How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Get acrylic paint off wood
How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood Image

Do you have messy acrylic paint splatters on your wooden surfaces or an old dry paint that you would like to get rid of? Learning how to remove acrylic paint from wood will help you deal with that paint effortlessly.

Acrylic paint stains can accidentally land on wood from a painting job, or the little ones decided to explore their artistic talents. Alternatively, you may have wooden furniture painted with acrylic, and you want to flip it.

While removing a fresh paint stain as soon as it occurs is easy, you can also get rid of dried paint with a bit of effort.

In a hurry, here’s a quick snippet answer, but you’ll have to read through to get better results.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

To remove acrylic paint from wood, use soap that lathers well and penetrates the wood grain. This can be any dish soap in liquid or bar state. Soak a clean, fresh cloth in the soapy water then rub over the painted surface. Rub repeatedly as you lather the soap until you remove all the acrylic paint.

Read on to learn a few methods on how best to remove older paint stains and freshly spilled paint on any wood surface.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood Using Soap and Water

Acrylic paint is water-based. Therefore, it makes sense to use hot water to remove acrylic paint splatter from wooden surfaces.

Materials

This simple method works best to remove acrylic paint from varnished wood when it is still wet and fresh. Once the paint dries, even hot soapy water won’t work.

The steps

Step 1: Create a mixture of dish soap and water. Stir to lather up.

Step 2: Dampen the rag or a clean cloth with hot soapy water.

Step 3: Wipe the acrylic paint off the wood using a wet cloth.

Step 4: Use more soapy water to wash the paint spill away.

Step 5: Clean off any residue with the wet cloth.

Step 6: Wipe the treated surface with a dry rag to eliminate excess water and paint residue.

Related: Removing Paint Primer From Wood Like a Pro

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood Table Using Vegetable Oil

Unlike the soap and water method, vegetable oil is quite effective at removing dry acrylic paint.

Tools and Materials

The steps

Step 1: Drop some olive oil directly on the acrylic paint. Then, rub the oil gently using a paper towel. Make sure that the olive oil covers the entire paint.

Step 2: Leave the oil to soften the paint for about 15 minutes. If possible, let it sit for a few minutes. Avoid touching the wooden surface while the paint bubbles.

Step 3: Scrape the paint off using a paint scraper. Apply gentle pressure so you only remove the paint stain and do not scratch the varnish.

Step 4: Use a damp rag to wipe off all the paint and the oil traces. Repeat the process to remove remaining paint if you didn’t manage to get all the paint off your wood in the first attempt.

How To Remove Dried Acrylic Paint From Wood Floor Using Rubbing Alcohol

Apart from using rubbing alcohol for first aid, it also works magic when removing paint from hardwood floor.

Tools and Materials

  • Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
  • Clean cloth(s)
  • Putty knife
  • Steel wool

This is your best option to get acrylic paint from your bare or unvarnished wood. You can also use it on a varnished surface, but it will dull the shine. Here’s how to use it.

The steps

Step 1: Use a putty knife or a paint scraper to scrape off the dried paint from your wood surface. The goal here is to remove as many paint layers as possible. Be careful not to damage the wood.

Step 2: Pour some rubbing alcohol on a cloth with some elbow grease, enough to saturate a part of the cloth.

If you are working on a bigger paint stain, use a ball of steel wool and rubbing alcohol to remove the paint. But, again, only focus on the affected areas, so you don’t damage the wood.

Step 3: Rub the alcohol over the remaining paint spots from scraping. Rub off the paint in a back and forth motion. Use more alcohol if you need to to ensure that all the remaining paint comes off.

Step 4: Use a soapy cloth to wipe away the paint and rubbing alcohol residue. Then wipe the wood dry using a dry cloth.

Precautions when Using Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Acrylic Paint

  • Never use a container with an open flame or excessively hot surface on it, as this could cause the fire to spread.
  • Avoid using basic rubbing alcohol near windows where sunlight may come through and expose people close by.
  • Keep rubbing alcohol away from children at all costs!

How To Remove Acrylic Paint Using From Wood Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a bit stronger than rubbing alcohol. Therefore, translating to more effectiveness at removing acrylic paint from wood.

Note, however, that denatured alcohol is not only poisonous but also highly flammable (produces invisible pale blue flame). So remember to work in a well-ventilated area and have a fire extinguisher close by, just in case.

Tools and Materials

  •  Denatured alcohol
  •  Paint scraper
  • Clean rag
  • Paintbrush or paint roller
  • Gloves
  • Respirator or a mask
  • Liquid Soap and water
  • Cotton ball

This option is best suited for removing dried paint stains on unfinished or unvarnished wood.

The steps

Step 1: Wet a clean rag or paintbrush in denatured alcohol.

Step 2: Apply a generous coat of alcohol over the dried paint to be removed. Let the alcohol dissolve the acrylic resin for about two to five minutes.

Step 3: Use a putty knife to scrape off the softened paint. Be gentle as a putty knife can damage the wood. Dispose of the scraped paint appropriately.

