14 December 2011

Remove Paint Using a Paint Stripper

I think I accidentally sanded off some of my fingerprints yesterday (not to worry though, I had braces as a teen so I have extensive dental records in case of anything). I was trying to remove the paint job on a makeover I’m working on. In order to salvage what remained of my hands, I decided to try using a paint stripper.

The project: another Goodwill dresser makeover that has gone oh-SO wrong.

The problem: I couldn’t get an even coat of paint on the dresser top – it looked okay, but some patchiness and roller marks were visible. I tried different tips online, but there is such a range of advice out there! I just couldn’t get it right…To make matters worse I was starting new coats before the last had fully cured…I know, you want to smack me don’t you? The paint felt tacky and dented so easily. Plus it has this weird look to it – not exactly bubbly, but kind of like really big pores.

The solution: remove the paint, strip it all off, and start fresh! So we started sanding…and sanding…and sanding! After some serious elbow grease and a couple of battle wounds it still felt like we weren’t getting anywhere. Like those dreams where you’re running on a treadmill not getting any closer to your destination. 

Enter paint stripper!

I went with Heirloom’s Bio Option Furniture Stripper. Home depot paint guy (that’s right, we’re on a first name basis :) suggested another Heirloom product, but I wanted the least toxic one possible.

The verdict: worked like a charm! It does still smell, but probably not nearly as bad as the more toxic versions. It was really easy to use too (for beginners like me!). I poured it directly onto the dresser and spread it with a brush in a generous coat. Let it sit for a while – I found it worked better the longer I left it (i.e. 45 mins as opposed to 15). Then we removed the paint and primer by scraping it off with a putty knife. I had to apply the stripper a few times to get everything and some areas required a little more oomph to the scrape, but generally the paint came off without much effort.

The instructions recommend cleaning up all the paint and stripper residue with paint thinner, but I’m going to have to work out a less toxic alternative. 

Then let’s just pray I don’t mess up the painting again :) Hopefully I’ll have a dresser reveal to post about soon!

Updated Tips
  • if you’re only stripping part of a piece like me, save yourself from a lot of touch ups by taking the time to cover and protect the other areas! I was careful when applying the stripper, but some of the residue from the scrapings fell onto other areas and the paint peeled:(
  • I did end up using paint thinner for the clean up, followed by a very light sanding. I tried just scrubbing it down, but that wasn't enough to remove everything and get a clean smooth surface.


  1. thanks, you were the only hit on using this when i google this product for my project. really appreciate your info on it. :)

    1. Hope it was helpful! Thanks for stopping by :)