How to Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors- DIY Proven Tips

Painting is among the most esteemed arts to date, its time immemorial origins notwithstanding. Due to the never-ending demand for painting, it’s typical for humans to undo and repaint previously painted surfaces. The latter statement is true whether it’s household furniture or hardwood floors. Today, I’ll discuss how to get paint off hardwood floors and related content.

With the right equipment and the correct procedure, paint removal becomes surprisingly easy and fast. First and foremost, you have to know the type of paint on the hardwood floor in question. The main types of paint are latex paint, oil-based, and water-based paint.

This article contains brief descriptions of all of the above types of paint and how to remove them from hardwood floors; there are many methods for each paint type.

Most of the methods are similar with subtle differences, as you’re about to find out. Stay put and read on.

How Do You Tell the Type of Paint On Your Hardwood Floor

As I’ve mentioned above, the preliminary step to removing paint from hardwood floors is determining the type of paint you’re handling. It’s vital because it enables you to use the proper methodology for removing paint stains. 

The process is somewhat experimental, and the requirements are a cotton ball and methyl alcohol.

First, take the cotton ball and immerse it into methyl alcohol; then, wipe it on a small spot of the painted floor. If the paint erases off, it’s either water-based or latex paint. If the paint doesn’t come off, it’s oil-based. 

How to Remove Water-based Paint from Wood 

Water-based paint is the most commonly used of the three types of paint because it is cheaper and easy to apply. Its removal is equally easy and employs the following methods:

Using Soapy Water

Given that the paint is water-based, soapy water will easily remove it. It’s because water functions as thinner for this kind of paint. 

Materials You’ll Require

  • Warm water.
  • Soap or detergent.
  • Cotton rags.

Steps On Removing Paint Off Wood Floors

Step 1: Pour warm water into a vessel. Add in soap or detergent, then mix with your hands to get a homogeneous soapy solution. 

Step 2: Soak the cotton rag into the soapy water, squeeze out excess liquid and wipe it on the surface of the painted wood floor.

If the paint is wet, it will come off almost as soon as you swab. If not, I advise you to rub the damp rag on the painted surface and let it drench for some minutes.

Step 3: Plunge the cotton rag into the soapy water and squeeze it. Then, rub the dampened cotton on the painted surface. All the paint should come off! If it doesn’t, repeat the above procedure.

Step 4: Mop with a dry piece of cloth to rid the wood floor of excess moisture and any paint stain left.

How To Remove Paint From Hardwood Floors Using Methyl Alcohol And Lemon Juice

The above method is mostly used for detaching latex paint, but it’s also good for undoing water-based paint. Methyl alcohol and lemon mixture is easy to formulate, and the resultant solution is highly potent for paint removal from wood floors.

Do as follows:


Mix lemon juice with methyl alcohol in the ratio 1:3 respectively in a bucket. Calibrate the mixing ratio to produce a solution volume commensurate with your painted floor size.


Step 1: Plunge the cotton rag into the above newly prepared solution. Wipe the painted wood floor with a wet rag and leave it soaking for 5 to 10 minutes; this loosens the paint’s adhesion.

Step 2: Wipe off the paint in circular motions, using the same cloth you used in step 1 above. Use a rigid-bristled brush to scrub off stubborn paint stains and access hard-to-reach floor cracks. 

Step 3: Mop the floor with a dampened rag to remove the paint. 

Step 4: Repeat the procedure until all the paint comes off the floor. 


Sanding removes all paint; age and thickness of paint layer notwithstanding! The above method is very effective for water-based paint, especially on wood floors. 

Materials you’ll need

  • Handheld electric sander.
  • Face mask and a pair of goggles.
  • Vacuum cleaner.
  • Sandpapers (120, 80, and 60 grit)
  • Palm sandpaper


Start by gathering all the paraphernalia you’ll use. If you don’t have an electric sander, worry not; you can rent one from your home depot or any nearby hardware store.

Then, ventilate your working room and cover up everything you don’t want dust to accumulate. Next, wear a face mask and a protective goggle pair. 

Steps On Getting the Paint Off Hardwood Floors

Step 1: Connect the electric sander to a power socket.

