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How to Remove Varnish or Varathane

John Rose

Removing varnish or Varathane, which is a brand name of varnish, is a process that requires several steps. The hardest part of the process is getting into the corners and crevices. The procedure requires the use of a paint-stripping chemical, which you can find easily in any hardware store.

You can also remove varnish or Varathane without the help of any chemicals but it is much harder to do that way. The most important part of the procedure is that you take your time and do not rush.

  1. Apply paint stripper to the surface liberally using a paintbrush by dabbing it on rather than brushing. Work the chemical into the varnish. Make sure to apply the chemical to the corners of the object you are stripping.

  2. Allow the stripper about 30 minutes to dissolve the varnish. Clean the finish away from the piece you are stripping using a scraper tool. Pay close attention to the corners and crevices. It may be necessary to apply a second coat of stripper in any corner or crevice where the varnish is thicker.

  3. Sand the entire surface thoroughly once you remove the paint stripper. Take your time and do not. Rub the entire area with steel wool to give it a smooth finish before you attempt to stain, paint or varnish the surface area.


Use the paint stripper liberally. Do not apply thin coats of paint stripper to the surface area or it will not work properly.


Only use paint stripper in well-ventilated areas. Breathing the toxic fumes can be dangerous.

Check out this related video from Homesteady on Youtube.