Step 4: Repeat the application and scraping process as necessary until you can remove all the acrylic paint from the wood.

Step 5: Dampen a rag in cold water and use it to wipe the area and remove any acrylic paint left or denatured alcohol residue.

How To Remove Dry Acrylic Paint From Wood Deck Using a Heat Gun

Taking off dried acrylic paint from wooden furniture could be a pain unless you use a heat gun. You can purchase a heat gun from hardware stores near you. Be sure to read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when using it.

Tools and Materials

  • Heat gun
  • Goggles
  • Heatproof gloves
  • Mask or respirator 
  • Putty knife or butter knife
  • Clean rag

It makes better sense to choose this option if you are working on a large wood surface like furniture or a door. 

The steps

Step 1: Put on your mask or respirator and your gloves. Choose gloves made of leather; they guarantee heat-free protection to your hand. Ensure the room is well-ventilated if you can’t work in an open-air space.

Step 2: Plug the heat gun into a power source. Then, set the heat gun to the maximum setting and hold it about 4 inches away from the paint. Next, move the heat gun in short circular motions.

Step 3: Scrape off the paint once you see it form bubbles on the surface. Hold the putty knife in another hand and scrape the paint following the direction of the wood grain. Scrape gently so you don’t damage the wood but remove as much paint as you can.

Step 4: Once the wood has cooled down, wipe it with a damp rag using liquid or bar soap and water to remove any paint residue.

Step 5: Wipe the wood with a damp rag and allow the wood to air dry.

Precautions When Using a Heat Gun

A heat gun is quite dangerous if used without care.

  • Wear protective clothing like gloves that protect your skin from burns
  • Point the heat gun away from any living creatures who may come into contact with its blast radius.
  • Keep an extinguisher handy

How To Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood Using a Solvent

Paint solvents can strip acrylic paint from wood within a short time. You can choose from methylene chloride, ammonia, or lacquer thinner.

However, they can pose serious health and environmental dangers. So ALWAYS wear your protective gear when handling paint solvents.

Because of their toxicity, it’s best to contact a professional for help.

In any case, always follow the safety precautions when trying to clean acrylic paint.

Tools and Materials

  • Paint solvent
  • Goggles
  • Chemical-resistant gloves
  • Respirator or mask
  • Clean cloths
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paintbrush

This option is best suited for dissolving thick layers of paint splatter from unpainted or unfinished wood. That way, you are only focused on stripping the paint and not worried about the finish on your wood surface.

The steps                        

Step 1: Wear your protective gear –goggles, gloves, respirator and, a long-sleeved outfit. You want to avoid any chances of the chemical coming into contact with your skin. Also, ensure you work in a properly ventilated space.

Step 2: Using a paint roller or paintbrush, apply a thin coat of the solvent to the paint. Let it sit for as long as the manufacturer recommends. It should be about 20-30minutes.

Step 3: Scrape off the paint once you see bubbles. Use a plastic paint scraper or putty knife to scrape along the direction of the wood grain. A metal putty knife might gouge the wood, and we don’t want that. Scrape as much paint as possible.

Step 4: Soak a fresh cloth in mineral spirits, then use it to wipe the wood surface. This will not only neutralize the wood but also remove any lingering paint and solvent residue.

Step 5: Wrap up the process by wiping the wood with a damp cloth.

Step 6: Finish with a clean, dry cloth. Allow the surface to dry fully for about a week before you can finish it.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint Stain from Wood Furniture Using Acetone

It is no surprise that acetone can be used to get acrylic paint off wood. You can buy acetone from paint stores or hardware near you.

Here is an easy way to use it.

Tools and Materials                                     

  • Acetone
  • Gloves
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Clean rag

This option is best for removing acrylic paint from bare or unfinished wood.

The steps

Step 1: Apply acetone directly on the paint and cover it with a paper towel. Since acetone evaporates very fast, covering it will allow the acetone to dissolve and soften the paint. Let it sit for about five minutes.

Step 2: Scrape off the loose paint using a paint scraper. Then saturate a clean rag in acetone and gently rub on the leftover paint. Rub in a back and forth motion until you see paint transfer to the wet rag.

Step 3: Use more acetone and more clean rags if the paint requires it.

Step 4: Once you get all the paint out, wipe the wood with a damp soapy rag.

Step5:  Finally, wipe the wood using a dry rag. Allow the surface to air dry for as long as needed.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood Door By Sanding

This method is effective even though it will take some effort to get the paint off. Use a power sander, if you can, to cut down on the amount of time and effort required. If you don’t have it at your disposal, a fine sandpaper and a sanding block will still get the job done.

Tools and Materials

  • Fine Sandpaper (80 and 150 –grit)
  • Sanding block
  • Clean rag
  • Power sander (optional)
  • Hot water
  • Gloves, goggles, and mask

This is your best option for more prominent paint stains on your furniture, for example, coffee tables.