Step 2: Sand down the wood floor with 60 grit sandpaper; this breaks down and abrades the existing paint layer. Afterward, vacuum off the accumulated dust using a vacuum cleaner.

Step 3: Substitute the 80 grit sandpaper for the 60 grit sandpaper. Sand again using the 80 grit to scrape off more paint. Vacuum the dusty floor again.

Step 4: Then, substitute the 120 grit for the 80 grit sandpaper. Sand further to undo the remaining layer of paint. 

Sandpapers of higher grit value produce smoother, more refined, and even wood surfaces. 

Step 5: Take the palm/handheld sandpaper and sand off the hard-to-reach areas, including corners the edges of the hardwood floor.

Step 6: Remove the fragments of stubborn paint left on the wood using warm soapy water and cotton rags; follow the earlier-mentioned steps for this undertaking. 

Step 7: Mop the floor for the last time using a dampened rag to get rid of bits of paint and sanding spots. 

How to Remove Latex Paint from Hardwood Floors

Image of wooden floor with clear finish. But Can You Clear Coat Over Latex Paint?If you are pondering how to take latex paint off of your hardwood floor, save yourself the agony and apply the following methods for accomplishing results:

Using Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol. It comprises 70% alcohol and 30% water, and some are at 91% alcohol. This is the best agent for removing latex paint from hardwood, and I recommend you always use it as a first-line method for this undertaking.

Items You Need

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton cloth
  • Protective nitrile gloves
  • Goggles or protective eyewear
  • A face mask


Step 1: Ventilate the working room and wear all the protective gear.

Step 2: Dip the cotton ball into isopropyl alcohol.

Step 3: Apply the isopropyl alcohol on the wood surface using the doused cotton cloth and let it stay for 40 seconds.

Step 4: Rub the same cotton cloth on the wet floor to undo the loose paint.

Step 5: Sweep or vacuum away the collected paint debris.

Step 6: Clean up the floor by mopping with a water-soaked rag; then, let it air dry.

Using a Paint Stripper

Paint strippers are chemical substances made to remove paint; they are also called paint removers.


  • Paint stripper
  • Odorless mineral spirits
  • Protective goggles
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Protective face mask
  • Brass-bristled brush or steel wool
  • Protective gloves
  • Two plastic bowls


Gather all the materials and tools that you need. Then, ensure your working area is well ventilated. Next, put on your gloves, followed by a protective face mask and then the protective goggles.

Even if you’re experienced, do not disregard putting on the safety gear; accidents do happen, and these agents are harmful when ingested. So proceed with utmost caution. 

Removing the latex paint

Step 1: Pour the paint stripper into the plastic bowl.

Step 2: Take the paintbrush and apply the paint stripper on the wood surface. Don’t be too economical with the paint stripper! Apply it copiously on the hardwood for good results. Let the stripper stay on the wood floor for 30 minutes. 

Step 3: In the course of the above-mentioned 30-minute wait, you’ll see bubbling or effervescence on the floor; this means the chemical stripper is reacting with and detaching paint from your floor. Meanwhile, get your paint scraper ready for the next step.

Step 4: Take the paint scraper and hold it with the blade facing away from you. Apply pressure to scrape off as much paint as possible. Then, push it obtusely along the floor to peel off the loosened paint. 

Step 5: Repeat the above procedure to rid your entire floor surface of the paint. 

Step 6: Finally, take the mineral spirits and apply them to areas of trapped paint, such as between floorboards, crevices, and room corners. Then, scrub using the brass-bristled brush or steel wool ball. 

Mop the wood floor with a dampened rag and let it dry.

Using Heat Machine

Heating the floor is another smart way to undo latex paint from hardwood floors. Read on to find out how this method unfolds.

Required equipment

  • Scraping knife
  • Heating machine
  • Heatproof gloves
  • Protective face mask


This method involves using a heating machine! I want to emphasize that your working area must be well aerated before using the heater! You also have to wear all the protective gear (goggles, a face mask, and gloves) and have a fire extinguisher within reach.

I’ve adopted a cautionary tone because the above method involves heating paint and emission of fumes. Paint fumes are dangerous if you inhale, and the heat poses a fire risk. 

