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Everything You Need to Know About Removing Paint from the Wall

One of the best ways to revamp an old room is to paint the walls. This is also the most budget-friendly thing to do, considering that buying new furniture whenever you want to change things up will not be easy on your bank account.  

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your room and even lift your spirits. But how do you go about changing the paint? What is the best way to remove paint before applying a fresh coat? 

If you are interested in learning more about this, you have come to the right place. Let’s get into the guide and discuss everything you need to know about removing paint from walls

Removing Paint from Wall: When Should You Do It?

Before we discuss removing paint from walls, let’s discuss the right time to remove paint. We are not alluding to day or night, summer or autumn, but to the importance of checking the state of the old paint before starting your project. 

If there is one thing you should be looking for, it is chipped, cracked, or peeling paint. Painting over damaged old paint doesn’t look good and the new paint will likely chip or peel much quicker.

To avoid this, the first thing you should do is inspect the state of the old paint. If you see any sign of damage, you must remove that layer of paint before applying a new one. 

In contrast, if the room has been painted in the last few years and the paint shows no sign of damage, you can go ahead and apply the new coat of paint without removing the old one. Either way, the entire project should be relatively inexpensive and should take you at most a day.

How to Remove Paint from a Wall: Step-by-Step Guide

Now, let’s get into the fun part – a detailed guide on how to remove old paint from walls before applying a fresh coat of paint. Before we get into it, you should know that there are several ways to remove paint, including sanding, scraping, paint stripping and a heat gun.

You can go with any of these methods, depending on your preference and the time you want to spend on this project. Also, remember that you need to gather all the required things before you start with the project. That would include the following: 

  • Protective gloves
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Protective goggles
  • Face mask
  • Scrapper
  • Sanding block and sanding paper
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Neutralizer
  • Heat gun
  • A bucket of hot water
  • Mild soap
  • Cloths
  • Floor covering (plastic cover/kraft paper/rosin paper)

Finally, we want to mention that we will have separate steps for each paint removal method, but that does not mean you have to apply all when removing paint from walls. Choose one of steps 3-5 and consider going with a second one only if the first one is not effective enough. 

With that being said, let’s get right into the detailed step-by-step guide: 

Step 1 – Clear the Room

The first thing you want to do is remove all furniture from the room, or at least move it away from the walls. Use a plastic cover to protect it from dust and paint splatters. 

Next, remove all paintings, curtains, carpets, etc. Keep the room as empty as possible, so you do not have to worry about damaging anything. At the same time, remember that it is wise to keep the area ventilated, especially if you plan on using sanding or chemicals to remove the paint. 

Step 2 – Clean the Wall

The next step involves cleaning the walls. Before chipping away at the old paint, clean the walls with hot water and soap. Soak a clean cloth in the mixture and start rubbing it over the walls. Make sure you cover the entire room before you go on to the next step. 

Optional Step 3 – Try Sanding the Walls

Sanding the walls can be pretty time-consuming, but it is also relatively easy. We do not recommend sanding only when the paint contains lead, as it is toxic and should not be inhaled. So, do a lead test before you start and ensure it is safe to do the sanding. 

To sand your walls, all you need is a sanding block and some sanding paper, preferably an 80-grit one. Depending on your room size, you might need between 3 and 5 large sanding papers. 

Before you do anything, put on your old clothes, goggles, and face mask because it’s going to get very dusty. Then, wrap the sanding paper over the sanding block and start rubbing it all over the walls. Switch to a paint scrapper if you find any stubborn spots.

When the sanding paper becomes dull, replace it with a new piece. 

Optional Step 4 – Try Paint Strippers

Many paint strippers are available on the market, so you can easily choose one that fits your needs best. We would recommend that you go with something biodegradable and water-based, not something that contains harsh chemicals. Remember to wear protective gear.

The paint stripper or paint remover should come with instructions on the packaging. Make sure to read them to find out how long you need to keep the solution on the walls and how to remove it thoroughly before applying the new paint. Generally, this is what you will need to do:

  1. Apply a thick layer of the paint stripper on the wall or walls. That will ensure the stripper will not drip down the walls and cause damage to anything else. 
  2. Wait about 15 minutes before removing the stripper. Tiny air bubbles will form on the walls meaning the paint is softened and ready for removal. 
  3. Grab your scraper and peel the paint. If the stripper has been on long enough, the paint should come off easily and in large rolls. Go over the entire room, dispose of the rolls, and then prepare the neutralizer. 
  4. You should use the neutralizer according to instructions provided by the producer or similarly to the water-soap mixture mentioned in the first step of this guide. Mix and bit of the neutralizer with warm water and soap and use the mixture to wash the walls. 

Neutralizers are not always recommended, but they go together with some chemical paint strippers. They can help you remove all remaining chemicals from the walls so that you know you are fully prepared for the new paint. 

Please remember to keep the area well-ventilated during this entire process. You do not want to be inhaling those nasty chemical fumes!

Optional Step 5 – Heat Guns

Heat guns are only to be used on wooden walls or furniture. 

After putting on your protective gear, grab the heat gun. Point it towards the wall, but ensure you are at least two inches away from the wall. You should be pointing the gun toward one area for a few seconds so the heat has enough time to soften the color. It would be best if you heat three-inch sections at a time. 

Once the color is softened, use a scrapper to remove it, just like in the previous method. Repeat this process for the entire wall or piece of furniture because you start applying any new paint. 

How to Get Acrylic Paint Off Walls?

Getting acrylic paint off walls is similar to removing regular old paint. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Wash the walls with warm water and soap.
  2. Make a thick baking soda and water paste and apply it to the wall. Leave it on for a few minutes. 
  3. Use rubbing alcohol, acetone, or heated vinegar to loosen the paint further. 
  4. Now, use a piece of sandpaper or a scrapper to remove the loosened paint. 

The Best Way to Remove Paint: Seek Professional Help

While you can always try to remove paint with any of the methods mentioned above, getting the job done will take significant time and effort, especially if you are dealing with a large area. 

If you do not have the time or willingness to do this yourself or are still trying to figure out how to get paint off walls and want to avoid making a mess, you can always seek professional help. 

AA Brite has a team of professionals that can help you with interior or exterior painting, commercial painting, or even stucco and parapet repairs. We even have a blog with helpful information on choosing and applying the best paints and finishes. 

So, do not hesitate to contact us and do a free estimate – we can help you with any painting questions you might have!

Getting Paint Off the Wall: Bottom Line

Thank you for reading this guide. We hope you now know the best way to remove paint and how it can help make your room look brand new!

Remember that your options are to choose the paint removal method you like best and start chipping away the old paint or call AA Brite and have professionals take care of the painting for you. We are available 24/7, so contact us at your earliest convenience!


What removes paint instantly?

For us, paint strippers have always been the easiest way to remove paint and prep the walls for new paint. All you need to do is apply a thick paste, wait for a while, and then remove it using a scrapper. 

What naturally removes paint?

Natural solutions to remove paint are a great option because they do not contain harsh chemicals. You can try soy-based or citrus-based removers, but chemical removers will be quicker and more effective. Also, remember that you can always use some of the manual paint removal methods if you want to avoid chemical-based removal altogether. 

What liquid can dissolve paint?

Some of the liquids known to dissolve paint are acetone and alcohol. If you check the ingredient lists on most paint removers, you will find at least one of them mentioned. If you decide to go with alcohol, ensure you use rubbing alcohol and apply pressure to help remove the paint quickly.

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