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The Best Paint Strippers for Furniture Stripping

Typically, the first step in painting or refinishing furniture is stripping the old finish from the piece. This step can be quite challenging if you don’t have the right stripper and the right tools.

In this post, we’re going to share with you our picks for the absolute best paint stripper for furniture. These picks are environmentally friendly, fast working, and, most importantly, remove old finishes with as little effort as possible. So, let’s dive into the best paint strippers for furniture.

Using paint stripper on furniture

Our Top Picks for Best Paint Strippers

Best Overall Paint Stripper
Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel

Best Environmentally Friendly Paint Stripper
Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

Fastest Paint Remover
Sunnyside 2 Minute Paint Remover


Best Overall

CitriStrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel, 1 Quart, orange

  • Type of Stripper: Removes up to five layers of latex and oil paints.
  • Materials: Safe for use on wood, metal, and masonry.
  • Ideal for: Furniture and cabinets.
  • Benefits: Removes varnish & stain in a single step, no need to remove cabinet doors.
  • Scent: Pleasant orange scent.
  • Indoor Use: Rated safe for indoor use.
  • Longevity: Stays wet and active for up to 24 hours.
  • Multiple Layers: Works through multiple layers of paint.
  • Antique/Vintage Pieces: Ideal for pieces with many coats of paint.

Best Environmentally Friendly

Dumond Smart Strip

Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover- Strips 15+ Layers of Paint, Environmentally Friendly, Non-Toxic, Safe, No Hazardous Fumes, No Foul Smells (1 Gallon)

  • Safety: Completely biodegradable and water-based, one of the safest strippers available.
  • Environment: Environmentally friendly.
  • pH: Neutral pH, no need for a special stripper wash to neutralize the surface.
  • Materials: Works on wood, metal, masonry, and even marine paint.
  • Efficiency: Removes multiple layers of latex and oil paints, up to 10 layers.
  • Speed: Requires 3 hours to work, faster than strippers that need up to 24 hours.
  • Additional: Can handle tough paint jobs, such as marine paint.

Fastest Paint Remover

Sunnyside Ready Strip Advanced

Sunnyside 658G1A Ready-Strip ADVANCED Paint & Varnish Remover, Gallon


Formula
: Thick no-drip formula ideal for intricate details and vertical surfaces.
Speed: Begins working in one hour, but can be left overnight for up to 7 layers of paint.
Versatility: Works on paint, lacquer, stain, and varnish.
Company: Sunnyside, established in 1893, known for safer paint removers.
Indicator: Color change indicates when the paint is stripped and ready for removal.
Ease of Use: No guesswork, just scrape off with a plastic tool.


Sunnyside 2-Minute Remover Advanced

Sunnyside Corporation 634G1 Paint & Varnish, Gallon, 2 Minute Remover Advanced Gel, 2 Pack

  • Speed: Works in just a few minutes, strips multiple coats of paint or varnish in ten minutes.
  • Formula: Thick paste that clings to vertical surfaces, ideal for cabinets.
  • Strength: Strong formula, effective against marine and automotive finishes.
  • Versatility: Can be used on cabinets and automotive finishes, effectively resets car paint to factory finish.

Smart ‘n Easy Citrus Paint and Varnish Remover

Smart 'n Easy Citrus Paint & Varnish Remover Gel - Strips 15+ Layers of Acrylic, Latex, Oil, & Water-Based Paints, Varnishes, & Coatings in One Application - Orange Scent - DIY Friendly - 32oz

  • Chemical-Free: Contains no caustic chemicals.
  • Efficiency: Removes over 15 layers of paint in one application.
  • Suitability: Ideal for DIY painters.
  • Versatility: Removes paint, varnish, stain, and other coatings from nearly any surface.
  • Drawback: Works slowly, taking up to 24 hours to loosen paint.

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper 1 Qt

  • Speed: Works in a few minutes on varnish and light coats of paint.
  • Longevity: Stays wet and active for up to 12 hours on up to 7 layers of paint.
  • Monitoring: Check after 15 minutes for smaller projects and lighter coats.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Water-soluble and biodegradable, safer for the environment.
  • Application: Cling gel is ideal for no-drip applications, such as cabinet fronts or delicate antique furniture.
  • Odor: Slight almond smell, no dangerous fumes, safe for indoor use.

MAX Strip All Purpose Remover

MAX Strip All Purpose Remover 22 oz

  • Speed: Fast-working paint stripper.
  • Application: Easy-to-apply spray bottle.
  • Ideal for: Smaller projects like nightstands, end tables, and small dressers.

Buyer’s Guide for Paint Strippers

Things to consider when buying a paint stripper for your next project:

  1. Safety First: Look for strippers that are labeled as “safe” or “non-toxic.” Avoid those containing methylene chloride or NMP, which are harmful compounds.
  2. Type of Surface: Consider the surface you’re working on. Some strippers are formulated for specific materials like wood, metal, or masonry.
  3. Speed vs. Strength: Decide if you need a fast-acting stripper or one that can handle multiple layers of paint. Fast-acting strippers may be more toxic.
  4. Application Method: Choose between liquid, gel, or spray based on your project needs. Gels are good for vertical surfaces, while liquids are more versatile.
  5. Environmentally Friendly: Look for biodegradable or water-based formulas if you’re concerned about the environment.
  6. Ease of Use: Consider how easy the stripper is to apply and remove. Some require scraping, while others can be washed off with water.
  7. Odor: Some strippers have strong odors. If this is a concern, look for low-odor or odorless options.
  8. Reviews and Recommendations: Check online reviews and seek recommendations from professionals or experienced DIYers.
  9. Safety Gear: Always wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a respirator, when using paint strippers.
  10. Follow Instructions: Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for best results and safety.

Safety Considerations

Dangers of Paint Strippers

  • Paints before 1978 likely contain lead.
  • Methylene chloride can form toxic gas when in contact with lead.
  • Check labels for safety and wear protective gear.
  • Can cause skin irritation, headache, nausea, and more serious issues with repeated exposure.
  • Methylene chloride and NMP are harmful compounds found in some paint strippers.
  • Use in well-ventilated areas, wear protective gear, and follow label instructions.
  • Consider heat guns, infrared devices, or sanding as safer alternatives to chemical strippers.
  • Stripping may not always be necessary; priming and painting over existing finishes could be sufficient.
The Best Paint Stripper in Action

Choose a paint stripper that’s safe, effective, and suitable for your project’s needs, ensuring you follow safety guidelines and manufacturer instructions for the best results. With the right choice, you can confidently tackle your DIY furniture project and achieve professional-looking finishes.

For more tips, tricks, and product reviews, be sure to check out our YouTube Channel!