Do you have paint on your wood floors that you want to clean up, but you aren’t sure how? Keep reading to find out how to get rid of that stubborn paint!

To get paint off of wood floors, you’ll first need to determine if the paint is oil-based or water-based since oil-based paints typically require heavier solvents to clean up. In contrast, water-based paints can be cleaned up using a wide variety of methods, including soap and water.

Below, you will learn about the differences between water-based and oil-based paint and ten different techniques you can use to paint off your wood floors.

Water-Based vs. Oil-Based Paint

Before you get to cleaning, try to figure out what kind of paint you are dealing with. This will help you determine which cleaning options are available to you.

The two most common types of paint are water-based or oil-based. Water-based paint will be much easier to clean up than oil-based paint. Typically, water-based paints will at least partially come up using good old soap and water. However, soap and water will do nothing to oil-based paints. These typically require heavier solvents to clean up.

The video below demonstrates a trick you can use to determine if your paint is water-based or oil-based. To start, get a cotton ball and put rubbing alcohol on it. Then, simply wipe it onto the paint. If any paint comes off, then it is a water-based paint. If nothing comes off, then it is likely an oil-based paint.

Whether you are dealing with oil-based or water-based paints, remove any spills as soon as possible after painting since wet paint is much easier to clean up than dried paint. However, if you aren’t quick enough and the paint dries, have no fear! There are still plenty of ways to get dried paint off; they’ll just be a little more challenging.

After you determine what kind of paint you are dealing with, you can move onto the next step and pick your cleaning method.

Methods to Clean Paint Off of Wood Floors

1. Soap and Water

You can remove water-based paints using plain old soap and water (sadly, this method will do absolutely nothing to oil-based paints).

To clean the paint off, simply get some warm water, soap, and a rag, then start scrubbing! After you scrub the paint with a wet rag, it should start to come off. Once it does, use a dry rag to remove any remaining paint.

If you have a lot of paint to remove, you can start by scraping as much paint as you can off with a scraper before applying the soap and water.

If you require a high-quality scraper, Bates- Paint Scraper is a wonderful tool. It can be used for various purposes, including a paint scraper, screwdriver, paint can opener, hammer, crown molding remover, putty knife, and even a box opener. Because of this, the Bates Paint Scraper is a great investment since you’ll still be able to use it for other purposes after fulfilling your paint scraping needs.

The Bates Scraper comes with a lifetime guarantee, so if something happens to it, you can simply return it, and you will receive a brand new one for free!

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is only an effective remover for water-based paints.

To begin, you’ll need to make a mixture of three parts rubbing alcohol, 1 part lemon juice.

Although rubbing alcohol is an effective remover by itself, adding lemon juice makes it even better since lemons are acidic. Acidity is a useful property for cleaning since it helps break down difficult stains. Also, lemons have antibacterial properties. So, this lemon juice and rubbing alcohol mixture will allow you to get your floors squeaky clean while also removing the paint!

After you make the rubbing alcohol and lemon juice mixture, apply it to the paint with a rag, or scrub it on with a toothbrush. This should get the paint off in no time!

If you are out of rubbing alcohol, Ecoxall Chemicals – 99.9% Pure Isopropyl Alcohol is a wonderful option. It includes 1 gallon of concentrated rubbing alcohol. This product is the best seller on Amazon because of its high quality and purity.

3. Cleansing Pads/Wipes

Cleansing pads are an easy and affordable cleanup option. They are effective yet safe for your wood floors.

If you want to try this method, you’ll need to buy alcohol-based cleansing pads, either online or from a local drug store.

After you get the cleansing pads or wipes, use them to scrub the stain. If the pad or wipe you are using starts to feel dry, switch it out for a new one. Continue this process until your wooden floor is completely paint free!

If you want to buy cheap yet effective cleansing pads, check out the Disposable Alcohol Prep Pads on Amazon. These are standard alcohol pads that will get the paint off in no time. This product comes with 100 pads for only $8.99, so if you are looking for an inexpensive paint removal option, this is the way to go.