The steps

Step 1: Begin by wearing your safety gear and ensure the working space is well-ventilated. If you can, work in an open-air space.

Step 2: Wrap the 80-grit sandpaper on the sanding block.

Step 3: Sand away the paint using back and forth motions. This aims at removing thick layers of acrylic paint.

Step 4: Brush the dust off. Then use the 150-grit sandpaper and repeat the sanding process.

Step 5: Brush the dust again and wipe the surface with a damp cloth. The wood should look brighter in the shade and feel soft to the touch.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood Deck Using Paint Stripper

My preferred one is the Sunnyside Paint &Varnish Remove, said to work in less than 2 minutes. This chemical is free of methylene chloride. You can also use it to remove paint from vertical wood surfaces such as deck railing. If you have thick layers of acrylic paint on the wood, this item is perfect for the job.

Tools and Materials

  • Paint stripper
  • Paintbrush
  • Putty knife
  • Pressure washer or high-pressure water hose
  • Gloves, goggles, and protective clothing
  • Clean cloth

This method is best suited for exterior works. For example, if you want to remove paint from the wood deck.

The steps to remove the acrylic paint

Step 1: Remember to put on your gloves and goggles since you are working in an open-air space. Also, wear long-sleeved clothing so you don’t have any part of your skin coming into contact with the chemical.

Step 2: Use a painting brush to apply the paint stripper all over the surfaces with the paint. The advantage of using this particular paint stripper is that you can remove paint from up to 25 sq. ft. per gallon.

Step 3: Wash away the paint after two to five minutes. Use either a pressure washer or a high-pressure water hose.

Step 4: Scrape off the leftover paint using a putty knife or paint scraper. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth and let the wood air dry for about 48 hours or more. Ensure the surface is completely dry before you sand it and refinish.

Read more about removing paint from wood without chemicals

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Dry Acrylic Paints Wash Off?

If the paint gets enough time to dry up, it can be durable. However, if you don’t add a textile medium or the paint doesn’t dry sufficiently, it can wash off when exposed to paint-removing solvents.

Will Vinegar Remove Dry Acrylic Paints?

This method depends on the surface that’s painted in acrylic. First, heat a little bit of vinegar in a saucepan or a microwave. Use a paintbrush or clean rag to apply the hot vinegar to the dry paint. After about 15 minutes of a controlled setting, scrape off the paint. Read on how to use vinegar as a paint remover.

How to Remove Latex Paint From Varnished Wood

The only way to get rid of that latex paint on your varnished wood is by sanding it down. If you don’t have a sander, use an electric hand drill with 400 grit paper attached. Work in circular motions for 30 seconds at a time until all remaining residue has been removed.

Related: Can you use latex paint over oil paint

Can I Paint Over Dry Acrylic Paint?

Yes, you can paint over dry acrylic paint without any fear of lifting or peeling the color. This is possible because this paint is insoluble and will dry into any paint film coated over it. Therefore, the only visible change will be the color and texture depending on the paint you use.

​​Will Acrylic Paint Wash Off Wood in Rain?

Fresh acrylic paint will wash off since acrylic paint is water-based. However, if the paint has dried, it’s a bit water-resistant. But over time, it will flake and peel off.

How Do I Remove An Acrylic Stain From Wood Without Stripping Or Sanding?

You can easily get rid of acrylic stain by scraping it using a putty knife. Alternatively, you can use vegetable oil to soften the paint stains, then scrape it off. Next, wash with soap and water. You can also use rubbing alcohol to get rid of that acrylic paint stain from wood.

How to remove acrylic paint from laminate wood

First, start by soaking the area in warm water (not hot) so it softens up enough for scrubbing. Use clean dish soap along with baking soda mixed together.

How To Get Rid of Dried Acrylic Paint

You can use one of these methods to remove dried acrylic paint from wood. Rub the paint off using rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol, paint solvents. Alternatively, you can use a heat gun or sand the surface. Choose a practical method depending on the size of the paint stain and the materials accessible.

Can Lacquer Thinner Remove Acrylic Paint

Of course, it can! Acrylic paint is made with plastic, so Lacquer Thinner will remove any kind of acrylic paint stains. Make sure to dilute the solution and apply it evenly on the wood surface for the best results. But beware, the methanol and toluene chemicals in lacquer thinner can actually damage your skin. Stay away from nail polish remover as well.

If you must use a solvent for removing dried acrylic paint, go for ammonia. This paint remover has been found effective as it can neutralize and stabilize acrylic emulsions due to its ability to raise pH levels. This technique works well because most artists prefer working safely indoors.

Final Thoughts on How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

No acrylic paint is difficult to remove if you pick the right method from our list.

The effectiveness of a paint removal method will depend on whether the paint is wet or dry—the materials used and the type of wood being scraped. Pay attention to the safety precautions of using each method.

What to do Next

Don’t be stuck with wood cabinets, flooring, or furniture flecked with chalk paint forever. If you’re itching for a fresh paint job check out our guide on how to remove chalk paint from wood.

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