How to Remove Paint from Wood

We get a steady stream of customers asking us for advice about paint stripper use and how to remove paint and varnish from wood. Here’s some practical information about stripping paint from wood, designed to help you choose the right product.


Fast and effective removal of paint using a paint stripper

Removing paint from wood

You might be the lucky owner of a lovely period home, or have an old wood floor that you’re sure will come up beautifully with a bit of work. You may have found a fabulous piece of old furniture smothered with nasty, brown, shiny varnish that’s begging for some TLC, or you might suspect there’s something really special under all those layers of ancient paint on your doors. Whatever you want to do, first you’ll need to get all of that rubbish off the surface to reveal the stunning wood beneath. Thankfully contemporary stripping products are relatively simple, effective and safe to use. Much better than the bad old days when your only choice was pure caustic soda, nasty stuff!

What kinds of wood can you strip?

You can strip any kind of wood, even heavily-carved wood, as long as you use the right products and materials and follow the instructions meticulously, particularly if you want to strip something expensive, rare or precious.

  • Outdoor and indoor furniture
  • Exterior and interior doors and door frames
  • Stair rails and banisters
  • Antique and vintage furniture
  • Window frames and sills
  • Floorboards
  • Parquet flooring
  • Built-in furniture
  • Skirting boards

How to remove paint from wood – 3 ways

There are three ways of removing paint from wood: sanding, using a hot air gun and chemical paint strippers.

  1. Sanding is best kept for small projects unless you want to hire an industrial sander to remove paint and varnish from your floor. A quick word about sandpaper and wire wool, both of which can cause damage to wood unless you take it easy… When you sand wood you take the surface off, and you need to do it as evenly as possible without rubbing it thin in places or creating gouges. Power tools help because their design forces you to apply even pressure. Whether you’re sanding by hand or with a machine, experts recommend you take it slow and easy until you get a feel for it. There’s plenty of good advice online about sanding wood to perfection, and some excellent guidance here on the Period Property website.
  2. An electric hot air gun removes paint in no time but can scorch the wood if you’re not careful. Scorching is less important, of course, when you’re planning to re-paint the wood. Bear in mind, also, that a hot air gun can only be used as a paint remover, not a varnish remover as varnishes tend to go very gooey, almost glue-like, when heated.
  3. Chemical stripping is the best method for stripping carved wood with hard-to-reach, intricate areas, but in reality you will probably use a combination of mechanical and chemical methods for your project, especially if you have layer-upon-layer of old paint to take off. Chemical paint removers deliver the best results, remove varnishes and paints faster than sanding, and tend to be the least harsh. Care needs to be taken when using chemical strippers, however, as these present their own care and safety issues.

As Kirsty Allsop says on the Channel 4 Homes website:

“Chemical strippers, available from DIY stores, are good for intricately carved wood. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as these vary. Make sure you keep the area you’re working in well ventilated. Protect the floor with dust sheets or thick newspaper. To get a chemical stripper into nooks and crannies on intricate woodwork, use wire wool. Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you need to neutralise the stripped woodwork.”

Different types of chemical wood stripper

Solvent paint removers take off all kinds of finishes, even contemporary ones. They are usually very gentle on the wood and won’t damage it, which is why they’re used in the antique trade. There’s no discolouration and solvents get the wood cleaner, deeper down into the grain. On the downside, you tend to use more of it, so it can end up more expensive than a caustic stripper. Solvents can also cause burns, smell awful and must only be used in a very well-ventilated space. Last of all, you might have to work a bit harder to remove heavy paint build-ups than with a caustic paint stripper. So to sum up, solvent strippers are:

  • More expensive and messy to use
  • Not so good at removing heavy paint
  • Cause no damage or staining
  • Give a cleaner, finer finish
  • Perfect if you want that “natural look”
  • The best product for stripping old, damaged items like beams

Caustic paint removers take off most finishes and are particularly good at getting rid of thick layers of paint and varnish. They give off fewer fumes than solvent-based paint strippers, are cheaper and tend to work faster. On the other hand caustic products usually contain a very strong alkaline which may react with chemicals in the wood resulting in staining or scorching of the wood. This is more common with dense woods such as mahogany and some types of oak, especially old oak. Caustic substances also cause burns if you get them on your skin. In summary, caustic removers are:

  • Perfect for removing heavy paint build-ups
  • Great for complicated mouldings
  • Best reserved for stripping pine doors that will be repainted or stained
  • Best suited for use on plaster, stone and metal (They may not be suitable for aluminium)

Stripping Paint with Caustic Soda
What’s the best paint stripper for wood? You can always test drive a few different products to see which stripper best suits the job and matches your capabilities. Just carry out testing in inconspicuous areas and keep your test areas small.

Does the paint you’re stripping contain lead?

Most paints manufactured before 1960 contain lead, so if you’re stripping something older than that it’s always wise to check. You can pick up a lead testing kit at your local decorating centre or DIY store.

If you find any lead, the British Coatings Federation have produced a leaflet about how to deal with it, which you can read here: “Old Lead Painted Surfaces – A Guide on Repainting and Removal for DIY and Professional Painters and Decorators”.

How do chemical paint strippers work?

Chemical paint stripping and varnish stripping products partially dissolve the paint or varnish. You can buy paste and gel paint stripping products, which are handy because they’re so thick that they stick to vertical surfaces, perfect if the item you want to strip can’t be moved.

4 Steps to stripping paint from wood

  1. Obviously every product is slightly different. But as a general rule your first step is to apply a thick layer of stripper with an old paint brush you can throw away afterwards. Make sure you force the product into any carved, intricate areas. Don’t paint it on like emulsion, dollop it on generously then work it into the surface.
  2. Step away! Different products work over different timescales. Leave it alone until the product has done its thing, according to the instructions.
  3. Once the paint has softened, scrape it off with a plastic or metal scraper. You can use steel wool to get rid of stubborn areas of paint or varnish, and old toothbrushes and wire brushes are also useful. Take care with metal scrapers when stripping wood so as to avoid scratching or gouging the wood when removing the paint or varnish
  4. If there’s still some paint left, re-apply the stripper and go through the process again until it’s all gone. Then, if the instructions tell you to, wash the stripped item to neutralise the active chemicals.

Paint removal from wood – Safety recommendations

  • Wear old clothes
  • Chemical paint strippers give off fumes, some of which are toxic. If the instructions say you should only use it outdoors, obey them!
  • Whatever product you use, it makes sense to wear gloves and a face mask
  • To avoid causing damage to the surrounding area, lay old newspaper, a tarp or drop sheet underneath the item you’re working on
  • Never leave the lid off – you don’t want fumes evaporating into your workspace!

What is the best paint stripper and varnish remover?

Paints and varnishes have evolved over the years, so have their formulations and chemical make-up. Paint strippers and removers have also had to evolve to keep pace with these new formulations. As a result, its often the case that where one type of stripper works perfectly with a modern paint formulation, it may be ineffective against an old paint or varnish from the 1960’s or 70’s. The same applies the other way round, where strippers that are effective against old paints may not be as effective on new. So what is the answer?

Paint strippers and varnish removers are usually available in sample or small tin sizes of between 250ml to 500ml. Our recommendation is to buy a sample or small tin, to trial the effectiveness of a product before committing to buying the quantity of wood stripper needed for the project. This could save time and money in the long run.

We highly recommend Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, one of the best wood strippers on the market for day to day paint and varnish removal. It’s great for removing varnish from wood, and paint. It’s a remarkable product, highly effective and incredibly fast, removing as many as six layers in just five minutes. It’s a gel, sticking conveniently to vertical surfaces. And it is ideal for removing water, oil and solvent-based paints, varnishes and lacquers.

We also love PeelAway 1 and PeelAway 7, both used to restore antiques and items like decorative or carved fireplaces, wooden or plaster coving, cornices and ceiling roses. The ‘Peel Away’ paint removal systems work by applying a poultice or paste over the painted areas. Left for a period of between 12 and 48 hours, the PeelAway poultice dissolves the many layers of paint accumulated over the years. The dried poultice is then removed with a spatula, pulling out the dissolved paint from deep detailing, nooks and crannies to restore the intricate detail and design of the original piece.

Peelaway 1 is better suited to paints from the 1970’s and prior, the old-style metal and lead based types. Peelaway 7 works better on modern paints, dating from the late 1970’s onwards. For some projects you might need to bring both into play, using Peelaway 7 on the newer layers and Peelaway 1 on the deeper layers. PeelAway 1 is caustic-based, so always try a test patch first. Remember, caustic-based strippers can scorch the surface of some woods, such as old Oak and Mahogany.

Both PeelAway products are available in a handy PeelAway 1 and 7 Sample Twin Pack, making it easier to test each product to find out which works best for your paint removal project.