If you want something a little more heavy-duty, check out these MiracleWipes for Paint Cleanup. These are extremely effective cleansing wipes that are specifically designed for cleaning up paint. MiracleWipes are fast and easy to use. They are most effective on hard non-porous surfaces, such as wood flooring and tile, and tend to be less effective on porous surfaces, like drywall.

MiracleWipes are portable and work on both acrylic and oil paint. They have a soft side and an abrasive side, so they are very versatile. They are tough enough to clean up dried paint stains but gentle enough to be used on your hands if you accidentally get some paint on yourself. They cost $13.47 on Amazon, making them an effective and affordable option!

4. Boiled Linseed Oil

Boiled linseed is an all-natural paint removal option. Boiled linseed, otherwise known as flaxseed, is a colorless to yellowish oil obtained from the flax plant.

To remove dried paint with boiled linseed oil, you’ll need to soak a clean rag in the oil. Next, press the linseed oil rag onto the paint you want to remove. Hold it there for at least 30-60 seconds. After you do this, the paint should be loose enough for you to wipe it up.

If there is a lot of paint to clean up, use a scraper to get off as much as you can, then apply the boiled linseed oil.

If you need to purchase some boiled linseed oil, take a look at this gallon of Sunnyside Corporation Boiled Linseed Oil on Amazon. This product is great for wood floors and will help you clean up your paint mess in no time.

5. Linseed Oil Paste

Another paint removal method using boiled linseed oil involves combining it with rottenstone to make linseed oil paste.

The first thing you’ll want to do is mix the rottenstone and boiled linseed oil in a small dish. Stir the ingredients together using disposable cutlery or a disposable chopstick until it turns into a thick paste. Put the paste onto a clean rag, then scrub the paint.

This method is best for removing paint residue instead of large amounts of paint, so if you have a good amount of paint to clean up, you should try a different method first.

6. Heat Gun

A heat gun is like a hairdryer but much more powerful (and more dangerous)! This method will work for both water-based and oil-based paints. To get the paint off, you’ll simply aim the heat gun where you want to remove the paint and then slowly and methodically move it. Then, once the paint starts to bubble, you’ll use a scraper to get it off.

As a side note, make sure to have a bucket of water nearby if the heat gun causes a small fire!

If you’d like to see what a heat gun looks like and how to use it to remove paint, check out the video by Howcast. It demonstrates how to safely use the heat gun, what the paint will look like when it’s ready to be scrapped, and the best clothing to wear while using a heat gun.

If you need to buy a heat gun, check out the SEEKONE 1800W Heat Gun. It comes with four different nozzles that allow you to disperse the heat in different ways, allowing you to make it more concentrated, dispersed, etc. It also allows you to select the temperature you want, ranging from 122℉-1202℉ (50℃-650℃). This heat gun is highly rated and includes a lifetime warranty, making it the perfect tool for your paint removal needs!

If you don’t want to buy a heat gun, you can try to heat the paint using a dryer instead. To do this, set the dryer on maximum heat. Then, hold it approximately 3 inches (8cm) away from the paint for about 10 to 20 seconds. This should help the paint scrape off more easily. However, this method won’t be as effective as a heat gun since dryers don’t get as hot.

7. Paint Remover

Paint removers are safe to use on your floors and usually work on both water-based and oil-based paints. You can buy paint removers either at your local hardware store, home improvement store or online.

Some popular paint remover brands include Goo Gone, OOPS, and Dumond.

Goo Gone Latex Paint Remover is an effective remover for water-based paints. It works on paint that is wet or dry. This remover is especially effective for wood, as it can get the paint off of your wood floors without harming your finish.

Goof Off Pro Pour is great for removing dried latex paint. This product comes with two 20 oz (28.41 mL) cans for only $12.99, making it an affordable option!

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover is an innovative product made by Dumond. Smart Strip is biodegradable, non-carcinogenic, and odor-free, making it great for you and the environment! Although it is water-based, this remover effectively removes oil-based, water-based acrylics, varnishes, urethanes, and even old lead paints.

