Ever found yourself in need of paint remover, but can’t find a drop of the stuff? In times like these it’s frustrating to need to run to the store and spend extra dollars on a project.
But did you know you can make your own DIY paint remover at home? It’s quick and easy, and can be a real lifesaver too. Whether you want to save some cash by avoiding remover products, or you want to have less impact on the environment with a more natural paint remover, this list of do-it-yourself recipes will have you stripping paint in no time.
1) Pressure Wash
While not a recipe per se, this option is great if you have a pressure washer on hand and are going to be stripping paint from rugged, outdoor surfaces like porches. For inside use, it’s probably best to stick to other recipes on this list.
Pressure washers are a great way to remove paint since they’re completely not toxic and require much less effort than manually scrubbing away paint. Do make sure to check if the wood you are spraying is untreated or old, as your pressure washer may leave topical damage.
How to strip wood with a pressure washer:
The process is very simple. Using a pressure washer with a PSI ranging from 3000 to 4000, you’ll want to point downward and spray the area with either a 25 or 45 degree tip. The length of the process will depend on your project, as well as the power of your washer, but once finished you may then scrape off any small remaining bits of paint by hand.
2) Ammonia and Borax Paint Remover
Made up of only three accessible ingredients, this recipe is great for when you find yourself in a bit of a pinch. No paint remover on hand? Just grab some borax, washing soda and ammonia and you can cook up a batch yourself!
To make this homebrewed paint remover, simply take a dish or vessel and pour in 1 part ammonia, 1 part borax and 1 part washing soda. Also add a small amount of water. 2 tablespoons is great for 1 cup of each ingredient, so scale up/down from there.
Incorporate the mixture together until a paste is formed. Taking a brush, coat the paint with the mixture and let sit for at least around 10-20 minutes for it to break down the paint. When the time is up, scrub off the paint using steel wool.
If you’re not shy of getting stuck in, then sandpaper is a super cheap way to strip paint off. Any heavy grit sandpaper is a must, as lower grit sandpaper won’t have enough strength to pull paint from surfaces. If you’re sanding wood, you want to sand with the grain.
Make sure to wear a mask, as sanding creates a lot of dust which is harmful to your health. This method also isn’t great for large projects, as it can be quite laborious and take a long amount of time.
4) Washing Soda Paint Remover
Used in many homemade recipes, washing soda is a fantastic tool for removing paint from surfaces. If you’re really low on time, money and resources, then this remover is perfect for you. You can get washing soda in the detergent aisle in most stores.
Take a large vessel and pour 4 tablespoons of washing soda per 1 cup of water. Once mixed together, add a tablespoon of flour to the mixture to thicken it. Incorporate the flour completely and add another tablespoon. Repeat this process until the mixture has a creamy consistency but is still spreadable.
Once you’ve made your remover, just coat the target surface with it using a brush or palette knife. Let the coating sit for roughly half an hour before removing it, scraping off any leftover paint as you go.
5) Hot Vinegar Paint Remover
If you really don’t want to hop down to the store, and you don’t want to mess around with homemade recipes, this is probably one of the simplest options out there: vinegar.
While vinegar doesn’t remove paint directly, it does soften paint significantly, making it easier to remove by hand. If you’re working on a smaller project, vinegar can be a great way to make the scraping process a lot faster.
To use vinegar, heat some in a pot and wait for it to boil. Using a brush, apply the vinegar to the surface, and let rest. Keep testing the paint so see if it has softened. If not, repeat if necessary.
6) Baking Soda and Hot Water
Here’s another recipe that takes very little effort and uses ingredients that you’ll probably have around the house.
This tried and tested method is a classic for a reason. If you’re struggling to remove paint from your tools and brushes, then this should be able to get them as good as new. While it might not work for surfaces as effectively as other recipes, it is perfect for small jobs and keeping your toolkit clean.
Take an old pot and fill it with water and add heat. Add ¼ of a cup of baking soda in the pot and leave it to incorporate. Make sure not to stir it!
As the pot reaches a simmer, watch that it doesn’t boil. When you maintain a simmer heat, place whatever object is covered in paint into the pot. If your pot is big enough, you can do multiple at a time, but make sure to not let them come into contact with one another or the side of the pot.
After around 10 minutes, check the items in the pot to see if the paint has been removed. Then leave to dry.
7) Hydrogen Peroxide
Most households have a bit of hydrogen peroxide hiding in a cupboard somewhere, so this simple recipe makes a great option if you happen to have some lying around.
Often used as a nail polish remover, hydrogen peroxide is also equally adept at removing paint. We recommend using gloves and keeping the room well vented if you are indoors.
Using hydrogen peroxide is simple. Dap a cloth, scrubber or steel wool with hydrogen peroxide and cover the surface with the liquid. Scrub the surface topically to allow the hydrogen peroxide to start to break down the composition of the paint.
You may leave the surface to soak for one hour. Afterwards, the paint should be looser and much easier to remove. If required, add another layer of hydrogen peroxide to help loosen stubborn layers of paint.