it on the paint to begin working its magic – dissolving the paint.

Since paint thinners tend to evaporate quickly, rub it off after a few minutes of applying to avoid letting the paint thinner dry on the paint.

Step 3: Repeat the process until you remove all of the paint from wood floors.

Step 4: Wipe the floor with a damp rag to remove any lingering residue and prevent the paint thinner from damaging the wood itself.

4. Using Heat Machine

Following a similar procedure, as discussed above, you can remove dried oil-based paint stains from your hardwood floor using heat.

Items You Will Need.

  • Heat machine
  • Putty knife 
  • Face mask
  • Heatproof gloves

Preparation

Put on your mask and gloves. Ensure you are working in a properly ventilated space. Have a fire extinguisher close by just in case a fire breaks out.

Steps for Removing Paint from Wooden Floors

Step 1: Plug in the heat machine to a power source. A heat machine, in this case, could be a heat gun or a hairdryer. Use whichever is at your disposal.

Step 2: Take your putty knife in one hand, heat the dried paint using a heat machine on the other hand.

Step 3: Test if the dried paint is soft and can peel off using the putty knife while you heat. Have the heat machine about eight inches away from the wood to avoid burns.

Step 4: Peel the dried paint that’s ready to come off. Continue in the same fashion until you are content with the new condition of your wood floor finish.

How to Remove Paint Splatter from Hardwood Floors

Paint splatters are a classic sign of paint works done. Whether an expert did the paint job or an aspiring artist in the house, paint splatters are likely to occur.

Here are some simple ways to remove paint splatter from your wood floors.

1. Using Paint Thinner

This method is most suitable for oil based paints splatters. In addition, you will need a paint thinner (turpentine, acetone, or mineral spirits), a cotton rag, gloves, and a face mask.

Soak a rag in the paint thinner and rub it on the paint splatter. Leave it on for a few minutes for the paint to dissolve and weaken, then wipe with a damp rag to remove the paint splatter and the paint thinner residue.

2. Using Paint Scrapper

Using this method can remove both water-based and oil based paint splatter on wooden surfaces. You will need a plastic or metal putty knife and a damp rag for this task.

Start by tilting the paint scraper and applying enough pressure to remove the paint splatter. Scrap it off as many times as necessary, then wipe the dried paint off the wood with a rag.

3. Using Soap and Water

This method is most suitable for water-based paint.

Wet the paint with warm soapy water using a rag. Let it sit for a minute or more, depending on the size of the splatter. Then use a non-abrasive scouring pad to remove the soaked paint. Finally, wipe the wood clean with a damp rag. Voila.

4. Using a Steamer

Plugin the steamer into a power source and hold it close to the paint splatter for a few seconds. This will warm up the dried paint for an easy paint removal job.

Then, rub the steamed surface with a damp rag to remove the paint splatter from the floor.

5. Using Hand Sanitizer

Yes, you can use hand sanitizer to remove paint splatters from wood floors. The alcohol in the sanitizer helps to break down the paint and make it easy to remove.

All you need to do is apply the sanitizer to the paint and let it sit for about 30 seconds or more, depending on the thickness of the splatter. Then rub it with an old toothbrush. After that, wipe the hardwood surface with a damp rag to clean it up.

How to Remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floors

Say you just moved into a house that has seen better days, and the paint is old and dull. To make it comfortable, you will need to remove the old paint then replace it with a fresh coat. There are a number of methods you can use to improve this kind of situation.

Whatever you choose, test out on an inconspicuous area first before going all-in on a large surface.

Equipment You Will Need

  • Power sander
  • Sandpaper with different grit level
  • Cotton cleansing pads
  • Gloves, goggles and face mask or respirator
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Pressure washer

Precaution

Clear the space, remove anything you would not want to make dusty in the case of sanding, and wet if you use a pressure washer. Ensure you wear your face shield and hand gloves. Most important to note, we advise paint removal by sanding should be strictly on hardwood floors with enough thick layers.

Otherwise, to remove paint off your hardwood floors go for simpler and cheap alternatives that do not involve sanding.

Steps To Remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floor Using Sanding

Start by plugging in your sander to a power source. Then, begin sanding the old paint using 60 grit sandpaper to remove the thick, old layers of paint.

Subsequently, shift to 80-grit, then 120-grit sanders to remove stubborn paint from hard-to-reach areas of the floor, between floorboards, and even out the wood.

Finally, wipe the hardwood floor surface with a cleansing pad and dispose of the chipped paint appropriately.

