How to Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors: Complete Guide to Remove Dry Paint

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Sprucing up your home can be exciting, but oops! Dropped some paint on your hardwood floor? Don’t panic. These floors can cost a pretty penny, so before thinking of replacing them, let’s talk about how to easily remove that paint and bring back their shine!

Removing Paint From Hardwood Floors

Removing paint stains from hardwood floors is easy. You have the option to sand paint from wood floors. Then wash it off with soap and lukewarm water. 

Another option would include mineral spirits: rubbing alcohol, paint remover, paint thinners, denatured alcohol, and cleansing pads, among others.

painting hardwood floor

How to Identify the Kind of Paint on Your Hardwood Floors

Before searching how to get paint off on hardwood floors, make sure to test the paint and determine the kind of paint on them. There are currently three paint types: water-based, latex, and oil paints. 

Wet a cotton ball with alcohol and wipe over the paint. Check if there is reside on the cotton ball. If you can see a residue, it may be water-based or latex paint. If there is no residue present on the cotton, then it is oil-based. 

Warning Test

If the floor was painted before the 1970s, it might contain lead. Purchase lead swab test kits before anything else. Also, check the Environmental Agency’s website to guide you on how to remove it.

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Preparing the Floor for Paint Removal

Clean the painted floor before the paint removal job. Ensure they are dry before proceeding with removing old paint. Also work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear.

How to Get Water-Based Paint Off Hardwood Floors: 4 Effective Ways

Method #1: Mixture of Rubbing Alcohol and Lemon Juice

Employ this method to eliminate water-based paint stains from your wood floors. Keep in mind that this approach may take some time to effectively remove paint from hardwood floors.

isopropyl alcohol


Wear gloves and cover unaffected areas of the floor. Get some old clean rags, rubbing alcohol, a glass of lemon juice, and a brush. Add three parts of alcohol with one part lemon juice. The overall amount of the mixture will depend on the floor area. 


Method #2: Dishwashing Liquid or Cleaning Detergent

Dishwashing liquid or cleaning detergent and lukewarm water can remove paint splatters from floors. These are both quite effective and economical paint removal methods.

removing paint stain on hardwood floor

What You’ll Need


Method #3: Sand It Off

One of the easiest ways to eliminate paint off your wood floor is by sanding it off. Follow these instructions and prepare the list, and you are on your way to a paint-free floor. 

sander to remove paint on hardwood floor

What You’ll Need


Method #4: Paint Scraper

Once the paint layers on your floors flake off, use a scraper. This is the best option to remove loose paint on your floors. 

paint scraper

How to Get Oil-Based Paint Off Hardwood Floors: 5 Tried & Tested Options

Resin is the main pigment used in oil-based paints. They are frequently used on wooden floors as a finish, and its removal can be challenging. Follow these steps to help you remove oil based paints from wooden surfaces successfully: 

Method #1: Commercial Paint Removers or Thinners

You can remove oil based paint marks from the hardwood floor surface using a solvent such as a paint remover or a paint thinner. These solvents are readily available in your local hardware store. 

pouring mineral spirit into a jar

What You’ll Need


Method #2: Paint Stripper

Similar to a paint thinner, A commercial paint stripper is also an efficient way of removing dried oil based paint from wood floors.

paint stripper on brown floor

What You’ll Need


Method #3: Heat Gun

Applying heat to dry or old paint can be used to remove it from the floors.

person holding a heat gun

What You’ll Need


To prepare the space for the process, open your windows or doors to keep the area ventilated.  Don protective gloves and a mask to protect yourself. 


Method #4: Sand It Off

Sanding off paint is an efficient way of removing paint. You will need to collect and prepare the items needed to accomplish this task.

person holding an orbital sander

What You’ll Need


Method #5: Paint Scraper

If you observe that the paint on your floors is flimsy and flaky, you can use a paint scraper to remove it. You can also use a heat gun to soften paint.   

using a scraper to remove paint

How to Get Latex Paint Off Hardwood Floors: 7 Effective Ways

Despite being similar to water-based paints, latex paint is more challenging to get rid of. Erasing dried latex paint may require stronger materials for its effective removal. 