All PeelAway products are supplied as a kit including an application spatula and protective blankets, to prevent the applied poultice or paste from drying out too quickly and before it has dissolved the paint or varnish. If required, extra PeelAway 1 Neutralizer and PeelAway 1 spare blankets, as well as PeelAway 7 spare blankets are also available. These are useful if the protective blankets need to be cut to shape or into strips for metal pipes, table legs or other required shapes.

Here’s a link to an old blog post in which we give the Peelaway paint remover a rigorous trial.

Beautiful, clean, stripped wood…revealed. What’s next?

You’ve stripped it. Now it’s time to choose your wood finish. We have a huge selection of amazing products designed to breathe new life into your wood, whether it’s a gorgeous old floor, a splendid piece of antique or vintage furniture, a pine door or rococo picture frame.

Here are some ideas to help you get creative with your good-as-new wood:

Paint and varnish strippers aren’t the only removers we do. See our full range of paint, varnish, wax, stain and polish removers to find the product for your interior, exterior restoration or renovation project.

Need help?

Any questions? We’d be delighted to help. Just contact our team of wood finishing experts. They’re always on hand to offer friendly help and advice.

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165 Responses to “How to Remove Paint from Wood”

  1. Gaby Says:

    I have a piece of furniture I would like to treat with a different finish but I think it has been waxed. How do I get rid of wax – do I need to get rid of it?

  2. nick Says:

    Hi Gaby,

    If the furniture has been waxed and the existing wax is in good condition, you should be able to put a fresh coat of wax on top which will bring the piece of furniture back to life, perhaps something like Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish. If you wanted to strip the old wax off and take the piece back to bare wood before re-waxing, use Woodleys Wax and Polish Remover.

  3. Harry Newman Says:

    A good blog here, interesting points made on how to remove paint from wood, enjoyed reading this !

  4. nick Says:

    Hi Harry,

    Pleased to hear that you enjoyed our blog post on how to remove paint from wood. I hope you found the information useful. Feel free to contact us at any time if you ever have any questions about the products we offer.

  5. Annie Says:

    Hi, I’ve got an oak cabinet which I’ve used paint/ varnish stripper on twice but it now has large black patches which look ingrained. What do you suggest to remove these please? I’m hoping to oil or wax it to look natural. Thanks

  6. nick Says:

    Hi Annie,

    Can you confirm which brand / type of paint stripper you used and also, if you used wire wool to remove the old finish please. This will help us to understand what may have happened.

    Many thanks.

  7. Annie Says:

    Hi, I used nitromors and yes I used wire wool. Thanks

  8. nick Says:

    Hi Annie,

    Can you take a couple of pictures and email them through to us please? The email link can be found in the footer of our website under ‘Contact us’.

    Thank you.

  9. Jon Says:

    We have removed the carpet from a downstairs room in our Edwardian House to reveal the (mostly) original stained floorboards. I don’t want to sand them as we like the look of them as they are. It’s a piano room and the shabby look of the floor suits it well. We have sealed the gaps and much of the area is covered by a rug and sofa. I am mostly just waxing the visible boards with Briwax (it’s a small room which does not have heavy traffic). There are blobs of paint round the edges of the floor and a few spots here and there on the rest of the floor, mostly old white paint from when the room has been decorated over the years, which I want to remove in a way that causes the minimum amount of damage and need for subsequent staining. What type of paint remover would you recommend for this type of job please? Thanks.

  10. nick Says:

    Hi Jon,

    Any paint stripper is going to take it back past the paint, i would recommend a manual approach using a filler knife, paint scraper or scotch pad to gently remove the paint from the surface of the wood. Be careful not to go to far, patients is stronger than force so gently dose it.

  11. Guiseppi Says:

    This might be sacrilege, but on lacquer and thin or old paint that is very ‘hard set’, I commonly use ordinary steel scrapers and a single edged razor blade to remove it all. With a bit of practise and sharp scrapers, it comes off right back to the wood in a few passes.
    Takes about the same time or less than any chemicals and doesn’t damage the wood, with it requiring only a light sand in most cases if done carefully. Is harder work though, but really satisfying and creates less harmful dust (sanding) and no difficult to clean mess.

  12. nick Says:


    Sounds like an interesting technique. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  13. Carlotta Morgan Says:

    I have a bedroom set my parents gave me, it is apporximately 70 years old. I remember “antiquing” the set in 1970 so I know there are at least 3 layers of paint to get down to the original veener and wood surfaces. Would the product Peelaway#1 be my best bet for removing the paint? Also is there a required temperture that the product needs to be used in? Any other information for this project would be appreciated as this will be my first project.
    Thank you,
    Carlotta Morgan

  14. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Carlotta,

    It may be worth trying a test area of both the Peelaway 1 and 7. Any layers of paint that are over 30 years old and potentially have the old lead based paint wood require the Peelaway 1, whereas the Peelaway 7 is suited to the more modern Paints and Varnishes. It is also worth noting that Peelaway 1 is not recommended for use on Oak or other hard woods as it has been known to stain these woods. Try the Peelaway 1 and 7 sample pack. A small test area with the Peelaweay 7 first will give you an idea of whether it will completely remove any product from your furniture and how long you will need to leave the poultice on for. If this test area fails to work then you could try the Peelaway 1.

  15. Marion Says:

    I want to remove white paint from Skirtings and door facings what product should i use as i intend to stain and varnish after .

  16. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Marion,

    If the white paint is less than 25/30 years old you could use the Peelaway7 to remove it. This is a product that you apply and leave on for a 24 to 48 hour period. It is advisable to do a test area first as this will help you to determine firstly if this is the right product and also how long you need to leave it on for. This will probably be the easiest stripper for you to use but there is also the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover which works by applying it on to the painted area and within 5 – 10 mins the paint should start to bubble up so that you can scrap it off. Again a test area would be advised.

  17. Lynsey Says:

    Hi I would like to remove the paint of my stair and rails to take them Back to wood what would be best to remove the paint thanks

  18. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lynsey,

    Thank you for your inquiry, there are two possible options for stripping, the first is the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover this is a quick working stripper that can remove up to 6 layers in about 5 minutes. It makes the paint bubble so that you are able to scrap it off.

    An alternative would be the Peelaway 1 for any paints that are over 30 years old or Peelaway 7 for the more modern paints. The Peelaway is a poultice that you leave on for up to 48 hours and can make it easier to get in to intricate or detailed areas. Hope this helps.

  19. Norman Says:

    I have stripped an old library chair It is badly cracked so I put on some Colron wood reviver. It revived the grain in some of the wood but has turned the top of one leg dark brown before I stopped. How can I remove the oil used in the reviver and get it back to the bare light coloured wood which I want to wax ? I also have similar slightly darker blotches over some of the wood after stripping which i also need to remove before waxing. Thanks

  20. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Norman,

    I am not familiar with the Colron product, but generally wood revivers have Oxalic Acid in them which should not leave a dark stain or mark, unless you have used with wire wool, but even then it shouldn’t mark. I would suggest wiping down with White Spirits first and then if that doesn’t help then try sanding the area that has been affected. I am sorry I can not be more specific with my advise but I am not aware of the Colron product or how it does or does not work.

  21. Emma Says:

    I have used b and q pIt stripper for 2 old
    Antique chairs. The intricate armchair bits
    Are black. I used wire wool on this as well after
    But think it was black before I did this.
    What is the best option to fix this? Want
    To stain them- possibly Danish oil then upholster
    But need the wood to look uniform it colour.
    Thanks Emma

  22. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Emma,

    Thank you for your inquiry, sometimes using wire wool with a paint stripper can cause the wood to turn black. How ever if the wood was already black I am unsure as to why. If the black is just on the surface of the wood a light sand with a 120 grit sandpaper may get rid of it, if not I would not like to suggest anything else with out seeing some pictures of the effected area. If you would like to send some photos in to our email address one of our experts can take a look for you.

  23. Tom Says:

    Hi Nick,

    What would you recommend for large plain skirting that has many layers of paint, I would think some of the paint dates back 50 years plus due to the age of the house.

    Many Thanks.

  24. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tom,

    As it is possible that some of the paint is very old then it would be worth considering the Peelaway 1 Paint Remover a water based formula designed to remove up to 32 layers of older paints. A test area first will give you an idea of how thick and how long you will need to leave the poultice on for.

  25. Lynne Says:

    I have bought a second hand solid wood polished wardrobe that has a daub of old white paint on it, but I don’t know whether it’s gloss or emulsion. How can I remove this without marking the varnished wood?

  26. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lynne,

    Its a difficult situation to rectify, because any removal product that you use will have an effect on the Varnish. Its worth trying to use a scrapper gently first to see if the paint will just come away. If this doesn’t work then soapy water and a scotch pad is the next option to try. All the while being careful not to over scrub the area. If this still doesn’t work then a light sand with a fine grit sandpaper may work but you are getting closer to risking removing some of the Varnish. Hope this is of some help Lynne.

