How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Acrylic paint is a type of paint produced with pigment that is suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and silicon oils,  stabilizers,  plasticizers,  or metal soaps. It is a fast-drying paint and water-based, however, it turns water-resistant the moment it’s allowed to dry on surfaces.

Are you looking for how to remove acrylic paint from wood? Some of the available methods include the use of soap and water ( if it’s still fresh), olive oil, and alcohol (if it’s dried).  Other methods include the use of stronger detergent (such as lacquer thinner to make it soft), sanding it off, or even repainting the whole wood.

If you seek how to remove acrylic stains from your furniture, this content will provide you with a few methods to do the job effectively.

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What are the Safety Requirements?

Before you begin the cleaning process, there are some safety requirements you should try to observe to minimize health risks and to avoid any further damage to wood. The following are these requirements:

  • Ensure that the type of detergent in use while cleaning acrylic paint is not within the reach of your kids and pets.
  • Ensure the room is properly ventilated. Leave the windows open before the cleaning process and for some minutes after it.
  • Ensure you do a safety test before starting the real cleaning process. To do this, try to apply a quantity of detergent or substance to an unexposed area of the wood. Then rub and leave it. When it dries, check if the work is perfect. Proceed if you can’t find any stain.
  • The explained methods below should be used according to the type of wood. You can use acetone,  alcohol, and lacquer thinner on bare and unvarnished wood. Hot soapy water is recommended for varnished wood.  It is worth noting that using alcohol on varnished wood can change the color or dull the shine. This is why it is important to do the testing before attempting it on the wood.

Related: Remove Paint From Glass

What are the Methods of Cleaning Acrylic Paint from Wood?

It is very easy to get rid of acrylic paint when it is still. At the wet stage, you can do the job using ordinary water, soap, and a piece of cloth to get the stains off. However, the moment it moves to the dry stage, you will need more than just water and soap to get the stains removed.

Removing the Acrylic Paint when it’s still Fresh

The best thing to do is get rid of acrylic paint when it is still fresh. The required items to use to do the job when the stains are still wet include liquid dish soap, water, and a piece of cloth. Using this item may not work effectively on dry paint if you attempt it.

Below is the cleaning process for acrylic paint when it’s still Fresh:

Step 1: Sink the piece of cloth in a bowl with liquid dish soap and hot water.

Step 2: Scrub the acrylic paint with the cloth gently.  Continue scrubbing until the paint is completely obliterated. When scrubbing,  you can add more soap and water if necessary.

Step 3: Then use a damp cloth to get rid of the last bit of paint and soap.

Tip: if you use this step on dry paint, by the time you’re done, the paint may still be there, but it will be a bit softer. Seeing it soft, you can then use a plastic paint scraper,  puffy knife, or blunt knife to scrape the paint off gently.  Nonetheless,  if the paint persists,  then try how to remove the paint when it’s already dried.

Removing the Paint when it’s already dried

If you notice that the acrylic paint spillage is already dried on the wood, you can take an effective method of using olive oil alone or with rubbing alcohol.

If using only olive oil will work perfectly for the stain removal, then try to get the required items that include a tool for scraping (a plastic paint scraper, puffy knife, or kitchen knife), olive oil, and a piece of cloth.

Below is the cleaning process for dry acrylic paint using olive oil:

Step 1: Use a few drops of olive oil on the paint to soften it

Step 2: Use a piece of cloth to cover the paint and leave it for not less than one hour.

Step 3: Try to use any tool of your choice to scrape the paint off the wood.

Tip: In case after trying these steps and the acrylic paint is still hard, try the first two steps again or try an alternative method of using rubbing alcohol.

To use rubbing alcohol for the stain removal, then try to get the required items that include a piece or pieces of cloth, a tool for scraping ( a plastic paint scraper, puffy knife, or kitchen knife), or rubbing alcohol. If you like you can also add a steel wool pad, but it’s not compulsory. This method is great for the successful removal of dry acrylic paint.

Below is the cleaning process for dry acrylic paint using rubbing alcohol:

Step 1:  Use any of the scraping tools( plastic paint scraper,  puffy knife, or kitchen knife) to scrape off the paint. Do this gently and precisely in order not to damage the wood.

Step 3: Put on the piece of cloth some rubbing alcohol and apply it to the paint.

Step 2: This next stage is optional if you’re dealing with bigger stains. Here try to use a steel wool pad to rub the paint remnants. Again, it is important to do it gently making sure you touch nothing else but the paint.

Step 4: Using the paint to rub the acrylic paint and continue for about a few minutes.

Step 5: If it’s necessary,  continue adding more rubbing alcohol, and don’t forget to take a new piece of cloth when you see the paint moves onto it.

Step 6:  Wipe out the affected part using a clean and moist cloth ( you can add soap if you want) until the alcohol is totally gone.

Step 7: Finish the process by using a dry piece of cloth to wipe everything and 5hen leave the area to dry

Tip: In case you can still see some traces of stains on the wood, attempt the steps again after the wood has dried.

Related: Remove Paint From Aluminum Boat

What to do if the Paint Persists?

There is another way out if after trying the methods above and the stains remain on the wood. Dried acrylic paint is undoubtedly a hard substance to get rid of from any surface, but you may want to try other methods.

Using a stronger detergent

First of all, try to be sure of the type of paint you want to remove. If it’s acrylic paint,  then you can choose detergent such as lacquer thinner. Lacquer will help soften the paint. You can also pick other solvents but ensure that you use them carefully because of their potency.

Sanding the paint off

In case you are dealing with a really big stain, sanding it off may be a good option. However, this is a method that can damage your wood if not done properly. Therefore, ensure you understand the process before using it.

Repainting the wood

You may find it difficult to get some paint off the wood because of the longer time you have left them there. So, instead of damaging the wood when trying to get the paint by force, you may want to consider repainting the whole wood. Repainting it may even give you nicer-looking furniture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can heat guns help remove acrylic paint from wood?

A: You can use a heat gun in the cleaning process. However, it is important to consider if the affected area is large or not. A heat gun is only efficient when you need to remove the stain from the surfaces of a large wood like an entire door.

Q: Can acrylic paint be removed from wood without chemicals?

A: There are two specific ways to get rid of acrylic paint without chemicals.  These include a  sandpaper and heat gun. For the heat gun, aim the tool to the spot where you have the paint and heat it until the paint begins to melt off. Then scrape off the paint using a puffy knife. Use a damp cloth to wipe the area to get rid of the paint completely.

Q: Can rain wash off acrylic paint from wood?

A: Since acrylic paint is water-based,  there is a higher probability that rain can wash it off if and only If it paint is yet to dry.

Learn more about acrylic paints:

Final Word

It is advisable to follow the provided methods as explained above and don’t forget to do it carefully.  Removing acrylic paint shouldn’t be too difficult to get rid of if you know the proper way to get the job done. What you need to do now make choose the method that is suitable for your wood depending on the items and products you have access to and do the work like a professional.

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