How to Remove Spray Paint from Wood

How to Remove Spray Paint from Wood

Whether you accidentally get spray paint on your wooden surfaces or remove a coat you are not pleased with, you need to understand how to do it correctly.

If you do not do the job keenly, you can easily damage the finish on the wood surface and have to redo it, which takes even more time and resources.

However, the good news is that removing spray paint from wood is relatively easy, and here we provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it properly.

Things You’ll Need

  • Paint scraper/putty knife
  • Clean rags
  • Mineral spirits/acetone
  • Safety gear – gloves, goggles, and mask

Step-by-step Guide

1. Cover the Scraper With a Rag

A paint scraper is the best tool for scraping off unwanted paint from surfaces, but you can also use a putty knife if you do not have one.

Using a scraper or putty knife provides more pressure than bare hands, making the job easier. Also, covering them with a rag ensures you do not cause further damage to the finish.

2. Press the Scraper Firmly on the Wood

Next, you should take the scraper and firmly press it on the wood surface with the spray paint. Keep the tool flat as you just want to apply some pressure and not scrape the paint.

3. Rub Off the Paint

With the putty knife or scraper firmly in place, you should now begin to rub off the spray paint from the surface slowly. When doing this, make sure you maintain good pressure but be gentle to avoid damaging the wood.

Also, avoid using the tool’s tip, as this can easily scrape the surface and ruin your wood. Continue rubbing until you cannot see any more spray paint.

4. Buff the Wood Finish

 If you are dealing with a glossy wood finish, you need to buff it after removing the spray paint, as this helps keep the wood looking nice. Here you should take a clean rag, rub the wood to buff, and blend it with the rest of the surface.

Alternative Method: Using Acetone/Mineral Spirits

Alternative Method

1. Safety First

As you will be handling potentially harmful chemicals in this method, the first step should be to take safety precautions.

Hence, before you start working, make sure you wear a mask, goggles, and gloves to protect parts of the body that are more likely to get in contact with the substance you will be handling.

2. Saturate the Area with Acetone/Mineral Spirits

The first step entails saturating the spot with spray paint. Here you should pour a generous amount of the acetone on a clean rag and apply it directly to the wood.

3. Leave the Solvent in the Wood

Next, give the acetone enough time to do the job by leaving it on the wood for a few minutes. Leaving acetone in the wood allows it to penetrate through the paint and break it down.

4. Scrub Away the Paint with More Acetone

Once you give the acetone enough time to work, you can now scrub it off with a clean rag. After this, you should pour more acetone on clean rugs and use them to scrub off any remaining spray paint.

5. Rinse Surface

When you are satisfied you have removed all the spray paint, you can now rinse it with some clean water to remove any remaining acetone and paint residue.

Note: Cleaning up paint accidents immediately they happen always makes the job much easier than doing it later on.


Getting spray paint on unwanted wood surfaces can be frustrating. The good news is that with a bit of patience and the right tools, you can quickly remove it and restore your wood finish.

Rubbing off the paint gently using a putty knife or scraper covered with a clean rug is a simple but effective method. Also, acetone or mineral spirits can be handy alternatives.


  1. How to Get Spray Paint to Come Off a Table – Home Guides | SF Gate
  2. How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood – Hunker