6 How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood | Easy Methods

Did you accidentally spill acrylic paint on a wooden piece? How can you remove wet or dried acrylic paint from wood? Acrylic paint is water-based that can easily be removed from different surfaces, including wood. Although cleaning up the colors immediately after the spilling has happened is ideal, dried acrylics could be tough to remove in comparison. 

Seeing colored stains all over your favorite piece of furniture can be disheartening. However, it isn’t as challenging to remove acrylic paint as compared to oil paints. This blog brings together a list of tried and tested acrylic paint removal techniques from wood.

So, without any further delay, let us learn all about it!

Remove Acrylic Paint from Wood


Whether the acrylic paint stain happened by your kids, house pet, or by you while painting, you should be careful about the cleaning process. Wood is highly porous in nature, especially when not varnished. So, if the wooden piece with paint stain doesn’t have varnishing, you have to be extra careful with the cleaning process. 

Varnished wood would be easy to clean up without hampering the integrity of the structure. However, if you try and scrub off wood that belongs to the softwood category, you might end up scraping off the top surface.

So, consider whether the wood belongs to the hardwood or softwood category. If possible, try not to have an unvarnished wood surface in the workspace. 

Frequent cleaning up of the wood using solutions or soapy water can lead to discoloration issues. It is wise to lay out a plastic or paper sheet on any wooden surface before painting.

Is It Possible To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood? 

Yes, it is entirely possible to remove any acrylic paint stain present on your wooden furniture. Given that this paint is based on water, it can easily be removed via different methods.

The best option is to clean it off immediately. However, at times, we are so engrossed in the painting process that we discover the stain only after it has completely dried off. 

Once water-based acrylic paint dries off, it isn’t water-soluble anymore. So, you might not have any luck trying to scrub it off with water. Luckily, you can still clean it off even after it has dried off using several cleaning processes mentioned in this article. 

The products and tools needed for the removal of the acrylic paint stain are available at low prices. You don’t necessarily have to use sophisticated devices or power tools for the removal of acrylic paint. 

But before we move to the process, let me explain the acrylic paint stain types. There are actually two types of these – wet stain and dry stain.

Types of acrylic paint stain

Wet Stain

The best way to test whether the acrylic paint stain is wet or dry is to touch it and check. If the colors stick to your fingers, it isn’t dry after all. Depending on the stain’s size, a rag, some water, and a mild soapy solution will get the job done. 

Dry Stain 

As mentioned earlier, a dry acrylic stain is tough to remove. There is a small chance that the dried stain can be cleaned with a soapy solution. But it might not get the job done perfectly.

So, you can try out other methods to get that stain out while keeping your wood spick and span.

Ways To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Let us check out the useful methods for the removal of acrylic paint from your wooden surface. These methods are all tried as tested. However, some might work for you while others might not.

It all depends on the brand of color you are using, how dry the stain is, and the type of wood (hard/soft and varnished/unvarnished). 

So, let us check the paint removal methods for your wooden surface out one by one.

Method 1: Using Rubbing Alcohol on Wooden Floor

The first and the best method you can use to remove acrylic stain from wood is rubbing alcohol. It is also known as acetone or isopropyl. It would be a great paint remover if you had nail polish remover at home as its primary content is acetone. 

This cleaning solution would require some basic rubbing alcohol or acetone, a paint scraper, and a rag. Use your paint scraper to get off as much dried paint from the wood as possible. Make sure you don’t use much force, or it could cause irreparable damage to the wooden surface. 

Scrape off the paint gently. Next, pour the acetone or rubbing alcohol onto the rag and gently rub it on the stain. The paint should start coming off as your wipe. If you poured in less alcohol on the rag, you can go ahead and pour in some more and repeat the process till you get all the stains off. 

Once you are done wiping off the acrylic stain, you can use a clean, dry cloth and give the wooden surface a final wipe. Again, make sure there isn’t any residue of the alcohol left, or it can cause discoloring of the wooden surface. 

