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How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Finished Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Acrylic paint is used in many craft mediums and can be applied to metal, wood, glass and fabric. If you spill acrylic paint on a finished wood surface, it can be removed while wet or once it has dried. The ease of removing acrylic paint depends on how the wood surface was finished. On hard, nonporous finishes, acrylic paint is easily washed or scraped away. For more porous surfaces, different treatments are necessary.

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Wipe away a wet paint spill using a rag or paper towel to remove as much of the paint as possible. Follow by scrubbing the remaining wet paint on the finished wood using hot water, a rag and glycerine soap. Glycerine soap can be bought at home improvement stores.

Test a section of dried acrylic paint by scratching it with your fingernail to see if it is easily removed. On hard, nonporous wood finishes, the dried acrylic paint may be easily scratched off with your fingernail.

Sand down large amounts of acrylic paint on finished wood using a fine grit sand paper, until the paint is at the same level as the finish.

Apply acetone to the acrylic paint stain using cotton balls for a large area, or a paintbrush for a small area. The acetone will dissolve the paint without harming the finish, provided the finish is made from polyurethane. Continue until all paint is removed.

Rub a furniture wax into the finished wood to restore and polish the finished surface.


Linseed oil or lemon oil can be used to clean acrylic pain from oil-based finishes on wood. Rub it into the grain of the wood using a rag.


Work in a well-ventilated area when sanding, painting and cleaning with chemicals.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rag or paper towels
  • Hot water
  • Glycerine soap
  • Sand paper
  • Cotton balls or paintbrush
  • Acetone
  • Furniture wax

About the Author

Sarah Thomas has been a freelance writer for more than five years. She has ghostwritten e-books and articles on weddings and other topics. Her work has also been published on various websites. Thomas graduated from Daemen College with a degree in psychology.

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