Can old paint on woodwork be removed?

Jane RaffertyApril 25, 2013

I bought an old (1958) house with paint smears on the woodwork. The woodowork is a lovely color and I hate to lose it. I don't know if I can remove old paint (it appears to be latex) without wrecking the woodwork. I'm slightly disabled so really labor intensive work is out, but I can piece away at a project. I can't afford to replace every bit of woodwork in the house (yeah, they were that sloppy.) Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)

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You can try scraping/shaving the white paint with a single edge razor blade.

In the process you will probably scratch some of the finish off the woodwork. It should be fairly easy to fixup the stain and apply another coat of varnish.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Try isopropyl alcohol (AKA 'rubbing alcohol') (90%+) from the drug store.

What finish is on the wood greatly affects what solvents can be used to remove the latex.

Mechanical removal (razor blade, sanding) is VERY likely to damage any finish on the wood.

Alcohol or paint thinner with a non-woven pad with NO abrasive added (3M ones are typically gray) usually gets latex off with minimal damage.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:19AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I don't think thinner will work on latex, but maybe? It all depends on the finish on the wood trim

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 6:04PM
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Try a plastic 1" putty knife or the edge of an old credit card. "Oops" used gently is another option.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Spray 9 cleaner on a small area. I have accidentally removed latex and acrylic paints when cleaning with this heavy duty all purpose cleaner.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Hi. If the paint is latex try soap and water and a nylon pot scrubber.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:18PM
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Try Goof Off.

It's not too harsh and works on a bunch of stuff.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 6:10PM
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If the wood finish has some build, using automobile rubbing compound might remove the smears without damaging the finish. It is a gentle abrasive that does not scratch and does not depend on chemical action. Try a small section.
Looks like a rental tenant did that painting.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 9:45PM
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If latex, rubbing alcohol will easily take off the paint from the woodwork

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 12:12AM
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This has been asked by the same individual a few days ago. Please don't double post a thread, it can become confusing. Check your other thread for more suggestions

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:11AM
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SouthernCanuck: if you looked at the date on the other thread, you will see that the OP posted this one first. I don't know why he/she started a new thread and agree with your opinion that multiple posts by the same person on the same topic are redundant and simply create confusion.

However, your post directing people to the "other" post instead of this original one only adds to the confusion. The other (second) post should be left to die.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:45AM
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