Use the procedure below to remove the latex paint.

Step 1: Connect the heat machine to a power socket.

Step 2: After heating up, hover the machine about the floor, one portion at a time. To avoid charring the wood, make sure you maintain the appliance in a suspended state, about 10 inches away from the floor.

Step 3: When the paint creases up and forms bubbles, turn off the heating machine and gently scrape the paint using the knife. 

Step 4: Repeat the above process for the whole floor surface. 

Step 5: Clear up the debris and mop the floor with a dampened rag when done with the heating and scraping off. 

Using a Steam Stripper

As seen with the preceding methods, this method is a perfect alternative if you’re uncomfortable with exposing your hardwood to chemicals and excess heat. The above process is also eco-friendly, which plays right into your playbook if you’re an environmentalist.

The only drawback is it’s comparatively slower than the other methods.


  • Latex paint remover
  • Steam stripper
  • Protective face mask
  • Plastic putty knife

Stepwise removal of paint from the hardwood floor

Step 1: Connect the steamer to a source of electricity.

Step 2: Suspend the steamer three to five inches from the floor surface. Hover it around that given floor portion for at least 20 seconds.

Step 3: When the latex paint starts simmering, power down the steamer or turn it off.

Step 4: Then, take the putty knife and scrape off the loose paint from the surface.

Step 5: Repeat the above steps throughout the wooden floor until all the latex paint comes out.

Step 6: When done, turn off the steamer and unplug it. Next, sweep off or vacuum away the accumulated debris, then mop the floor with a clean, dampened rag. 

Using a Mixture of Lemon Juice and Rubbing Alcohol

Some of these paint-removing agents are readily available in our households and local shops. The good thing about the products discussed in this segment is they are eco-friendly; they also do not present any health risks. 

Steps to Remove the Paint

Step 1: Combine the rubbing alcohol with lemon juice in a ratio of 3:1 respectively in a mixing vessel.

Step 2: Plunge a clean rag into the resulting solution.

Step 3: Wipe the latex-painted hardwood floor with the soaked rag.

Step 4: Take a firm-bristled brush and scrub the floor surface.

Step 5: Then, vacuum away the collected debris and mop the floor with a clean dampened rag.

Repeat the above steps until all the paint peels off. 

Using Paint Scraper

A paint scraper is among the most effective painting tools for scouring paint from hardwood surfaces. There are different paint scrapers, i.e., single-edged scrapers, double-edged scrapers, straight blade scrapers, curved blade scrapers, etc.

The curved type is the least likely to damage your floor, but the downside is they are blunt compared to the straight blade scrapers. The double-edged scrapers produce faster scraping, but the single-edged are more effective.

You need to weigh the characteristic features of these scrapers before settling on one. I prefer the curved-blade scraper (personally), and I’ve guided you on its use as below:

Items Needed

  • A curved blade paint scraper
  • Protective eyewear
  • Latex or nitrile gloves

The Steps

Step 1: Ventilate the working area as much as possible and wear all the protective gear. 

Step 2: Hold the curved blade scraper in the right position and scrape the painted floor by pulling on the scraper. 

The curved-blade scraper is deliberately designed to be blunt; it prevents damaging the hardwood floor when scraping. Straight-blade scrapers are more likely to damage the floor because the scraping technique involves pushing the scrapper along the floor.

Step 3: Clean up the floor by sweeping or vacuuming, then mop using a dampened rag.

How to Remove Dried Oil Based Paint from Hardwood Floors

Oil-based paints take more time to cure and dry than latex paints and water-based paints. As a trade-off, they adhere more strongly to wood surfaces and are more difficult to remove on that account. 

The mechanisms for removing oil-based paints from hardwood floors are as below:


Image of a sander in use. You should know How to Paint Over Semi Gloss Without SandingThis technique works on all paints, and it’s the go-to method for removing paint from any surface. Oil-based paint is no different. 

Required Equipment

  • Power sander
  • Palm sander
  • Vacuum cleaner or a broom
  • Sandpapers- 80, 60, and 120 grits
  • A face mask
  • A pair of gloves
  • Cotton rag

Steps for Removing the Dried Paint

Step 1: Attach the 60-grit sandpaper to the sanding pad of the power sander. Lower the sander to the floor and sand along your wood grain. Then, connect the sander to a power source and power it on.

