How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood? – The Ultimate Guide

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium used for various applications, including painting on wood, metal, and plastic. However, accidental spills or splatters of acrylic paint on your wood surfaces can be a common occurrence. So, the question arises: how to effectively remove acrylic paint from wood? This article provides a step-by-step guide on safely removing acrylic paint from wood surfaces.

What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a type of paint composed of pigments suspended in a medium. Known for its durability and water-resistance once dried, acrylic paint finds numerous applications. Its unique qualities set it apart from other mediums, making it a preferred choice for interior painting due to its water-based and low-toxicity characteristics. However, during your house decorating endeavors, you may encounter acrylic paint spills or splatters on hardwood floors or wooden furniture. Safely removing these spills without harming your precious wood requires specific know-how.

What Removes Acrylic Paint?

Removing acrylic paint from wood surfaces can be a straightforward task when armed with the right tools and methods. Several approaches can effectively remove acrylic paint from wood surfaces:

Denatured Alcohol:

Denatured alcohol, devoid of water content, serves as an excellent solvent for eliminating acrylic paint from surfaces. It contains potent solvents like ethyl and methyl alcohol, making it highly effective. However, handling denatured alcohol requires caution due to the presence of methanol, a toxic and flammable substance.

Ammonia Solution:

An ammonia solution can effectively remove acrylic paint from both dry and semi-dry surfaces. This powerful chemical is suitable for cleaning spills on non-porous materials like glass, plastic, and metal. The ammonia solution works by adjusting the pH of the acrylic emulsion, stabilizing the acrylic paint. Some ammonia solutions include detergents to assist in retaining acrylic suspended particles in water during the cleaning process. Be cautious while using an ammonia solution as its fumes can trigger allergic reactions. Besides surface cleaning, an ammonia solution can also be used to clean paintbrushes and airbrushes.

Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Solution):

Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl solution, is an inexpensive and easily accessible substance for removing acrylic paint from surfaces. It is particularly efficient for eliminating dried acrylic paint and non-porous compounds, similar to ammonia. Its solvent action affects acrylic binders, enabling the removal of acrylic paint stains.


Acetone is a potent product suitable for removing acrylic paint, especially from hard-to-reach areas. It’s not recommended for use on plastic or fabric surfaces due to the chemical’s strength. However, surfaces like wood, metal, and glass, which are not porous, respond well to acetone.


Solvents are versatile for removing acrylic paint from various surfaces. However, these substances, containing toluene and methanol, require careful handling due to their toxic nature. Proper precautions should be taken when using solvents to ensure safety, as these chemicals demand extra care.

Effective Methods for Removing Acrylic Paint from Wood

Knowing how to remove acrylic paint from wood is essential for safely eliminating paint from wooden surfaces without causing any damage. The removal process doesn’t have to be daunting when you follow the right steps and use the appropriate tools. Whether dealing with wet or dry paint stains, there are several simple and cost-effective methods you can employ.

Effective Methods for Removing Acrylic Paint from Wood

Effective Methods for Removing Acrylic Paint from Wood

Methods for Removing Acrylic Paint

Using Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol:

This method is highly recommended for removing acrylic paint from wood. Acetone, found in many nail polish removers, is effective in eliminating acrylic paint. Alternatively, isopropyl alcohol is an affordable and efficient cleaning solution.

  1. Apply alcohol or acetone to a cloth and gently rub the affected area until the paint begins to loosen. As you wipe, you’ll notice the water-based acrylic paint peeling off.
  2. To completely remove paint spots, use a paint scraper, but be gentle to avoid harming the wood.
  3. After paint removal, wipe the area with a damp cloth, and you can add a small amount of soap for better cleaning.

Using a Heat Gun:

Heat guns can be effective in removing acrylic paint from wood surfaces. This method involves heating the stained area until the paint bubbles, but it requires protective gear and caution.

  1. Wear thick gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Clean the affected area to remove any dirt or debris.
  3. Use the heat gun on the affected area until paint bubbles form, which should happen within seconds.
  4. Once bubbles appear, stop heating and gently remove the paint with a soft brush to avoid causing further damage.

Using Paint Stripper:

Paint strippers are excellent for removing acrylic paint from wood surfaces without causing damage. Choose a paint stripper specifically designed for wooden surfaces.

  1. Clean the stained area to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Use a putty knife to scrape off the acrylic paint without applying excessive force.
  3. Apply the paint remover with the putty knife and wait for it to work its magic.
  4. After paint removal, wipe the area with a clean cloth, water, and a little dish soap to remove any remaining paint stripping solution and discoloration.

How to Remove Dried Acrylic Paint from Wood:

Removing dried acrylic paint from wood can be challenging but achievable. One effective method is using sandpaper.

  1. Begin by wiping the surface with a cloth. Use fine-grit sandpaper for small paint spots.
  2. Sand the surface in a circular motion until the paint begins to peel away. Fine-grit sandpaper is recommended to prevent damage to the wood’s finish.
  3. Once the stain is gone, clean the area and, depending on the wood’s condition, consider applying a new coat of varnish.

How to Remove Wet Acrylic Paint from Wood:

This method is effective for wet paint stains and should be done promptly.

  1. Have a cleaning cloth, mild detergent, and a bowl of water ready.
  2. Pour a small amount of mild detergent into the water.
  3. Dip the cloth in the soapy water and clean the wooden surface.
  4. You should be able to remove wet acrylic paint within 20 minutes. If it takes longer, consider using more intensive measures.

How to Get Acrylic Paint off Hardwood Floors:

Preserving the luster of hardwood floors requires effective removal of acrylic paint stains without damaging the finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Gather the necessary materials: paper towels, denatured alcohol, clean rags, a dull knife, water, paint thinner, dish soap, a scrub brush, and cleansing pads.
  2. Prepare the hardwood floor by cleaning it and removing any accumulated dust or dirt.
  3. Scrape off the paint using a plastic putty knife. Avoid using metal scrapers or vigorous scraping.
  4. Avoid using heat guns, as they can damage the finish.
  5. Choose from various methods, such as mild cleaning detergent, commercial paint removers, denatured alcohol, alcohol-based cleansing pads, or paint thinner, depending on your needs and available materials.
  6. Follow specific instructions for each method, and work only on the painted area to prevent damage to the wood.

How to Get Acrylic Paint off Hardwood Floors

Tips and Tricks for Removing Acrylic Paint from Wood:

  • Always read and follow the instructions on cleaning products and methods.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area or outdoors when possible.
  • Never mix cleaning solutions to prevent chemical reactions.
  • Limit cleaning to the painted area to avoid damaging bare wood.


Acrylic paint is versatile but can sometimes end up where you don’t want it. These effective and affordable methods for removing acrylic paint from wood, whether wet or dry, can help you restore your surfaces without causing harm.

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