Remove Paint Residue From Wood Grain

Remove embedded paint within wood grain in a few simple steps.

Stripping paint from wood surfaces can be difficult and tedious. More often than not, when you remove the paint from the surface of the wood, residual paint remains stuck in the wood grain. No need to call in a professional to fix this problem, however, as you can remove the paint residue on your own. It takes patience, but you can remove the paint using some simple techniques. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Open every door and window near the work area. Proper ventilation and allowing fresh air to come in helps protect yourself from harmful chemical fumes given off by the paint stripper. Cover surrounding objects, flooring and other surfaces you want protected from potential paint stripper accidents with plastic tarps.

2. Put on gloves, eye goggles and a filter mask to protect your skin, eyes and respiratory system from the chemical paint stripper.

3. Open the can of paint stripper and dip the tip of a small paintbrush into the solution. Apply the chemical stripper onto the wood, covering the area where the paint is embedded within the grain. Allow the chemical stripper to sit on the paint for as long as the package label directs.

4. Scrape the blade of a putty knife over the paint area to remove as much as possible from the wood surface. Hold the putty knife at a 45-degree angle when scraping the wood.

5. Spread a second coat of paint stripper over the area with the same paintbrush as you used before. Allow the stripper to sit on the wood for the stated amount of time on the packaging.

6. Rub a #0000 steel wood pad over the wood area to remove as much paint from the wood grain as you can. Wipe the area clean of chemical stripper with paper towels.

7. Allow the wood area to dry overnight. Sand the area with a piece of 200-grit sandpaper to remove the last traces of embedded paint. Remove all the sanding dust with a shop vacuum.

8. Apply a coat of polyurethane wood finish onto the area where you removed the paint. Using a paintbrush, try to match the sheen of the finish with the sheen of the surrounding wood surface. Polyurethane finishes are available in gloss, semi-gloss and matte. If the wood surface is unfinished and has no coating of finish, skip this step. Allow the finished coat to dry overnight before using the wood surface.