How to Strip Paint off Furniture

To make a piece of furniture shine like it's brand new, start by stripping off all of the old paint to create a clean surface to refinish.


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You Will Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Paint stripper
  • Putty knife
  • Medium-grade steel wool
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  • Paint remover (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)


  1. Only work with paint stripper in a well-ventilated area.

  2. Step 1

    Put on gloves and goggles

    Put on your gloves and goggles. Wear old clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.

  3. Step 2

    Apply stripper

    Apply a thick coat of paint stripper to a part of the surface of your furniture. Start your work on one side of the piece, and work in sections.

  4. Only use liquid paint stripper on horizontal surfaces. Use gels or pastes on vertical surfaces

  5. Step 3

    Test after processing time

    Wait the amount of time stated by the paint stripper's manufacturer. Then use a putty knife to test whether the paint is soft and able to be peeled off.

  6. Step 4

    Remove paint with putty knife

    Remove as much paint as you can using the putty knife by peeling the paint away from the furniture's surface. Be careful not to gouge the wood.

  7. Step 5

    Use steel wool to remove remaining paint

    Use steel wool soaked in the paint stripper to scrub spots where the paint wasn't removed by the putty knife.

  8. Use an old toothbrush dipped in paint stripper to clean hard-to-reach spots like intricately carved table legs.

  9. Step 6

    Clean stripper from the wood

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning the surface after the paint has been removed. Some require you to use a paint remover, while others can be cleaned with water.

  10. Step 7

    Dry and sand the furniture

    Allow your furniture to dry completely. Use sandpaper to remove any remaining paint. Now your furniture is ready for a fresh coat and a brand new look.

  11. The Resolute Desk, used by most U.S. Presidents in the Oval Office, was created from the wood of an abandoned British ship that was rediscovered by American sailors. Queen Victoria presented the desk to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880.