Let the surface dry out completely after the cleaning process!

Method 2: Try Some Olive Oil On Delicate Wood Table

If you want to go the natural way without using any harmful chemicals, olive oil or vegetable oil will work just as fine. You would need a blunt scraping tool such as a plastic scraper, plastic putty knife, butter knife, or a kitchen knife. Along with this, you would need a fresh cloth to dip in the olive oil. 

Start by scraping off the paint from the wood while being as gentle as possible. Next, pour in some olive oil on a cloth or cotton ball and dab it onto the layer of paint. Leave the stain to sit for a minimum of one hour.

Now, try and scrape off more paint using the tool. If the acrylic paint still feels stiff, repeat the process until all the color comes off. Remember, this method might not work for all. If it does work, good for you.

However, if it doesn’t, you can still opt for other methods mentioned below. The olive oil method works best with butcher block counters that feature softwood and need extra care during the cleaning process.

Method 3: Sanding Helps With Wooden Door

A fantastic and chemical-free method for the removal of acrylic paint stain is to sand down the surface. Unfortunately, this won’t work on wet paint.

So, make sure the paint has dried off completely before you start sanding down. Plus, sanding the stained surface would also remove any dirt or dust in the spot, leaving you a paint-free and smooth wooden surface. 

Depending on the area of stain, you can sand it down manually or use a high-quality sanding machine/sanding block. In this method, you would need the following items that include:

  • Clean rags/paper towel
  • Work gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Fine-grit sandpaper/electric sander

Clean the stained spot to remove any dust or dirt on the surface. If the stain is small, you can clean it off with a sandpaper-like 120-grit or 80-grit option. Move your sandpaper by following a circular pattern until all the paint comes off. Fine sandpaper is ideal for light stains. Using coarser sandpaper can ruin the finishing of the wooden furniture. 

For large acrylic paint stains, you can make use of sanding discs or a sanding machine. When you see that there isn’t any stain on the surface anymore, you can stop sanding. Instead, use a brush or clean cloth to wipe the surface clean of any dirt or debris.

If your wooden surface was previously varnished, you might have to refinish it to get the original and shiny coating.

Method 4: Try Soapy Water Solution For Laminate Wood

If you plan on using warm water for cleaning the acrylic paint residue, make sure you do it only on a laminated wood surface. Non-laminated wood surfaces can absorb the water and possibly rot with time if the moisture content isn’t removed fast. 

Soapy water solutions are ideal for laminated wooden surfaces. However, it would work only on wet paint stains. So, avoid using it on dry paint.

First, wipe off the fresh acrylic paint using a damp rug from your wooden surface. Next, take some hot water and add a mild soapy liquid to the same. You can also use basic glycerin soap, bar soap, or liquid dish soap for the same. 

Dip the piece of cloth in the solution of dish soap and gently scrub the stained surface. Next, keep scrubbing the area until all the paint comes off. Now, use a clean wet cloth and wipe off the remaining residue. Let it dry off completely.

Method 5: Use Heat Gun For Wood Deck

Another quick way to remove acrylic paint stains from wood is to opt for reliable heat guns. In this method, you would have to expose the stained wooden surface to relatively high temperatures from the heat guns. 

The temperature usually reaches 1000˚F or more depending on the brand of the heat gun. It will lead to the paint bubbling up & peeling off by itself in a matter of seconds. When opting for this method, one must use a high-quality heat gun, clean cloth/rag, breathing protection, and thick heat-resistant gloves. Before you start using the heat gun, make sure you read the instructions properly. 

Now, plug in your heat gun and switch it on. Put on your gloves, and make sure the gloves cover all of your hands so that the heat coming off from the gun doesn’t bruise or burn you. Next, make sure the blower is at least 3cm away from the wooden surface. 

Slowly, heat the stained area by moving the heat gun on top. Once you notice the color bubbling up, you can stop. It would take mere seconds.

