How to remove paint from plaster walls

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How to remove paint from plaster walls
Use the proper solvent and removal tools to clean paint from plaster walls. (plaster wall image by Charles Taylor from

Plaster is a common wall covering composed of lime or gypsum mixed with sand and water. The compound hardens into a smooth, heavy coating when applied to household surfaces. Once solidified, plaster is typically painted to achieve a desired finish. Removing paint from plaster walls requires the use of a solvent-based solution combined with the proper supplies. Applying the correct method will safely and effectively restore the walls to their original condition.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paint stripper
  • Respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Brush
  • Putty knife
  • Cloth
  • Water

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  1. 1

    Choose a commercial paint stripper suited for the task at hand. Liquid applications are effective against one to two layers of paint, while dissolving several coats of paint requires a thicker paste formula capable of removing each layer in a single application.

  2. 2

    Ventilate the workspace and wear a respirator to avoid the harmful chemical fumes from the paint stripper. Put on solvent-resistant gloves to protect your skin against alkaline burns.

  3. 3

    Carefully apply the stripper onto the painted wall with a brush, using long and even strokes to ensure full coverage. Allow the solvent to remain on the plaster for the length of time indicated on the product label.

  4. 4

    Scrape the paint with a putty knife once it has emulsified. Take care not to apply excessive pressure, using a second application of the chemical stripper if necessary.

  5. 5

    Repeat the process until the paint has been cleanly lifted from the plaster surface. Soak a fresh cloth in clean water and thoroughly wipe the treated surface to neutralise the chemicals.

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