Top 5 Best Paint Strippers for Wood

Paint strippers are available in the market in many forms. You have the option of buying them in liquid, gel, or paste. Good paint strippers are the ones that soften the previous finish for effortless paint removal from wood.

However, along with efficiency, importance should be given to one's safety as well. Prolonged use of paint strippers can cause health problems related to the chest. It is also worth mentioning a chemical found in most paint strippers called Methylene Chloride, also known as dichloromethane (DCM). DCM is linked to causing cancer and cognitive impairment. So it is always a better idea to buy an alternative paint stripper for your health. 

Below is the list of five top paint strippers for wood. You will know which ones are faster, which ones will work on oil and latex, and much more.



Editor Rating

1). Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3332 Smart Strip

2). Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

3). Wagner Spray Tech Wagner 0513040 PaintEater

4). MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

Out of Stock, Last checked 7 Aug, 2020

5). Sunnyside 65832A Ready-Strip

Out of Stock, Last checked 7 Aug, 2020

Best Paint Strippers for Wood:

1). Dumond Chemicals, Inc. 3332 Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, 1 QuartDumond 

Chemical is one of the safest paint removers in the market, which is why it tops this list. It is a thick water-based solvent that can remove many layers at a time. It is odorless and is environmentally friendly. It does not have DCM and does not cause cancer. You can expect this paint stripper to remove up to fifteen coats of any kind of coating. It can remove oil-based, water-based acrylics, varnishes, urethanes, etc. The fact that is can remove even the old lead paints from the interior and the exterior surface of the wood makes it one of the best paint remover for wood furniture. This is a water-based paste, and you can easily apply using a brush, roller, or any airless spray. The method of application is simple. You have to apply the paste to the coatings. The application time depends on the number of coats and the type of coatings that have to be removed. This paint stripper does not require the use of Peel Away Paper, another reason making it the best paint remover for wood furniture. After the appropriate dwelling time, you can easily 'take out' the lifted paint using a scraper.


  • Easy to apply
  • Easy to clean
  • Works fast
  • Can strip multiple paint layers
  • Odorless
  • Biodegradable


  • After application, you have to remove the gluey type mess.
  • It requires a lot of scraping.

2). Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Citristrip paint remover is of high quality and value for money products in the market. It does not have methylene chloride, which is great as now we all know the health hazards involved using this chemical. The gel does, however, contain alcohol and surfactant, which causes skin burns. That is why you have to wear chemical resistant gloves and goggles when using this paint stripper. The gel stays active for twenty-four hours, allowing many layers to be stripped at a single time. The gel's thickness and sticky nature make it easy for it to adhere to wood surfaces. You have to wait for a few hours after applying this gel on wooden surfaces before you start stripping the paint off. Citristrip paint remover has a citrus scent and should be used indoors. Because of the fumes, you have to make sure your room is well ventilated, with open windows and doors. Citristrip's all-purpose stripping gel removes any type of paints from wood, metal, and masonry surfaces. So go ahead and start refinishing your old furniture using this best chemical paint remover for wood. 


  • Easy application
  • Easily adheres to the surface that it is applied to
  • Easy to use


  • Causes skin burns
  • Hazardous fumes.

3). Wagner Spray Tech Wagner 0513040 PaintEater

The Wagner Paint eater is a disc sander rigid on the paint but clement on the surface. It is a tool that rotates while removing paint.

Its design includes a fiber disc that spins at 2600 RPM. This feature enables you to remove paint from any angle making this tool one of the best paint remover for wood deck. You have to operate the disc flat to smoothen the edges. Many people doing simple DIY projects at home prefer using this tool because of its simplicity and no potential hazards caused by fumes present in gels and pastes. Nevertheless, it is wise to wear a simple disposable mask and goggles to prevent the dust from reaching your face and eyes. Expect a dominant performance from the Wagner Paint eater that will remove the paint chips from wood. One of the best features of this model is that it has a Flex-Disc system that adheres to contours to provide similar results on surfaces that are not even. However, this tool covers a small area and takes some amount of time. So if you are looking forwards to doing larger projects, it will be wise to use the Citristrip Paint Remover or the Dumond Chemicals. This machine doesn't get heated up, so you don't have to worry about holding the hot machine while working for a long time. 


  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Easy to use
  • Value for money
  • No hazardous fumes from chemicals


  • Not suitable for large projects
  • Takes a while to remove the paint
  • Might leave behind abrasive surfaces.

4). MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper 1 Qt

Max Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper is the powerful gel that is guaranteed to not drip on the wood. It is a safe alternative from all the other chemical paint removers that you are available in the market. It has no methylene chloride or NMP. It is gentle on most substrates, including antique woods. You can use this product indoors as well because no special ventilation is required. There won't be the release of any dangerous fumes when you are using this product. You can safely use this without gloves as it does not cause any skin burns. You can expect to remove paint safely from so many things such as wood, glass, laminate, fiberglass, porcelain, plastic, furniture, windows, brick, ceramic, carpet, etc. It is recommended that you always test this paint remover on a small plastics area as Max Strip and Varnish Stripper are said to leave imprints on some form of plastics. Also, keep in mind that this no-drip gel is not produced to remove automotive or factory finished paints.


  • Easily adheres/sticks the surface.
  • Easy to spread
  • Easy to remove
  • Affordable
  • Odorless 


  • Might not work that well on old pieces of furniture
  • Some users found the gel too thin than the other gels available in the market.
  • May leave a print on plastic.

5). Sunnyside 65832A Ready-Strip ADVANCED Paint & Varnish Remover, Quart

This is one of the best furniture stripping products in the market. It is also a safe paint and varnish remover containing no methylene chloride or NMP. It removes paints, varnishes, stains, lacquers & urethanes. It starts working after an hour of its application. Sunnyside 65832A can remove multiple coating at a time. You can remove almost anything from wood using this paint remover. When compared to its' competitors, this is a value for money products. You get double the quantity at almost the same price as the other similar products. With that being said, you have to apply a very generous amount. Depending upon your project, it does take a while, minimum a day, for it to dry, but the results are worth it. 


  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to spread 
  • Great adhesive powers


  • It can be more consistent.

Steps involved in using paint and varnish removers:

  1. Apply: Stripping old paint starts by applying a thick coating of the paint and varnish remover evenly over the surface, probably with a paintbrush. Wait for half an hour. You have to leave the coating for a minimum of half an hour or until you start noticing paint bubbles beginning to appear. 
  2. Scrape: Remove the paint that has 'come out' from any plastic scraper. 
  3. Dispose of residue according to local regulations: You can dispose of the residue in the garbage bag, but the process of scraping paint can be messy, so it's wise to keep paper towels nearby to wipe off any excess residue. Placing a plastic wrap over the area where the paint remover has been applied prevents evaporation and gives you better results.  
  4. Multiple coatings: Sometimes: the paint doesn't come off right away, and you have to apply a second coating and repeat the above process. 

When deciding what paint remover to purchase, you should keep some points in mind that are discussed below:

Type of paint and varnish remover:

There are four different types of paint and varnish removers available in the market. Each type is good for a particular surface. For example, the chemical paint remover works best when you have to remove paint from vertical surfaces such as a wooden door. They adhere to the surface preventing the solvent from dripping. 

1). Solvent:

 These are most commonly used because of their effectiveness and versatility. They contain chemicals to remove paint from the surface. They can remove oil and water-based paint as well as polyurethane from wood. They don't cause discoloration like the other types of paint removers. Many solvents contain DCM and NMP. These products emit a lot of fumes that are hazardous to our health.

2). Caustic paint remover: 

These strippers work best on removing oil-based paint. They loosen the paint into a soap-like material so that it becomes easy for it to be removed. Caustic paint removers work well on good and are one of the best chemical paint removers for wood, but they sometimes darken the wood. The application of the wood bleach can lighten the wooden surface.

3). Biochemical:

These paint removers are safer when compared to its competitors above. They emit lower fumes than the chemical ones, but still, they do cause itching on the skin. These paint removers remove water and oil-based paints from wood but do not remove polyurethane coatings.

4). Zero VOC:

These are the safest alternatives to the paint removers that are listed above. They do not contain methylene chloride or NMP and are free from any odor. They might be slightly pricey because they are made from natural solvents. They are good at removing water and oil-based paint from wood.

Keep in mind that an effective paint remover will remove the paint from the wood in less time, evenly and consistently. It won't remove paint from a certain area and leave behind from another area. It will be even. Some tools get heated up, making it difficult for you to hold on to them while scraping off paint. Or there are tools or paint removers that only work under certain circumstances, so you should look into that as well. Not many paint removers can be used indoors because of the fumes they emit. Moreover, the fumes emitted can be extremely damaging to your health. 


Stripping away old paint and varnish can become difficult, but these products help make the job easier for you. Make sure to read the instructions about the product you are planning to buy and which one will be the best paint remover for wood furniture. 

Before you start applying a fresh new coat of paint, make sure that the paint removers are completely wiped off and cleaned from the surface. Paint and varnish removal has to be done in a place with good ventilation, and you should be wearing eyewear and chemical resistant gloves. Your safety should be important to you.

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