How to Remove Paint From Wood Floor Without Damaging Finish – 6 Methods

how to remove paint from wood floor without damaging finish

Paint dramatically changes and transforms any medium it is applied, but when it gets on areas, it shouldn’t, like your wood floor, it does more harm than good.

If you catch the spill immediately, it occurs; simply wiping the paint with a rag should get it off.

But if you stumbled on the paint drip after it has dried, you would need tougher removal methods and may even need to strip off the paint from the wood floor or furniture using a chemical stripper, depending on how widespread the spill is.

To remove the paint, you need to scrape off the hardened paint using a plastic putty knife. You can as well use a mild cleaning detergent to life the paint easily from the floor while it’s cleaned with a rag.

Here are ways on how to remove paint from wood floor without damaging finish; remember to always begin with the most gentle method (soap and water) before proceeding to other harsh cleaning products.

Read: How to remove paint from hardwood floor without sanding

How to Remove Paint from Wood Floor Without Damaging Finish

You’ll need:

  • Paper towel
  • Clean rags
  • Dish wash soap
  • Water
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Dull knife
  • Scrub brush
  • Paint thinner
  • Cleansing pads

Prepare the Floor

You would need to prep your wood floor surface, and it should be done before carrying out any maintenance activity on the floor surface.

Clear the area with the paint spill, clean off any dust, dirt, and grit on the wood surface and ensure the paint drops are visible. Next, figure out the type of paint you are dealing with; is it water-based or oil-based?

There are many ways to get can paint off wood floor; you can either use a solvent or scrap it off using a scraper. It is more difficult to remove oil-based old paint from wood than acrylic paint because some of the effective solvents available damages the wood finish.

Read: How to remove polyurethane from wood

Scrape Off the Hardened Paint

This method is best suited for water-based paint. Use a plastic putty knife to scrape the paint off without damaging the surface of the wood floor. For hard paint spots, you can lightly tap the putty knife with a hammer to remove them.

You can use a scraper to remove dried paint from hard-to-reach areas like the joints between two boards or the wood grain depression.

However, you may find it difficult to remove some oil-based paints when they dry. To make it easier to remove, you can heat the spot with a hairdryer on high heat setting and hold it about 3 inches above the ground for 20 seconds.

Use a Mild Cleaning Detergent

Dampen a clean rag with a drop of dishwashing soap and dab on every part of the stain with the cloth.

Buff the cleaner into the floor for a few minutes before wiping out the stain using a dry and absorbent rag.

The soapy water softens the paint making it easy to lift off the floor. Finally, use a blunt knife to scratch off any residual paint layer and sweep the floor surface.

Read: Easy homemade hardwood floor cleaner

Using Commercial Paint Removers

Commercial paint remover will get dried paint off your wood floors quicker than other options. You can purchase a paint remover from a home improvement store.  

Use a cotton ball or swab to apply the product onto the dried paint, and allow it to soak into the paint for about 15 minutes, so it breaks it down. Ensure to only apply the paint remover on areas with the paint stain.

Use a paper towel or rag to wipe out the chipped paint and the remover liquid from the floor. If your floor is greasy, a simple wipe down with soapy water should clean it.

Read: Can you paint laminate floors?

Using Denatured Alcohol

Another way to remove paint from wood floor without damaging its finish is by using denatured alcohol.

Use a rag to apply the alcohol onto the stain and allow it to sit on the paint stain for about 30 minutes to soften the paint and make it easy to remove.

Go in with a scrub brush and scrub the paint using a forth-back motion, then wipe out the excess paint on the wood floor with a dry cloth and get the floor surface completely dry.

Using a Cleansing Pad

You can get an alcohol-based cleansing pad at a local drug store, use it to scrub the paint stain until it is lifted. When the cleansing pad dries out, replace it with a new one until your floor is completely free of paint stain.

Using Paint Thinner

Paint thinner should be used as the last resort in removing paint from wood floor as the thinner can easily remove the finish. When working with paint thinner, ensure the room is properly ventilated.

Dampened a rag with a small amount of the thinner and buff the paint stain with it until you remove all the paint.

You can use mineral spirit if the smell of paint thinner is too offensive. Either product is best suited for removing oil-based paint from wood. Paint thinner should never be used on a water-based paint.

Read: How to clean painted wood floor


You can remove paint from wood floor without damaging finish by simply scrubbing off the dried paint with a blunt knife; this, however, is only effective for water-based paint that isn’t completely hardened.

For oil-based paint stain or completely dried paint, you may need denatured alcohol, cleansing pads, and even paint thinner, depending on the extent of the paint stain you are dealing with.

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