How to Remove Emulsion Paint Off Walls

Homeowners choose emulsion paints for their faster drying time. Emulsion paint is typically water-based, so it not only dries much faster, but it gives off less odour than other types of paint. No matter what type of paint is on your walls, sometimes you crave a change. A simple and inexpensive way to breathe life back into a room is by painting. Before you repaint, take the time to remove the old emulsion paint.

Remove items from the room and cover the floor with dust sheets. Dust sheets are relatively inexpensive and are available at home improvement stores.

Open doors and windows to increase ventilation in the room. Paint strippers can give off harmful fumes. Good ventilation will lessen the fumes.

Pour the chemical paint stripper into a plastic paint tray. Dip a paintbrush into the paint stripper and apply it to the emulsion-painted walls. Apply the paint stripper in the same manner as you would apply paint.

Allow the chemical paint stripper to sit on the emulsion-painted walls for the recommended amount of time. Each brand of paint stripper has its own set of specific instructions for how long it must remain on the paint. Refer to the label of your brand for more information. Generally, paint strippers are left on for 20 to 30 minutes.

Scrape the paint stripper and emulsion paint off the walls gently with a plastic paint scraper. Remove the scraped paint and chemical stripper from the scraper after each pass.

Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of water and add 1 teaspoon of TSP, also known as trisodium phosphate. It is available at home improvement stores. Saturate a sponge with the mixture and thoroughly wash the walls to remove any residue left behind from the paint stripper. Once you have completely cleaned the walls, allow them to dry for about 24 hours before repainting or applying wallpaper.


Wear rubber gloves when working with paint strippers.

Things You'll Need

  • Dust sheets
  • Paint stripper
  • Plastic paint tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • TSP
  • Sponge
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Amanda Flanigan began writing professionally in 2007. Flanigan has written for various publications, including WV Living and American Craft Council, and has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. Flanigan completed two writing courses at Pierpont Community and Technical College.