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Tips on How to Remove Paint Off Wood Floors & Carpets

Getting paint splashes all over brand new floors can be a bit frustrating since your next DIY project would be to get rid of those splatters! The easiest way to combat this is to go straight to your toolbox and grab your putty knife! Gently pop the paint of the surface. If your putty knife is new, file the corners down slightly to avoid damaging the wood floor.

If you’re trying to get rid of paint splashes you didn’t cause, the first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of paint it is that you’re trying to remove. Is it water-based or oil-based? If you’re unsure, try this simple test.

First, use rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad and wipe it over the paint. If any excess comes off on the cotton pad, then it is a water-based paint. If nothing comes off, then it’s oil-based. Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re trying to remove, you can then get started with one of the following methods.

1) Water-Based Paint: Warm Water & Soap

If you’re trying to remove water-based paint, the easiest way is using a mixture of warm water and mild soap. This simple, yet effective combo should get rid of the paint on your wood floors without damaging them.

2) Oil & Water Based Paint: Use a Heat Gun & Putty Knife

Using a regular heat gun lying around the house is one way to soften the older paint enough to scrape it away with a putty knife. When you place the glue gun cloe to the paint, the heated air from the tool is then directed onto the painted surface. As a result, the old paint will loosen and bubble from the wood, making it easy to remove. Heat guns are also effective at taking off varnish and other finishes.

This method is effective on both oil-based and water-based paints. So go ahead and point the heat gun at the paint, and, at the same time, scoop the paint away with a putty knife. You might have to scrape it away in the case of stubborn old paint. Since this process depends on high temperatures,do not leave a glue gun unattended and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

To use a heat gun:

  • Point the glue gun’s nozzle at the old paint, keep it about 2-3 inches away.
  • Move the gun back and forth slowly, keeping it close until the paint begins to blister.
  • Stop immediately if the finish begins to smolder.
  • Using your other hand, hold a putty knife at an angle and scrape the old paint away. 
  • If you’re dealing with a narrow crevice, use a contoured scraper to remove the paint.
  • Any unyielding specks that remain can be removed by using the putty knife. Use steady, firm force but avoid using too much pressure or you might damage the wood.
  • When the paint is gone, wash the surface with denatured alcohol to prepare the wood floor for its new finish.

3) Oil & Water Based Paint: Sand it Down

Sandpaper is a great tool to remove old paint from wood. You can also use a power sander to avoid arm fatigue. Sanding is an efficient method for flat surfaces but must be used cautiously to avoid any damage to the wood. Keep in mind to always sand with the grain of the wood.

One of the drawbacks of sanding is the amount of dust generated during the process. If you’ve got respiratory difficulties, its best to sit this one out or wear safety goggles and a face mask. Avoid using electric sanders indoors for this reason. The dust can be difficult to get rid of.

CAUTION: When employing methods such as scraping, sanding etc, you might end up releasing lead dust if the paint was made before 1978. Lead is deadly and exposure can cause serious ailments, especially in children and pregnant women. Consult your building manager or local building authority for more information.

To use sandpaper or a power sander to remove paint:

  • Thoroughly wash down the painted surface with any household cleaner.
  • If needed, remove any handles, hooks, or other fixtures from the wood being sanded.
  • Start with coarse 80-grit sandpaper in a manual hand sander or power sander. 
  • Use just enough pressure to remove the paint but not so much that it ruins the wood.
  • Move to a medium 150-grit abrasive and then finish with fine 220-grit.
  • Brush away dust from the surface every time you change paper.
  • Once you’re done, wipe down the entire surface with a damp cloth to get rid of the excess dust.

4) Latex & Oil Based Paint On Carpets; Keep Your Solutions Ready!

As stated above, it’s quite easy to get rid of paint on wooden floor. But a painter’s nightmare is the good old carpet. Spilling paint on a carpet is less than ideal, we get it. Removing wet paint is much easier, but it is possible to remove dry paint from carpeting. Since latex paint is water-soluble, it is much easier to remove than oil-based paint. '

The good news is, in the case of latex paint, you can most likely remove all or most of the dried paint. The bad news is, it is unlikely that you can remove an oil-based paint stain completely. So make sure you’re safe than sorry and mask your room as much as you can before you start painting. 

For Latex Paint On Carpets:

  1. Scrape off the dried paint as much as you can with a putty knife, scraper or equivalent. 
  2. Soak the dried paint with water, then vacuum the area with a wet/dry vacuum. Repeat this process to remove as much paint as possible.
  3. Add a quarter teaspoon of dish-washing detergent or vinegar to 32 fl oz water. Pour the mixture into an empty spray bottle.
  4. Spray your DIY detergent solution onto the paint stain and scrub the area with a stiff brush. Continue spraying and scrubbing until the paint comes off. If the stain is still persists, try following the steps below for treating oil-based paint stains.

For Oil-Based Paint On Carpets:

  1. Using a steam cleaner clean the area and try to remove the paint. 
  2. Then, wear gloves and lightly dab a rag in acetone or paint thinner. Sponge the stain to remove the paint. Be careful as this method may cause discoloration of the carpet. 
  3. With a pair of scissors, trim the fibers of the carpet to remove paint on the tips. This method should be used as a last resort, as removing too much of the carpet will cause the spot to look bare