Step 2: Sweep off or vacuum the gathered debris. Then, detach the 60-grit sandpaper and replace it with an 80-grit for a new round of sanding.

Step 3: Carry on sanding, and maintain doing so along the wood grain. This round of sanding (80-grit) removes paint left after the first round (60-grit). An 80-grit is finer than 60-grit sandpaper; therefore, the 80-grit produces a more refined finish. Afterward, sweep or vacuum the floor to clear up gathered debris.

Step 4: Then, switch to finer sandpaper (120-grit) for the third and final round of sanding. This round removes the last bits of paint still left on the hardwood floor. The remaining latex paint usually is in patches and does not cover the whole floor. 

The 120-grit paper will leave the floor bare, smooth, and even. 

Step 5: As you may have predicted, clean up the dusty floor using a vacuum cleaner. But don’t mop yet!

Step 6: Inspect your hardwood floor for any latex paint still left. If you find any, sand it off using handheld sandpaper. Do so for corners and hard-to-reach areas such as between adjoining wood planks and cracks. Then, sweep or vacuum the floor for the last time.

Step 7: Finally, as usual, mop the floor using a damp cotton rag. 

Using a Paint Stripper

There are many choices to pick from when it comes to painting strippers. When selecting, make sure you choose a stripper meant to remove oil-based paint. Then, choose a modern paint stripper that’s non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

When using these agents, stick to the safety measures written on the labels.

Required Items

  • Paint stripper
  • Firm-bristled brush
  • Painting brush
  • Cotton rag
  • Putty knife
  • A face mask, protective goggles
  • A pair of gloves


This task should be undertaken, preferably during the day. First, ensure the room is well-lit and well-ventilated. Afterward, wear all your safety gear.

The Steps for Removing the Oil-based Paint

Step 1: Apply the stripper on the painted floor using the painting brush. Ensure you apply abundantly, then let it seep into the floor for around 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 2: When the latex paint is loose and ready for lifting, scrape the floor gently and vacuum away the accumulated waste.

Step 3: Apply mineral spirits to hard-to-reach areas, room corners, and cracks; then, scrub using the firm-bristled brush.

Step 4: Mop the floor with a cotton rag to rid the hardwood floor of any residual oil-based paint and chemicals.

Using Paint Thinners

Paint thinners are solvents that thin oil-based paints. These substances lower the viscosity of paints, lacquers, and shellacs, making them easily detachable from surfaces.

The thinners include mineral spirits, turpentine, and acetone. Get one of these from your local hardware store or Amazon.

Materials Required

  • Paint thinner
  • Protective gloves
  • Cotton rags
  • A face mask or a respirator

Follow the following steps:

Step 1: Dip your cotton rag in the paint thinner.

Step 2: Rub the rag onto the hardwood floor to solubilize the paint.

Step 3: Repeat the above procedure to undo as much oil paint as possible. 

Step 4: Wipe the hardwood floor with a wet rag to remove residual paint stains.

Using a Heat Machine

I’ve already discussed the heating machine method in this article; for removing latex paint from the hardwood floor. 

Well, you can also remove oil-based paint from the hardwood floor using the same machine; the procedure is similar to the one highlighted earlier.

Materials Needed

  • Heat machine
  • Face mask
  • Heatproof pair of gloves
  • A putty knife


First, ensure the working area is well-aerated, and the room is properly lit. Then, wear protective gloves and a face mask. 

As a precautionary measure, have close access to a fire extinguisher; this will be helpful in the event of a fire breakout.

Steps for Removing the Paint:

Step 1: Connect the heating machine to an electricity source. Use a hairdryer, or a heat gun, whichever you can access.

Step 2: Hover the heater at around 5 inches from the hardwood floor for at least 40 seconds. When the paint appears loosened, turn off the heat machine.

Suspending the heat gun a few inches away from the floor prevents burning or blackening the wood.

Step 3: Take the putty knife or a scraper and scratch the dried paint off the wood surface. Peel off dried paint chunks that are well-loosened to save some scrapping time.

