How to Remove Paint from Wood


We get a steady stream of customers asking us for advice about paint strippers 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 and scraper

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 with paint remover, 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 have a strong odour and must only be used in very well-ventilated areas. 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
  • Can have a strong odour
  • 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. 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 (Please Note: They may not be suitable for aluminium)

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, then follow 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 paints and varnishes. 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 and 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 paint and varnish from wood. It’s a remarkable product, highly effective and incredibly fast-acting, 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, which are 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 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 more help with paint strippers?

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. Alternatively, visit our  wood stripper and remover FAQ page which covers many of our most commonly asked questions.

We love to see before, during and after photos of any wood finishing project. If you would like to share your decking project pictures with us, you can either send us some photos or share on our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram pages.

Other great blogs that discuss paint stripping

  • Why Paint Strippers Often Fail
  • PeelAway 1: Revealing the Beauty of 90 Year Old Windows

    1. I have a beautiful intricately carved wooden mirror, that someone used I’m guessing either indoor or maybe even outdoor white paint. It’s chipping off in layers but there’s no way I’m getting in all the nooks & crannies. I know it’s going to be jaw dropping beautiful when I’m done, but I have no idea what to use to get that thick paint off this mirror?

      • Hello Alicia,

        Intricately carved woods can be difficult to strip, you could have a look at trying the Peelaway products however. The Peelaway is a poultice that can get into detailed areas and remove the paint when you peel away the paper cover. You leave the poultice on for 24 to 48 hours, how long and how thick application is can be determined by test areas using the Peelaway 1 and 7 Sample Twin Pack If the wood is oak or a hard wood such as Mahogany, then just use the Peelaway 7, Peelaway 1 can burn some hardwoods and leave a difficult to remove stain.

        The test area is vital to check that this product will work for your project, the peelaway should come away with the paper when you remove it, and you may need a brush to get the excess out if some of the crevises are deep again your test area will indicate if this is the best option for you to consider.

        If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to get back to me via our contact us page.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    2. Hi I have wooden beams in my loft bedroom which are painted and have at least door layers on them
      I want to take it back to the original wood. (It was like this when I moved in, so not sure what paint)

      Thank you


      • Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry Paige, I would recommend taking a look at the Peelaway 7 which is ideal for layers of more modern paint. It is a poultice that you can apply to the beams, cover with the paper sheet that comes with it and leave for the desired amount of time, indicated by a test area, and then peeled away to reveal the bare wood.

        Its really great stuff and over all not too messy compared to other stripping methods. I would recommend the Peelaway 1 and 7 Sample Pack as a first purchase, this allows you to try some small test areas and ensure this is the right product for your project and can show you how long is required and what thickness, as well as any potential problems or reactions.

        There is a helpful video on the product page that is worth a what and if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to let me know.

        kind regards Samantha.

    3. Hi , I have solid wood garden furniture and it has a few layers of paint which is looking bad and peeling off. What would be the quickest method to strip it down to its original wood colour.
      4 chairs , a bench and table so lots of work I guess

      • Hello Sarah,

        A common issue and can be tricky with garden furniture if it is slatted for example. Best method can depend on the extent of the peeling, a hard bristled brush can help to remove a lot or a pressure washer, although take care not to hold the nozzle too close to the wood, as it will cause damage.

        And if all of that does not work then you could consider a stripper such as the Barrettine Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover a gel that makes paints bubble up to be scrapped off.

        Depending on what you are looking to apply once stripped, and the condition of the wood, you may also need to consider some light sanding. And if you need any advice on products to retreat the furniture with please do get in touch via our contact us page.

        Kind regards Samantha

    4. Dear Samantha,
      I have recently been trying to strip paint from a staircase and have a problem. The staircase had only been painted down the sides, leaving a space in the centre of each step which would have been covered by the runner down the middle of the stairs. The problem is that the stripped section at the sides, having been blasted with paint stripper to get the paint off (I estimate three coats) is now a much lighter shade than the middle, which I think may have been darkened by the application of carpet glue when carpet was originally fitted. I have called in reinforcements of paint stripper, backed up by the coarsest sandpaper known to humanity and vigorous use of a wire brush. But I am still left with a clearly-visible phantom carpet running down the middle of the stairs. This is after three full days of work!!
      Is there anything I can do apart from applying dark stain ? ? The wood is I think pine, or possibly deal.
      Many thanks,
      Douglas Evans

      • Good Morning Douglas,

        A common problem unfortunately. The carpet runner has a lot to answer for when it comes to wood staircases. The wood being covered by carpet will age differently to the areas that are not covered, even if they have been painted. Contact with the air and UV, or lack of it, will mean that the wood ages differently and this is why you have such a difference in appearance. If extensive sanding has not solved the problem I think you are unlikely to be able to get a more even finish.

