How to Remove Oil-Based Paint Without Paint Thinner

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Oil-based paint is the most difficult paint to remove from most surfaces. Whether you are trying to remove oil-based paint from floors, walls, clothing, brushes or canvases, paint thinner or turpentine is the most common product used. Paint thinner is, however, incredibly toxic and can produce dangerous fumes. An alternative to removing oil-based paint without turpentine is to use a citrus solvent, which uses oil extracted from oranges to break down the oil-based paint structure, with less toxicity and fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Citrus solvent
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Purchase your citrus solvent. Citrus solvents can be purchased online and at most home repair, hardware and art supply stores.

  • Wipe off as much of the wet paint as possible using a rag or paper towels. Don't press down on the stain as that can cause the paint to be absorbed by the fibers of the material you're trying to clean. Instead, lightly sweep the paint up off the surface.

  • Test a small, less visible portion of the surface you are cleaning with the orange solvent. Most materials will not be stained or damaged by concentrated orange solvent, but placing a dab of the solvent on the material, allowing it to sit and then wiping it off will allow you to make sure. Let the test area dry and check for any staining or damage to the fibers of the material.

  • Pour or squirt enough citrus solvent onto the stain to saturate it fully. Allow the citrus solvent to set on the material for 15 to 20 minutes. During this time the concentrated orange oil will break down the oil paint, making it easier to remove.

  • Wipe off the orange oil and paint stain with a rag or paper towel. Rinse the surface warm water to remove any additional oil from the paint or citrus solvent.

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