How to Remove Paint From Walls

How to Remove Paint From Walls

Nothing brightens up a home like a new coat of paint. But oftentimes, you will encounter several layers of paint already on the walls, especially if you’re painting an old house.

To achieve the best result possible, it’s always advisable to remove those old paint from walls before applying a new coat.

However, before removing paint from walls, you need to first understand that there is no easy way of doing it. Paint is produced to stick to walls and it usually does this excellently.

While it might be a daunting job, there are easier ways of scraping paint off walls that can make the job cleaner and safer.

With specialized tools such as sandpaper, paint scraper, heat gun, or a paint stripper, no paint is permanent.

In this article, we’ll show you how to remove paint from walls the right way.

When to Remove Old Paint

How to Remove Paint From Walls

[su_note note_color=”#ebeec6″ radius=”5″]The first step is to figure out whether or not you really need to scrape the paint off your walls. If the current paint adhered very well to the walls, you may have to just paint over it.

However, if it’s a dark-colored paint and you wish to replace it with lighter colored paint, then you’ll have to provide one or two coats of primer first before anything.

But if you are repainting the walls with the same or similar color, a single coat may be enough to freshen up the walls.

Additionally, if your wall paint is peeling, cracking, or flaking, then it’s best to carefully remove the old paint before applying new coats of paint to your walls.[/su_note]

How to Remove Paint from Walls

There are basically three ways to remove old paint from walls, which include: Using chemical paint strippers, using sandpapers, and using a heat gun.

We’re going to discuss the three methods in this article so that you can better decide which method will be easier for you.

Removing Paint with Chemical Paint Strippers

Removing Paint with Chemical Paint Strippers

Things You’ll Need

[su_list icon=”icon: check” icon_color=”#006400″]

  • A paint scraper
  • Plastic sheet
  • Chemically-resistant gloves
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Kraft paper or rosin paper


1. Buy hand gloves and ventilate the entire room

Chemical paint strippers are naturally acidic and wear out at the chemical structure of the paint.

Before you start this process, you will need hand gloves that are chemically-resistant, such as the [amalinkspro type=”text-link” asin=”B0067NOY2Y” associate-id=”spraygadgets-20″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”true” nofollow=”true”]West Chester Chemical Resistant PVC Coated Work Gloves[/amalinkspro] – and then put on old clothes that are no longer important to you.

Open all the windows in the room. Keeping the room you’re working in well ventilated is important because paint strippers can build up poisonous fumes if there’s no fresh air.

2. Cover the floor and remove every furniture in the room

Chemical paint strippers don’t discriminate what they damage, so make sure you remove all your precious items from the room. You can simply relocate your furniture to another room while scraping the paint.

Buy lots of materials needed to keep your floor safe. Get one large sheet of either rosin paper or Kraft and another large sheet of plastic.

From the wall base across the floor, lay a sheet of plastic – and layer another sheet of rosin paper or Kraft on top of it. If any of the chemicals touch the floor, these materials will protect your floor from getting damaged.

3. Carefully layer the wall using a coating of paint stripper

It’s always best to apply paint strippers with a wide paintbrush. So you need to buy one before starting the job. Dip the brush into the paint stripper, and layer it over the whole wall.

Put on about 1⁄8 inch (0.32 cm) thick coating so it won’t dry too fast. The thickness of the coating doesn’t need to be too exact, the thickness can be gauged by mere looking at it.

If the surface you’re working on is vertical, use a paint stripper that appears more like a paste in texture to avoid it dripping onto you.

I highly recommend the [amalinkspro type=”text-link” asin=”B07LF8T6PM” associate-id=”spraygadgets-20″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”true” nofollow=”true”]Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel[/amalinkspro] for this job.  I’m sure you’ll love it.

4. Allow some time for the paint stripper to manifest

The process may take a few minutes or some hours depending on the stripper in use.

For clarity, simply check out the product’s instructions manual and wait as directed for the best result.

5. Scrape off the paint when you see bubbles

The old paint on your wall should have started producing bubbles once you’ve waited for the specified amount of time.

