how to remove old latex from darn near everything

boysmomJuly 1, 2006

i've begun re-painting my boys' rooms, removing the popcorn, etc. there is old (a few years) latex paint here & there, on the window frames, baseboards, etc. the window frames are dark & the baseboards are as well(stained wood).

how can i get this old latex off?

some appears to be smeared, like it was wiped when wet, but not all came off, some is as it must've been when it first got there.


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You can buy it at any hardware store or Walmart type place.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 12:31PM
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is goof-off the same or similar to goo-gone? is it an oily citrus-y smelling liquid?
that stuff is amazing!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 3:54PM
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If the Goof Off damages the finish on the stained wood, 409 cleaner may get the latex off combined with some scrubbing with a rag. The 409 does not harm clear finishes very much nor very fast.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 5:28PM
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Vinegar or ammonia, I can't remember which, will soften the latex really nice so you can scrub it off. A painter taught me that trick when I tried to take off 10 year old splatters on a stairway. No damage to the finish either. The only thing is I can't remember which one it was. :( I think it was the vinegar, but you can test a small spot first. I put it in a spray bottle and did a whole set of stairs that way.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 9:05AM
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rubbing alcohol

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 9:35PM
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Goof-off is xylene in a small can at a high price.
You can try alchohol (rubbing or denatured), ammonia (look for something from a janitor supply place), or xylene.
Xylene destroys the latex, but is flammable and rather smelly (think permanent markers).
A solvent like xylene wil be easier on the wood than a water based mixture, but test carefully to find out how much besides the paint is going to come off.
New wood is often a better option than a lot of solvents and hand work (that spreads junk all over and adds to the clean up).

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 9:57PM
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What will latex paint off of carpet without discoloring the carpet? It's berber. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 11:41AM
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Most carpets are colors are not affected by xylene. Test first.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 7:43PM
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I bought some cabinet refinishing stuff, years ago, called QRB. It removes all kinds of paints. Just melts it off. You just wipe it on, let it sit and wipe it off. Removes old varnish, too.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 11:24PM
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"Removes old varnish, too."

It may contain methylene chloride sionce there are no solvents for most varnishes. The polymerization reaction is 'one way' and the original solvent will not typically reverse it.
MEK is also very efective on latex and alkyd paints, but is ~$12 a gallon. It also can damage a lot of finishes.
Try water first (with gentle scrubbing), then 409 type surfectant cleaners (but they usually only work if the surface was not properly cleaned before painting), denatured alcohol, paint thinner, xylene, MEK, and methylene chloride.
As you go up the list from water the chance of damaging something gets higher. MEK will damage many finishes.
Water will damage shellac unkless used very sparingly and quickly wiped away. Paint thinnner is better on shellac surfaces.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 11:01AM
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ditto rubbing alcohol.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 7:47AM
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