How To Remove Paint From Wood

Removing multiple layers of paint from wood is no easy task! It takes a lot of time, patience and determination to safely and properly remove it. Here is a safe and effective way that has zero VOC’s, is odor free, user friendly, 100% biodegradable, is non-carcinogenic, non-toxic and non-caustic and removes up to 15 layers of paint!


I am so torn when it comes to painting over stained wood. I absolutely love the look of painted wood, especially on dingy furniture…but I struggle so much with painting over old, still in good condition wood. In our new house, an 1886 Victorian in Wisconsin, the upstairs woodwork has all been painted. Because of it’s age, it’s been painted many many many times over.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure here.

Before we actually even closed on the home, I watched a video by This Old House showing a product that they used to remove up to 15 layers of paint in one shot. Honestly, the video made it look so fun that when we closed on the home, I had the products shipped and waiting for me until I got there to give it a try (side note: we are not living in the home yet, we are staying in NC to wait out winter, haha!)

I flew up to WI with the plan to clean and meet with contractors for a few things we are looking to have done prior to moving in and well…lets just say, I was too excited and accomplished not much cleaning but rather, I tackled a whole bedroom with paint! After testing the paint to see if it had lead, I got to work with stripping! I’ve put the entire process together in my free guide to proper paint removal. 

What You’ll Find In This Post:

  • Removing multiple layers of paint
  • Products to remove paint
  • Removing paint from detailed contoured edges/trim
  • Clean up tips
  • Video tutorial: how to remove paint from wood

Why I Chose Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Removal System

  • Smart Strip has zero VOC’s, is odor free, user friendly, 100% biodegradable and PH neutral (this was important to me especially because I began my project during the winter – and of course, the coldest week in 30 years: the high was -25 (yes, that is a negative!)
  • Removes up to 15 layers of coatings
  • Ideal for use for intricate, carved or molded surfaces
  • Smart Strip is a revolutionary paint remover that is safe for the user, any substrate and the environment
  • It is formulated without methylene chloride and is non-carcinogenic, non-toxic and non-caustic
  • Easily applied by brush, roller or conventional airless spray
  • Formulated to remain wet and effective over extended periods of time and can be removed with a sponge and water or a power washer

How To Use Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Removal System

  1. Apply a generous coat (as if you were icing a cake) of the paint stripper on your wood using a cheap paint brush.
  2. Cover with laminated paper
  3. Wait up to 24 hours to remove paper
  4. Peel paper off of wood
  5. Use a scraper to remove excess paint
  6. Repeat process or use a heat gun and scraper to remove excess paint
  7. Use a paint thinner of your choice to remove any extra paint residue

**be sure to test your paint first to see if it has lead, I explain how to do so HERE.

Lets Get To Work!


Once I got the first round of layers of paint off (by removing the paper and then using the paint scrapper to pull the peeling paint off), I used my heat gun and scrapper to remove the rest as shown in the progress photo below.

Step-By-Step Video Tutorial

This instructional video teaches how to safely and properly remove paint from wood surfaces while using no VOC, biodegradable products. Before removing paint in a home or building built before 1978 be sure to test for lead first.

YouTube video

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Products Used In The Video:

1) Old clothes or paint suit

2) Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3301 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 Gallon 

3) Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 1324 Dumond Laminated Paper, 13″ x 300′ Roll

4) Paint scrapers

5) Safety goggles

6) 3M Medium Mold and Lead Paint Removal Respirator Mask

7) Wagner Furno 750 Heat Gun

8) Safety gloves

Detailed Contoured Edges

To be totally honest, the detailed corners/edges totally stink!!! Ugh! Wow is that a lot of work! The traditional flat headed paint scrapers don’t work really well on these areas because the paint is down in the grooves. Sanding blocks and sanding paper didn’t work really well either. So, I asked on a Facebook group that I am apart of and someone recommended these contoured paint scrapers. I unfortunately had to fly back to North Carolina so I wasn’t able to try them out, but as soon as we permanently move in, I will be giving them a try as they have been delivered to me here in NC!



Clean Up Tips:

1. Plastic Drop Cloth: Always have a drop cloth on the floor to protect your flooring. I used a plastic drop cloth and cut it into smaller sections so it was easier to work with and then I could throw it away when I was done using it. *When removing paint with either stripper or a heat gun, the paint does become gooey/wet-like and you do not want it getting on your floor.

2. Baby Wipes: baby wipes are my favorite painting tip! Not only do they clean off paint from literally any surface, but they are very flexible and disposable! Win win! Baby wipes work exceptionally better than paper towels and old rags in my experience. I personally use the sensitive wipes (pretty much any brand, but I prefer Wal-Mart’s store brand) because over the years of being a mommy and a painter, I have found that the sensitive wipes are much more cloth like and easy to maneuver.

3. Dish Soap: I have found that dish soap is the best cleaner for brushes and scrapers. I have even asked other painter friends and they all agree. Let your brushes and scrapers soak in warm to hot bubble bath and the paint will release itself and come right off!


And there you have it! Removing multiple layers of paint is easy to do but does require a decent amount of time and patience. In the end, I’m confident it will be worth all of the hard work!


Snag my free guide to proper paint removal to learn how to remove lead based paint and more!

One Comment

  1. Your video looked very helpful but I can’t hear you over the music. I would leave that out next time so we can hear what you’re saying.

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