10 Tips on How to Get Dried Paint off Hardwood Floors

10 Tips on How to Get Dried Paint off Hardwood Floors

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Professional Tips and Advice


Always wipe paint up before it dries!

After successfully removing my first paint stain, I couldn’t help but question why I let the paint dry in the first place? Honestly, sloppy workmanship wasn’t a good enough excuse. Now, I keep a bucket of soapy water on hand whenever I am painting. It’s worth noting that wet paint is far easier to remove than the dried variety.

Just be sure to use a clean portion of your rag to remove wet paint splatter. Otherwise, you risk smearing even more paint across your wood floor!

Use Household Objects to Get the Job Done

Before you rush to your local hardware store, considering upcycling household objects for your paint removal job. The smooth edges of butter knives, old credit cards, and spent spatulas all double as industrial-strength paint scrapers. Meanwhile, the bristles of an old toothbrush make the perfect nonabrasive scrub brush that money can buy.

For a more frugal fix, it’s best to work with supplies that you already have on hand. Tooth

Use a Hairdryer

Simple solvents and scraping motions are not always enough to purge stubborn paint stains from wood floors. In such cases, a little heat may be all it takes to loosen the paint from the surface of a floor. If you’re someone who doesn’t keep a heat gun on hand, a hairdryer is a solid alternative.

Always Clean Before and After

It’s important to remove dirty residue before and after removing a paint stain from your wood floors. Dirt and grit have the potential to scuff the surface of your flooring. Since most removal methods require scrubbing and other abrasive motions, you want to ensure that there’s no buildup on your wood floors.

Identify the Type of Paint You’re Treating

Are you dealing with an old or unknown stain? Apply a small amount of acetone to the stain to determine whether it is from a latex- or oil-based paint. If the paint is latex-based, it will rub off after being treated.

Add Some Dish Detergent

When mixing lemon juice and rubbing alcohol together, add a squirt of dish detergent. This will create a rich lather that will pull the paint from the surface of the floor.

Use Tweezers

Paint often lifts up and bubbles after being treated with a solvent. Use a pair of tweezers to grab hold of a loose corner. Then slowly peel away the stain.

Use a Toothpick

A toothpick is yet another tool that can come in handy during the paint removal process. Use the pointed end to lift up a corner of a stain.

Use Caution

Always wear gloves and a face mask when working with strong chemicals. What’s more, open a window to increase air circulation and prevent the buildup of harmful fumes.

Soak Your Rag in Solvent

Soak a clean rag in rubbing alcohol or paint remover. Place it directly on the paint stain. This method helps you pinpoint small patches of paint without damaging the surrounding areas.

Avoid Chemicals and Abrasives

While it may be tempting to use paint thinner, it’s important to remember that it is extremely caustic. It can cause irreversible damage to your wooden floorboards. Not to mention, it is a potential health hazard.

Removing Old Paint From Wooden Floor

If you just moved into a property that has seen better days and dry and old paint, you may want to consider painting it. The old paint must be removed and replaced with new paint in order to make it more comfortable.

In this kind of issue, there are a variety of ways you might enhance it. Before committing to a vast region, try out your new technique in a small area first.


When using a pressure washer or sanding, be sure to clear the area and remove anything you don’t want to get wet or dusty. Make sure you’re wearing your face shield and gloves when you’re working with chemicals.

To be clear, we only recommend sanding hardwood floors with sufficiently thick coats of paint before attempting paint removal by sanding.

If you want to remove paint from your hardwood floors without sanding, there are several less expensive and less time-consuming options.


To get started, connect your sander to an electrical outlet. Sand the old paint with 60 grit sandpaper and remove old layers of paint that have built up over time.

Remove stubborn paint from the floor, between the floorboards using an 80-grit and finally a 120-grit abrasive sander. Finally, use a cleansing pad to wipe out the hardwood floor and dispose of the damaged paint.

Pressure Washer

If the old paint is chipped out, this approach may be helpful. It is a natural method of removing paint. Set up the pressure washer, attach a yellow nozzle to the wand, then turn on the power to begin cleaning the driveway.

Keeping your footing, position the machine at an angle above the old paint on the flooring, then release the trigger and begin spraying the water. The wood can be moved closer or further away, depending on the situation.

Using this method ensures that all of the previous paint is removed from the wooden floor’s surface. It’s time to clean up the wood after all of the old paint is removed. It’s best to let it dry naturally.

How to Tell the Type of Paint on your Hardwood Floor

It is crucial to know what type of paint is on your floors so you can use the correct method to remove the paint stains.

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol; rub it on a small patch of the painted floor. If the paint comes off, it is either latex or water-based paint stains. If none of it comes off, then you have oil based paint stains.

4. Cleaning Detergent

Damp a paper towel with dish-washing soap and wet

Damp a paper towel with dish-washing soap and wet the stain. Next, rub it back and forth for a few minutes and wipe off with an absorbent rag. This softens the paint stain, making it easy to scratch off using a putty knife to avoid damaging the floors. This method can be used to remove a water-based paint stain.

7. Paint Thinners

This should be the last option when removing paint

This should be the last option when removing paint stains from wood floors since it removes the clear finish on the floor surface as well. Ensure the room is well-ventilated before you begin the process. Soak the edge of a rag in the paint thinner and rub it on the stain until it clears completely. Next, use soapy water on the floor and then dry it off. Thinners work fast in removing oil-based paint stains but should never be used to remove water-based paint.

Add Some Heat

Some types of paint, such as oil-based gloss enamel, cure to such a hard consistency that you may have trouble removing them with a plastic scraper. Instead of graduating to a knife, which may scratch the finish, try warming the paint with a hair dryer. Set the dryer on maximum heat and hold it about 3 inches from the paint for 10 to 20 seconds. After removing the heat, you’ll probably find that the scrapes off more easily. Avoid more powerful sources of heat, such as heat guns; they can damage the finish.

Will Acetone Work?

Yes, if you are looking to remove paint from hardwood floors, acetone can be a useful cleaning agent to use. However, care should always be taken when using cleaning products on your hardwood floor as there are still chemicals in cleaning products, to ensure that it is not going to cause any damage.

To use the acetone, we would recommend that you place a small amount on an old rag, or a cotton ball, swab, or pad. The amount that you need, will all depend on the amount of paint that is present on the wooden floor. Even so, we would recommend that you only use a small amount to test this product.

You will then want to place the cotton swab, pad, or rag onto the paint stains on the wooden surfaces. You do not want to rub the paint straight away. Instead, you will want to allow the acetone to soak into the paint. This will help to break down the paint.

After a few minutes, you can then gently scrub the paint stains, and the acetone should help strip off the paint spills. Once completed, we would recommend wiping down the wooden floors with some clean water and a rag or pads.

Preparation Of The Floor

Any floor surface maintenance action must begin with a thorough cleaning of the floor. To ensure that the paint drops are clearly visible, you remove any dust, debris, or grit from the surface.

Before doing anything else, make sure the paint is water-based or oil-based. To remove the paint, use a scraper or a solvent to dissolve it.  If you’re trying to remove old oil-based paint, you’ll have a more challenging time than if you were trying to remove old acrylic paint.

Before using commercial solvents to remove paint off the hardwood, consider other methods first. Our expert team has also reviewed some of the top deck sealers for you.


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