How to Strip Paint Naturally

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Restore furniture to its original beauty with natural products.
Restore furniture to its original beauty with natural products. (Image: furniture over white image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com)

Restoring a piece of furniture can be a great way to get a whole new look for a very cheap price. Often, changing the look of an old piece of furniture will require you to strip the old finish from the wood. Typically, people use harsh chemical strippers to loosen up the old finish. However, these products can emit harmful fumes, require a lot of safety precautions and can damage your skin. Instead of working with hazardous chemicals, try these safer and more natural methods instead.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper mask
  • Mineral washing soda
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Scraper
  • Heat gun
  • Sandpaper

Prepare your work area. You may want to work in a garage or outdoor area to make cleanup easier. Spread a plastic drop cloth or old sheet on the ground and place the furniture in the middle of it. Keep your safety equipment handy, like a pair of rubber gloves and paper mask. Though you won’t be working with noxious chemicals, dust particles will get in the air and the cleaning solution is somewhat abrasive.

Add one part water to four parts mineral washing soda and mix the solution until it has the consistency of paste. Mineral washing soda is a powder cleaner that can be found in the laundry section of a grocery store. This fume-free solution is what was used in the 19th century for stripping paint. Dip a spatula or putty knife into the paste and with the flat edge, spread the paste onto the surface of the furniture. Work the paste into fine details and carvings.

Let the paste sit on the furniture for at least three hours. For better results, leave the mixture on overnight. Keep the paste moist by misting the entire surface with water once every hour.

Rinse off the solution with water. Gently and slowly peel off the loosened paint with a scraper.

Some areas of the paint may not come up with the mineral washing soda. Use a heat gun to loosen up these areas. Direct the heat in circles above the area of paint that needs loosening. Once the paint begins to bubble up, peel it off with a scraper.

Finish the project by sanding the surface to remove small specks of paint that have been left behind. Wipe the dust off with a wet cloth and allow it to dry.

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