How to Remove Oil-Based Paint From Hardwood Floors

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Remove oil-based paint from hardwood floors with acetone. Oil-based paint can be a challenge to remove since most hardwood floors have an oil-based finish. Chemicals that remove the oil-based paint are capable of removing the finish on your floor as well; you might have to reapply the varnish on your hardwood floor after the paint is removed. It is always best to try to remove oil-based paint with a damp cloth, the moment the accident occurs. Acetone is available in hardware stores. For small areas, try nail polish remover with acetone.

Things You'll Need

  • Acetone
  • White cloth
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Personal respirator
  • Toothpick (optional)
  • Nail polish remover (optional)
  • Varnish, if needed
  • Apply acetone to a cloth, until it is damp. Wear gloves to protect your skin from the chemical.

  • Scrub the paint with the damp cloth, thoroughly. Acetone starts dissolving paint at the top layer and works its way down to the bottom layer. Reapply acetone as needed.

  • Let the acetone soak into the paint for two to three minutes.

  • Use a plastic putty knife and scrape up the oil-based paint. For small crevices, use a toothpick to remove the paint.

  • Reapply acetone to the cloth and repeat the process until you've completely removed the paint.

  • Clean the area with a damp rag to remove debris.

  • Reapply varnish if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use mineral spirits as an alternative if you are allergic to acetone; this will cut the oil base.
  • Consider using a paint remover that is safe to use on hardwood floors.
  • Do not mix chemicals as this could be hazardous.
  • Work in a well-ventilated room.
  • Wear a respirator, gloves and eye goggles for protection.
  • Read and follow all of the manufacturer's warnings and instructions.

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