How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood: 6 Easy Methods


It is quite common to spill paint on wood. Most paint stains are easily removed.

It’s easier than you might think to remove acrylic paint off of wood. Some people may be concerned about removing the paint and causing damage.

You probably don’t want to mess up the wood either. We have you covered, no matter what the reason.

By the time you’re done reading this article, getting acrylic off wood will be a piece of cake. Next, you’ll find some of the most effective and most accessible methods to follow along:

How to get acrylic paint off wood: The Top 6 Methods

It is very easy to remove paint from your wood.

These are some ways to get rid acrylic paint from wood. It could be a table or a door or a piece furniture.

1. Soap & Rag

This is the easiest method. You don’t need to waste any time or effort, and it is decently effective. Here’s what you need to make it happen:

Things You Will Need

•Soap

•A rag

•Gloves

As you see, it’s pretty straightforward. It’s easy to gather them without wasting time or getting out of your home. Next, follow the next steps.

Cleanse the Acrylic

Once you’re ready to start, dampen a rag and wipe the acrylic paint with it.

1. Use a dampened rag to apply medium pressure while you rub it backwards and forwards.

2. To prevent your rag from becoming saturated, rotate it around.

3. Remember that paint stains that are old may not work.

The whole purpose is to get rid of the extra acrylic that’s still fresh.

Clean the Surface

After you have rubbed the wet rag across the wood, you can clean it thoroughly. Here’s how:

1. Make some soap by putting hot water in a rag.

2. Use any glycerin soap, it doesn’t matter what type of soap you use. You should be fine as long as the soap produces enough lather.

This will enable you to clean the surface well enough so that not one drop of acrylic paint remains.

Use your hands gently

Don’t press too hard on the surface. Use a rough rag to be as gentle as possible. Use medium pressure if needed

1. Use your rag to gently rub the paint off.

2. Continue to rub your rag over the surface. Continue to rub your rag across the surface until you are completely free of the stain.

3. Depending on the paint’s thickness, you might need several rags.

It’s essential to be extra careful, so don’t overlook this step.

Keep wiping

You should wipe the entire surface for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. This is the only way you can get rid of all acrylic from the wood. These steps will help you do it:

1. To remove soap residue from wood, dampen your rag. 

2. Keep rubbing until the soap has been removed.

Be consistent in getting rid every trace of acrylic.

Let your Wood Dry

Once you’ve removed the acrylic, the wood will be all wet. You’ll have to let it dry.

1. To remove moisture from damp areas, use a dry rag. The rag should be rubbed against the damp surface until no more water is left.

2. The wood may still be damp so allow it to dry for 48hrs.

3. This process can take up to a year depending on the size of your wood.

Once the wood dries up completely, then you’ve successfully removed acrylic from it using a rag and soap.

2. Olive Oil

If the first method doesn’t do the trick for you, don’t worry. We have more methods that can help you get rid of that pesky paint from your wood. This is a great alternative, and it’s also a natural product. So, let’s go ahead and give it a try.

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Things You Will Need

It’s all about scraping, so you’ll need –

•Paint scraper

•Putty knife (optional)

•Rag

•Olive oil

These items are easy to find at your home so it shouldn’t be a problem to gather them.

Soften the Paint

Olive oil will be used to soften the paint. This shouldn’t be much of a problem; you just need to follow these steps:

1. Place some olive oil on the rag. Use the oil to rub the rag around the wood surface.

2. Spread the oil wherever you find acrylic paint.

This should begin to soften the surface.

Let It Sit

The acrylic paint should be allowed to sit for at least fifteen minutes with the olive oil. This should penetrate the paint and lift it off of the wood.

1. You should not touch the oily surface.

2. It would be great if you could let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

You will be able see how the acrylic paint starts to soften.

Scrape the Paint

After the paint has fully cured, you can begin to scrape it. Use the paint scraper, or putty knives depending on your preference.

1. Start gently pushing the knife against the paint.

2. Be careful not to damage the wood. Take out all acrylic paint.

After about 30 minutes to one hour, you should have removed all the paint using olive oil as an oil softener. You can use any tool that you are comfortable with.

3. Alcohol to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood

Acrylic paint can be removed using alcohol. Here, we’ll explain how it works:

Things You’ll Need

•Alcohol

•Putty knife

•Old rag

•Fresh rag

Drink Alcohol on a Rag

Now, pour alcohol on the rag and you can start wiping down the surface with the paint.

