Imagine you’re about to finish repainting your living room. You’ve moved your furniture away from the walls, but you accidentally spill some paint on the floor or a piece of furniture. It may not be easy, but you can remove the stain if you have the right tools.

A homemade paint remover can be safer, cheaper, and easier than buying one from the store. Common ingredients for DIY removers include baking soda, laundry detergent, and vinegar. Each works well on different materials, so something will work on almost any stain.

If you got paint on something and want to remove it, you need the right product. But before you head for the store, consider making one yourself. Keep reading to learn all about DIY paint strippers and how to make and use one.

Why Use Paint Remover

DIY or not, you should consider how and why you plan to use a paint remover. For example, maybe you got paint on your door or your favorite knife block. Instead of covering up the paint or replacing an item, you can strip the paint.

Then, you can get the item back to its prior condition. You can continue to enjoy the look and feel of your furniture and belongings.

A good DIY paint remover can do a lot of the same things as a store-bought product. If you’re still unsure of how you can use it, here are a few options.

Cleaning the Item

If you need to clean something after painting near it, you can use a paint remover. This would be an excellent option after repainting a room. If you get paint on the door to the room, you don’t have to paint over the color.

You can also use a paint remover to clean something while removing more than a few paint spots. If you have an older item, you can strip the paint, clean it, and refinish it. Then, you can have a new item without purchasing anything.

Sometimes, you can make old items work well by cleaning them. And if you have a vintage thing with some paint, a good paint stripper can help you fix things up.

Maintaining the Item

Depending on the paint remover you use, it can help you maintain the condition of whatever you’re working on. Stripping paint manually requires heat, and if the paint is old and has toxic chemicals, a paint remover will be the safer option.

You can use your paint remover of choice to keep your things in good condition. If you scrape the paint off without anything else, you could accidentally damage your stuff.

While no paint remover is perfect on every surface, you can make a DIY version that’s perfect for you. Then, you can maintain your items whenever you want to change the look or finish. Just be sure you use safe ingredients in your DIY remover.

Repainting the Item

If you want to do more than clean or maintain something, you can also use a DIY paint remover. You can repaint the item in whatever color you choose. But adding an extra coat of paint might not always be a good idea.

If you add too many coats of paint, the item will get thicker. In the case of doorways, for example, this can be a problem. The thicker the door, the harder it is to open and close. Also, anything made of wood will expand in warmer temperatures, so more paint will just make the item bigger.

So before you add a new coat of paint, consider using a DIY paint stripper to remove the current coat. Then, you can start fresh with any color, and you won’t have to worry about the old color peeking through.

Types of Paint Removers

When deciding what paint stripper to use, you should consider store-bought and DIY options. Sure, buying remover from the store is easy and quick. You can add the product to the item in question, and it will help you get rid of the paint.

But some store-bought paint strippers contain harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working on banning paint strippers with the chemical methylene chloride. That chemical can kill people who get too much exposure to it.

While not all store-bought options have harmful ingredients, you should consider a DIY paint stripper. Some DIY options are safer than others, but you have more control over what you use. If you have young children or if someone in your house has an allergy, you can avoid certain products.

Luckily, some DIY paint strippers are just as effective as store-bought products. But you don’t have to put yourself or others at risk.

Why Make DIY Paint Remover

Even if you aren’t worried about the risks of chemicals in industrial paint strippers, you should still consider making your own. You can consider what paint you need to remove and the surface you’ll work with.

A DIY option is a great alternative for anyone on a budget or who wants to know what they’re using in their home. Just like any standard cleaning product, you should use something safe when removing paint.

But here are a few other reasons to opt for a DIY paint stripper over one from the hardware store.

It Save Money

Sometimes, you just need a bit of paint stripper to do the job. If you get paint on something small, you won’t need a huge can of remover. But when you buy a product from the store, you may have to buy a big package.

When you make a DIY paint stripper, you can adjust the recipe based on how much you need. If you need a lot, you can follow the same ratios. And if you just need a tiny bit for a small spot, you can adjust the ratio down.

You can also find ingredients for a DIY paint stripper around your house. So unless you need to remove paint from a large area, you may not need to purchase anything. All you need is some time to make the paint remover, but you can do it on any budget.

It’s Natural

If you want to focus on natural ingredients and processes, you should make a DIY paint stripper. You have control over every step, so you can choose what goes into your mixture.

A natural product is often safer than something artificial. It’s a great option if you have young children or curious pets who may contact the paint stripper on accident. As a parent or pet owner, you won’t have to worry about the safety of something when you make it.

Even if you live alone, natural products are still beneficial. You don’t have to worry about risking your life just to clean some paint off of your possessions.

It’s Eco-Friendly

Natural products aren’t always more eco-friendly, but a DIY paint stripper is. Again, you can use ingredients that you have at home, and that won’t harm the environment.

You can focus on paint stripper mixtures with biodegradable ingredients. Then, when you need to get rid of your unused remover, you can do so safely. You may be able to pour the unused stuff down the drain if it’s a simple recipe.

But even if you need to dispose of it elsewhere, using renewable ingredients over petroleum-based paint strippers will help the environment. While almost anything you do will have some impact on your community, eco-friendly ingredients can lower your carbon footprint.

How to Make a DIY Paint Remover With Baking Soda

One of the most common ways to make DIY paint removers is to use baking soda. The method is perfect for stripping paint from smaller items, but you can adjust the size if necessary. Baking soda is something that most people have lying around, so you can make this product without a ton of preparation.

