An Easier Way to Remove Paint from Wood

Do you remember talking about our kitchen cabinet inspiration? Well I have started to strip the paint from our kitchen cabinets. I am taking it slow and doing a couple of cabinets a week. After lots of testing I have found an easier way to remove the paint from the wood. But to show you why I am stripping them in the first place, here are my cabinets currently… You can see the brush marks in this one

bad paint job

And the previous paint job was not prepped very well, can you see the tape that was painted over…

old cabinets

Now back to stripping the paint from the cabinets.

First I tried just using the paint stripper (Citristripbetter for indoor use because it smells like oranges but still wear a painting mask!) and puddy knife. I applied a thicker coat of the paint stripper with a cheap paint brush and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then I scraped it with the puddy knife but one problem, it did not work very well. It was barely removing the top layer of paint and I was scrapping… I felt like the paint stripper had dried out and the paint had dried back onto the wood.

stipping paint from wood-2

After a little research, I decided to try a different approach. So next I applied the paint stripper with a cheap brush then covered the area with plastic wrap. After letting it sit for 45 minutes to an hour, I started to strip the paint from the wood. This time things were a little different. The first coat of paint basically fell off the cabinet door and the second coat came off with some scrapping with the puddy knife. Just so you know, the other layer of paint is an old base paint so its harder to remove.

how to strip paint from wood

But could I find an easier way to remove the paint. For the next attempt, I did the same approach as last time with the plastic but instead of scrapping off the second coat of paint with my puddy knife I tried a paint scraping tool.

remove paint from wood

This worked really well (as long as the scraping tool was clean) it required very little effort! It was easiest when I was doing the doors because they were flat on the floor. Here is my setup one night.

stipping kitchen cabinets

I have almost removed all the paint from the base cabinets and sadly I found some imperfections on some of the doors that will not allow us to stain the doors. So we will be painting all the cabinets and for the base cabinet we are looking at grey, any color suggestions would be wonderful!

The other day our kitchen looked like this and I was covered in sawdust… Just sanding the frame of the base cabinets

stipping paint from wood-3

I hope this tip will help you if you plan on removing paint from wood in the future. Do you have any other tips on removing paint from wood? Or are you working on redoing your kitchen cabinets? Love to hear your thoughts!


  1. You mentioned you found some imperfections that kept you from being able to stain.. was this due to the state of the cabinet or the stripper? I want to strip a paint on my island and stain afterwards. I definitely want to be sure not to ruin the wood with anything that will keep me from staining. Thoughts?!

    1. Hi Kandis, the imperfections that I found was not from the stripper but the type of wood that was used on my cabinet doors (it was a type of plywood that had funny patches on it). Plus the wood filler was not stainable that was used before. I recently used this paint stripper on some wood beams and it took the paint off easily plus I had no issues applying the new stain coat. This is the method I would still recommend, just make sure to clean the wood after to remove all the stripper and sand the wood to your desired smoothness. Best of luck!!!

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