1. Get any basic rubbing alcohol. You can also buy one at a drugstore if you need it.

2. Cover the bottle with a clean rag. Now shake the bottle vigorously until you see that the rag is slightly dampened.

This will give permission to begin scraping it.

Scrape the Paint

You will need to remove the acrylic paint using a putty knife.

1. The top layer should be chipped off as much as possible. You should be careful as you could damage the wood and leave some marks.

The more layers you remove, it is easier for the alcohol to cut through.

Use the paint scraper to remove it

This is the most important step. Take care and do it effectively. Here’s how:

1. Begin by rubbing the paint back and forth on the surface, until it is separated from the wooden.

2. Continue to add alcohol to the cloth as necessary. Don’t moist the whole piece, but make sure it is sufficiently moist.

3. Alcohol can damage wood so be careful. Don’t be too harsh when rubbing the paint off.

Remember that this is meant to soften the paint so that you can later get rid off the excess.

Take out all traces of alcohol

Be sure to remove any acrylic paint traces. This should be fairly simple.

1. Use a clean, dry rag to apply some water.

2. You can rub the rag back-and-forth on the damp surface until you are free of moisture.

3. It may take up to 24 hours before the wood is completely dried.

4. To remove alcohol residue, wipe the area.

You should leave the wooden surface as natural as possible. Now, you’ve successfully removed the acrylic paint.

4. Heat Gun

Well, the heat gun is also effective at removing acrylic paint even if it doesn’t look like so. Here we’ll tell you how that’s possible:

Items You’ll Need

•Heat gun

•A putty knife

•A rag or piece of cloth

•Sandpaper (optional)

Find out if the area being painted is large enough

It’s up to you whether you want to remove pain stain from your door or any other type of wood. Either way, it’s worth a try.

•If you’re actually going to get a heat gun, they are cheap easy to find at most craft stores.

Take care

A heat gun is not the exact same as a blowdryer. It has a little more power, so be careful.

Before you begin stripping paint with the heat gun, it is important to read the instructions. We recommend that you wear safety glasses and a mask.

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Remember that a heatgun is like ironing. You want it to be versatile and not stay in one place for too long. Heat can loosen paint and cause it to scrape it off.

Although it may not be quick, this is a very efficient method to remove paint if you are careful.

Heat up the paint

Apply heat to the wood surface and cover the area with acrylic paint.

1. You can hold the tool with one hand while keeping the ventilation slots covered.

2. Before stripping the paint, heat the gun for a few seconds before you start.

3. You might want to test the temperature first on the part of the wood where it won’t be noticed.

4. For 10 to 20 seconds, keep it at least 4 inches away from the stain to avoid any damage to the wood.

5. Don’t hold it in one place for long as it could damage your wood.

After heating up the whole surface, you’re almost ready to start getting the paint off.

Take it off

You can begin to scratch the acrylic paint as soon as it heats up. This is how you should proceed:

1. Grab the heat gun with one hand and then use the knife to remove the paint stain.

2. Place the nozzle right in front of the putty knives.

3. Don’t try to remove vast swathes of paint at once, go for the easy strips first.

4. The paint stain should now start to fall off.

5. Don’t let too much gunk build up on your putty knife.

6. Every time you need to clean your putty knives, turn the heat gun off.

7. Keep in mind that paint stain doesn’t always come off as easy, so be patient and take as much time as needed.

8. Turn off the gun and allow it to cool for at least 30 mins before you store it.

You should now have the entire surface free from acrylic paint. It’s time to clean the residues.

Clean the Surface

Once you’re at this part of this process, there are a couple of different ways that you can get the residue off:

1. Let the wood cool off isn’t hot anymore, use a damp rag and rub it back and forth to remove any residue.

2. If you’re going to sand it, let it dry for at least 24 hours, because if you don’t, your sandpaper is going to get clogged up with residue.

Wiping the surface will remove any acrylic paint or residues. It is best to leave it untouched so it can be ready for any sanding and staining later.

5. Sanding

This is the most laborious method, but it is also very useful. This can take a lot time if you use sandpaper and an sanding block. A sanding machine can help you reduce time and effort. Here’s what to do:

Things You’ll Need

•Sandpaper 150-grit and 80-grit

•Sanding block 

•Sanding machine (optional)

•Water

•A piece of cloth or rag

As you see, you don’t need much for this method either. 