  27. Tash Says:

    Hi there,

    We had several wooden doors professionally dipped to strip the paint. This worked for all bar one, which has only gone back to what I think is the primer. The company said we were “lucky” as dipping doesn’t usually remove primer (though I’ve had it done before and it did and five doors were fine this time, so I’m not sure about this).

    I’ve tried stripper (Home Strip, which is non-toxic) and nothing happens – no peeling and can’t scrape it off. I also tried to sand a small section and think that would take forever! Will a different stripper remove the primer? We don’t want to paint the door, just oil the bare wood.

    Many thanks, Tash

  28. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tash,

    It may be worth you giving the Peelaway products a try. We have a sample pack which contains both Peelaway 7 which is a remover for some of the more modern paints and varnishes, or the Peelaway 1 which is a stronger formula for paints that are over abut 30 years old. I can not guarantee that either of these will remover the primer but these are very good products for removal and its definitely worth trying them. There is a Sample size pack containing both products that will enable you to do some test areas.

    Hope that helps and you manage to successfully strip that last door !

  29. Philly Says:

    Hi, we are doing up a 450 year old cottage with wooden beams which have unfortunately been painted black. What’s the best stripper for my builder to use to try strip the paint off so the original beam colour comes back or at least get them lighter than they are?? Nitromors? Paint Panther? Don’t want to sandblast.

  30. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:


    There are a couple of products that you could try, that includes the Paint Panther which may need one or two applications dependent on how old and thick the paint is. An alternative would be the Peelaway which may be more successful. Doing a test area with the sample packs will give you a better indication of which one you would need to use, and how long you would need to leave the poultice on for. If you know how old the paint is that will help with choosing which product to use. Thank you for your inquiry !

  31. Julie Says:

    Hi we have everything wood stained in our house, I would like to revive it how can I do this.

  32. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Julie,

    If you would like to email us on with some more information, like what your wood is stained with, if you are planning on removing the previous finish and what kind of finish/colour you wish to achieve. Then we can give you the right advice for the job – Kind regards.

  33. Carol Taylor Says:

    Hi There,
    I hope you can help with my problem before I end up sanding the whole door away.I was given a partly stripped edwardian interior door as a project,but it is the first time I have tried anything like this.It had been stripped with a heat gun (I know!!!) and partly sanded.Using a mouse sander I am trying to remove all the little bits that remain,but the whole door has patches that when sanded rather a lot produce a lovely wood underneath,but the sanding seems excessive.I was wondering if this could be an old varnish type paint,as the door seemed to have a mock graining effect on it?Am I ok to just sand away this coating,or will the varnish have seeped too deep into the wood?I am hoping to varnish the door when stripped,I just love the look of the wood and the old fashioned way of using whole panels of wood,not the knotty planks that are used today!Any advice would be great.Much thanks!!

  34. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Carol,

    Thank you for your inquiry, if it is a solid wood door then the extra sanding will do no harm, but you want to maintain a smooth and even finish so it might be worth trying a removal product on those stubborn areas. Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover is one option, or you could consider the Peelaway Sample Pack The Peelaway 1 is for older paints and varnishes but is not suitable for use on Oak wood as it can stain. Both of these products are very good at removing stubborn areas of paint or varnish but you should do a test area first of which ever product you decide to try. I hope you manage to get the finish that you want and we would love to see some photos – Many Thanks Sam.

  35. Tanya Says:

    Hello there,

    I wonder if you could advise me before I set out on this. We have been renting out our cottage in the countryside that has beautiful original features. Unfortunately at the end of the tenant’s lease we have returned to find the once stunning white bedrooms with black beams have had a bit of a makeover. The rooms have been transformed with a very haphazard application of lilac and lime green emulsion – beams included!

    We would like to restore the rooms to their former glory. Is there a good way to strip back just the emulsion; we were happy with the black finish or do we need to take it all off?

    Kind regards – Tanya

  36. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tanya,

    Oh dear, lilac and lime green does not sound like and attractive combination on your beams. We have a couple of removal products that can be used to strip back the paint but I would be worried that the Black treatment that is underneath may be affected as well. So the first thing to try is to score the emulsion and then get some steam to it. The idea of this is that it will soften the Emulsion allowing you to carefully scrap it off, I can’t guarantee that this will work because it is a little dependent on the type of Emulsion.

    If you do find that you need to use a stripper then there are two options the first is the Paint Panther this product is designed to make the paint bubble up so that you can scrap it off or there is the Peelaway 7 which is a paste like consistency and you leave on for a period of up to 48 hours and then peelaway the all the layers in one go. You would need to do a test area with both of these product to get an idea firstly of how long you would need to leave them on for and secondly how effective the will be on the Emulsion and the Black treatment that is underneath. I hope you are able to get it sorted – Good Luck.

  37. KT Says:

    Hi there
    I just got myself a Victorian hall chair in an auction and I want to restore the wood finish. I have been told it’s oak, it has very intricately carved feastures and a lot of barley twist, and it’s faded/patchy in some places and dark in others. I would like to strip it back to a uniform colour and wax it. I don’t know if it’s been varnished or waxed previously – some parts have a shine to them.
    Can you advise?

  38. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello KT,

    Its worth trying a couple of things to see what the product is that is on the chair. Firstly you could do an Oil test, this can be done with a few drops of Olive oil or Vegetable oil out of the kitchen cupboard. Leave the drops on the wood for about an hour, if it unmoved after that time it is probable that you have a seal such as a Varnish on there. If it soaks in even just a little then it may be a Wax or Oil on the chair which can be removed with some White Spirit and then given a light sand in preperation for a new treatment. If you find that it is a Varnish on the chair you could try the Paint Panther which is designed to make the paint/varnish bubble up so that it can be scrapped off.

    Once you are back to bare wood, if you want to Wax it then the Fiddes Supreme Wax Polish is a good option for restoring character and dries in about 10 mins.

  39. Josh L Says:

    Hi KT,
    I have an old factory/industrial cart that I am restoring/re-purposing as a coffee table. The cart is oak and has been painted gray. I have started removing the paint with a heat gun/scraper and noticed the original markings are in the wood underneath. Looks like they are stained into the wood. I am not able to get all of the brushed on paint off by scraping. What should I use to remove the brushed on paint without taking off the original marking?

  40. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Josh,

    We have two removal products that you could use for taking off the paint but I wouldn’t like to say if they will have an effect on the markings underneath, only a test area will show this. The Paint and varnish Remover is a gel designed to make the paint bubble up so it can be scrapped off, I would try this one first as it is a 5 minute treatment. And the Peelaway1 an 7 Sample Twin Pack allows you to do a test area with either of the Peelaway products. I would re iterate that a small test area with these products to see if the do have an effect on the markings underneath. If you don’t want to risk using either of these products then your best bet may be to carefully sand back the effected areas as this will give you more control over how much you can take off.

  41. maureen Says:

    We have a staircase that’s painted white but is now peeling off, and looking unsightly
    I was thinking of stripping off the paint and applying yachting varnish to revive the staircase as the hallway lacks light, can you advise?

  42. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Maureen,

    We have a couple of good quality removers, the first being the Paint and Varnish Remover which is a gel that you leave on for around 5 minutes and it makes the paint bubble up making it easy to scrap off, this is probably more suitable if you need to be able to use the stairs. The alternative is the Peelaway Sample Pack which is a poultice that you need to leave on for around 24/48 hours ( a test area will give a true indication of how long). Once you have removed all the paint you may want to give the stairs a light sand, but if the wood is in good condition just make sure it is clean and smooth and then you can apply your finishing coat.

    We have a wide range of Varnishes that you can use on the stairs and I would recommend the Manns Extra Tough Floor varnish which is a durable and protective Varnish that will last really well. And it comes in a number of sheen levels and is non yellowing.

  43. Patricia Says:

    I need to paint my wooden gareage door, however the paint whioch was done about 6-8 years ago has bubled and in places and has now peeled away.
    How do I remove ready for repainting with Ronseal 10 year exterior
    Many thanks

  44. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Patricia,

    The easiest way to remove it, if it is peeling, is to use a pressure washer, if you have one or a able to get hold of one then this could remove most of the paint. An alternative, or if you don’t have a pressure washer is to use a Paint and Varnish Remover this is a Gel that will make the paint bubble up to be scrapped off. Once you have removed all the paint you can use the Ronseal Primer and Undercoat this has to be applied first to ensure the 10 year guarantee. And then your garage door will be ready for the Ronseal 10 Year Exterior Paint to be applied. We would love to see some photos of the before and after of your garage door if you have time to send us some!! Many Thanks -Sam

  45. Andrew Says:

    I have just had a cat knock a can of emulsion all other our brand new wooden oak floor. We have managed to get all the excess up. However what is left has stained the flooring and some parts quite deep although the floor was varnished and finished professionally.

    whats the best way to now remove the residue?

