Removing Paint from Hardwood Floors

Removing Paint from Hardwood Floors

You were tired of your old, boring walls, and you’ve just jazzed them up with a fresh new paint job. You’re restoring an old house with beautiful hardwood floors. You were careful. You put a drop cloth down, but you still dripped paint on that fabulous hardwood floor. Now what? A lot of people think removing paint from a hardwood floor is difficult, but it’s really not. There are several ways to remove paint from hardwood floors, regardless of how long the paint has been there.

Usually I would put a “what you will need” section here listing all of the supplies you will need to complete the project. This won’t work here. What you will need depends on which method you choose to remove the paint. You will need anything from cotton balls to a heat gun, so let’s talk about the various methods you can choose from.

For paint drips that are fresh, I have two preferred methods of cleaning it up:

Hardwood Floors

1. Wash it off! The second you notice the paint has dripped, before it dries, wipe it up. This one is common sense. First, wipe up the excess paint, then use a mild cleanser to clean off what’s left over. Do it fast, though! You don’t want to give the paint a chance to dry. Run and grab a cloth and cleanser before you wipe up the paint. If you wipe it up then wander off and prepare your cleanser, it will be much easier for the thin layer of paint you’ve left to dry before you get back.

2. Rubbing Alcohol. When I first went looking for ways to get paint off my hardwood floor, I stumbled upon this little tidbit. I never thought it would work, and I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking I’m a quack, but I’m not and it does! Get yourself a cotton ball and a bottle of rubbing alcohol and rub away. The paint comes right off. This also works with acetone nail polish remover, but have a damp cloth nearby to wipe up the smears, find more about this.

When the paint is dried and has been there for a while there’s really only one decent way to get rid of those unsightly drips:

What you will need:

A bit of fine grain sand paper

Rubbing alcohol

Cotton balls


Dish soap

1. Use that fine grit and strong back. When the paint has dried on, I do not condone the use of putty knives and the like for scraping the paint off. It’s too easy to damage your wonderful floor, which is much more difficult to fix. Instead, this out the paint drips with sandpaper. Sand by hand rather than use a palm sander because you will have much more control over your sanding. Remember, you want to thin the paint, but not sand off the finish on your floor.

2. Rub it out. Once the paint is thinned, pour a little dribble of rubbing alcohol on it. Use your cotton ball or cotton pad to rub the rest of the paint off the floor. It should come right up because you’ve taken a lot of the paint off already.

3. Wash it. Finish up by using your cloth and mild cleanser to wash away whatever is left. That wasn’t really hard, now was it?

Share this post