Paint stripper is a strong chemical that dissolves paint, allowing you to remove paint from a wall or other surface. However, once the paint is gone the stripper needs to be neutralized or it will stay on the surface and any further paint won't bond and will peel off. Paint strippers come with recommendations for how to neutralize them, and they will vary depending on the type of stripper you choose. Many products are available, and they range from household items to commercial preparations. Always apply neutralizers with a cloth or steel wool as soon as you finish removing the paint and before the wood dries.
Things You'll Need
- Steel wool (optional)
- Mineral spirits
- Commercial paint neutralizer
Soak a rag or a steel wool in turpentine until it is saturated, and rub it over the surface to neutralize the paint. Wait until the turpentine is dry before repainting the item.
Mix vinegar and water together in equal proportions, and rub it on the surface to neutralize caustic paint removers.
Rub mineral spirits on solvent paint strippers to neutralize the remover.
Apply a commercial paint neutralizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. These are an added cost but have the right balance of acids and bases to efficiently neutralize the stripper.
Tips & Warnings
- Some biodegradable paint strippers recommend simply washing them off with water when you are finished.
- Protect yourself by wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area.
- Popular Mechanics: Repainting Interior Walls and Woodwork
- Paint Pro: Paint Strippers, Types of Paint Strippers
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Removing the Old Finish
- George L. Wilson: Heavy Duty Paint Stripper
- Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards In Housing; David E. Jacobs
- The Encyclopedia of Wood; U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images