  46. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Andrew,
    Apologies in the delay in getting back to you, I have asked our in house experts if the had any advise on this one. Both said to start by trying to scrub with water first, or even soapy water. If the emulsion is water based it may well start to come of. I’m afraid if this doesn’t work there is no magic solution that will work without affecting the Varnish. You would need to sand back to area as best you can with minimal effect to the varnish. Any damage that occurs on the Varnish can be repaired and we have a useful Blog on how to deal with this. I’m sorry that I can not give a solution that will not damage the floor, but I hope that it will be minimal – Sam

  47. Keighley Says:

    Hi, I am wanting to remove paint/stain from around windows & skirting boards, what products would be better to use than a sander as it is going to be a really big job because i need to do every room in the house??

  48. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Keighley,

    Thank you for your inquiry, there are to products that we recommend for paint and varnish removal. The first and probably the quickest is the Paint Panther this is a gel that you apply for around 5-10 mins and then the gel and paint can be scrapped away. For stubborn areas you may be required to re apply. An alternative product that can be easier to use on areas that have intricate detail or if you have more time is the Peelaway 1 or 2 this is a poultice that you leave on for 24- 48 hour ( depending on test area indications ) and then peelaway the blanket and remove all layers of Paint. Test areas are strongly recommended with both these products.

  49. Pam Says:

    Hi, just wondering if anyone can help… We just finished our sunroom, the ceiling was beautiful pine with lots of knots. I had it painted white (shellac on the knots, 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint). I hate it and want to take it off. The painting has just been done this week. Can anything be done to restore my ceiling to the way it used to look post construction? Thanks for your suggestions.

  50. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Good Morning Pam,

    You will need to use a paint stripper to get all of those layers off. We have two very good ones that are worth considering the first is the Paint Panther this is a gel that you can leave on for around 5 minutes and then scrap off. The alternative is the Peelaway 7 this is a poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours and then peelaway to remove the layers of paint. Both are viable options for you it just depends on which method you prefer, its worth having a look at the products and seeing how they work and always do a test area.

  51. Ron Says:

    we have a 7year old oak front door which was treated with Cetol 20 and 30 (2 coat application) I now need to strip it as it has cracked in places and I want to apply an oil ‘feed’ by Osmo as I think long term this will hopefully be better and easier to maintain. The ‘new’ Nitromors will not work as I have tried it on my Hardwood window sills and it just goes like chewing gum – nothing like the old Nitromors – it does come off eventually but a good scraper and alot of patience are required
    Can you advise please

  52. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Ron,

    Thank you for your inquiry, I’m not overly familiar with the Cetol product although I am aware it is Sikkens woodstain, so likely to be a surface sealer. I am familiar with Nitromors and know it to work well with many products, however I can recommend a couple of alternatives to consider and would strongly recommend that a test area is done with which ever product you choose. The Paint Panther works in a similar way to the previous remover that you have tried or the Peelaway7 is a poultice that you can leave on the door for 24/48 hours and then peel off the product and the sealer at the same time. it is worth reading on our website how each product works to see if you prefer one method over another. Unfortunately paint stripping can be a messy process which ever product you use, and on rare occasions you may need to do 2 applications.

    Once you do manage to remove all the product then the Osmo Polyx Oil is ideal for you oak door. It will enhance the grain and natural beauty of the wood and slightly darken the wood. ( wiping a damp cloth over the bare wood will give you an indication of the darkening ) It should be applied thinly and soaks into the surface of the wood, so won’t peel and flake over time, and you can do a maintenance coat when you feel that the wood needs refreshing, although this should not be for a good few years.

  53. Sandra Says:

    I live in a timber framed terrace built late 1500s which has a lovely curved beam in the bedroom wall. It has been painted (many times I suspect!) – the current top layer looks like vinyl silk type emulsion. I would like to uncover the wood but not sure what is best to try – do I go for something like Peelaway? Or is that likely to damage the wood. It is a very rough old beam so lots of paint in the cracks and I would be worried about using a scraper I think? Would be grateful for any advice, thankyou

  54. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Sandra,

    Thank you for your inquiry, it is important in your situation that you do some test areas first. I would advice Peelaway but the Peelaway 1 can stain Oak, which is potentually what your beams are made of, but is more suited to layers of paint that could be older than around 30 years. We do a sample pack which contains both Peelaway 1 and 7 for you to try first to give you an idea of how effective it will be for your project. You won’t need to use a scrapper with the Peelaway as it is a Poultice that you leave on for an allocated time ( which can be established from the test ) with a blanket over the top, and then when ready you peel the blanket away and remove the paint at the same time. I hope that helps and if you have any more questions please let me know – Sam

  55. Lynn Says:

    I have a deck that a friend of mine built for me about 3 years ago. I can’t keep the paint from chipping. I’m not sure how to sand it or even what to repaint it with. I live in Colorado so I need a good outdoor paint with the snow, rain and heat. Any advice?

  56. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lynn,

    Unfortunately we can’t ship to the USA. But if you can find Cuprinol products over there you could try Cuprinol Stain Stripper or just spend a bit of time sanding it back to bare wood. I appreciate it can be a hassle to sand decking but when you have done it, you can apply an Oil based treatment that will be easier to maintain and look after from then on. I hope you manage to achieve what you are looking for – Sam

  57. Merlaine Says:

    I have an antique hutch that was painted white. I am trying to strip. I have used Citristrip with great success until now. I have almost finished it but have some places that are really stubborn. What would you recommend to use on these patches.

  58. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Merlaine,

    It could be worth you trying the Peelaway 1 or 7 This is a poultice that you leave on for up to 48 hours. The Peelaway 1 is for paints that are older than 30 years and the Peelaway 7 is for more modern paints. A test area will give an idea of which to use and how long you will need to use it for.

  59. Says:

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic blog!

  60. Kelly Says:

    Great tips! Thank you so much for sharing this. It makes it less intimidating when thinking about working on a project like this.

  61. Layla Says:

    Hi. Thank you for your very informative and interesting post. I am currently getting the walls in my flat repainted and I have large old Victorian sash windows which my decorator says are covered in quite a few layers of paint. I am hoping to strip them back and paint them myself as I am told it is more time consuming than difficult and my decorator charges a lot per window so would like to keep costs down. Can you recommend which products and method would be best suited to what I want to do? I want to re paint then windows and frames in farrow and ball egshell paint. Will taking all the layers of paint off only to repainted it again make a visible difference? Many thanks in advance for our advice.

  62. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Layla,

    You may find the Peelaway Products are the easiest to use. The age of the exterior window paint will determine which of these 2 products that you should use but there is a sample pack containing both should you wish to test it first. The Peelaway is a paste that you leave on the area for 24/48 hours ( a test area will determine how long ) and then peel of to remove the paint. It is good for detail and crevices that can be difficult to work on. The only wood that you can use it on is Oak or mahogany as it may stain these, if you have this wood then an alternative product would be the Paint Panther this is a quicker but slightly more messy option. Again a test area would be required. Hope that helps and we would love to see some before and after photos – Sam

  63. Rachel Says:


    I have a wooden-floored hall (modern pine – bout 1960s build) which used to have lino stuck to it. The lino had to be ripped up cos it tore and over the years the glue has obviously seeped into the bare wood. I then spilt gloss from painting doors on to the wood which got stuck in wheelchair wheels and spread around hall in my panic to get to the bathroom. Now that has seeped in too. Have tried hand sander with medium to 36grit but to little effect. Is there a solvent/low odour stripper I can put onto boards to get both paint and resin out? I am nervous of doing this as flat is quite enclosed, its quite a large area and am semi abled, but cant afford to get professionals in, or new flooring.!

  64. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Rachel,

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you but I needed to speak to our flooring expert for advice on your inquiry. Unfortunately I can’t give you the answer that you want. There is not a product that will effectively remove the resin that is left from the Lino. Our expert has said that the only truly effective way to remove it is with some elbow grease and a scraper.

    The paint however is a different matter, I would recommend the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover which is like a Gel that you leave on the Paint for around 5 minutes and it will then scrap away easily. I hope that you manage to complete your project and I’m sorry I can’t offer an easier solution – Sam

  65. Lynn Says:

    I have an old church pew that is in really bad condition….how is the best way to strip it back to the wood….i think its a varnish thats on

  66. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lynn,

    We have a couple of products that you could use to strip the varnish off of the wood, which one you use will depend on how old the varnish is and how quick you would like to work.

    If you think that the varnish is over around 30 years old you may want to consider Peelaway 1 Paint Remover to use, however it is not suitable to use on woods such as Oak or Mahogany ( it has been know to stain these woods ). Peelaway 7 Paint Remover is a suitable for use on all woods with more modern paint or varnish on. Both of these products are a paste like product that you leave on for 24/48 hours ( depending on what the test area shows) and then peel off.

    The other alternative is the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover which is a gel like substance that you can leave on for around 5 mins and you will then be able to scrap off the varnish. A little more messy but can be effective.