Step 4: Remove accumulated paint debris using a vacuum cleaner.

Step 5: Lastly, wipe the hardwood floor using a wet rag and let it dry.

How to Remove Paint Splatter from Wood Floors

Paint splatter ends on wood floors either by accident or by design; the latter is the most common incident. Paint splatter ruins the decorative aspect of paints as it often forms thick layers that are easy to spot even at a distance. 

As this article hinges on getting paint off of wood floors, I’m obliged to involve paint splatters, and these are the techniques for removing them:

Using a Paint Scraper

This method removes both oil-based and water-based paint splatter from wood floors. 

You need the following items alongside the paint scraper:

  • A moistened rag
  • A firm plastic putty knife

Begin by angling the paint scraper against the floor! Then, push with enough pressure along the wood grain.

Scrap off repeatedly until most or all the paint splatter comes off. Next, vacuum off the accumulated chaff and finish by mopping the floor using a wet cotton rag.

Using Soapy Water

The above is, currently, the best method for removing paint splatter from wooden floors, mainly water-based paint splatter.

First, heat the water to a simmer! Then, add soap or detergent to make soapy water. Next, soak the splattered floor with lukewarm soapy water using a wet rag.

Afterward, use a mildly-abrasive scuffing pad to remove the detached paint. Lastly, wipe the wood floor with a dampened cloth.

Using a Steamer

I’ve already discussed the process of removing paint using a steam stripper; it was concerning latex paint. The procedure is similar to eliminating paint splatter from wood. It’s as follows:

Plug in the heat steamer into a power socket and suspend it close to the splattered floor for 40 seconds. This will heat up and loosen the paint splatter, making it easy to remove.

Then, rub the moistened floor with a wet cotton rag to undo the paint splatter.

Using a Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers contain alcohol as the primary solvent. When the alcohol part comes into contact with paint, it breaks it down and weakens its attachment to the floor. It makes it easy to remove.

The process is as follows:

Apply the hand sanitizer to the floor and let it stay there for not less than 30 seconds. If the paint splatter is thick or dense, let the sanitizer sit for not less than a minute. Then, rub with a firm-bristled brush.

Finally, mop the wood floor with a damp cloth and let it dry.

How to Remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floors

If, for instance, you move into a different house or another working room, it’s almost a sure bet to find old paint on the floor. It could be concrete or a hardwood floor. How do you remove old paint from hardwood floors if it’s the latter?

There are various methods, but the most effective one is sanding. Here is a detailed guide on how to go about the paint removal:

Items Required

  • A power sander
  • Sandpapers (60, 80, and 120-grit)
  • Paint scraper
  • Cotton cleaning pads
  • Protective goggles, a pair of gloves
  • A face mask or a respirator

First, clear the room by removing everything that’s on its floor. If there is anything that is immovable and you don’t want it covered with dust, or doused with water from the pressure washer, seal it off. 

Make sure the room is well-ventilated and that you’ve put on all the protective gear prior. 

After the above precautionary measures, attach the 60 grit sandpaper to the sander and plug the machine into an electricity source. Next, switch to the 80-grit sandpaper and eventually the 120-grit paper. 

The first round of sanding removes large chunks of the old paint; it leaves a rough surface with some paint still left. The second round of sanding (80-grit) removes the paint layer left by the first sanding round and produces a more refined surface than the first round.

The last round of sanding (120-grit) is for bits of paint missed by the preceding sandpapers and for paint trapped in hard-to-reach sections of the floor. This final round of sanding exposes bare wood.

Vacuum the floor in between the sanding rounds to remove collected dust. After the last sanding round, mop the wood surface with the cotton cleaning pad and let it dry up.

As a side note, there are cheaper and simpler alternatives to remove old paint from hardwood floors that don’t incorporate sanding. If the paint isn’t too thick or too stuck, I advise you to go for the alternative methods.

The Video Below Shows How to Remove Old Paint from Hardwood Floor:

How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

As I’ve already mentioned earlier, there are cheaper and simpler alternatives to sanding off paint from hardwood floors. 

Some of the alternatives include using a paint scraper, using soapy water, using denatured alcohol, using vinegar, using paint thinners, etc. 