Related: How to Make a DIY Paint Remover

8. Paint Thinner

This isn’t the healthiest option, but it gets the job done. Make sure when you use it to open up the windows and turn on a fan to get rid of any vapors!

To use the paint thinner, simply put some onto a rag and then rub the rag over the paint you’d like to remove. But don’t rub too hard because you can damage the floor’s finish.

Paint thinners are a good option if nothing else has worked or if you know the paint you are dealing with is oil-based. Don’t use paint thinner for water-based paints.

If you need to buy some paint thinner, check out this POR-15 Solvent on Amazon. It’s highly rated and very affordable, only costing $14.40. This is an effective product that will get rid of all of your stubborn paint spots.

If you can’t stand the smell of paint thinners, you may prefer Weber Odorless Turpenoid. As the name implies, this paint thinner is odorless. Weber Odorless Turpenoid gives you the same paint removing power without the awful stench!

9. Pull Scraper

The hardest paint to remove is paint that has melded with the finish. To reach paint that is this engrained, you will likely need to scrape some of the finish. The best tool to use for this is a pull scraper. Pull scrapers are small handheld tools that have a blade at one end.

If you need to buy a pull scraper, HYDE Contour Scraper is a great option. This pull scraper comes with six changeable blades that you can easily switch out depending on your needs. This scraper is effective at removing paint and varnish, putty caulk, or rust from virtually any surface. It features a contoured handle so that your hand will be comfortable while you are scraping away.

To remove paint using your pull scraper, the first step is to simply put the blade on the paint you want to remove and begin scraping. Make sure to scrape lightly, so you don’t expose the wood!

After all of the paint is removed, apply a touch-up coat of the finish with a rag or paintbrush. If you do this properly, your floor will look amazing, and you’ll never know that the finish was removed in the process!

10. Sanding

If you remove paint from your wood floors because you are planning on refinishing them, sanding is the way to go.

To start, you’ll need to acquire an electric sander. If you don’t want to buy one, you can often rent them from a hardware store like Home Depot.

If you want to purchase a sander, take a look at the 3M Random Orbital Sander. It feels like a professional sander because of its strong motor and high durability. This sander runs very smoothly, so you will never feel like you are out of control while using it. The 3M Orbital Sander has an ergonomic design, providing optimal comfort. Although it is well made and highly rated, it is a bit pricey.

If you want a highly rated sander that is less expensive, check out the Black+Decker Random Orbit Sander. This sander is very efficient and simple to use. It is compact, so it is easy to maneuver. It only costs around $50, making it an affordable option for all of your sanding needs!

After you get your sander, you can start sanding your floors. You’ll want to sand your floors with a 60-grit paper followed by an 80-grit paper and then a 120-grit paper. This is important because the 60-grit paper will remove the old paint coating while the 80-grit and 120-grit papers remove any marks left over from the initial sanding.

When you are done sanding, apply a protective sealant to the floor. Then, voila! Your floors will be paint free and ready for refinishing.


There are a variety of methods you can use to clean paint off of your wood floors. Typically, water-based paints or acrylic paint are easier to clean up than oil-based paints. Try to determine what kind of paint you are dealing with beforehand, so you know what cleaning methods will be effective. Also, try to get the paint off while it is still wet because it will be easier to remove. Some ways you can remove paint from wood floors include:

  • Soap and water – remove water-based paint
  • Rubbing alcohol – removes water-based paint
  • Cleansing pads – removes water-based paint
  • Boiled linseed oil – removes water-based and oil-based paint
  • Boiled linseed oil paste – removes water-based and oil-based paint
  • Heat gun – removes water-based and oil-based paint
  • Paint remover – removes water-based and oil-based paint
  • Paint thinner – only recommended for removal of oil-based paint
  • Pull scraper – removes water-based and oil-based paint
  • Sander – removes water-based and oil-based paint

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