How to Remove Paint from Finished Oak

Written by kimbry parker
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How to Remove Paint from Finished Oak
Preserve the beauty of oak wood by using the right techniques for removing paint. (Oak Wood Grain Detail Close Up image by James Phelps from

Finished oak is durable and long-lasting, but it is not resistant to paint. If you accidentally spill paint on finished oak, you can remove it successfully--and without damaging the wood itself--by using the proper products.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rags
  • Water
  • Plastic pan scraper
  • Bowl
  • ¾ cup rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Spoon
  • Old toothbrush
  • Acetone
  • Cotton swabs
  • Boiled linseed oil

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  1. 1

    Wipe up fresh paint spills immediately with just a slightly damp rag. Go over the wood several times with the rag to remove the wet paint. Buff the wood with a dry cloth.

  2. 2

    Scrape off as much dried paint from the wood as possible. Use a plastic pan scraper or similar dull item to gently pry up the dried paint. Use caution when scraping the paint so not to scratch the floor. Do not use metal or other hard scraping tools and the finish will be damaged.

  3. 3

    Fill a bowl with ¾ cup rubbing alcohol. Add ¼ cup of lemon juice and mix well with a spoon.

  4. 4

    Dip an old toothbrush into the bowl. Scrub the paint gently with the toothbrush, working in the direction of the woods grain. Continue scrubbing, applying more of the alcohol and lemon juice solution with the toothbrush, until all of the paint has been loosened.

  5. 5

    Wipe the wood with a damp rag to remove the loosened paint and any traces of the cleaning solution. Buff the wood with a dry rag immediately.

  6. 6

    Use acetone if the paint is still present. Dip a cotton swab into straight acetone. Rub the swab gently over the paint to remove it. Wipe the wood with a damp rag and dry promptly with a clean cloth.

  7. 7

    Apply boiled linseed oil for an alternative method for removing paint from finished wood. Pour boiled linseed oil to cover the paint spot. Allow it to sit on the paint for about 30 minutes, or until it has softened the paint significantly. Wipe the paint from the wood with a clean rag dampened with the boiled linseed oil. Wipe the wood with a clean, damp rag and dry promptly.

Tips and warnings

  • Boiled linseed oil can be purchased at most hardware or home improvement stores.
  • Always test the product you are using on a small, inconspicuous area of the wood prior to applying it to a more noticeable area.

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