How to Remove Paint From a Table

If you own a beautifully crafted table that is covered in less than beautiful paint, you can remove the offending color yourself. Hardware and paint stores sell a variety of chemical solvents you can use to remove paint from wooden dining, accent and bedside tables. Plus when you're all done you can refurbish the piece to create a look you love by applying a new coat of paint or by staining the wood.

Removing paint from a table can restore it to its former natural glory.
  1. Protect yourself. Wear rubber gloves and safety goggles while working. The chemicals you'll be using are quite strong.

  2. Locate and prepare a suitable work area. Work outside if you can or choose a well-ventilated room because the stripper's fumes can be harmful. Use newspaper as a drop cloth to collect paint residue and protect your floor coverings.

  3. Apply a thick layer of the stripper using a paint brush. If your table is large, only work on a small area at a time. Let the mixture set for the amount of time recommended by the product's manufacturer. The paint is ready to be removed when it softens and starts to pull away from the table's surface. Some, but not all paints will bubble when properly saturated.

  4. Scrape off the paint. Use a putty knife to scrape large flat surfaces clean. A molding scrapper is effective at removing paint from contoured table legs and the like. Use a toothbrush to remove paint from tiny crevices and wood shavings to scour detailed surfaces.

  5. Attack stubborn problem areas. If paint does not scrape off easily repeat Steps 3 and 4.

  6. Remove the remaining stripping solution from the table. Check the product's packaging for specific instructions. Some products can be rinsed away with plain water. Others require mineral spirit solutions that you can purchase at your local home improvement store.

  7. Allow the wood to dry completely, then sand the table. Your table is now ready for a new finish.


  • Your table will take at least 24 hours to dry after removing the paint and rinsing away the stripping solution. Place the piece in a safe location where children and pets will not get into the soiled newspapers and the rest of the toxic mess.
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