Latex Paint Remover (plus the Painter’s Rag Trick)

Radiator with latex paint that needs to be removed
These days, removing latex paint is not the chore it used to be. There are safe paint removers and of course, the nasty ones will always be there.
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It’s easy. Today there is no need for the toxic latex paint remover that we once bought. In fact, the old ones are now illegal, thank you EPA. Oil paint? See this post.

1. Latex Paint Remover: dry paint

The go-to product, the industry standard, is of course Goof-off. Another honorable mention is Motsenbocker's Lift Off. We carry Goof Off always. Wet, wait, wipe.

Goof Off FG673 Graffiti Remover Spray Yellow
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Home Remedy: Water, “the Univeral Solvent”. Keep the paint wet for about an hour then scrape with a plastic knife type thing. See how soft it is now? The spray solvents above will be MUCH faster with no scraping (just wiping).

Just fixing a little boo-boo?

With the solvents above, apply, wait, wipe. Ba-da-boom. Let us know in the comments if these don’t work. They have to work. Dear Lord, let them work!

Goof Off etc., have the reputation of not leaving a residue on the substrate, but if you have paint on a sensitive surface, do a test spot.

Refinishing wood? Use a big-time latex paint remover:

Paint Strippers: Insert your own joke here. We like and suggest that everyone uses VOC-free stripper. Reported to remove 30 coats of paint at once. Let me know if you don’t love it (in comments below). We once used this citrus product which works, but it’s slower (and probably safer).

Heat Gun: From my cold, dead hand, Charlton. Make my day. Fun to use, but don’t start a fire, this gun’s for hire, said Bruce never.

Wagner Spraytech 0503008 Heat Gun
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Nothing working? Go Ballistic.

The Nuclear Option: Jump into the toxic stuff: it sure does work well. Protect yourself and your family: wear eye protection, skin protection with nitrile gloves, and of course a chemical respirator. We simplified the crazy world of respirators in a short post.

This would be your old-fashioned 100% sure-fire best paint remover for metal which it will not harm.

Bosch Angle 5" Grinder Variable Speed with Paddle Switch, GWS13-50VSP
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Stripping paint from metal and wood could be a combination of methods includinga drill attachment or a variable speed grinder with the awesome 3M Sandblaster pads. Here is a video of how it’s done.  There are a many types of pads for 4½ – 5-inch grinders, and most tools come with assorted washers for a good fit.

Not all grinders have the same threads so you may need the adapter kit this pad. Not expensive and handy since you will probably fall in love with a diamond cutting wheel later on.

3M SandBlaster Grinder Disc 9681 4-1/2-Inch Coarse Clean-N-Strip Disc
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Losing faith in latex paint remover? You may not be trying to remove latex paint. Could it be oil?. Watch this video to learn the test.

Caution: You know that old paint stripper lying around? The EPA has made it illegal. Below we have safe options.

 Important note on LEAD PAINT below. 


2. Still Wet Paint? Easy to remove

It’s easy to create clean up with a nice sharp edge if you goof when painting indoors or outdoors.

  • Cover your scraper with your dry rag and wipe a bit (we don’t use cloth with strong dyes as it leaves a mark).
  • As you wipe your line, with each swipe of the rag/knife, slide the rag a bit to expose fresh cloth.
  • See how the line is totally clean and sharp? Just don’t let the wet paint on the rag make more mess! That never happened to me 🙂
  • This is demonstrated in the first video, below.

Multi-Tool by Clauss 6-in-1 Titanium Non-Stick  Multi-Tool
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on https://www.amazon.com/ at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
The #1 tool and ‘right-hand’ of a painter is the 6-in-1 multi-toolremoves/hammers nails, cleans rollers, and more. It’s the key to the painter’s rag trick in the video below.

We have other posts on removing paints (links below).

Floors? Some floors STAIN when in contact with latex paint. Try rubbing alcohol as a paint remover, and if not, try items in the list of latex paint removers above (also see the last video about flooring).


Make Sure You Are Not Exposed to Lead Paint 

outdoor walls with latex paint that needs removal
Wall that needs latex paint stripper

Old paint very possibly has some lead. We all know that it causes brain damage. Here is a test: take up to 5 samples, with this lead paint test kit and send them into the lab (EPA approved). The lab is paid for in the price of the test kit. There are no hidden fees.

As always, we wear a respirator when creating dust: cheap insurance. The WebMD website on using paint remover for paints containing lead.

How to Touch-Up Paint In 4 Steps (mostly deals with walls, but gives some tips)
How to Remove Spray Paint (From All Kinds of Surfaces)
How to Get Spray Paint Off Skin (with Home Remedy)
How to Remove Paint from Plastic (Without Damage)

Let us know in the comments if you need any help!

There is one case when I did not know how to remove latex paint: some ‘click’ flooring is stained by latex paint… I failed to get the stain out. I might have used acetone or other nasty solutions if I had had time.

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