I’ve discussed some of these techniques as follows:

Using a Paint Scraper

You require a vacuum cleaner, a clean rag, and of course, a paint scraper. The process is as below:

Take your paint scraper and hold it at an angle against the floor. If your scraper has a straight blade, scrape by pushing along the floor; if the blade is curved, scrape by pulling along the wooden floor.

Scrape the floor repeatedly until all the paint comes off. Sweep using a broom or use a vacuum cleaner to clear debris from the floor in the course of scraping. 

After all of the above, wipe the bare floor using a wet cotton rag and let it dry. 

Using Warm, Soapy Water

Again, as I’d mentioned earlier, this method best suits latex paints and oil-based paints. The main items you need are a cotton rag, water heater, safety gear, and soap or detergents.

Here’s the procedure:

Power on the water heater and heat up the water to a gentle boil. Then, add soap or detergent to the water to form soapy water. Next, apply the soapy water on the painted floor and wait for 2 minutes; this soaks up and weakens the adhered paint.

Afterward, rub the detached paint using the cotton rag; rub hard on the floor to undo as much paint as possible.

Then, wipe the floor with a clean rag to remove water and residual paint stains. Let your floor air-dry afterward. 

Using Methyl Alcohol and Lemon Juice

I recommend this method if you want minimal damage to your wood; the above method also suits inexperienced people in removing paint from wood. It’s suitable for the inexperienced still due to its minimal damage effect.

Follow the procedure below:

Mix the lemon juice with methyl alcohol in the ratio 1:3 respectively in a mixing container. Then, take a clean cotton rag and dip it into the resulting solution.

Next, rub the soaked rag on the painted floor and wait for 10 minutes. Afterward, take a stiff-bristled brush and scrub off the weakened paint from the wood surface.

Then, sweep off the accumulated debris before mopping the floor with a damp rag. 

Removing Paint from Hardwood Floors Using Vinegar

You can also use vinegar to remove paint from hardwood floors. Vinegar comprises acetic acid and traces of ethanol; these constituent chemicals help loosen and detach paint from surfaces.

Here is how to go about it:

Apply vinegar on the floor and let it soak for 3 to 5 minutes depending on paint thickness; the paint will weaken and crease up on the floor. When it so happens, take a brush with firm bristles and scrub the wood floor.

Next, sweep or vacuum away the debris, then mop with a wet cotton rag. Let the paint dry afterward. 

Removing Paint from Hardwood Floors Using a Pressure Washer

It may come as a surprise, but a pressure washer is pretty effective at removing paint from hardwood floors, particularly old, peeling paint. Although scraping is more effective it’s even faster and less intensive than manually removing paint with a scraper.

The principle behind the above method is that hardwood provides a firm surface upon which water from the pressure washer knocks off the already peeling paint.

Follow this guide for the task in question:

First, get a pressure washer with a 2500 psi and above pressure rating. Then, set up the pressure washer and start with a low-pressure setting. Test the cleaning power on hidden floor spots and adjust the settings to the least damaging but most effective pressure.

Proceed to the main floor and spray water at an angle of 45 degrees to the hardwood floor; this ensures the water gets underneath the paint for more effective removal. 

The pressure will remove peeling and loose paint in a few blasts.

If there’s more paint still left on the floor, switch to a higher power pressure pattern and follow the above process again. 

I’d like to inform you the pressure washer does not remove all paint from the floor; it only lightens the overall paint removal project. Therefore, following up the pressure washing with a scraper or a wire brush is essential to scratch off any undone paint patches. 

Afterward, take fine-grit sandpaper and smooth over rough surfaces and heavy paint spots; this makes the entire wood surface evenly blended.

Lastly, remove accumulated paint chips and wood debris using a vacuum cleaner and let it dry before repainting.

Removing Paint From a Hardwood Floor Using Paint Thinners

Paint thinners are solvents that reduce the thickness of paints, mainly oil-based paints. Reducing the paint thickness increases paint flowability and makes it less adhesive. 

Thus thinners are excellent agents for removing paint from wood surfaces; they are most effective if the paint in question is oil-based. The most common paint thinners are turpentine, mineral spirits, lacquer thinner, and acetone.

