Ingenious ways to Remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floors

Are you a DIY enthusiast who love playing with paint around your house or you’re some kind of creative geek who loves spilling it over the floor? If yes! you might be interested to know some ways to remove old paint from hardwood floors.

Having hardware floors in any house is considered a luxury, as having them installed has become expensive and it requires skilled workmanship. Not to mention, its replacement and renovation are time and money consuming task.

Painting is considered one of the best ways to give any room a new face. We can hide a lot of flaws under a fresh coat of paint. On top of that, choosing the right color can help us reflect our personality in our space as long as it is well painted.

The mystery with paints is that they somehow manage to spill. It is sometimes very difficult to get the paint off the floor. Paint removal is not an easy task however, we can remove paint even from hardwood floors and other delicate surfaces.

Table of Contents

How to remove paint from hardwood floors?

1. Ways to Remove Paint from Latex Hardwood Floors

 Latex paint is little trickier to remove but there are a lot of options we can use to remove it from hardwood floors. The latex paint is less likely to sink into wood floors therefore it would not do additional damage like other paints.

Also Read: How to remove paint from concrete? – with or without chemicals

The Paint stripper is considered one of the best tools to remove paint that is dried. Now while using paint stripper it is very crucial to know the right formula that is specifically designed to work on latex based paint instead of other paints.

Once we have right formula, there is not much effort needed. All we have to do is to apply a little of the stripper to the paint stains and wait for 20 minutes until the stripper changes its color. Then grab a cloth to lift the paint and paint stripper both at the same time.

Applying steam on a hardwood floor

Steam is another well suited option because it can get under the paint and extra moisture or water droplets can help lift latex off wooden floor. A steam clothing iron would do just fine to help you get rid of paint.

The trick is to use required steam to remove paint since one can unknowingly damage the wood floor underneath. Apply a little steam, wait for it to clear and gradually adjust the intensity of steam until the steam and heat make the paint to lift. Once the paint is loosened, grab a scraper to remove the paint from wood floor. 

Using paint thinner

2. Ways to remove Water Based Paint from Wood Floors

Water based paints are not much popular for house painting as latex paints. However, if you are a person who likes water-based paints and somehow it spills away that would be really frustrating.

There is nothing to worry about as it can also be removed just like other paints. One of the best thing about water-based paint is that, all we need to do is to remove paint from wood floors is by using soapy water.

Using soapy water on hardwood floor

Generally wood floors soak up any source of moisture they come in contact with and that leads to the swelling. Soap works by lifting pigments and other constituents of paint before it can get into the grain of the hardwood floor. Once the soap has been applied wait for some time and then clean the paint surface with a sponge or a cloth. Not to mention, Water based paint can also be removed by using lemon juice and rubbing alcohol.  

3. Ways to remove Oil-based Paint Stain from Hardwood Floors

Oil-based paints are the difficult one to remove because they are often sticker, more likely to stain, and are hydrophobic so a lot of options does not really work. However, paint thinner is a good option for removing oil-based paints.

Using paint thinner

So, it basically dilutes the paint and changes the chemical composition of the paint therefore it is easier to remove without staining. Afterwards the dissolved paint can be wiped up with a rag. As far as dried oil paint is concerned, paint remover specifically designed for oil paint are a good option.

 These chemicals penetrate the paints layers and allows it to lift the dried oil-based paint and makes it easy to remove. Another way to remove oil-based paints is by applying heat. We can use a hairdryer for this purpose. Blow hairdryer on a small section for a few minutes to see if the heat softens the paint so it can be removed. Once it begins to winkle then it can be removed by using a cloth. 

4. Ways to remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floors

The removal of old paint from hardwood floors is more challenging as compare to fresh paint or paint that’s only been there for a day or two. If the paint has been there for a long time and the nature of paint is unknown then matching the paint to a suitable paint thinner is a much harder job.

The other problem is that the paint will have continued to dry and makes a bond with the hardwood underneath over time. By considering all the problems we still can have option to remove old paint from hardwood floors.

All we need to do is to take a slightly different approach than fresher paint. The most common approach of removing old paint is sanding through the stain and refinishing the wood floor. Similarly, if the paint is starting to lift naturally a good wash with a power washer might be an option.

Sanding and Refinishing the hardwood floors

The speed of water will lift the paint off then clean the grooves between wood boards and gives a good finish assuming the wooden floor is still well sealed. Another approach can be denatured alcohol use which is a more effective cleaner. Soak a cotton ball with the denatured alcohol and soak and scrub the paint. This is a good option which can be used to remove any kind of paint and it can lift the paint relatively quickly.


It is very important to have some education related to paint removal techniques. If you have known the type of paint you are dealing with then you can easily take care of it when needed.

Be sure to know what type of floor you are dealing with and try a few methods to see what works best and what can help to you to get rid of any kind of paint.

Saad Iqbal is a professional civil engineering and freelance write. He's passionate about structures, construction management, and home improvement topics. He's been working as a Senior Engineer in a consultant firm for over 8 years. Besides he loves writing informative and in-depth content focused on construction and home-related topics. You can catch him at his linkedin page or reach out via our contact us page.

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