How to Remove Oil-Based Paint From Hardwood Floors

Remove oil-based paint from hardwood floors with acetone.

Oil-based paint can be a challenge to remove since most hardwood floors have an oil-based finish. Chemicals that remove the oil-based paint are capable of removing the finish on your floor as well; you might have to reapply the varnish on your hardwood floor after the paint is removed. It is always best to try to remove oil-based paint with a damp cloth, the moment the accident occurs. Acetone is available in hardware stores. For small areas, try nail polish remover with acetone.

Apply acetone to a cloth, until it is damp. Wear gloves to protect your skin from the chemical.

Scrub the paint with the damp cloth, thoroughly. Acetone starts dissolving paint at the top layer and works its way down to the bottom layer. Reapply acetone as needed.

Let the acetone soak into the paint for two to three minutes.

Use a plastic putty knife and scrape up the oil-based paint. For small crevices, use a toothpick to remove the paint.

Reapply acetone to the cloth and repeat the process until you've completely removed the paint.

Clean the area with a damp rag to remove debris.

Reapply varnish if needed.

Things You Will Need

  • Acetone
  • White cloth
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Personal respirator
  • Toothpick (optional)
  • Nail polish remover (optional)
  • Varnish, if needed

Tips

  • Use mineral spirits as an alternative if you are allergic to acetone; this will cut the oil base.
  • Consider using a paint remover that is safe to use on hardwood floors.

Warnings

  • Do not mix chemicals as this could be hazardous.
  • Work in a well-ventilated room.
  • Wear a respirator, gloves and eye goggles for protection.
  • Read and follow all of the manufacturer's warnings and instructions.

About the Author

Liana Christianson is a freelance writer. She has experience with a wide variety of writing styles and subjects. Christianson has worked as an editor and a researcher. She contributes her writing to several different websites.