How To Use Paint Thinner To Remove Paint From Wooden Furniture

Often we have a piece of furniture lying around the house that can get its old glory back just with a bit of work. The same goes for old wooden floors and those amazing-looking vintage houses.

Just a bit of paintwork and it can be brought back to its previous state. This is exactly where chemical paint removers come in handy for us to use and the most commonly used paint removing chemical might be paint thinner. Though there are multiple other ways from heat application to sanding, usage of paint thinner is much easier and less time-consuming.

Paint thinner is a substance that literally makes paint thinner. Usually, it is a solvent that is used to dilute oil-based paints or to clean paints when needed. Down here, I will show you a few easy steps on how to use paint thinner to remove paint from wooden furniture.

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What Is Paint Thinner?

Paint thinner is a substance that is made to reduce the thickness of paint. After a can of paint is opened for the first time it has the perfect consistency for application with any painting tools, but after leaving it open for a long while it can become thicker or begin to harden. That’s where paint thinner comes in handy. It can be used to bring back the original consistency.

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What Does Paint Thinner Contain?

Commonly used chemicals to make paint thinner usually contain mineral spirits, mineral and true turpentine, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), naphtha, acetone, dimethylformamide (DMF), toluene, and glycol ethers.

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How To Get Paint Off Wood Without Damaging

Usually, there are mainly three ways of removing paint from wood without damaging it: chemical paint strippers/ paint thinners, sanding, and using a hot air gun.

Among these three ways, chemical stripping or using paint thinner is the best and most effective method.  Though the other two methods are fairly popular still there is a big chance you might damage the surface of wood by not being careful enough.

For the method of sanding you actually scrape a bit of the wood surface, so if you’re not being careful enough you might make the surface uneven. As for using a hot air gun, it is less time consuming but it can scorch the wood if you’re not careful.

Though scorching the wood is less concerning when you’re trying to re-paint, it should be kept in mind that though a hot air gun will remove the paint it will not remove the varnish. Hence using a chemical stripper is the best method if you’re trying to remove paint without damaging the wood.

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Removing Paint From Wooden Furniture By Using Paint Thinner

Using paint thinner to remove paint

While using any sort of paint thinner, there are a few steps that need to be followed. Here we are going to discuss a few important steps that need to be taken to remove paint using a paint thinner.

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1. The first step is checking the condition of the wood underneath. While working with an old piece of wood furniture, you should always check if the wood is worth exposing, and you can work with it after the paint is gone. So before starting off with paint thinner, you should find a small spot and scrape to the bottom layer to see in what condition the wood is.

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2. Check if the paint contains lead. If the said piece of wood or furniture was painted before the 1970s, it could have lead in it. In case lead is found, you should check for tips on lead safety and help on how to remove it.

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3. After checking the first two steps, make sure if you need help from a professional. Though doing it all by yourself is a fun experience and is always fun for a change, there are certain times when you’ll require help from a professional. For instance, dealing with a big piece of furniture that has lead paint on it is something that should be taken care of by a professional.

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4. Read the instructions written on the product container by the manufacturer. You should know about the product details before handling it.

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5. Apart from preparing paint thinner, you should prepare the necessary tools needed for the process. Generally, tools such as paintbrushes, cloth to clean, sandpaper, or scraper are needed to remove paint. Also, you should purchase protective equipment, including masks, gloves, and safety glasses.

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6. Before opening the container, shake the container well to mix the contents thoroughly.

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7. Apply the paint thinner on the surface following the directions written on the manufacturer’s manual. Start by applying a paintbrush to a smaller area of the furniture. Try not to cover the entire surface.

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8. Wait for about 15 to 20 minutes so that the thinner sits on the wood well, undisturbed. (Check the manual as some thinners work faster than others).

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9. After 20 minutes, the paint will soften and you can start scraping it using a scraper or sandpaper. Most of the time, you need to repeat the process 3 to 4 more times in case there are traces of old paint left.

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10. After scraping, you’re good to start wiping the surface clean with a cloth.

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11. Disposing of the cloth and brush after the process is very important as paint thinner is often flammable. Paint thinner should be stored in a cool place where it cannot be reached by children or pets and away from any source of flame.

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Parting words

Here, I have explained how to use paint thinner to remove paint from wooden furniture in a few easy steps.

But surely, there are a few precautionary steps that must be taken.  Without taking proper precautions handling paint thinner can be pretty dangerous as it can cause breathing problems.

So make sure to work in a well-ventilated place wearing your safety gear while working with paint thinners.

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