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How to Remove Oil Based Paint

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From chemical agents to scrapers, sanders and heat guns, there is a variety of methods when it comes to how to remove oil based paint. All methods are potentially dangerous and require the utmost caution.

Chemical removers

Various turpentines and paint thinners are out on the market that can be used when it comes to how to remove oil based paint. Depending on the size of the stain, you also may be able to use acetone (nail polish remover) or kerosene. These materials are highly toxic, and you should try to use gentler methods first before going this route.

If you do opt with chemical removers, be sure to use proper protection of the eyes, mouth and nose. Chemical removers are sold in pastes, liquids, sprays, and peel-off fabrics. A common mistake with using chemical paint strippers is that people don't let them soak on the paint long enough before removing. For multiple layers, this could be hours.

Power Tools

Scrapers and sanders also can be used when it comes to how to remove oil based paint. This is especially useful for large projects on exterior surfaces. Opt for coarse sandpaper over fine sandpaper, which will clog your power tool. Be sure to practice safety when using these tools, including falling all manufacturer instructions and wearing protective gear at all times. Keep in mind when using this method that some of the original surface will come off with the oil based paint.

Other remedies

Applying heat to your paint surface is another method when it comes to how to remove oil based paint. However, this method will emit toxic fumes so it is imperative that you wear a mask and goggles. Scraping knives, usually in conjunction with chemical removers on walls, may be used on their own to clean up spills as well. Just be sure to first remove any excess wet paint.


Any paint made prior to 1970 will contain lead, which can be extremely harmful if inhaled or ingested.

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