The other main ingredient you’ll use is water, which you can get from your tap. You will also need some paper towels, tongs, a large pan, and a stiff-bristled brush.

Once you have all of those items, you can start creating your DIY paint stripper. Here are the steps:

1. Mix the Baking Soda

First, you need to fill your large pan with water. Make sure the water level is high enough to cover the items you will remove paint from. If your items don’t fit in a pot, this method may not work.

But if you can put the items in or disassemble them so that they fit, you can mix a quarter cup of baking soda into the water. If your pot is small and can’t fit as much water, you may want to use half the amount of baking soda to keep the ratios in check.

Make sure the baking soda combines well with the water.

Related: Can You Mix Bleach and Baking Soda?

2. Bring the Mixture to a Boil

Put the pot of water and baking soda on the stove and bring it to a boil. You can set the stove to high, but it may still take a few minutes to heat up.

As it starts to boil, figure out how you can place the items in the pot. If you have a lot of things with paint on them, you may need to do multiple rounds of boiling.

3. Add the Small Items

After the water boils, you can add the items to the pot. You should make sure the items don’t touch the side of the pot or each other. They need as much surface area as possible so that the baking soda and water can help loosen and remove the paint.

You can use your tongs to place the items into the pot. While you can drop them in, you can use the tongs to place the items where you want them. That way, you can make sure everything looks good.

Now, you can lower the stove temperature. Let the items simmer in the water for about 15 minutes.

4. Let the Items Dry

As the items sit in the pot, set up some paper towels nearby. Once the 15 minutes are up, you will take the tongs and grab each item out of the water. You can use the paper towels as a cooling area for the items.

Some items may take longer to dry than others based on the size or material. Keep checking on your items as they cool, but don’t be afraid to let them cool longer than necessary.

5. Scrub With a Brush

Once you can touch the items without the tongs, you should grab your stiff-bristled brush. You can also use an unused toothbrush for smaller items. Take your brush and grab one item at a time to scrub off excess paint. The water should remove some paint, but you may have some stubborn parts.

You may need to work to remove the paint, but you shouldn’t have to work too much. If you struggle to remove paint for a few minutes, you may need to put the item back into a new pot of baking soda and water.

Other DIY Paint Strippers

While the baking soda option is great for small items, you may need to remove paint from a door or something bigger. If you can’t use a pot of water and baking soda, you can use some other household items as a paint remover.

They don’t have as complicated a process so that they can be quicker than the baking soda option. So consider these ingredients for a simple DIY paint remover.

Laundry Detergent

If you have a paint stain on a piece of metal, you can use liquid laundry detergent. For a small piece of metal or a doorknob, you can mix the laundry detergent in a bowl with some water.

Remove the doorknob and place it or the item in question into the bowl. You don’t have to worry about boiling the water, so you can get this going much more quickly.

After a few minutes, you can take the item out of the soap mixture and rinse it off. Then, you can use a toothbrush to scrape off the excess. This process is similar to the baking soda method, but it doesn’t require as many tools or as much time.

Hydrogen Peroxide

If you got some paint on your carpet or another soft surface, you could use hydrogen peroxide. While this isn’t as common as an ingredient, you can still find it at a home store. It works similarly to bleach, but is a safer option.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. First, use some warm water on the stain and the surrounding area.
  2. Use a spoon to apply the hydrogen peroxide to the stain.
  3. After a couple of hours, use a wet toothbrush or towel to rub off the stain.

You may need to press hard into the carpet. So this isn’t the best option if you have a delicate piece of fabric to clean. However, it’s easy enough, but you may want to block off the area so that kids and pets don’t walk over the stain while you let it sit.


Vinegar is a great option if you get paint on mirrors or other glass. You don’t need anything else to use it except for some supplies, including a bowl, microwave, and a rag.

  1. Pour half of a cup of vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl and heat it up, but don’t let it boil.
  2. Take the vinegar out of the microwave and dip a rag into the bowl.
  3. Wipe the rag over the glass with the paint stain, then let it sit for a while.
  4. After it sits on the glass, scrape the paint off. If it doesn’t all come off, add more vinegar and wait again before removing the paint.

If you need an easy homemade paint remover, vinegar is perfect for you. Odds are you have some in your house, and you don’t need to mix it with anything.

Is DIY Paint Remover Safe?

While it’s not perfectly safe, you can find safe options. Many DIY recipes use safe ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store or hardware store.

You can choose the right paint remover ingredients for you and your needs, but you should consider safety. When working with hot or boiling water, make sure you use gloves.

If you need to remove paint from a more valuable item, you will also need to be more careful. When an item is really valuable, you may want to contact a professional. They will have the tools to remove the paint without damaging your stuff.

Does It Work on Any Material?

One of the best things about using a homemade paint stripper is that it’s very flexible. You can choose from many different formulas. If you want to remove paint from metal, then you can use some baking soda or laundry detergent mixed with water.

But if you have a glass with a paint stain, vinegar might be your best bet. And if you have some small items with paint stains, you can use some baking soda and water. While not all DIY options are good for all surfaces, you can find one that works. So consider the material of your item to help decide which DIY paint remover is best.

Final Thoughts

Getting paint where it doesn’t belong is bound to happen during a home project. But you don’t have to use a store-bought product to remove the paint. As long as you use the right type of DIY paint stripper, you can clean the stain and make the item look like new.

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