Next, pick a soft tool or paintbrush and remove the acrylic emulsions. Make sure you don’t use the gun on the wooden surfaces for more than a minute. Constant exposure to heat can damage the same or even lead to fire hazards.

Method 6: Mineral Spirits Works Well On Wood Trim

Mineral spirits or aromatic hydrocarbons are a great and practical option that works almost instantly. However, it could be just as hazardous, given that these solvents can release toxic fumes.

So, it is advisable that you wear safety precaution gears such as masks and eyewear to ensure nothing gets into your body. Also, when using mineral spirit to get rid of acrylic stain from wood, make sure you work at a place with proper ventilation. 

First, select a mineral spirit that is ideal for your wooden surface. Solvents such as methylene chloride tend to work best. This citrusy chemical is comparatively environmental-friendly and doesn’t wear out your wooden surface. However, it can still harm you, so try and practice caution when using these spirits. 

Start by putting on gloves with long sleeves so that any product splashing on your hand cannot harm you in any way. Make sure the gloves are thick enough and don’t corrode easily. 

Start by pouring some of the selected mineral spirits on the surface.

Now, let it sit for a minute or two on the surface. Then, start by slowly rubbing the stain with the help of a clean cloth. The paint should come off easily. Now, clean the remaining colors with a damp cloth and wipe off any remnants of the mineral spirit. 

Let the wood dry in a well-ventilated space!


  • Don’t clean the wooden surface beyond the spot that is affected. Alcohol-based cleaning solutions can strip off color from the bare wood. So, it is essential to varnish it again after cleaning. 
  • Always use safety gears when using chemical cleaning solutions or during the sanding process. Volatile fumes or sawdust could get into your eyes or nose causing health hazards. So, keep that in mind and practice caution. 
  • Use your heat gun on the wooden surface for a minute or less to avoid heat damage. 
  • Do not use low-quality or cheaply-made heat guns as they can pose a fire threat. 
  • Don’t mix isopropyl with acetone, as it can be a potentially dangerous combination. Instead, use one or another for cleaning purposes. 
  • Always work in a well-ventilated space to ensure any toxic fumes released in the process cannot harm you. Refrain from working in closed spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Acrylic Paint Peel Off Wood?

Acrylic paint is the best way to paint on a wooden surface. However, as the colors dry off, it might be prone to peeling. The key is to use a high-quality clear sealer to paint on top of the wooden surface. It will serve as a protective coat and stop the colors from peeling off.

Q: What is the Best Paint Remover For Wood?

Paint strippers are ideal for removing paint from wood. They are easy to use and fast-acting. It hardly takes a minute or two for paint strippers to clean a wooden surface stained with acrylics. All you need to do is to pour some paint stripper solution on a clean cloth and rub it on the stained surface.

Q: Does Vinegar Remove Paint From Wood?

Vinegar, by itself, isn’t as powerful when it comes to removing paint from the wooden surface. However, it can surely soften the acrylic paint for other methods to work with ease. In addition, it is non-toxic in nature and doesn’t release any toxic fumes during the cleaning process.

Q: Does a Knife Scrape the Paint Stain?

Yes, a knife can be used to scrape the paint stain. However, it would help to make sure the knife is dull or scraped through the wooden surface.

Q: What Household Product Removes Paint From Wood?

If you are looking for a DIY solution that removes paint from wood, baking soda can be a great option. It acts in a way similar to that of vinegar.

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Final Thoughts

One moment you are painting your masterpiece, and accidentally you spill the colors all over your favorite wooden furniture. You cannot foresee when or how the accidents might happen. 

However, knowing the best ways to get rid of the acrylic stain would help you keep things in check while avoiding any damage to the wooden structure.

Remember, the best solution is to tackle the stain as soon as it happens. To get a step-by-step guide on five liquids that can clean off the stain from a wooden surface.

Source: www.wikihow.com

Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

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