Immediately you see the bubbles, take a paint scraper ([amalinkspro type=”text-link” asin=”B000W65L7E” associate-id=”spraygadgets-20″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”true” nofollow=”true”]HYDE Contour Scraper[/amalinkspro] is great for the job) and scrape all the paint off. It will come out in long peels – try to remove as much paint as possible from the wall.

Using a paint scraper, simply place the blade at underneath the paint you want to scrape, then push the blade slides under the paint, and peel off the paint as you move the paint scraper upwards.

If you encounter any awkward spots, use toothpicks or toothbrushes you’re no longer using to scrape the paint off.

Furthermore, if there is any layer of paint that is still strong, apply another layer of the paint stripper to get rid of that layer separately.

6. When you’re done, follow the instructions on the paint stripper to neutralize the wall

If you plan on repainting the walls, the paint stripper you used will make the new layer of paint to fail.

The method of neutralizing a paint stripper differs for each product, but it’s usually either a mineral spirit, a water wash, or a specialized tool.

For instance, a neutralizer may suggest that you mix one gallon (3.8 L) with four fluid ounces (120 mL) of neutralizer. And wash the wall with this mixture and a cloth.

Read your paint stripper instructions and apply them as directed.

How to Remove Paint with Sandpapers

How to Remove Paint with Sandpapers

Things You’ll Need

  • A paint scraper
  • A bucket
  • Soap
  • A cloth
  • 180-grit sandpaper or 80-grit sandpaper
  • A dust mask
  • A sander or sanding block

1. Use soap and hot water to clean the wall

The first step is to fill a bucket with soap and hot water, which will be used to prepare the wall for sanding. Then, wash off the wall with the water and a cloth.

This will help to get rid of any markings or dirt that the paint has accumulated over time, making the rest of the job pretty simple.

2. Buy a sander or sanding block to use

Sadly, rubbing sandpaper against the wall won’t be too good, which is why it’s better to invest in a sander or a sanding block. If you don’t already have a sander, then I’d suggest you go for the Wagner Paint Eater.

A sander is basically an automated machine like a drill that helps you sand a surface once sandpaper is loaded into it. A sanding block, on the other hand, is a little block of material that you can wrap sandpaper around, for easy sanding of flat surfaces.

Using a sanding block is easy, just wrap the sandpaper around one side of the sanding block and use your hand to hold it from the other side.

Additionally, sanders can basically differ based on how you load them with the sandpaper, but they generally have a slot where you can load the sandpaper into before switching it on. However, if you’ve never used a sander before, then a sanding block will be safer.

A rougher grit on the sandpaper is suitable because you’re trying to remove the unwanted paint. If you want to remove globs of paint, 80-grit sandpaper will be fine.

Don’t forget to put on a mask before starting because you’ll risk inhaling toxic dust while sanding.

3. Sand the unwanted paint away

Use the coarse side of the sandpaper to rub against the paint, moving the sander or sanding block back and forth in one square foot sections. If you’re using a sanding block, it’s advisable to apply a lot of pressure to the wall to get the best result.

Sand the unwanted paint away until the whole paint becomes dull – then wipe the dust away.

4. Strip the paint if you want to totally remove it

If you want to entirely remove the paint instead of painting over it, peel off the remaining of the unwanted paint using a paint scraper.

Placing the paint scraper’s blade under the unwanted paint, push the blade, sliding it under the paint to totally peel off the paint.

The sanding process is meant to weaken the paint, making it easier to strip.

How to Remove Old Paint From Walls Using Heat Gun

How to Remove Old Paint With Heat Gun

Things You’ll Need

  • A paint scraper
  • Heat gun

1. Buy thick gloves, protective eyeglasses, and a long-sleeved shirt

Before starting the process, endeavor to get protective eyeglasses (like the one [amalinkspro type=”text-link” asin=”B076VB8Q78″ associate-id=”spraygadgets-20″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”true” nofollow=”true”]here[/amalinkspro]), a thick long-sleeved shirt and a thick pair of gloves to avoid burns as you’ll be dealing with a high heat appliance.

You will equally need a paint scraper for this paint removing method.

2. Create a heat shield if you want to strip a particular spot

A heat gun is ideal for stripping a complete wall, but if you just want to strip a specific spot, then you’ll have to use a heat shield.