    Once you have managed to remove all previous product you will probably need to sand the pew as well, to get a smooth even finish. If you would like any further information or advice on what to treat the Pew with once you have stripped it just let me know – Sam

  67. Douglas Says:


    My question isn’t wood based I’m afraid. I have asbestos cement guttering which has very bad peeling paint. I have read that it is best to use paint stripper to remove the old paint (avoid sanding or anything that could cause dust). Is there a type of paint remover you would recommend for this type of work?


  68. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Douglas,

    Asbestos is always a difficult subject, as I’m sure you are aware, but I thought I would check with Barrettine to see if the Peelaway was a possibility for you. They gave me the answer I expected I’m afraid and that was that they could not recommend anything for use on Asbestos and its a subject that I am unable to advice you on either. I would recommend finding an expert in that field and getting their input. I’m sorry I could not be more helpful – Sam.

  69. Mary Beer Says:

    Hi, I have an old chest of drawers that has been painted with gloss paint. My Mim originally did this in the late 60s, early seventies but did then subsequently repainted it over the years so there will be some 40 odd years old paint underneath modern, which product would you recommend to strip it? It’s a well made piece of furniture with dovetail joints and original good quality handles but I’m not sure what type the wood is. Would really appreciate you advice. Thanks

  70. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mary,

    Thank you for your enquiry, we have 2 products that you could try, the first is Paint Panther which makes paints and varnishes bubble up so that you can scrap them off with a Filler Knife this is a little messy but a quicker option. The alternative is the Peelaway Sample Pack this is a poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours and then peel all the treatment off. As you don’t know what the wood is thought you would need to do test areas as the Peelaway 1 is not suitable for use on Oak/ hardwoods. I hope this helps and if you have any further questions please let me know. And we always love to see before and after photos if you get chance to send some.

    Kind regards Sam.

  71. Anna Jones Says:

    Panther Paint and Varnish Remover is a great remover. My son painted wooden table in our backyard. It was a disaster! I managed to remove it. Thank you for sharing such an useful information! Best regards!

  72. Paula Says:

    Hi I have just purchased a relatively modern piece of furniture and want it back to its original form as it has been painted, a lot of the paint has peeled off already, what can I use to take the rest off without damaging what’s underneath please? If this is not possible could you advise me of a best option. Many thanks. ??

  73. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Paula

    It is worth having a look at the Paint Panther this is a stripper that will make the paint kind of bubble up so that it can be scrapped off. It can remove a number of layers in short space of time, but always try a test area first – Sam

  74. Debi Says:

    Hi! I am planning on painting some of my wooden furnishings (a table, some shelves etc) white, but was wondering if these techniques would work incase I wanted to return the furniture to their original wood? Thank you!

  75. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Debi,

    Removal of the paint will depend a little on the paint that you are using. But it would be fair to say that the Paint Panther or the Peelaway 7 would be suitable products for removing your paint. Always do a test area first.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  76. JP Says:

    Hi Sam, we have a Potton House built in 1984 which has dark brown beams throughout the house. To be perfectly honest I have no idea whether they have been painted or stained but would like to make the lighter. Can you recommend a product to do this?
    We have had a quote from backfromblack, but this is somewhere in the £6k mark so I’d like to do it myself.
    Thank you

  77. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:


    The first thing to do would be to establish what has been used to make the beams black. Before you do any thing it is worth giving the beams a scrub with warm water, and then if that has no effect try White Spirit it may be that there is just a stain on the wood and this will help you to tell.

    As it is a relatively modern house then it may be a paint or Varnish which can be removed with modern strippers. We have sample sizes of our Peelaway products which would be worth trying first >> Peelaway Samples. This is a poultice that you leave on for 24/48 hours and then peelaway taking the paint/varnish with it. The last option that I can suggest is to try sanding back an area to see how easy it is too remove this way. Do let me know how you get on and if you have any more questions – Sam.

  78. Mary Says:

    I have wood between 1895 and 1929 that was painted over the stain or varnish. Would a chemical work for that? Or do I do heat gun then chemical? My goal is to stain it to match the rest of the original trim/doors in the house.

  79. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Mary,

    You could look at trying Peelaway Sample Pack the Peelaway 1 is the one that is likely to be your best option. It is designed to be used on paints and varnishes that are older then 30 years. I strongly recommend a test area of this product it will guide you as to how long you will need to leave the Peelaway poultice on the wood. It may even require two applications. But this should help you considerably with getting back to bare wood. Please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

    Kind regards Sam.

  80. Sarah Says:

    We have stripped an old oak filing cabinet back to bare wood using both a chemical stripper and sanding. Both methods have left residual paint in the oak grain which we cannot get out, despite using both a wire brush and wire wool. Is there a way of removing this without sanding another millimetre off? There are also some ink stains on the wood – how can these be removed?

  81. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Can I ask you to email me with details of which stripper you used, I may be able to advise a more effective product for you to try, our email is

    If stripper hasn’t worked then the only real option is to continue with the sanding but as I say if you could email me and I will try to help you further, feel free to send some photos as well – Sam

  82. Karen Says:

    Hi, I own a house that was built in the 1920’s. There are so many layers of paint on the door frames, cream on top, several areas coming up green, black, yellow underneath! We have used a paint gun to remove the paint quite easily, with some areas coming up quite sticky. How do we resolve the stickniess? And what is the best way to finish it (planning on re-painting). Also one of the frames came up as green wood, is that normal?

  83. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Karen,

    We nearly always advise Peelaway for situations like this, usually Peelaway 1. This is an effective stripper for built up paint. What to use once the old paint is cleared will depend on the look and protection that you are hoping to achieve, but if you would like to let me know I will be happy to make some suggestions for you.

    I am not sure what the green wood could be, but you are welcome to send in some images to our email for one of our wood finishing experts to have a look at. and hopefully we can help you further – Sam.

  84. Tony Says:

    Hi Sam
    I have this problem, I bought a antique bed frame. It has ,I think Douglas fir( hardwood) I bought paint remover from cloverdale paints it is called 1820, that did not work. so I took the headboard to 3 paint stores, then went to rona nothing has workedI have tried Peel away, and 4 different types.
    On the flat places I used a belt sander and it came off so easy. It has lots of round spindles which I can sand. What do you recommend . I am pulling my hair out.

    Yours faithfully

  85. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Tony,

    Can you tell me which Peelaway you used and for how long you left it on ? The Peelaway 1 is the one that we tend to recommend as this is designed for use on older paints, it can deal with a number of layers, and rarely fails. Test area should show how long you need to leave the poultice on for and sometimes two applications are needed for complete removal. The other alternative is the Paint Panther which is a quick and aggressive remover that will make the varnish/paint bubble up for scrapping off. If this or a number of others are not working for you then I am afraid the only solution would be sanding. Let me know how you get on or if you have any other questions – Sam.

  86. Ivy Says:

    Hi there,

    I’m hoping you can help with a small DIY project.
    I have the Nils chair from Ikea. Please don’t laugh, I know it’s Ikea, not antique but I’m grateful all the same. ???? The legs are birch wood painted with black acrylic paint. I want to remove the black color and stain or dye the legs a darkish blue color to match the chair’s dark grey cover.

    I live in a small flat in the city so I’ve no where to do this project outside. For this reason it’s important I choose the least toxic paint stripper to use indoors.
    I thought of sanding but I don’t want to damage the wood.

    Can you recommend a non-toxic stripper (????) for this project? Also a blue dye or stain? I want the new color to be dark blue but still be able to see the wood if that makes a bit of sense!

    I hope you have suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

  87. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Ivy,

    Thank you for your inquiry, you could have a look at the Peelaway 7 which is a poultice that you can apply to the wood and leave for around 24 hours and then Peelaway the paper removing the paint at the same time. It is ideal for removing modern paint with the least amount of mess. I would strongly recommend a small test area first in an inconspicuous area to ensure there is no adverse reaction.

    For the colour you could have a look at our Manns Dye which can be mixed with other colours within the range to darken or add water to lighten. This would need a top coat product such as Osmo Polyx Oil or a Varnish

    The one other alternative on our website would be the Osmo Country Colour which is a colour and treatment in one and there are a couple of Blues in this range.

    I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  88. Ivy Says:

    Thank you Sam for responding! 🙂

  89. Cynthia Says:

    I have stripped back a window frame using a heat gun and was intending to use a nitromorse equivalent with wire wool to remove the remnants. However a large flatsection which I’m fairly sure has lead paint on it, so was going to solely nitromorse this, is being very tricky.can I now use the peelaway 1 on this area and the bare (pine) wood for the small pieces which are left?

