How to Remove Old Milk Paint

Milk paint was commonly used before latex paint came along. Some old homes still have milk paint lurking about on surfaces, and standard chemical paint strippers won't touch the stuff. In fact, if you are unsure whether you have milk paint, you can test it with a standard paint stripper. If the stripper is useless, you have milk paint. You can also buy new milk paint if you wish to use a traditional coating that is non-toxic and safe for children and pets. Milk paint is also an authentic choice for keeping your old home true to its period.

Things You'll Need

  • Dropcloth or newspapers for protecting your work surface
  • Milk paint remover powder
  • Water
  • Non-metal container for mixing the paint remover
  • Nylon paintbrush
  • Misting spray bottle
  • Wet cloth
  • Medium steel wool pad

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Purchase milk paint remover. One suitable product is sold on the Internet and at select dealers nationwide. See the Resources section for a link.

Mix the milk paint remover in a non-metal container, one part powder to one part water. Stir thoroughly.

Let the mixture set for five to 10 minutes, then stir again.

Use the nylon brush to apply the milk paint remover to the necessary surfaces. Some paint will dissolve immediately, but if you have many coats, you may need to let it sit for up to an hour. Use the spray bottle to keep the paint remover moist if you need to wait a long time.

Use the wet cloth to wipe an area to check whether the paint is ready to come off.

Wash the paint off using water and a rag when the paint is totally dissolved. The steel wool pad can be used to help scrub the paint off if the rag is not sufficient.


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