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How to Strip Paint From Wood Trim

The key to removing paint from wood trim is to work slowly and carefully and to properly prepare the area. Before you begin the paint-removal process, tape off the areas just above and below the wood trim with painter's tape. Lay plastic sheeting on the ground to protect the floor just below the wood trim.

Protect the areas around wood trim before you remove the paint.

Things You Will Need

  • 2- to 2-1/2-inch square paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Plastic container
  • Gel paint-remover solvent
  • Neutralizing solvent (optional)
  • Paint scrubbing pad, #0000 steel wool or Brillo pad
  • Chemical-resistant glove
  • Dust mask

The key to removing paint from wood trim is to work slowly and carefully and to properly prepare the area.  Before you begin the paint-removal process, tape off the areas just above and below the wood trim with painter's tape.

Lay plastic sheeting on the ground to protect the floor just below the wood trim.  Once the area is physically protected, remove the wood trim's paint with a gel paint-remover solvent.

Gel solvents minimize drips and remove the paint on the trim without spilling over to nearby paint on walls or other surfaces. 

  1. Open the windows.
  2. Put on your gloves and dust mask.
  3. Pour a little of the paint remover into a plastic container.
  4. Paint a thick layer of the paint-remover solvent onto the wood trim.
  5. Leave the remover on the wood trim for the manufacturer-recommended amount of time (usually 15 to 30 minutes).
  6. Wipe the bulk of the softened paint and remover off the wood trim with dry, clean rags.
  7. Reapply the solvent to any large clumps or spots of paint that were not removed.
  8. Coat the paint scrubber with the paint solvent. Rub any remaining paint off the wood trim, wiping with a clean rag as you go.
  9. Wipe the wood trim with a clean rag moistened with water or the neutralizing solvent recommended by the paint-remover gel's manufacturer.

Things You Will Need

  • 2- to 2-1/2-inch square paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Plastic container
  • Gel paint-remover solvent
  • Neutralizing solvent (optional)
  • Paint scrubbing pad, #0000 steel wool or Brillo pad
  • Chemical-resistant glove
  • Dust mask

About the Author

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images