How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood – 5 Quick Method

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

If you are into arts yourself or you have a kid or someone in your household who is, then you really need to know how to remove acrylic paint from wood. Finding paint splatter in uncommon areas is something you will be used to by now.

Now you have stumbled upon an acrylic paint splatter on your beloved hardwood floor or hand-sanded wood cabinet; this can seem impossible to fix, especially if it’s your first time experiencing a situation like this.

Do not fret! We’ve covered easy steps on how to remove acrylic paint from wood. It is a process that is carried out easily, and your wood surface would look good as new.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Removing acrylic paint from wood might be an easy process but is something that has to be done with utmost caution. Most of the paint removal method poses some kind of health and property hazard if not handled properly.

Try to work outdoors if possible; if you must work indoors, ensure the room is properly ventilated as most solvents are nervous system depressants, which can pose a serious health risk.

Products like denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner, which will be used, contain aromatic hydrocarbons such as toluene, xylene, and methanol. Inhalation of these chemicals can cause asphyxiation in closed spaces.

If you have little kids or pets, you want to keep them far away from the working area; ingestion of any of these solvents can lead to blindness and even death.

Ammonia solution, which is one of the products that is also needed for this procedure, produces noxious vapors that can irritate the skin; it is also corrosive.

So you should prevent any contact between the solvent and your skin; you can wear protective clothing like gloves and protective eyewear to help prevent skin contact with the solvent.

There is also a risk of inflammation; most of the solvent used for this procedure are flammable, so when working with them, do not bring naked flames or energized heating elements close.

Running electric motor should also be kept off the working area; this is because most electric motors emit tiny sparks, which might be almost impossible to notice, and if the vapors of the solvents, which are heavier than air, get to a source of ignition this could lead to a fire outbreak.

So keep off all running motor out of the working area unless they are specifically designed to be used in a fire hazard zone.

Lastly, before using any product on your wood surface, apply a small amount of the product to an inconspicuous area of the wood, let it sit, and observe the reaction it has on the area. If it doesn’t cause any reaction, then you can go ahead and use it for the problem area.

You also want to use a suitable product for your type of wood surface; products like Alcohol, acetone, and lacquer thinner is best suited for bare, unvarnished wood.

They will discolor or dull the shine of varnished wood; hot soapy water is what is recommended for varnished wood. So as stated earlier, always perform a test before using a product.

Now let’s get into the removal process;

Rubbing Alcohol

This is an excellent product you can use in removing acrylic paint from wood surfaces and even clothing. It is cheap, and you probably already have it in your first aid box.

To be able to remove acrylic paint from any surface using rubbing alcohol, you want one with a 99% concentration, alongside a putty knife and some towels. With those items ready, its time to start working.

Firstly, take your putty knife and start to chip off as much layer of paint as you can; you want to do this with utmost caution as you do not want to scratch or damage your wood surface. When you can no longer safely remove any layer of paint from the surface, it is time to use the rubbing alcohol.

Dab some of the rubbing alcohol on a clean towel or rag, then start rubbing back and forth on the surface until the paint is separated from the wood.

This may take some elbow grease to achieve the desired result, and you will need to keep applying the rubbing alcohol as it evaporates. You want to be gentle with the process to avoid damaging your wood surface.

Once there’s no more acrylic paint left on the surface, get a clean towel and dampen it with some water, then using the same back and forth motion, wipe the area to remove any alcohol residue.

Finally, leave the area to air dry; it may take up to 24 hours for it to be completely dried. And once it dries completely, you can go ahead and enjoy your wood surface.

Using A Solvent

There are a number of different solvents you can use for removing acrylic paint from the wood surface; it is one of the most effective methods. Here’s a list of solvent you can use;


Ammonia is a cheap household remedy that can remove semidry and dried acrylic paint from different surfaces like plastic, wood, metal, and glass. Ammonia also contains some amount of detergent to help further remove and loosen suspended particles for easier rinsing.

Ammonia can also be used to stabilize acrylic emulsions by raising the pH. If you read the precautions stated ammonia, you will know you have to be very cautious when using ammonia due to its toxic fumes and corrosion abilities.

Lacquer thinner

This is another solvent option that can be used to remove acrylic paint; lacquer thinner is a very strong solvent that effectively removes acrylic paint from both wood, metal, and glass surfaces. 

However, like ammonia, it is very toxic; it contains toluene and methanol, which are capable of serious health hazards. This solvent should only be used outdoors for maximum ventilation.

Methylene Chloride

This solvent is the less toxic of the three, and it citrusy smell and is more environmentally friendly. However, it is still very dangerous, and you want to apply the same amount of caution you would with any of the other solvents.

How to use

Select a solvent of choice; you will need a paint roller, a putty knife, and a clean towel.