Steps to Remove Old Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using a Pressure Washer

This method can be effective, especially if the old paint has started flaking off. It is one of the natural paint remover methods. Set up the pressure washer, connect a yellow nozzle to the pressure washer wand, and turn on the water and the power.

Stand firm, hold the pressure washer wand at an angle above the hardwood with old paint, release the trigger and spray the water. Use motions that simulate sweeping and sweep along the wood grain.

Move back and forth, closer and farther from the wood as necessary. This ensures you remove all of the old paint from all parts of the wooden floor. Once all of the old paint is out, wipe the wood to remove excess water and moisture. Let it air dry.

How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors without Sanding

There are other methods that you can use to remove paint off hardwood floors in place of sanding.

These methods include using a heat gun with a putty knife, using a steamer, paint scrapper, rubbing alcohol with lemon juice, denatured alcohol, vinegar, warm water and soap, chemical paint strippers and chemical paint thinners.

What you will need

  • Pull scraper
  • Water and dishwashing liquid
  • Cotton rags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Lemon juice
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Paint strippers
  • Paint thinner
  • Heat machine
  • Steamer
  • Power source
  • Putty knife
  • Floor scrub brush or an old toothbrush

Steps to Remove Paint off Hardwood Floor Using a Paint Scrapper

You will need a paint scraper or any plastic object with a solid, sharp edge that you can use for this easy method. You will also need a damp rag.

Use the paint scraper to scrape away the hardened paint from your hardwood, back and forth all around, until all the paint stains come off. Then wipe with a damp rag, and you’re done.

Steps to Remove Paint off Hardwood Floor Using Warm, Soapy Water

This method works best for water-based and latex paint. You will need a rag and warm soapy water.

Wet the floor with the paint and let it sit for a minute or two. Then, rub the paint off using the cotton swab. Next, wipe the surface to remove excess water and paint, then let it air dry.

Steps to Remove Paint off Hardwood Floor Using Rubbing Alcohol and Lemon Juice

This method works best for removing paint from wood floors without damaging the finish. First, you will need to mix lemon juice and add a few drops of rubbing alcohol in the ratio of 1:3. Then, apply the mixture to the paint stains using a rag and let it sit for a few minutes.

Rub the mixture and the paint out using a rag, non-abrasive sponge, or a floor scrub brush. Finally, wipe the floor dry and let it air dry further.

Steps to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits can remove water-based and latex paint from hardwood.

Saturate a cotton ball or cleansing pad in the alcohol and use it to soak the paint. The alcohol will dissolve the paint and make it easy to remove. Finally, wipe the remaining paint stains with a damp rag.

Steps to Remove Paint from Hardwood Floor Using Vinegar

Soak the paint in vinegar and leave it for about a minute or more, depending on the thickness of the paint and how big the floor is.

While removing paint stains, rub it with an old toothbrush to remove stubborn paint. Then wipe it out with cleansing pads.

For a more detailed step-by-step procedure, check out our post on how to remove paint from wood using vinegar.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using Paint Thinner

Ensure you use a paint thinner specific to the type of paint on your wood floor surface for best results.

All you need to do is apply the paint thinner on the paint and let it sit for a while. Then use a putty knife or a pull scraper to remove the softened paint stains from the wood.

Once all the paint has come off, give it a final wipe with a damp rag.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using a Paint Stripper

Once you have chosen the paint stripper you intend to use, apply it to the paint using a paintbrush. Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until you see bubbles forming.

Scrape the paint stains using a plastic putty knife. Scrape along the wood grain and remove as much paint stains as possible.

Use mineral spirits, steel wool and paint remover to remove stubborn paint stains from between floorboards or hard-to-reach areas of the floor. Then, give it a final wipe with a damp rag.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using a Heat Machine

You can use a heat gun or a hairdryer set to the maximum heat setting. Hover it on the paint, about eight inches away from the wood. Once the paint stains begins to wrinkle, scrape it out using a metal putty knife while you continue heating.

Do the same for all parts of the hardwood floor. Clear out the debris and dispose of them appropriately.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using a Steamer

Hold the steamer about three inches away from the wood and focus it on a section at a time. Once the paint stainsbegins to form bubbles and wrinkles, you can either wipe the remaining paint away with a cotton rag or scrape it off using a paint remover.

Finally, wipe the floor clean with a damp rag.

Conclusion

That said, the type of paint on your hardwood floor should determine the method you pick for removing paint stains from hardwood floors.

Also, the number of paint layers, the size of the floor, and your ease of using a particular method will play a role.

Feel free to use a combination of the methods in this guide of how to get paint off hardwood floors without damaging finish. But, remember to adhere to every safety precaution and enjoy.

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