How to Remove Old Shellac From Wood Floors


Restoring the wood floors in your home makes a world of difference in the appearance of your space. Floors have a variety of finishes designed to protect them from scratches and discoloration, among them shellac. Shellac is a clear finish that is known for its relatively easy application and removal process. You can take off the shellac on your wood floors in just one day.

Things You'll Need

  • Steel wool
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Putty knife
  • Solvent
  • Dip a steel wool pad in denatured alcohol.

  • Apply the steel wool to the floor, rubbing it in a circular motion. Work in small sections, as opposed to trying to tackle the entire floor at once.

  • Wait for the shellac to loosen on the floors. The time required will depend on how much shellac is on your floors and the specific product used. When in doubt, test a small area by wiping the floor with a rag or clean steel wool to see if the shellac comes off.

  • Use a flat tool, such as a putty knife, to scrape up the shellac in stubborn areas or in corners difficult to scrub by hand.

  • Apply a solvent, such as alcohol, to the floors after the shellac is removed to get rid of any grease left behind by the steel wool.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always protect your hands when working with denatured alcohol.
  • Create a well-ventilated work space to protect yourself from fumes.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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