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. 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?

      • 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 1 and 7 Sample Twin 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 poultice which you leave on that is slightly less messy than the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover.

        The Paint Panther is designed to work in a matter of minutes, making the paint bubble up to be scraped 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, Sam.

    2. 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.

      • Hello Deborah,

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

        Or you could have a look at the Peelaway 1 and 7 Sample Twin Pack, 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.

    3. 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

      • Hello Anna,

        The PeelAway 7 Paint Remover 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 your inquiry.

        All the Best Sam.

    4. 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?

      • 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. The PeelAway 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.

    5. 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.

      • Hello Ivy,

        Thank you for your inquiry, you could have a look at the PeelAway 7 Paint Remover, 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 Classic Wood 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 Manns Extra Tough Interior 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.

    6. 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

      • Hello Tony,

        Can you tell me which Peelaway you used and for how long you left it on? The Peelaway 1 Paint Remover 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 Paint and Varnish Remover, 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.

    7. 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?

      • Hello Karen,

        We nearly always advise Peelaway Paint Remover 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 for one of our wood finishing experts to have a look at and hopefully we can help you further – Sam.

    8. 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?

      • 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

    9. 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.

      • 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.

    10. 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

      • Hello,

        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. This is a poultice that you leave on for 24/48 hours and then peel away 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.

    11. 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!

    12. 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. ??

    13. 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!

    14. 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

      • Hello Mary,

        Thank you for your enquiry, we have 2 products that you could try, the first is Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, 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.

    15. Hello,

      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?


      • 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.

    16. 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

      • 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

    17. Hi,

      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!

      • 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

    18. 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.

      • Hi Layla,

        You may find the Peelaway Products are the easiest to use. The age of the 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 Paint and Varnish Remover. 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

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

    20. 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!

    21. 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.

      • 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.

    22. Hi,
      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?

      • 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

    23. 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

      • Hello Sandra,

        Thank you for your inquiry, it is important in your situation that you do some test areas first. I would advise 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 Sample Twin Pack 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

    24. Hello
      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

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover works in a similar way to the previous remover that you have tried or the PeelAway 7 Paint Remover 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.

    25. 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.

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover. 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.

    26. 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??

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover. 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 and 7 Sample Twin Pack. This is a poultice that you leave on for 24- 48 hour (depending on test area indications) and then peel away the blanket and remove all layers of paint. Test areas are strongly recommended with both these products.

    27. 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?

      • 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

    28. Hi
      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

      • Hello Patricia,

        The easiest way to remove old paint, if it is peeling, is to use a pressure washer. This should remove most of the paint. An alternative, or if you don’t have a pressure washer is to use a paint stripper like Barrettine Paint Panther 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, your garage door will be ready for repainting with an exterior wood paint such as Ronseal 10 Year Weatherproof Wood Paint – Gloss. 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

    29. Hi
      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?

      • Hello Maureen,

        We have a couple of good quality removers, the first being the Paint Panther 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 1 and 7 Sample Twin 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.

    30. 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?

      • 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 Panther 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 PeelAway 1 and 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.

    31. 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?

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover, 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.

    32. 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

      • 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 Paint and Varnish Remover. This product is designed to make the paint bubble up so that you can scrap it off or there is the PeelAway 7 Paint Remover, 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.

    33. 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!!

      • 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.

      • Hello Julie,

        If you would like to email us at 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.

    34. 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.

      • Hello,

        There are a couple of products that you could try, that includes the Paint Panther Paint and Varnish Remover, which may need one or two applications dependent on how old and thick the paint is. An alternative would be the Peelaway Paint Remover 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 !

    35. 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

      • 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 cannot 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 PeelAway 1 and 7 Sample Twin 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!

    36. 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?

      • 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.

    37. 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.

      • 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.

    38. Hi
      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

      • 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.

    39. 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

      • 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.

    40. 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

      • 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.

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

      • Hello Marion,

        If the white paint is less than 25/30 years old you could use the Peelaway 7 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.

    42. 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

      • 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.

    43. 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.

    44. 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    45. 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

      • 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.

      • 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.

    46. 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?


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