You are also going to need some protective clothing like gloves, protective eyewear, and, if possible, a ventilation mask. It is also recommended you put on clothing with long sleeves to prevent the solvent from getting in contact with your skin in case of splashes.

Once you’ve gathered all the tools, it is time to start working. You want to make sure your working area is ventilated as Much as possible.

Take the work outdoors if possible or open all doors and windows if that is not possible. You can also make use of a small fan positioned in a direction, so it blows the fumes away from you.

Using your roller brush, take a swoop out of the solvent which you can place either in a roller tray or you can just make use of it out of the can it came in.

Apply the solvent to the problem area with the acrylic paint, making sure you do not apply it to surrounding surfaces, as it could be damaging.

Let it sit for about 20 minutes; after a while, you will see the paint start to bubble. Once this occurs, it is time to start scraping it off using the putty knife.

Using the same back and forth motion as with the rubbing alcohol, apply medium pressure to the putty knife and remove every bit of acrylic paint on the wood surface.

You want to be very careful when doing this, as your wood surface becomes susceptible to damage once you apply the solvent, one wrong move can damage your surface.

Once you are done removing every bit of acrylic paint off the surface, take a clean wet towel and start wiping the area until the wood is neutralized.

You may need to restain or wax your wood surface after this procedure, but you need to wait at least one week in order for the surface to dry completely.

Read: Painted wood floors pros and cons

Using Soap and Water

If you have a varnished wood surface, then this is the best-suited procedure for removing acrylic paint off it. This is a very simple method that is time and cost-efficient as well as effective.

All you need for this procedure is some soap, a clean rag, and gloves.

First, you want to dampen the rag with some water, then using medium pressure, start wiping the acrylic paint area using a back and forth motion.

This procedure works best if the paint is still wet or semidry and not fully dried.

Use the rag to remove as much acrylic paint as possible. Next, mix any soap of your choice with some hot water, then dampen another clean rag with this mixture. You can put on some heat resistant, waterproof gloves if you can handle the heat of the hot water. 

Use this soapy rag and start gently rubbing the acrylic paint. Keep running the rag over the surface, adding more soap when needed. Keep wiping the surface until there is no more acrylic paint on it; you might need several rags for this.

Once you have gotten the paint off the surface, use a dry rag to remove every excess moisture from the area. You want to make sure you properly dry the area, and there’s no moisture left because moisture is an enemy of wood surfaces.

Even after drying the surface with a rag, it might still be slightly damp, so allow it to air dry completely. This can take up to 48 hours, depending on the size of the surface. 

Denatured Alcohol

This is stronger than rubbing alcohol but works in a similar pattern. Denatured alcohol is composed of ethyl and methyl alcohol and does not contain water; this makes it more effective than rubbing alcohol. Use the same application process for rubbing alcohol to apply this solution to the acrylic paint.

However, denatured alcohol contains methanol, which is a strong poison and quite flammable, so when using this solution, you want to ensure there is adequate ventilation, and every potential fire hazard is removed from the working area.

Using A Heat Gun

This is the last acrylic paint removal procedure that is going to be discussed in this article. This heat gun method is as effective as the other mentioned procedures.

For this, you will need a heat gun, a putty knife, and a clean towel. Sandpaper can also be used in this procedure, but it is completely optional.

A heat gun is different from a hairdryer, and you can easily get one at any craft store. Before using the heat gun for this process, it is recommended you put on some protective clothing such as safety glasses and a mask.

This heat gun procedure might not be the faster method, but it is effective regardless. When using the heat gun, you want to be versatile as possible and do not hold it in one area for too long.

Before using the heat gun, you want to give it enough time to heat up and test out the temperature on an inconspicuous area of the wood before using it on the acrylic paint.

Hold the heat gun at least four inches away from the paint, for not more than 20 seconds.

As stated earlier, do not hold the heat gun in one place for too long as it could cause damage. After heating up the whole area, get your putty knife, and start scraping.

With the heat gun in one hand and the putty knife in another, position the nozzle of the heat gun just ahead of the putty knife, and then try to get underneath the paint stain using the edge of your knife.

You want to work in small batches and do not try to remove large swatches of paint at once. It may take some time for the paint to start coming off, so you want to be patient.

Once there is much paint buildup on the putty knife, turn off the heat gun and wipe it off. Once you succeed in removing all of the paint, Switch off the heat gun and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes before storing it.

The last and final step is to allow the wood surface cool down, then use a damp rag and rub it back and forth to remove any remaining residue. If you want to sand and restain the area, wait for at least 24 hours before doing so.


An acrylic paint stain on your wood floor or furniture can ruin the look, and knowing how to remove acrylic paint from wood might just save the day.

It is not a tedious process but requires utmost dedication and caution, especially when using solvents.

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