In our guide we show you how to take off paint, what home remedies are available, what you have to consider with different varnish and to what extent this works as gently as possible on the substrates to remove paint from wood, metal or plastic.
Ways to remove paint from wood, metal or plastic
1. Remove varnish from wood – this is how to proceed
Unfortunately, there is no uniform solution that works equally to remove paint from wood, metal or plastic. Especially on old pieces of furniture, there are often several layers of paint, so that the removal can be very long.
In general, the rule here is to try to use gentle variants first and only if this does not succeed in resorting to other means.
1.1. Sanding – the usual method
Good to know: The paint removal becomes rather simple when acrylic paint has been used, as unlike synthetic resins, it connects less strongly with the underlying surface.
It is best to start with sandpaper to test how tight the paint is. If the paint residues can be removed reasonably well, you can continue working by hand in uneven and small places, such as the window.
First use coarser sanding paper with a grain size of 30 to 60 and then walk over the roughened areas with finer sanding paper (grain 200 to 400).
When it comes to grinding larger areas, it’s best to use electrical appliances. Sanding with a belt sander, an rotary sander or a multi-sander, with which you can use different attachments, makes your work much easier.
However, since a lot of dust is stirred up in this way, it is best to work with a model that has a suction system. You should also work outdoors if possible.
1.2. Other methods to remove varnish from wood
Work outdoors when using a hot air hairdryer or use a respirator.
Alternatively, use hot air and a spatulato remove the paint. To do this, hold the hot air hairdryer directly in front of the spatula to heat the paint. With the other hand, carefully scrape off the paint.
At this point, make sure that you do not put the spatula too sharply,as not only the varnish, but also the wood on the surface becomes soft and could be damaged.
Basically, you can also work with a solvent-free remover. Due to the still strong chemical effect, you must work with gloves and try it first with home remedies without chemicals.
As a home remedy, caustic soda is mainly used. When using a 10% solution, be sure to wear gloves and first test the use in an unobtrusive location.
One of the other somewhat unconventional tips is to reach for the sandblaster. In sandblasting, the coating layer is machined in a similar way to grinding. However, this will make it easier to reach grooves and hard-to-reach areas. However, pay attention to the appropriate abrasive and test the variant carefully.
Tip: Think carefully about whether you want to take the strenuous paint removal work to restore an old piece of furniture or let the doors shine in a new splendour. Depending on the effort, it is worth thinking about the new acquisition at least once.
2. Remove paint from a metal surface
Depending on the metal, you can also work with a separating grinder.
Basically, you can do something similar to working with wood. However, because metal is much harder, you don’t have to worry about hammering a macke into the metal.
For sanding, use some finer sanding paper and make sure it is suitable for metal.This can be seen from a letter that is later in the alphabet.
You have a good basis for starting if you use the number P 150. Further information on the individual grains and the degree of hardness can be found here.
When sanding on the car, pay attention to a very fine grain and a good sanding machine, which is able to balance rounding. Otherwise, damage the paint unnecessarily or remove too much metal.
With a metal garden fence or frilled spots of a bank, it’s a good place to grab an acetone. By stifling the paint, the connection between the paint and the metal is loosened. You must then remove the coating layer with mechanical help, such as a spatula or a coarse sponge.
Of course, you also have the possibility to work with hot air. Since metal does not yet melt at the temperature reached, you do not have to be particularly careful. On the other hand, it becomes problematic when the paint has been burned in, as it also withstands high temperatures.
If you want to remove varnish from tiles, try it once with oven cleaner. With sandpaper, however, you should be careful, as unsightly scratches on the surface are created so quickly.
3. Removing paint from plastic – a difficult task
Remove paint on plastic surfaces as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, sanding leaves small scratches on many plastic surfaces that destroy the desired result. You can’t work with heat either, as common plastic products melt at comparatively low temperatures.
The only real promising method is the method of chemical removal. Unfortunately, you also have a problem at this point, because not all plastics are compatible with the removers used. This may result in further discoloration. Therefore, carefully test this method in a less visible location before starting the job on a large scale.
Depending on the varnish used, however, paint residues can be removed relatively well with a spatula. The fresher the coating application, the less time it has to connect deeply with the plastic. Time therefore plays a decisive role in paint removal.