How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Welcome to my article all about how to remove acrylic paint from wood!

If you are an artist, you may accidentally get acrylic paint on a wood surface.

Unlike other paints that can be easily washed off, acrylic paint dries quickly so it can be difficult to remove it when it’s still wet.

It also uses an acrylic emulsion to bind to pigment that contains a resin that won’t dissolve in water.

While acrylic paint is difficult to remove from wood, it is not impossible.

However, it will require a cleaning method that will dissolve the acrylic resin, or, at the very least, you will need a solution that reduces its adhesive properties.

Here are a few methods that you can use to remove acrylic paint from wood.

6 Methods To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood

Soap and Water

The simplest way to remove acrylic paint from wood is to use good old soap and water.

This will work on newer stains but may not be as effective on stains that have been around a while.

For this method, you will need to dampen a rag and rub it back and forth over the stain applying medium pressure.

Then pour hot water and soap into the rag. Any type of soap that produces a lather should work.

Keep rubbing using medium pressure until the stain is gone. Apply more soap if necessary.

It’s important to keep the rag from getting saturated with the paint.

If this occurs, change out the rag. You may have to work a few hours until the paint is completely gone.

After the paint is gone, you will need to dry the wood to prevent mold and mildew from forming.

You can do this by rubbing a dry rag against the area until there is no water left.

If the wood is still damp, place it in an area where it can air out.

Olive Oil

using olive oil to remove acrylic paint from wood

Olive oil can also be used to remove acrylic paint.

The first step will be to soften the paint which can be achieved by putting oil on the rag and rubbing it over the stain.

Once the oil has saturated the paint, let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

Don’t touch the surface as it sinks in.

Once the paint has softened, you can scrape it off with a paint scraper or a putty knife.

To use the tool, softly push it so it removes the paint without damaging the wood.

The process should take 30 minutes to an hour.


Alcohol is commonly found in most medicine cabinets and it’s great for removing acrylic paint from wood. Any type of alcohol will do.

Start by placing the rag over the alcohol bottle and shaking the bottle a bit so the rag gets slightly damp.

Then apply the rag to the stain rubbing softly.

Add alcohol as needed ensuring you never add too much as it can damage the wood.

Rubbing gently and not applying a lot of pressure will prevent damage as well.

Once you notice the paint separating from the wood, you can begin to scrape it off with a putty knife.

Chip off as much of the top layer of paint as possible being careful not to damage the wood.

The job will get easier as you go.

The last step is to wipe the alcohol away, so it doesn’t stay on the wood and eat away its surface.

You can do this by applying a damp rag to the formerly stained area. Then wipe it down with a dry rag to remove any remaining moisture.

A Heat Gun

A heat gun may seem like a strange way to remove acrylic paint from wood, but it can be effective.

If you have never used a heat gun before, you will want to read the directions carefully.

It’s also important to use safety glasses and a mask while using it.

Avoid holding it in a single place for too long as it can scrape all the paint off the surface, including the paint you didn’t intend to remove.

Start by heating up the paint. To do this, you need to hold the gun with one hand keeping the ventilation slots uncovered.

The gun will need to heat up for a few minutes before its used.

Once it’s hot, test the temperature on a hidden part of the wood to ensure it won’t do damage before proceeding.

Next apply it to the stained area holding it 4 inches away.

Avoid leaving it in any one spot for more than 10 to 20 seconds.

Once the area is thoroughly heated, you can start removing the paint.

Hold the gun with one hand so it’s directed on the stain.

Then use the other hand to get beneath the paint with a putty knife.

Remove the paint in small strips and clean it off the knife as you go.

Turn off the gun while removing the paint from the knife.

Let the gun cool before putting it away.

Once the surface has cooled, you will need to wipe it down.

You can do this by using a damp rag to remove residue. Let the wood dry for at least 24 hours.


using a sander to remove acrylic paint from wood

A sanding process can also remove acrylic paint from wood.

Make sure to wear a protective mask and safety glasses when using this method.

Start by wrapping 150 grit and 80 grit sandpaper around a sanding block.

Rub the sandpaper back and forth across the stain using even pressure.

If you are sanding a curved surface, a dowel is recommended.

Once the stain is removed, brush off the accumulated dust.

Next, you will want to clean the wood by rubbing damp rag over the surface to remove residue.

If the rag gets clogged, you can rotate it out or rewet it.

Wipe in the direction of the wood’s grain and keep going until the rag comes up clean.

If you plan on using the wood later on, refinishing is advisable.

This can be done by brushing on the same stain that was used before.

Wet the bristles halfway up and wipe off any excess on the side of the container.

Then apply in even strokes following the direction of the grain.

Use a Solvent

View Acrylic Paint Solvents on Amazon Here!

There are several solvents that can be used to remove acrylic from wood.

If you choose this method, make sure the area is properly ventilated as many solutions will emit toxic fumes.

Solvents can be applied with a paint roller or paint brush.

Pour the solvent into a paint tray and use the roller or brush to apply it to the stain.

Wait 20 minutes for the paint to start bubbling.

Then use a putty knife to scrape the paint off the wood applying medium pressure and being careful to avoid damage.

After the stain is removed, use a damp rag to clean off the solvent.

The rag may have toxic residue on it so it’s best to throw it out rather than reuse it.

Allow the wood to dry for at least a week before applying waxes or stains.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Wood: Conclusion

Acrylic can be difficult to remove from wood surfaces, but it’s not impossible.

The steps in this article provide the best methods to use to get your wood nice and clean.

I hope you’ve found a solution to your acrylic stains and now have clean and fresh wood again!

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