  90. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Cynthia,

    The Peelaway 1 is ideal for older and lead based paint removal, however it is not suitable for oak or mahogany wood as it will burn it. And as you have used a previous product it would be advisable to carry out a test area to ensure there is no adverse reaction. Sample Pack may be enough if you only have a small area that needs treating, I hope this helps and please do let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  91. Anna Says:

    Hi, I have just purchased a house with lots of wooden beams in the ceilings. they are varnished mahogany and I would like to keep them that way, but when the previous owner has painted the ceiling and walls there are lots of blotchy paint marks on the beams. Would peelaway 7 take just the paint off but leave the varnish?
    thanks in advance

  92. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Anna,

    The Peelaway is likely to remove both the paint and the varnish I am afraid. There is no easy solution to this as what ever stripper you use it is likely to remover both products. It may be worth trying to scrub the paint away with a scourer or rough brush, but take care not to damage the varnish. I am sorry I could not be of more help with you inquiry.

    All the Best Sam.

  93. Deborah Says:

    I have an old wooden ammo box with rope handles. It has been painted blue with sunflowers. What is best way to remove the paint and get it back to its original wood color. Not sure what kind of wood it is.

  94. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Deborah,

    There are a couple of products that you could have a look at. The first is the Paint Panther which will work with in 5- 10 minutes, making the paint bubble up to be scrapped of with a Filler Knife.

    Or you could have a look at the Sample Pack of Peelaway which is a poultice that you leave on for 24-48 hours and then peel off. Be aware that the Peelaway 1 is not suitable for use on Oak or Mahogany ( hard woods generally as it can burn the wood )

    Test areas are vital with a project like this, please let me know if you need any further advice.

    kind regards Sam.

  95. Kerry Says:

    Hi Sam
    Having sanded away 5 coats of paint on a Victorian pine door frame, I’m just about down to bare wood (at last!) but the last layer is I believe to be the original dark paint which I think the Victorians used to replicate a mahogany look. I’ve managed to remove most of it but there are patches left. I want to clear varnish eventually to highlight the grain but am having trouble removing this dark looking stuff. Would a solvent paint stripper do the job?

  96. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Kerry,

    Thank you for your inquiry, there are a couple of strippers that you could try the first that I would recommend is the Peelaway Sample Pack the Peelaway 1 is the one you want to try as this is designed for use on older paints. It is important to do a test area first, this is a leave on poltice that is slightly less messy than the Paint Panther.

    The Paint Panther is designed to work in a matter of minute, making the paint bubble up to be scrapped off with a Filler Knife. Again a test area should be done. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

    All the Best Ben.

  97. Chrissie Says:

    Hi Sam
    I have been reading through some of your interesting blogs, but I can not seem to find quite the correct item to use.
    I have a 1940’s house and want to strip the bannisters but it has thick brown stuff on underneath the paint which is a nightmare. At present I have given up as it is just so hard to get off. Is there anything that can take this stuff off with not too much grief. Don’t know what wood it is.
    Hope you can help

    Kind regards


  98. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Chrissie,

    We have two very good strippers that you could have a look at and I would recommend test areas first with both or either products that you use. The first is Paint Panther which is a quicker, although somewhat messier treatment that should make the paint bubble up to be scrapped off.

    The alternative is Peelaway Sample Pack which is a poultice that you leave on for 24-48 hours and then peelaway with the paint. I hope that helps and good luck with your project, please let me know if you have any other questions.

    All the Best Sam.

  99. Lisa Says:

    Hi I have a coffee table with some stains on. I don’t know what wood it is or how it’s finished it a light wood (I can send you a picture). I need to know if I should strip it back and re colour (if so what should I get) Or if I can get the stains out? (Any advice would be most welcome!

  100. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lisa,

    There is a small test that you can do which will help to establish the type of seal that you have on the table. If you put a small drop of oil (Vegetable or olive from the kitchen cupboard will do) on the surface of the table and leave it for around and hour. If the oil remains unmoved then you probably have a varnish/ lacquer and if the oil has moved or soaked in then you are likely to have an oil or a wax on the table. When you have done this feel free to email me for further advice,

    Kind Regards Sam.

  101. Anna Says:

    Hi I have bought a 60s cabinet by Younger which is teak veneer but I am not sure if it’s oiled or varnished. It’s in decent condition so I don’t want to sand and refinish it, but I do want to deep clean it and revive it a bit. I’ve read conflicting advice online about how to clean it (wipe with cloth and white spirit vs using wire wool and Danish oil to take off the old finish and dirt). Also I’m not sure what kind of oil is best to get it looking good again. I would like a matte or semi matte finish. Many thanks for any advice

  102. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Anna,

    To start you could carry out an oil test, this is simply putting a small drop of oil ( vegetable or Olive from the kitchen cupboard ) onto the surface for an hour to see how it reacts. If it remains unmoved on the surface you have a varnish or lacquer that will prevent oil from being absorbed. If the oil moves or soaks in then you have an oil or a wax on there, this will help to determine what product you will be able to use once clean.

    I would recommend the use of a Medium Finishing Pad and some White Spirit to clean the surface. Bare in mind that if you have oil or wax on the surface the White spirits may remove some of this.

    So from this point if you have established what product is on the cabinet and it is clean then you can choose Fiddes Hard Wax Oil if you have an oil or bare surface. Or Manns Extra Tough Interior Varnish if you have a varnished surface. But always try a test area first with either products to ensure that you like the finish that you are going to achieve. And please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  103. Louise Says:

    Have you any suggestions for removing wax from a ceiling so that I could then put a colour wash on?

  104. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Louise,

    Woodleys Wax and Polish Remover is great for such projects. For a product to apply colour, that would depend on if you want an opaque or translucent finish. What wood you are applying it too and how you are going to prepare the wood. Feel free to email me at for more advise.

    Best Wishes Sam.

  105. Louise Says:

    Thanks sounds exactly what I am looking for. Once I had removed the wax I will either varnish the ceiling if the colour looks OK or if it is darker than I want I was thinking of a white wash that would let the graining of the wood show. Any advice on suitable products.

  106. marilyn Says:

    I recently painted cupboard doors. It took 2 solid coats. I HATE the color and I need to change it. There was already another color underneath. I can’t paint over it because the doors won’t close properly. I need to take as much of the paint off as possible. What can I do?

  107. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Marilyn,

    We have two great strippers on the website the first is the Paint Panther which is a fast working stripper that makes the paint bubble up to be scrapped off.

    And the second is the Peelaway which is poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours, depending on test area results , and will then peelaway taking layers of paint with it. Always try a test area first and if you have any other questions or need advise on the right product to use once you have stripped your doors, feel free to get back in touch.

    All the Best Sam.

  108. karen Says:

    My husband just painted my hallway, and did a very bad job of getting paint on the door frames, even tho he did use painters tape. The paint oozed behind the tape and left paint on the dark wood frames. What is the best thing to use to remove it?

  109. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Karen,

    You could have a look at the Peelaway products. These are strippers for paint and varnish that can be used for quite specific detail as it is a thick poultice. It is likely that you will only need the Peelaway 7 and test areas will show how much and for how long you need to leave it on the area to be striped. Do let me know how you get on or if you have any further questions.

    All the Best Ben

  110. Josie Says:

    I have a solid mahogany table which I would like to change to an oak colour. Do you know of any professional furniture restorers in the Co. Durham area. I’m too nervous to take on such a big project myself. My table is over thirty years old; the top is perfect, well looked after but the feet have taken some knocks over the years with the vacuum cleaner.

  111. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Sorry Josie, we do not have any contacts in that area – Sam.

  112. Janan Brown Says:

    Hi,I have good quality nest of tables painted only one coat chalk paint.I would like the strip the paint,sand and repaint again.What sort of paint remover I could use?thanks

  113. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Janan,

    If it is just chalk paint on the tables and no wax then it is likely to wash off with warm water. If there is any wax on the chalk paint then you could be looking wiping down with White Spirit first and then warm water.

    I hope that helps and please let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind regards Sam.

  114. Alison Says:

    Hi I have come across this thread in my search for a solution to a wood/varnish related problem – i wish to paint my front door in a newly purchased house – unfortunately the previous owners varnished it and the result is still very sticky – the question is how do I prepare this sticky surface prior to painting – I have a palm sander but think it may need some treatment first or I think it will “bind” the sand paper – many thanks in anticipation

  115. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Alison,

    You could have a look at one of our strippers Paint Panther which is a quick and effective stripper that will make the varnish bubble up for scrapping off with a Filler Knife A light sand may be required to prepare the wood once stripped and then you could look at products for treating the door.

    I would recommend an oil that will give an opaque finish such as Osmo Country Colour this will not peel and flake over time like many paints will and can just have a fresh coat re applied when you feel the wood needs it.

    I hope that helps and if you have any further questions please do get back in touch.

    Kind regards Ben.

  116. Kristie Says:

    I have an old horse drawn wagon that I am hoping to strip and re-paint. I think that peel away 1 is going to be my best bet for stripping, however; what would you suggest I utilize to preserve the wood. We live in a dry climate and I can see where the wood is beginning to crack.

  117. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Kristie,

    A Good preservative such as Premier Wood Preservative would be my first recommendation to help protect the wood from mould, mildew and rot. And then an Oil such as Manns UV Decking Oil which although made for decking would be suitable for your project.