Using a pair of scissors, cut out a cardboard ring that’s a bit larger than your target spot. Then, use aluminum foil to wrap the cardboard ring – and place the shield over the area you wish to strip and continue with the process.

3. Heat the paint you want to remove

[su_note note_color=”#ebeec6″ radius=”5″]Keep the nozzle of the heat gun (in a wide-sweeping motion) around two inches away from the surface, apply heat steadily to square sections of the wall. You can use a tape to measure these sections.

First, heat a three feet section on the wall. You’ll move to the next step when the paint visibly starts to loosen its hold on the surface underneath it.

And if you’re using a heat shield, the nozzle should be focused on the single spot for a little time until you clearly see the paint start to loosen.[/su_note]

4. Strip out all unwanted paint at the pre-heated spot

Using a paint scraper, strip out all the loosened paint from the spot you heated earlier. Then use the paint scraper’s blade to pierce the loose paint, and strip upwards to remove the old paint.

5. Repeat the process over the whole wall

Heat up a new 3 feet spot on the wall, and strip out the paint. Keep repeating the process until you’ve removed the paint from the whole wall, section by section.

Prefer watching videos? The one below will be super helpful:

What removes paint instantly?

Use a plastic scraper or putty knife to gently scrape away paint (tip: vegetable oil can be used to soften up the paint). Denatured alcohol or acetone will work on tougher areas but be sure to spot test beforehand. Upon completion, clean the plastic with warm water and soap.

How do you remove paint without damaging drywall?

Select 150-grit sandpaper to lightly encourage separation of the paint from the surface. A hand sander tool and a sanding sponge made for corners and detail work will be helpful, suggest the experts from Family Handyman. Depending on the size of your sanding job, you can also use a pole sander.

Does vinegar remove paint from walls?

Vinegar is an easy, inexpensive and effective way to remove dried, stuck-on paint from windows and other hard surfaces. Most importantly, vinegar is economical, environmentally friendly and removes stubborn paint with absolutely no dangerous chemicals or toxic fumes.

Can you use vinegar to remove paint?

Yes, vinegar dissolves both water-based paint and oil-based paint from wooden and metal surfaces. It’s a natural paint remover, making it one of the best ways to remove paint.

What is a natural paint remover?

Pour 2 cups room temperature water into a dish and add 1 cup borax, 1 cup ammonia and 1 cup washing soda (found with laundry detergents in any supermarket). Mix thoroughly until you have a consistent creamy paste, then brush over the paint with this mixture.

What household items can remove paint?

If you have small metal items covered or splattered with paint like door, cabinet or furniture hardware or outlet covers, baking soda and boiling water can make paint removal simple. When the objects are heated, the metal and the paint expand at different rates causing a break in the bond.

Does WD 40 remove paint?

A few blasts of WD-40 and you can easily wipe them away. In addition, you can use the spray to remove regular grime, tar and paint (if, say, a car sideswipes you). Best of all, it won’t ruin your vehicle’s own paint job in the process. Removing a variety of stains.

How do you strip paint off plaster?

To create your own chemical stripper, mix 5 parts denatured alcohol, 3 parts mineral spirits and 1 part acetone. This combination of solvents will loosen the paint from the plaster without causing serious damage. Apply and scrape away until all paint is gone.

What is the best paint stripper?

The best paint stripper

  • Best Overall: Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel.
  • Most Eco Friendly: Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Fastest Working: Sunnyside 2-Minute Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Most Family Friendly: MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper.
  • Most Heavy Duty: Dumond Peel Away 1 Heavy-Duty Paint Remover.

Does oven cleaner remove paint?

Oven cleaner works to remove unwanted paint and decals because it will hopefully eat through the unwanted paint before it damages the car’s clear coat. It’s also relatively cheap and readily available, so it’s easy to understand its appeal as a tool for paint removal.

Scraping Paint Off Walls | Conclusion

Now, you have it all. As you can see, it’s not really difficult to scrape paint off walls. If you pay attention to the three methods I mentioned here, you’ll certainly find the job more fun than boring.

All you have to do is pick a method that works best for you and stick with it.

Related Posts On How to Remove Paint From Walls: