How to Remove Paint From Wood Without Sanding? Need to Know.

By Marko Jankovic | Last Updated: January, 2021

How to Remove Paint From Wood Without Sanding?

How to Remove Paint From Wood Without Sanding?

When most people think of stripping paint from wood, sanding is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, sanding usually leaves an uneven finish or damages the wood if you are not quite familiar with this method. It is also a very labor-intensive method or removing paint from wood and most people find it quite dusty. It is important to note that sanding is not an appropriate method when dealing with lead paint.

In this article, we are going to look at reliable techniques that you could use at home to strip paint off wood that doesn’t involve or sanding. Read through all the different alternative methods before deciding which option is best for you.

Method 1: use of paint stripper

Although some people prefer not to use chemicals, it is a quick method that gets good results. You must wear protective gear and exercise caution throughout the entire process. Before we start, here are some of the supplies and tools that you will need.

  1. Paint strippe
  2. Water
  3. Metal putty knife
  4. Steel wood
  5. Rags
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Protective eyewear
  8. Gloves
  9. Apron
  10. Ventilator

Apply your paint stripper

Start by gearing up with protective clothing which includes gloves, apron, and safety glasses. You must have closed shoes, do not attempt with shorts or open-toed shoes. Ensure that you work in a well-ventilated area, outdoors if possible.

The paint stripper comes with the manufacturer’s instructions, and you should go through it first. You need to apply the paint stripper according to those exact directions. Note that a thick layer will make the entire process more effective and quick.

Whenever dealing with tones of paint to strip, or using an environmentally-friendly stripper, wrap the entire project in a plastic wrap once you apply the first coat. The stripper will start peeling off the paint in about 15 minutes to 24 hours depending on the potency. In most cases, you will start to see the results in less than twenty minutes.

Wait for the bubble

Once you see the paint start to bubble, then the first layer of paint can be stripped. In case you have the plastic wrap placed, slowly peel back from one corner and check. You must not let the paint and stripper stay on your wood for long because they can harden back. If this occurs then you will have a more difficult time stripping the paint. To start scrapping the stripper and paint should be wet to the touch.

Use the metal putty knife to scrap

Use the metal putty knife to start carefully scraping back paint layers from your wood. do not be too aggressive or you might damage your wood when carrying out this step. Not all the paint will come off the first time and that is pretty much standard. Ensure that you don’t force it. Only scrap back whatever you can with minimal effort. A plastic putty knife should not be used since it will melt when it comes into contact with the stripper.

Repeat stripper

To remove all the paint from your wood, you might need about four or three coats of the stripper. This will depend on the number of paint layers on your wood, the paint stripper you are using and the type of paint.

Clean using water

Use a clean cloth and water to clean up the wood once you have removed as much paint as possible. You could also use mineral spirits should you want the work done faster. Some manufacturers give directions on whether to use water or mineral spirits.

Use steel wool

There are bound to be stubborn spots on your piece of wood. Dip steel wool in mineral spirits and clean those spots to ensure you get rid of those stubborn spots.

Finishing off

For a finer finish, you could sand the edges and give the wood a final rub down using paint thinner. This should help finish off the project and prepare the wood for refinishing. You can now proceed to refinish the wood as desired.

Method 2: pressure washer

Safety and connections

Start by putting on heavy rubber gloves and safety goggles to ensure you prevent injuries. Next, you need to connect a water hose to the pressure washer. Proceed to connect the pressure washer to the power outlet before finally turning on the compressor. To start the process, set the pressure to medium.

Stripping off the paint

Hold the pressure washer nozzle about 10 inches from the wood surface. Ensure that you have a firm grip before pulling the trigger. Your piece of wood should also be well-positioned and supported to ensure that it doesn’t tip over.

Work your way slowly across the wood surface, angling the water jet effectively to get rid of all the old paint. When dealing with old wood, periodically check for any signs of damage. It is easier to work in rows especially when dealing with a large project.

Increase pressure on tougher spots

When you encounter the tough spots, you will need to slightly increase the pressure. Remember that too much pressure could damage your wood so you need to be very careful. Once finished, you could use a sander to work on any paint that wasn’t removed by the sprayer.

Method 3: Heat gun

Plug the heat gun

Wear leather gloves before plugging in the heat gun to an outlet. You must ensure that you have a metal scrapper on the ready. Please ensure that it has a wooden handle before you start the project.

Start the process

Hold the gun about 8 inches from the wood and start with a medium setting on the heat gun. The hot air should blow for about 10-15 seconds over each small area. Once the paint bubbles, slowly move the heat to the adjacent area and use the scraper to remove the melted paint.

Work in a small area at a time to get the job done well. Remember that your wood might catch fire so it is important to watch out for darkened spots. Adjust the temperature regularly as needed until you get rid of all the paint. Use steel wool to get rid of paint at the corners. Once you remove all the paint, sand the surface lightly to achieve a smooth grain.


Describe above are alternative ways to strip paint from wood other than sanding. Go through each of the methods before you decide which best suits your needs. Always remember to wear protective clothing regardless of which method you pick.

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1 comment
Leeanne Deines says

This blog How to remove paint from wood without sanding?

Need To Know helps me a lot with my woodworking projects.
Kiss you all!

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