How to Remove Chalk Paint From Wood? (3 Methods)

After a while, paint on your wood gets old, and you must remove it. So, how to remove chalk paint from wood?

To remove chalk paint from wood, sand the paint with medium-grit or coarse-grit sandpaper. The sandpaper will gradually wear the paint until it’s completely off. Sanding is ideal for removing a few coats of paint. 

You can also remove chalk paint by using a paint stripper or paint-removing solvent. The paint stripper will penetrate the paint coating and dissolve the particles. Once the particles are dissolved, the paint liquefies, and you can wipe it off.

Stripping Chalk Paint Without Sanding

Can You Remove Chalk Paint Without Sanding?

You can remove chalk paint without sanding. To do so, use a paint stripper or solvent-based paint remover. These products are formulated with additives, such as chloride or alcohol, and will remove the paint. 

However, if you leave solvent-based paint removers over wood for too long, they will discolor and damage it. They are designed to remove multiple coats of paint, so only use them for large surfaces.

Also, you must remove the solvent-based remover residue from the wood before re-painting it. To remove the product residue, you must clean the wood with water. This means you have to wait until the wood dries before re-painting it. 

On the other hand, sanding is the best paint removal method. This is because sanding will remove the paint and smooth the surface at the same time. This means you can re-paint wood immediately after sanding off the old paint.

Chalk Paint Gets Removed Easily

Chalk paint isn’t durable and will get removed easily. The paint doesn’t have extra additives that make its finish resistant to water or scratches. Chalk paint is water soluble and will get removed if exposed to constant water. 

Being a flat paint, it doesn’t have a waterproof or glossy topcoat. Since there’s no waterproof layer to protect the paint, the paint remover product will penetrate the coating, dissolve the particles, and remove multiple coatings easier. 

However, removing sealed chalk paint is harder. That’s because the top coat (sealant) has a glossy finish that repels moisture and water. So, it’s harder for the paint-removing solvent to penetrate the glossy top coat of the solvent and dissolve the particles.

Also, sanding sealed chalk paint is harder because you must use coarse-grit sandpaper and sand longer. 

How To Remove Chalk Paint From Wood?

Stripping chalk paint off wood isn’t hard because the coating doesn’t have a protective layer to protect the paint. Here are three methods you can use:

Method 1: Sand The Paint Off

Sand The Chalk Paint Off

Sanding will remove chalk paint and smooth the wooden surface simultaneously. Sanding works by using coarse-grit sandpaper against the wood repeatedly until the paint comes off.

For this method, you’ll need these:

  • Sandpaper
  • A power sander only (for large surfaces such as floors and walls)
  • A vacuum or duster
  • Rags
  • Wood filler

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clean the painted surface with a rag to remove dust. 
  2. Attach the sandpaper (medium or coarse-grit) to the sander. For small surfaces, you can manually sand. 
  3. Sand the wooden surface repeatedly — don’t apply pressure while sanding, as you can damage the surface. 
  4. Inspect the surface every 5 minutes to see if the paint is removed. 
  5. Remove the dust using a clean rag or vacuum. 
  6. Sand the wood again with fine-grit sandpaper. 
  7. Remove dust.
  8. Re-stain or re-paint the wood if needed. 

Note: Sanding is ideal for removing 2-3 coats of paint. However, if there are multiple coats, sanding won’t work as the paint will dull (clog) the sandpaper. 

Method 2: Use a Paint Stripper

Strip The Chalk Paint Off With a Paint Stripper

You can use a paint stripper to strip chalk paint off wood. Paint strippers are chemical-based products that will dissolve and break the bond of particles and remove multiple coats of paint. After the particles are dissolved, the paint will bubble and lose its bond to the surface. When this happens, you can scrape or wipe the paint off.

Here are the tools and supplies that you’ll need:

  • A chemical-based paint stripper
  • A Paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits
  • A paint scraper
  • A plastic bag

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Clean the painted surface with a clean rag. 
  2. Apply two coats of paint stripper using a paint scraper. After applying, use the paint scraper to push the stripper into the wood. 
  3. Wait 10-15 minutes for the paint stripper to penetrate the coating and dissolve the particles. 
  4. After 15 minutes, scrape the paint off. 
  5. If there’s leftover paint, re-apply the stripper and scrape it again. 
  6. Clean the wood with soapy water to remove the residue of the paint stripper. 
  7. Leave the wood to dry. 

Method 3: Use a Solvent-based Remover

Remove The Chalk Paint With A Solvent

To remove paint, you can use a solvent-based remover, such as acetone. Acetone is a natural paint remover that will dissolve and remove multiple coats of paint. However, acetone can’t remove sealed paints, so use acetone only for unsealed paint.

Here are the tools you need:

  • A waterproof bag
  • Paint scraper
  • Acetone
  • Rags
  • A bowl

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Clean the painted surface with a rag to remove dirt. 
  2. Damp a rag with acetone. 
  3. Use the dampened rag to wipe the painted wood repeatedly for a few minutes. 
  4. Wait 10-15 minutes or until the paint starts to bubble. 
  5. Scrape the paint off using a scrapper. 
  6. Re-apply acetone to leftover paint. 
  7. Clean the wood with soapy water to remove acetone residue. 
  8. Allow the wood to dry before re-using it. 

Note: You can use paint thinner as an alternative to acetone. 

Other Methods You Can Use:


Removing chalk paint with vinegar is easy. Apply the mixed vinegar over the painted surface, wait a few minutes, and wipe the paint off. You must remove the vinegar residue from wood as it can discolor it and prevent new paints from sticking.

White Spirits

White spirits can remove chalk paint from wooden surfaces, but you must use steel wool alongside it. That’s because white spirits isn’t a strong solvent and won’t remove multiple coats of paint. So, white spirits will remove a few coats of paint and soften the other. Then, you can use steel wool to remove the remaining paint.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirit is a great chalk paint remover. But, you must leave mineral spirits over the paint for a while so it can work. However, mineral spirits won’t remove waxed or sealed paint. 


Nitromors Master Craftsman’s Paint And Varnish Remover will strip multiple coats of chalk paint. Also, this product won’t damage wood and will remove paint fast. 


Citristrip is an industrial-grade cleaning remover that can remove several chalk paint coats.

Final Words

You can remove chalk paint from wood by sanding or using a solvent-based paint remover. Sanding is the best removal method because it will remove the paint and smooth the wooden surface at the same time. This means you can immediately re-paint wood after removing the old paint. 

Tony Adams
Tony Adams

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about,

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