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Removal Made Easy: Best Paint Removers

  1. SAVOGRAN Kutzit Varnish/Paint Remover
  2. 3M Scotch-Brite Flat-Surface Paint Remover
  3. Sunnyside Back to Nature Ready-Strip Advanced Paint Remover
  4. Dad's Easy Spray Paint Remover
  5. Buyer's Guide

Painted furniture and architectural trim can look nice and can even be repainted numerous times. Nevertheless, there can come a time when it’s necessary to remove the paint.

There are two basic ways of removing paint: mechanically or chemically. Mechanically basically means sanding off the old paint. This can be done with sandpaper, Scotchbrite wheels in a drill, or even a plane if you have one that is the right shape. However, chemical paint removal is much more common than mechanical and is done with paint removers.

Paint removers soften the existing paint so that it can be easily scraped off the piece of furniture or architectural molding. It doesn’t usually fully dissolve the paint, but merely makes it possible for you to remove it with a putty knife or other tool. That way, you don’t have the dissolved paint running all over and staining other pieces.

Regardless of this, removing paint is an extremely messy task. So, whenever you do it, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got drop cloths down to catch the drips and the paint that you’re removing. Keep in mind that the paint remover can also attack the finish on hardwood floors. If you are removing paint in a room that has hardwood floors, be sure to use waterproof drop cloths. If your project has a lot of vertical surfaces, it can be very useful to use a paint remover that’s in a gel form. That way, it won’t run off the surface.

Regardless of what type of paint remover you choose to use for your given task, be sure to read and follow the instructions carefully. In many cases, you will need some protective equipment such as rubber gloves, eye protection, and possibly a respirator in some cases. Attention to safety is important as some of these chemicals can be very dangerous. Check out our list of the best paint removers in 2022 and get started on your project.

Comparing the Best Paint Removers of 2022

best liquid paint remover

SAVOGRAN Kutzit Varnish/Paint Remover - Best Paint Remover Overall

Kutzit is used by many professional furniture refinishers for removal of paint and varnish. This is a liquid product, which works well on horizontal surfaces. However, it is not thick enough to use on vertical surfaces without running. It is also excellent for cleaning out paint and varnish from fine carved detail. This paint remover is gentle on the wood, won’t damage veneers and won’t raise the wood grain. Cleaned surfaces can be prepared for new finish with a scraper and “washed” with paint thinner.

3M Scotch-Brite Flat-Surface Paint Remover - Runner Up

This is a water-based paint stripper. As such, it is great for indoor use, as there are no harmful fumes or VOCs to concern yourself with. It also cleans up with water, making the clean up part of the job go much faster and easier. It is also biodegradable, so it can be rinsed right down the drain. A gel or semi-paste consistency, this stripper works well with both horizontal and vertical surfaces, without dripping. So safe, you don’t even need to wear gloves when using it.

best strip paint remover

Sunnyside Back to Nature Ready-Strip Advanced Paint Remover - Honorable Mention

This is a very unique product in that it changes color when it has finished dissolving the paint and it’s time to scrape it off. You can also remove up to seven layers of paint with a single application. This stripper takes about an hour to function. An environmentally safe product, it is biodegradable, non-flammable and odor free. Cleanup is easily accomplished with water. The stripper is a semi-paste, so works well for removing paint on vertical surfaces.

Dad's Easy Spray Paint Remover - Consider

This paint remover is designed for spraying on and even comes complete with a special chemical-resistant spray bottle. Although thin enough to spray, it clings well to vertical surfaces. As it sprays, it gels, providing it with the viscosity necessary to stick to those vertical surfaces. This also makes the product go twice as far as brushed-on removers, as well as getting into corners and other difficult spots well. A non-flammable liquid, this thinner also cleans up with water only.

Buyer's Guide

Before going ahead to buy that paint remover on Amazon, Walmart, or your favorite local utility store, read this buying guide to avoid making a mistake.

In this guide, not only will you get advice on how to choose the best paint remover, but we would also show you safe ways of using the different types of paint removers since many of these paint strippers are tools or chemicals that must be handled with great care.

If we have piqued your interest, then proceed to read the best paint remover buying guide on the web. It is also essential to state that whether you want to remove paint from metal or wood, this buying guide caters to your needs.