Sand the Surface

There’s no time to waste, you can get on with the sanding right away. 

1. Before you sand, make sure you have safety glasses and a mask.

2. Wrap the sandpaper around a sanding board.

3. Use even pressure to rub the sandpaper back-and-forth.

4. A dowel can be used to sand curves.

5. Get rid of all the dust.

The wood should feel very smooth after you have finished sanding.

Clean the Wood

It will make the wood look more neat and clean. 

1. To remove any residue, rub a damp rag on the wood.

2. If it clogs you can rotate the rag or rewet the rag and continue wiping in direction of the grain.

3. Continue wiping until your rag is clean. That’s the best way to tell if you’re done.

Once you’ve cleaned it up, then you’re ready to do any refurbishing if necessary.

Refinish the wood

We recommend refinishing if you intend to use the piece of lumber for any other purpose. This is how it works:

1. Once it’s dry, get a brush and touch up the wood using the same stain that was used before.

2. Start by soaking the bristles to about halfway up. Then, gently rub the brush on the side.

3. Apply the finish in straight, even strokes in the grain direction.

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4. Do not overbrush. You should stop once the surface looks good.

Refinishing the wood can help bring back its color and smoothness. You won’t have to work with a rough piece eventually.

6. A Solvent is used to remove acrylic paint

Acrylic paint can be removed with solvent. This is the best way to get rid. While this is the most effective method, it’s also the most dangerous.

Here’s how it works:

Select a Solvent

Although it may not be an easy topic, now that we are interested in chemicals, we have decided that methylene chlorineide would be the best. This is a very potent chemical that should be used with caution.

This chemical is based on citrus so it is eco-friendly. Yet, it is still a dangerous chemical, so don’t mess around with it. It can be found in most paint stores.

There may be other options. Acrylic paint removers These are just a few examples. But still, this is the best option you’ll find.

Gather the Items

•Solvent (as explained)

•Paintbrush or paint roller

•Putty knife

•Piece of cloth or rag

This should be enough for you to start removing the paint with the solvent.

Take Safety Measures

You can avoid damage when working with solvents by following these safety precautions. Acrylic paint can be extremely damaging due to the fumes and particles.

1. Long sleeves are recommended as the product can splash.

2. Heavy gloves

3. Safety glasses 

4. Goggles

5. A ventilation or dust mask

Once you’re done gearing up safety equipment, then you’re almost ready to start.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

First, ensure that you work in an area with adequate ventilation. Here’s a way to make that happen:

1. Allow air to naturally circulate in and out of the home.

2. Work outdoors if possible. If you can’t, open all the windows and doors.

3. A fan could be placed close to the fan to blow out the fumes.

Don’t forget to be careful when trying to clean acrylic paint from your wood surface; take a few breaks in-between when doing so as it might be exhausting the first time around.

Spread the Solvent

You’ll need to spread the solvent on the wood surface, so it starts doing its effect. Here’s how:

1. Make sure you have the right paintbrush or roller for the job.

2. Put the paint on the roller tray. You can also dip the paintbrush into the solvent.

3. Apply the solvent to the wood surface.

4. Then let it rest for around 20 minutes. The paint should bubble.

Be careful not to pour any solvents on the wood surface. This solvent can be extremely toxic and can cause serious harm to pets, people, and floors.

Scrape off the paint

After pouring the solvent and let it work, you’ll see how the paint starts to bubble out. Once it bubbles, you can scrape it off.

1. You can use a putty knife or a sandpaper to remove the paint bubbles from the wood.

2. Use medium pressure to rub back and forth.

3. Be careful when scraping off paint bubbles as you could damage the wood, and we don’t want that.

You must get rid of all acrylic paint.

Clean up

Finish by cleaning the wood, so there’s no trace of acrylic paint, and at the same time, no solvent to worry about.

1. Put water on a rag, and begin wiping the wood until it becomes neutralized.

2. Don’t use it anywhere else. Once you’re done, throw it away.

If you get rid of all the acrylic paint and residues, then you’re almost done.

Let it dry

Allow your wood to dry for at least one week before applying any waxes or stains.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gotten this far, see how easy it is to get acrylic paint off wood? It takes some effort and time but your wood is now clean and fresh. 

You also learned how to remove paint from your wood, so now you could even remove your neighbor’s paint stain and make some money. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win.

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