How to Strip Paint from Wood Floors (2 Simple Approach)

how to strip paint from wood floors

The beauty of hardwood floors is undeniable, given the natural and authentic beauty it gives to your home. Anyone would go to any length to keep the attractive gloss on the hardwood flooring.

If you have a painted wood floor, you already know that lovely natural wood is just waiting to be discovered beneath the paint. Sometimes, the paint might get old, which signifies that it’s time to get rid of the paint.

This brings us to the topic, how to strip paint from wood floors. Soap, water and rubbing can be used to strip paint off wood floors. Read on as we explore methods of removing oil and water-based paint from wood floors.

How to Strip Paint from Wood Floors

Before removing paint from wooden floors, ensure that the wooden surface area is thoroughly clean and free of any residue, dust, or debris.

After that, you’ll need to determine whether an oil or water-based paint stain was previously used on the hardwood floor.

So, how can you figure out what kind of paint was previously used on the wood surface?

All you have to do is take some cotton wool, soak it in alcohol, and wipe a small area of the wood. If the preceding paint comes off on cotton wool, it is water-based paint; if it does not come off on cotton wool, it is an oil-based stain.

Note that the method of removing water-based and oil-based paint differs a bit. We will discuss the respective methods below.

Read: How to clean painted wood floor

How to Strip Water-Based Paint from Wood Floors

Now that you’ve discovered that water-based paint is used on the wood floor, it’s time to strip it off.

There are two basic procedures you might employ in stripping off water-based paint. First, you try using soap and water on the paint, and if that doesn’t work, rubbing alcohol will do the job.

Start with washing the wood surface with a moist cloth, soap, and water. Don’t scrub the wood floor too hard as this may cause harm to the wood.

To remove particularly stubborn stains, use a putty knife to lift the paint. Allow the wood to thoroughly dry after the paint has been successfully removed.

The second approach becomes necessary when the water and soap method doesn’t work.

Rubbing alcohol, often known as isopropyl alcohol, is efficient in removing stubborn paints from wood floors.

Start by mixing three parts of rubbing alcohol to one part lemon juice in a 3:1 ratio. Spread evenly over the wood surface and leave for 5 minutes. Take a clean towel and gently rub the old paint stain away.

Read: Other ways to remove paint from wood floor

How to Strip Oil-Based Paint from Wood Floors

Just like you might have envisaged, removing oil-based paint stains is more difficult and time-consuming than removing water-based stains.

Start with using a putty knife to slowly and gently scrape the old paint away, being careful not to harm the wooden surface.

If the paint has hardened and grown brittle, try using a hammer on the putty knife to break off the tenacious old paint, being careful not to damage the wooden surface.

The old paint stain may settle between the floors or seep into gaps. At this stage, you will need a pull scraper to pull out the scraps.

If you still have stubborn stains after all of this, then you might need a heat gun or even a hairdryer to melt the stubborn paint.

Start by setting the heat gun or hair dryer to high and keep it 3 inches away from the surface. Maintain this position for 20 to 30 seconds, but no longer, since the heat may cause damage to your wood.

Now, using your putty knife, scrape away all of the softened paint stains. Clean the wood surface with a cloth and allow it dry.

Read: Removing paint from hardwood floor without sanding

What Is the Best Product to Remove Paint from Hardwood Floors?

Sometimes, some stubborn paints might require you to use a commercial wood stripper to remove them. Well, what are some of the best products in the market?

1. RESTORE-A-DECK Wood Stain Stripper: this product comprises biodegradable concentrates that aid in the restoration of your wood’s surface. This stain stripper will easily and rapidly remove an old paint stain, as well as any mildew, dirt, or mold

2. WOODRICH Wood Cleaner & Stripper: this product is intended for use on extremely tough stains and will work on both worn and new wood surfaces.

3. FLORIDA LABORATORIES Oxalic Wood Stain Remover: Use with caution because this product contains a highly concentrated acid composition that might be detrimental to your health.


In this post on how to strip paint from wood floors, we realize that removing water-based paint from wood floors is way easier. Probably this is among the reason water-based paints are popular among many homeowners.

Remember that the procedure outlined in this post should be done carefully so as not to damage your wood floor.

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