Before purchasing a given paint thinner, ensure it’s compatible with the floor paint you’re planning to remove. Compatible in the sense that the thinner will not react adversely with the paint and damage the floor. 

Use the paint thinner and accompanying paraphernalia as follows:

  • First, wear all your protective gear (protective clothing, face mask, goggles, and a pair of gloves).
  • Then, test out the thinner on a small portion of your wood floor to confirm their compatibility. If compatible, blot out the thinner using a paper towel and wash the given floor portion using warm soapy water.
  • Apply the thinner onto the main floor using a soft rag; let it stand for 3-5 minutes.
  • Next, scrub the paint using a brush with stiff fibers and sweep away the accumulated debris.
  • If there’s any shellac or lacquer left, use steel wool and scour it off.
  • Afterward, mop the floor and let it dry.

Will Nail Polish Remover Ruin Bare Hardwood Floors?

Some of the principal constituents of a nail polish remover are isopropyl acetone and ethyl acetate. The ethyl acetate component gives the remover acidic properties, and what do we know about acids? They are corrosive! Therefore, will a nail polish remover ruin bare hardwood floors?

It’s a definite yes! Nail polish remover is caustic to bare wood floors; it leaves the floor surface rough and somewhat singed.

Will Nail Polish Remover Ruin Painted Hardwood Floors?

As I’ve mentioned in the preceding segment, nail polish removers comprise isopropyl acetone, ethyl acetate, and many other constituents. When it comes to painted hardwood floors, it’s the acetone component of the remover that’s our chief concern.

Acetone is a paint thinner, and what do we know about paint thinners? They reduce the adhesive power and viscosity of paints. Therefore, will nail polish remover ruin painted hardwood? 

It certainly will! The remover thins the paint making it loosen and flow; this makes the floor appear blotchy.

How to Get Nail Polish Remover Off Painted Hardwood Floors

Beauty and adornment are part of our social fabric, especially for ladies. If you’re a pedicure or manicure enthusiast, you’ll probably use the product while on a hardwood floor.

This might lead to accidental spills that will inevitably ruin the floor finish and the wood floor itself by extension. In this part of the article, I will guide you on how to get nail polish remover off painted hardwood floors.

If the spill is still fresh, use dry cotton wool or a dry cotton rag to blot it off as quickly as possible. Continue using dry cotton rags until you remove all the wet remover spills.

Next, take a soft cloth and dip it into a solution of denatured alcohol. Rub the alcohol-soaked cloth on the spill spot; apply light pressure as you do this and ensure you’re working along the wood grain. 

Then, clean up the affected floor spot using a water-soaked mopping rag.

If the nail remover stain has stayed for long and even dried on the hardwood floor, it means it has penetrated the wood. This needs a different and more robust approach to undo the spill, as I’ve highlighted below:

Apply denatured alcohol onto the nail remover spill spot using a soft fabric rag (felt or cotton-made); apply copiously. Let the alcohol solution sit on the floor for around 5 minutes; it enables it to react with and weaken the nail polish remover.

Next, take a brush with rigid bristles and scrub the spot in question. Then, mop the floor using a clean, water-soaked cloth followed by a dry cotton rag. 

If the nail polish spill is has permeated the painted floor more extensively, the best solution is to sand down to bare hardwood and lay down a new paint or finish. 


To conclude, painting is engrained in our culture; it has defined our past, present and is part of our future. In that regard, we’ll paint, undo paint, and paint again every so often.

At some point in your lifetime, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you want to remove an existing paint coat from any surface (furniture, concrete, or hardwood floors). As you may have realized, this article pivots on how to get paint off hardwood floors.

In summary, we’ve learned that you should know the type of paint on your hardwood floor before purchasing and using any paint removal agent. We’ve also learned the different paint removal techniques and when to apply them.

Other takeaways include the effect of nail polish remover on bare hardwood, painted hardwood, and how to deal with an accidental spill of the said chemical.

We’ve now come to the end of an exciting discussion; little wonder it’s been a tad bit longer. I may not have discussed everything, but I’m certain I’ve covered enough to get you across the line.

Now, with flair and poise, let’s go after that paint and get it off your hardwood floor!