    If the wood is particularly dry then it may take more than the guide states and a test area is always recommended. Have a look at these products and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind regards Sam.

  118. Jo Says:

    really nice chair someone painted over the varnish, what is recamended to remove the paint, want to save the varnish

  119. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Jo,

    It is difficult to remove one treatment with out removing another as most strippers will not determine between the two. Depending on the paint you may be able to scrubb that off with warm water and detergent or light sanding but again there is no guarantee that this will not affect the varnish underneath. Are you able to take back to bare wood and then re treat with another varnish ?

    Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  120. Gal Says:

    Hi, I had a new European oak front door and frame fitted last year. Decided to stain it using Sikkens Ebony. 5 coats. It’s not what we expected. What are the chances of getting the door back to natural?

  121. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:


    You have used a very good product for your door and removal won’t be easy but it is possible. You could have a look at using the Peelaway Sample this is a very successful stripper of paints and varnishes, but test areas are essential, to see which of the products will be best for your project. And some light sanding may be neccessary. have a read up on the product that I have recommended and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  122. Dave Says:


    I am currently stripping an ornate carved oak fireplace. Peelway 7 on the carvings proved very successful, but not on the uncarved uprights. These are quite deep grained oak which holds the old paint and no amount of Peelaway 7 or indeed another stripper will actually lift it out. Would the Panther Paint Stripper and a bristle brush be a better option.



  123. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Dave,

    Yes the Paint Panther is most definitely worth a try as it is a far superior product to many others. Test areas are strongly advised as with all products and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    All the Best Sam.

  124. Nicky Says:

    I foolishly painted a dressing table with Annie Sloan chalk paint and hate it. I am having great difficulty removing it, I’ve even tried nitro mors but it hasn’t touched it. Any ideas greatly received.
    Many Thanks

  125. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Nicky,

    Its quite a simple process as the paint is water based. If it has been waxed you can remove the wax by wiping down with White Spirit and a sponge. This process may well start to remove the paint as well. When all the wax is removed you can continue to scrub with water and a sponge and the paint will come away fairly easily. Be careful not to scrub to much as the paint will start to stain the grain of the wood and make sanding a little harder.

    Once you have washed off as much paint as you can the wood should be allowed to dry and then sanded. And then it will be ready to treated to create your desired finish. If you need and y advice on what to use feel free to get back in touch.

    Kind regards Sam.

  126. Frankie Says:

    I’m looking for some advice about wooden doors. We’ve stripped our painted wooden doors back to wood but some small pieces of paint remain on the bevelling and ingrained in the panels. What’s the best way to remove these?

    Once stripped we want to keep the doors as natural as possible whilst ensuring that they’re protected from grubby hands. We’re thinking of using Osmo door oil but would welcome advice on whether this will make the wood a lot darker?

  127. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Frankie,

    You could have a look at the Peelaway Sample Pack which is good for detailed areas and removing paint.

    For a finishing product the Osmo Door Oil would be ideal. It is easy to apply and to maintain. Any marks or stains can simple be sanded back and patch repaired very easily as the oil will blend. The standard door oil will darken the wood and enhance the grain to give what we call the wet look, wiping a damp cloth over the bare wood will show you how much you can expect the wood to darken.

    For a more natural finish you could have a look at the Osmo Polyx Oil Raw this has a small amount of white pigment in it to counteract the darkening, but is not ideal for dark woods or hardwoods. Test areas are strongly recommended and if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask.

    Kind regards Sam.

  128. Lindsay Says:

    Hi! My husband and I are first time home owners of a beautiful old home built in the 1900’s. The floors upstairs were carpeted and we decided to get the wood floors refinished. The carpet has been ripped up and the original floors are pine. However, are contractor has run into an issue where he cannot remove the old paint on the floors. He says they were sealed and there are multiple areas where they can’t get it off. They are using a heavy duty sander and have tried chemical stripping. We are very upset and not sure what to do next? Our options are to put new wood floors down over old wood, recarpet or hope they can get the paint off. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you! -Lindsay 2

  129. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Lindsay,

    Have you tried the Peelaway it is a very effective stripper and has some good reviews. The Peelaway 1 is more suited to old paints and varnishes and a test area will show if it will work on your floors and how long you need to leave it on for. There is also a great video on the product page that you can see how it works. Take a look at the product info and if you have any other questions please feel free to get back in touch.

    Kind regards Sam.

  130. Janet Says:

    I recently had the inside of my house painted. The painter got some paint on my wooden window frames (Where he painted the walls. He did not use painter’s tape.) What would you suggest that I buy to remove the paint?

  131. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Janet,

    Depending on how much is there and what the paint is, you can try wiping down with warm soapy water and a Finishing Pad . If this does not work try White Spirit but beware that this may strip what ever you have on the frames under the paint. Alternatively using a high grit SandPaper gently sand of the paint.

    The final option is a stripper such as Peelaway but again depending on what is on your frames currently this could also strip that. Do let me know if you have any further questions.

    All the Best Sam.

  132. James Says:

    Great blog, thank you.
    I have purchased a second hand cot for our impending arrival. It’s wood painted white but worn in areas. How would you recommend I bring it back to life? Is dipping then varnishing an option? Thanks.

  133. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello James,

    I would recommend sanding off the current paint, particularly if you are not sure of what product it is. As your baby gets older you may find that they chew or bite areas of the cot, teething ( I know from experience ) so what ever you have on there needs to be child safe. The less chemical used the better and the Osmo Ranges are both child and food safe For a clear natural finish you could look at the Polyx Oil which will protect and seal the wood.

    There are also colour option Polyx Oil Tints can give a fresh feel to the wood. If you have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  134. Myra Clarke Says:

    I have just got a lovely piece of Chinese rosewood furniture it’s an ornate display unit but it’s been painted with a Matt antique grey paint and I’m wondering how to strip it back to the beautiful coloured wood that you can I side the cupboard! Please help as I think it would be a shame to ruin it. Many thanks, Myra

  135. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Myra,

    You could have a look at the Paint Panther its a quick working stripper that will make the paint bubble up to be scraped off. I would strongly recommend a test area first, somewhere inconspicuous, to ensure that there is no adverse reaction or staining to the wood. If it is not a viable option you could also have a look at the Peelaway Sample Pack which is a poultice that you can leave on for 24/48 hours and then peel off removing the paint at the same time. Again a test area is strongly recommended. Have a look at those products and if you have any further questions please do let me know.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  136. Calli Says:

    I have sanded a table right back to the wood. Want to paint it now with an acrylic based paint. Do I need to use an under coat? Second,y would I sand between undercoat and paint. Under coat is an all purpose one. Is it best to use a roller or a brush for applications? What would you seal it with if it will be outdoors under cover? Many thanks

  137. Sam Taylor-Casey Says:

    Hello Calli,

    There are a couple of products you could have a look at, the Sikkens Rubbol Satura is a good option for exterior paint and can be used with the Rubbol Primer these two will give a durable finish and can be applied with a brush or roller. If you have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions, I am happy to help. Also if you are looking to apply some colour there are some alternatives.

    Kind Regards Sam.

  138. Lisa Says:

    Hi my kitchen oak doors are 25 yrs old. About 7 yrs ago I stripped them with nitromose then put cooking oil on them turned a shade not easy on the eye.then about October I cleaned with white vinegar green pan scrub painted them with antique white chalk paint by rust oleum then put rust oleum clear furniture laquer on they looked fantastic then in places it felt tacky like it hadnt cured now like a sticky resedue has come through that won’t wipe off and around my drawer handles looks dirty and slightly sticky. Will I have to sand back to wood? Also someone said I should have put a shalac sealer on first, I’d appreciate any advice thanks

  139. Taylor Says:

    Hello Lisa,

    It may be that there is still some of the previous oil on the wood that is preventing the paint from curing, and if this is the case then you will need to sand back and remove this oil. I don’t believe vinegar is the best method for removing oil and so I am guessing that there is still some left in the wood.

    For removing Oil I would recommend wiping down with White Spirits using the green pad as before.

    Shellac can be used as a base coat for French Polishes or Lacquers or as a finish inits own right.

    I hope that helps and if you have any questions I will be happy to help. Or feel free to email me on

    All the Best Samantha.

  140. Perminder Thind Says:

    Hi there, i have around 80 wood chairs used in a restaurant. I want to remove the varnish and paint them white. I will also redo the cushion covering. Can you please tell me what product i should use to take the varnish off and restore back to wood before i can paint them with whitewash. I have sent you an email with “chair photo” in the subject that has photo of chair. Thanks for your help.

  141. Taylor Says:

    Hello Perminder,

    I have seen the photo thank you. I would recommend the Paint Panther. It is a fast effective stripper that can work in 5 – 10 minute. The gel like substance makes the varnish bubble up to be scrapped of with a Filler Knife.