        Many people try staining to bring the two areas closer in finish but this is also a difficult job and wood can be unpredictable. You could take a look at the Manns Classic Pine Stain its a very versatile stain that can be applied in a number of layers to intensify the colour, or it can be intermixed to create an alternate colour, it can even have water added to lighten the tone if needed.

        Test area will be vital and that should include your topcoat product of oil or varnish as this will also impact on the final colour.

        Good luck and I hope you are able to get the look you want, if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to let me know.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    5. Hi,
      I have some really intricately carved wooden screens. They have been previously painted with a 2 in 1 varnish / stain. Impossible to sand /scrape – as too fiddly and some of the lovely carving would be destroyed. What is the best way to strip them back to bare wood so that a finishing oil can be used? Cheers.

      • Hello,

        We have a couple of stripper that you could consider, the first is the Peelway 1 and 7 Sample Pack The Peelaway 1 for older paints and the Peelaway 7 for the more modern finishes. The Sample pack is deal for trying a test area first to see if this is the right product for your project. It is a poultice that you leave on the surface for 24 – 48 hours, covered with a piece of paper. When ready you peel the paper away taking the paint/varnish with it.

        This product is great for intricate areas the only warning will be that the Peelaway 1 is not suitable for use on some hardwoods such as Oak or Mahogany as it can burn the wood. This is another reason for test areas. There is a great video on the product page to show how it is used.

        An alternate and quicker product to consider is the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover this is a gel that makes the paint or varnish bubble up to be scraped off, could be difficult with intricate areas but is a quick and effective stripper. Again a test area should be carried out.

        I hope that helps and if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to get in touch via our contact us page.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    6. Apologies if this is not the correct forum for my question. I need advice on how to remove paint from a ceramic butler sink (sink is likely to be around 50 years old.) There is an enormous build-up of mostly water-based paint as sink used in an art classroom and has years of paint build up. Any advice on the best method to remove would be greatly appreciated, or point me in the right direction of a specialist who could do this.

      • Good Afternoon Gerry,

        Thank you for getting in touch with your enquiry. You could consider the Peelaway 1 and 7 Sample Pack this is a stripper for a wide range of projects and surfaces. I have not had any feedback on use on Butler Sinks and so as always a test area is strongly recommended somewhere inconspicuous. To see how it works, my main concern would be if it impacts on the finishing glaze that is actually on the sink also being lifted away. So test should be done with care.

        I hope that helps and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch via our contact us page.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    7. Hello there! I recently chalk painted an antique sewing table. The front door on the table has a beautiful herringbone design in the inset and I painted it without thinking ( new to painting furniture!l). Ive hand sanded most of the paint off but I’m afraid of ruining the design and would like to know what paint stripper you would recommend for getting the rest of the paint off. Thank you so much! P.S. I really enjoyed your article!
      Bridgit Wallace

      • Good Afternoon Brigit,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. Chalk paint, being water based will often come off with a good scrub with some soapy water, and perhaps some light sanding. Its a great product for giving a matt coloured finish but in terms of protection is quite minimal.

        If scrubbing with warm water does not remove it all then you could have a look at a stripper such as the Barrettine Sample Twin Pack the Peelaway 7 is the one you want to try as it is for more modern paints. It is a poultice that you can leave on for 12 – 48 hours and when you peel back the paper cover the paint come with it. It is vital that a test area is carried first to ensure do adverse reaction with the wood occurs.

        I am please that you have enjoyed the blog post and if there is anything that I am able to help with please do let me know. Also if you get chance to send some photos of the sewing table, I would love to see, as a collector of a few vintage sewing machines, love to see what people do with the tables.

        Kind Regards Samantha.

    8. Hi! I am using a chemical wood stripper to remove paint off a presently painted wooden floor. Once the paint comes off the wood remains a bit sticky. Is that normal? What should I do to remove the stickiness? Your advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.