What is a Paint Remover?

A paint remover, otherwise known as a paint stripper, has one singular purpose: to remove paint or any other type of finish from a surface. Paint removers can achieve this feat through the combination of chemicals used in their production and physical tools.

What Are the Types of Paint Removers?

Paint removers are divided into four main categories. Each type excels in removing a particular finish better than any other type. Here are the four main types of paint removers:

Bio-Chemical Paint Removers

These are the best type of paint removers. They are safe and pose lesser health risks. They include a combination of plant paint solvents like terpenes, citric acid or pines, and organic N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). These ingredients are more eco-friendly and they remove paint by eating into the paint and raising it to the surface.

They will remove water and oil-based paint from wood, but you won’t be able to use them to remove epoxy and polyurethane coatings.

Solvent Paint Removers

Solvent-based paint removers are manufactured using chemicals like methylene chloride (DCM) and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP). These compounds can remove water and oil-based paint from wood and metal surfaces. They can also effectively remove epoxy and polyurethane from any surface.

One downside of these chemicals is that they are hazardous and should only be used in situations where it is the only available option. Exposure to the chemicals used in solvent paint removers can lead to brain damage and reproductive system problems.

Even with these fearsome side effects of the product, they are still widely chosen due to their low cost. If you decide to use a solvent paint remover, ensure you wear protective gear, like gloves made from materials resistant to chemicals, protective glasses, and do not forget to wear a respirator.

Caustic Paint Removers

Another popular type of paint remover is caustic paint removers. This type of paint remover is equally dangerous to the skin and your health in general. It contains lye which turns the topmost layer of paint into soap. Lye creates a chemical reaction when applied to paint that loosens the paint from the surface.

Caustic paint removers have other downsides, like darkening wood and being incapable of removing epoxy and polyurethane.

Heat Guns

Lastly, we have heat guns. Remember we stated that if you don’t want to go with the chemical options, we also have tools to remove paint effectively. The heat gun is an example of such a tool.

In the hands of a pro, the heat gun can be used to remove paint from any surface type. However, newbies should take great care when using a heat gun as it can warp sensitive materials like wood and plastic.

How Do You Safely Use a Paint Remover to Remove Paint?

The first safety tip is one most people already know but forget to implement: always wear protective gear when handling any paint remover product. Safety gear includes safety goggles, nose masks, protective clothing, and gloves that are resistant to chemicals.

Another safety tip that should always be at the back of your mind is remembering to always use your paint remover in a properly ventilated environment.

Try to protect furniture, grass, plastic, and surfaces that you cannot move out of the way when you use your paint remover. There are several chemical-resistant tarps and plastics available.

In homes— especially those built pre-1978— ensure you test the paint in these homes with a lead paint test kit before using a paint remover. If the test is positive, use paint removers that are specified to be used on lead paint.

Always ensure the paint remover stays on the surface for the recommended dwell time before wiping or scraping it off.

What Are Crucial Factors to Consider When Selecting a Paint Remover?

The Surface

The size of the surface and the type of the surface will determine the best paint removal method you will adopt.

The best paint removers for large immobile projects like baseboards and sidings are heat guns. For furniture with flat surfaces, use the sanding method of removing paint. In contrast, if the surface is bumpy and uneven, use a chemical paint remover.

Safety Considerations

We have discussed a great deal how crucial safety is to the completion of the project, so always place safety first when using any paint remover. Do not take chances or let your guard down even when you use biochemical paint removers and heat guns.

Paint Remover FAQs

What is the best way to remove old paint?

A. The best way to remove old paint is by using a paintbrush to apply a thick layer of paint remover over the surface you will be working on. Leave the paint remover for 20 minutes. Once the paint begins to bubble up, use a paint scraper to remove the soft paint.

Does vinegar remove paint?

A. Yes, Vinegar can be used to remove paint. It is an inexpensive and easy method of removing paint from a variety of surfaces. Furthermore, it does not contain poisonous chemicals and is also eco-friendly.

Is it better to sand or strip furniture?

A. Choosing whether to sand or strip a surface depends on the surface you will be working on. In the case of furniture, it is better and safer to strip rather than sand.

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