Method #1: Heat Gun

Using heat can help soften hardened paint. Continue to follow the following steps.

yellow heat gun

What You’ll Need


Method #2: Mixture of Isopropyl Alcohol and Lemon Juice

You can also use a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and lemon juice to remove latex paint from wood. Make sure to gather the items needed before performing this. 

isopropyl alcohol


Must-Know Tip

You can also soak the paint in vinegar for about a minute. It can soften it, and you make paint removal with a brush or a cleansing pad easier. 

Method #3: Denatured Alcohol

You can also opt to remove the paint stains by using denatured alcohol. Follow these steps to help remove dry latex paint from the wooden floor.

denatured alcohol

What You’ll Need


Method #4: Commercial Paint Removers or Solvents

Another way to remove paint stains from wood floors is by using a solvent. Fortunately, local stores have a paint remover as a part of their inventory for sale. 

paint remover

What You’ll Need


Wear an appropriate face mask, hand gloves, and goggles to protect yourself from chemical skin contact. Also handle the tools and formulas carefully and protect unaffected areas with a cloth.


Method #5: Paint Scraper

If you notice that some of the paint are loose and flaky, you may use a paint scraper. You can lift the paint away using a scraper or a hammer.

old paint scraper


Method #6: Sand It Off

Sanding off is one of the easiest ways to remove a paint stain. Make sure to collect the necessary items for this method.

ENERTWIST ‎ET-OS-280 Orbital Sander

What You’ll Need


Method #7: Steam Stripper

Steam strippers may also be used to remove paint from wood.

steam stripper

What You’ll Need


How to Get Paint Splatter Off Hardwood Floors: 4 Tried & Tested Options

The inevitable paint stain on your floors or walls results from uncovered floors during a paint job. Hence, it is very important to know how to get paint off hardwood floors. Here are some ways to remove paint splatter from the floors.

Option #1: Plastic Putty Knife

This option can help you get rid of paint that is water-based and oil-based. You will need a plastic putty knife, scrape off loose paint.

plastic putty knife

Tilt the knife and apply light pressure and slowly remove the paint. Take your time and remove as much paint as you can. 

Option #2: Warm Soapy Water

This is one of the most gentle paint-removing methods. This requires warm soapy water and a rag to wipe off the paint residue from the floor. Dampen the paint with soapy water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Use a rag to remove the paint afterward.

Option #3: Hand Sanitizer

This is an easy option for dissolving paint [1]. Prepare some hand sanitizer and a rag.

white rag

Proceed to add the hand sanitizer to the splatter. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then use the rag to wipe it off. 

Option #4: Steamer

The final option for removing paint is by using a steamer. Prepare a steamer and some rags. Carefully heat the paint from the floor using the steamer. Remove the paint once it is loose. Repeat these steps when necessary.

How to Get Old Paint Off Hardwood Floors

Hardwood surfaces are elegant and should be taken care of. However, once spilled paint is on these wood surfaces for a long time, it is best to take action at once.

What You’ll Need


Clean the surface from dust to make the paint visible and check if the spills are oil-based paint stains.

materials for removing paint on hardwood floor

Removal With a Pressure Washer

Water can help erase paint marks. Turn on the compressor and hold the nozzle at least 10 to 15 inches from the surface. 

Removal With a Sandpaper or Power Sander

Another option to remove old paint is by sanding it. This method requires sandpapers, ideally with different grits. Gently sand off chipped paint on the surface using 60 grit paper. Increase the grit of the sandpaper to get an even and smooth surface. 

Can You Remove Dried Paint Without Sanding?

If you do not have an electric sander, you may try these methods of removing dried paint.

With an Alcohol Cleansing Pad

Purchase some cleansing pads and use them to scrub the paint splatter. Repeat this until the paint is removed. 

removing paint on hardwood floor

With Denatured Alcohol

Dip a rag in a mixture of water and denatured alcohol. Wipe the area with paint marks and repeat when necessary. Remove the paint once it loosens up.


Does Goo Gone remove paint from hardwood floors?

Goo Gone can remove paint from hardwood floors. They are formulated to dissolve paint on the floor quickly.

Will rubbing alcohol ruin hardwood floors?

Rubbing alcohol will not ruin hardwood floors. They have a neutral pH which can help clean them instead.


When sprucing up your home, accidents like paint spills can happen. Don’t fret! This guide offers handy tips to clean paint off hardwood floors. Still unsure? It’s always best to reach out to an expert to keep your floors damage-free.

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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