      • Hello Gideon,

        My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. If you are still having any issues please do not hesitate to get in touch via email at Please let me know which stripper you used, the type of project you are working on and any further relevant information.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    9. Hello, I wonder if you can help, we have spent many days sanding a lovely Birch ply wood floor and then added a white pigment (to avoid yellowing) to the primer. It has taken to the floor really badly and is very patchy and thick in some places. We think it maybe that we added to much pigment and didn’t apply it with enough care. So now we are faced with sanding it all over again which is not only heartbreakingly time consuming but we are worried that we may not have enough of the Birch ply left to sand as it was already quite worn out in places form the previous sanding..Is there a product that would remove it without sanding?
      thanks in advance

      • Good Morning Paula,

        You could have a look at the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover to see if this will help. It is a paint and varnish stripper and could help with your project. A test area should be carried out first to see if this will work with the primer and it will have no adverse reaction.

        See how you get on with this and feel free to email me on if you need any further advice.

        Kind regards Samantha.

    10. Hi,

      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.

      • Good Afternoon Sam,

        Thank you for your enquiry. I would recommend taking a look at the PeelAway Paint Remover. 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.

    11. 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?

      • 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 re-mark them?

        Good Luck and I hope you are lucky.

        All the Best Samantha.

    12. 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 .

    13. 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,

      • 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.

    14. 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?

    15. Hi,
      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!

      • 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.

    16. 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 …

      • 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. My first recommendation is Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover. This is a gel-like product that makes the paint bubble up to be scraped off. It is quick but a little messy.

        The other option is PeelAway Paint Remover. This is a poultice that you leave on the area for 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-1980’s 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.

    17. 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.

      • 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.

    18. 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?

      • 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.

    19. 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

      • 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.

    20. Hi,
      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?

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover. This is a gel-like product that works within minutes to make the varnish bubble up to be scrapped off. It’s fast and effective, if a little messy.

        The other option is the Peelaway Paint Remover, 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.

    21. 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

      • 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.

    22. 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.

      • Hello Perminder,

        I have seen the photo thank you. I would recommend the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover. It is a fast, effective stripper that can work in 5-10 minutes. The gel-like substance makes the varnish bubble up to be scraped off 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.

    23. 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

      • 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 Spirit using the green pad as before.

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

        I hope that helps and if you have any questions I will be happy to help. Feel free to email me at

        All the Best Samantha.

    24. 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? Secondly 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

      • 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.

    25. 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

      • Hello Myra,

        You could have a look at the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover. It is 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.

    26. 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.

      • Hello James,

        Congratulations! 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 whatever you have on there needs to be child safe. The less chemicals used the better and the Osmo Ranges are both child and food safe. For a clear natural finish you could look at the Osmo Polyx Oil, which will protect and seal the wood.

        There are also colour options in the Polyx Oil Tints range, which can give a fresh feel to the wood. If you’d like to have a read up on the products and let me know if you have any further questions.

        Kind Regards Sam.

    27. 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?

      • 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 whatever you have on the frames under the paint. Alternatively, you could gently sand off the paint using a high grit Sandpaper.

        The final option is a stripper, such as PeelAway Paint Remover, 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.

    28. 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

      • Hello Lindsay,

        Have you tried the PeelAway Paint Remover? 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.

    29. 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?

      • 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 3060 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 Door Oil Raw 3033 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.

    30. Hello,
      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

      • 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 any advice on what to use feel free to get in touch.

        Kind regards Sam.

    31. Hello

      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.



    32. 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?

      • Hello,

        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 Pack. 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 necessary. 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.

      • 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.

    33. 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.

      • Hello Kristie,

        A good preservative, such as Barrettine 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 Premier 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.

    34. 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

      • Hello Alison,

        You could have a look at one of our strippers Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, which is a quick and effective stripper that will make the varnish bubble up for scraping 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, Sam.

    35. 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

      • 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 at 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.

    36. 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.

    37. 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?

      • 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, Sam

    38. 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?

      • Hello Marilyn,

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

        And the second is the Peelaway Paint Remover, which is a poultice that you can leave on for 24-48 hours, depending on test area results, and will then peel away 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 in touch.

        All the Best Sam.

    39. 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.

    40. 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

      • Hello Anna,

        To start you could carry out an oil test, this is simply putting a small drop of oil (vegetable or olive oil from the kitchen cupboard will do) 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 Spirit 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 product 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.

    41. 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!

      • 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 at

        Kind Regards Sam.

    42. 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


      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover which is a quicker, although somewhat messier treatment that should make the paint bubble up to be scraped off.

        The alternative is Peelaway Sample Pack, which is a poultice that you leave on for 24-48 hours and then peel away 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.


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