    Always try a test are first to ensure that there are no adverse reactions and if you have any further questions or would like some advice on getting a good white finish, feel free to get in touch.

    All the Best Samantha.

  142. Judi Says:

    Hello Samantha, hoping you can help. I have four rooms with different floor finishings and I would like to make them all the same. One room has victorian floorboards with Ronseal Diamond Hard Rich Mahogany Varnish. One room has the same varnish on 10 year old pine floorboards. One room has 10 year old floorboards with Ronseal Diamond Hard White Floor Paint (about 6 layers of paint). The last room has just had new replacement floorboards on so is currently untreated.

    I don’t know whether to paint them all or to varnish them all. Is it easier to strip off varnish or floorpaint and what products would you recommend for this? Ideally I would like all the rooms to have the natural wood but I think they wouldn’t match even after paint/varnish removal so this might be unrealistic so I either need to varnish them all or to paint them all. If I were to apply light coloured paint over dark varnish would this work or would the dark colour show through?

    Thanks for your help

  143. Sam Says:

    Hello Judi,

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Your best bet will be to strip or sand back all the floors, except the new one so you have bare wood. It will give you a better chance of matching all the floors although if they are different woods you may not be able to match them exactly.

    Its potentially a big job and I am happy to guide you through it if you would like to email me with some more details, you can email to

    Kind regards Samantha.

  144. Kylie Says:

    I have a solid wood varnished table that I would like to strip and paint in a colour. Is this too hard since the table has been varnished?

  145. Sam Says:

    Hello Kylie,

    It should not be. We have a couple of strippers that you could have a look at, that will help to remove the varnish on the table. It is important to read all the information on the products to ensure that they are suitable for your project. The first is Paint Panther this is a gel like product that works within minutes to make the varnish bubble up to be scrapped off. Its fast and effective if not a little messy.

    The other option is the Peelaway which is a poultice that you leave on for 24 to 48 hours and this then peels off the varnish.

    Both are very effective, you should always carry out a test area first however to ensure that there are no adverse reactions. I hope that helps and if you have any further question please do not hesitate to let me know.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  146. Tracy Says:

    Hi one of our internal pine doors has been stripped using caustic soda. The fumes are so over powering it’s been left in the garage. How long should it be left for or should it be sealed with something? Disappointed we can’t return to room immediately. Thanks

  147. Sam Says:

    Hi Tracy,

    Sorry this is not something that we do our have much information on, its best to get in touch with the company who stripped the doors for you.

    All the Best Samantha.

  148. Ellie Says:

    I note that “PeelAway 1 should not be used on gesso (a form of putty) mouldings sometimes used on apparently carved fireplace surrounds”.
    I have an “apparently carved” wooden fireplace surround from c 1870 which has been heavily painted. What would you suggest we use to strip the paint just in case gesso is present? Should I try PeelAway 1 on most of the fire surround and then something else on the “carved” sections?

  149. Sam Says:

    Hello Ellie,

    A test area will be the best way to tell. A very small area to see how well the Peelaway 1 will work and to ensure there are no adverse reactions. There is a Sample Pack that allows you to try the the product first.

    Feel free to come back to me if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  150. Lisa Says:

    I recently purchased a bookcase that was covered in paint. I’ve managed to strip most of the paint off and sand it all down to original wood, but there’s a lot of small divots still with paint in them, and I can’t get into the corners with my power sander. What would be the best way to clean up the corners and divots? I’d like to stain it so would like to get it cleaned up as best as possible.

  151. Sam Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    A hard bristled Brush may help to remove some of it or Steel Wool See how you get on with either of those and get back to me if there is anything further that I can help with.

    All the Best Samantha.

  152. Robert Says:

    Hi there,I would like to remove the heavy paint from the frames inside & outside .it’s a Victorian style house so I believe the paint on it is very old oil based.Can you please let me know what product I should use to take the paint off …

  153. Sam Says:

    Hello Robert,

    There are a couple of products that you could have a look at but test areas should always be done to ensure there is no adverse reaction and to let you know that the treatment will work for you. The first recommendation is for the Paint Panther this is a gel like product that makes the paint bubble up to be scrapped of, it is quick but a little messy.

    The other option is the Peelaway this is a poultice that you leave on the area fro 24 to 48 hours and then peel off taking any paint and varnish with it. The Peelaway 7 is for the more modern paints, whereas the Peelaway 1 is for pre 1983 paints. Both can remove a number of layers although the Peelaway 1 is not suitable for use on Oaks or other similar hardwoods. The test area will also show how long the poultice needs to be left on.

    If you have a look at these and feel free to get back to me if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  154. susan Says:

    I stripped a nightstand that had multiple coats of paint on it. It cleaned up really nice. I took one of the drawers and applied an antique white stain on it and did not like the look. I took the drawer and stripped this antique white stain off of it but now I have little white specks and divots in the grain of the wood that will not come off. I stained the rest of the nightstand with a light walnut stain and it looks great but the one drawer when stained does not cover the white specks and divots. What can I do? Help!

  155. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Hello Susan,

    You may be able to get them out with a hard bristled brush that will get into the crevices where the white is. If this does not work then sanding back may be the best option. A little bit of perseverance may be required. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

    Kind Regards Samantha.

  156. Susanna Says:

    Hello, Does paint have to be removed from windows before Osmo County colour is applied? If they are rubbed down and look sound would Osmo work?

  157. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Hello Susanna,

    You will need to remove all of the previous paint in order to apply Country Colour This product needs to soak into the certain amount and the paint will prevent this.

    For further advice please do not hesitate to get in touch or call and speak to one of our advisers on 0800 7818 123.

    All the Best Samantha.

  158. Tim Says:

    Hi there, I’ve recently bought a 1930’s house and have been trying to strip the pine floorboards. They are covered in a black varnish typical of the time – I’m pretty sure it’s original (bitumen based?). I’ve tried caustic (Nitromors) and non-caustic strippers and they both have the same effect. As soon as they are applied the varnish “melts” into a form similar to tar or black treacle; if left, it gets slightly less gooey but doesn’t take on a consistency that lends itself to be scraped off – some of it can be removed (very messily) but you basically end up spreading the remainder into what becomes a new tacky coat. I resorted to an industrial sander with very limited success – the varnish immediately clogs up the paper and then melts to form a glass-like surface making it useless. I suspect the answer to this is carpet 🙁 but am hoping you can tell me of a product and secret method that will rid me of the blackness.
    Thanks in anticipation,

  159. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Hello Tim,

    My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. This is a bitumen like substance that was commonly used around edges of rooms and then the central area of the room would have rugs, during Victorian times. As you have discovered it is difficult to remove and my best advice would be to scrub with cellulose thinner and then sand. And you will have to do this layer by layer as you say it gets gooey. Its a long and tedious process and you will begin to get a dip around the edge with all the sanding. Once back to bare wood you can wet the wood to raise the grain and reduce the dip.

    I hope this helps a little, I know its not ideal but let me know if you have any further questions or feel free to send some before and after photos if you manage to complete your project.

    Kind regards Samantha.

  160. Mandy Says:

    Hi I need to find the best way to strip my banister which has many layers of white gloss but I would like it to be a quick process which products would you recommend please .

  161. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Hello Mandy,

    You could have a look at the Paint Panther this is a gel like substance that will cause the paint to bubble up to be scrapped off with a Filler Knife I would always recommend a test area first.

    And if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

    Kind regards Samantha.

  162. Leigh Says:

    Someone gloss painted over pen markings on a doorway marking a childs age/height progress. Any recommendations to strip the gloss away to get the markings back?

  163. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Hello Leigh,

    How upsetting, I feel for you as I know how important something like this can be. I don’t have a miracle resolution I am afraid. Only a couple of possible options with no guarantees and they do require some luck. The first is to try wiping with some Methylated Spirit or White Spirit to see if this will remove the top and most recent layer, a very small test should be done first and this could potentially remove the under layers also.

    One other possible thing to try is a UV light up against the paint and you may be able to see the markings through the paint and remark them ??

    Good Luck and I hope you are lucky.

    All the Best Samantha.

  164. Sam Says:


    I would just like to ask if this would be any good to use on old oak timber beams c200yrs in Cotswold cottage. They have been painted over several times and finally black, some may have woodworm and we need to strip back to eliminate this and bring the wood back to it’s original state. We are looking for an alternative to sandblasting.

  165. Samantha Taylor Says:

    Good Afternoon Sam,

    Thank you for your enquiry. I would recommend taking a look at the Peelaway this is poultice that can be left on the wood for 24 – 48 hours. And then peeled back to remove a number of layers of paint.

    So the Peelaway 1 is for older paints/varnishes and paints that may contain lead and the Peelaway 7 is for the more modern paints. I would strongly recommend the sample pack to test which one will work best for you and how long you will need to leave the poultice on for.

    See how you get on with that and if you need any further advice I am here to help.

    Kind regards Samantha.

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