How To Refinish Your Wood Floor Without Sanding

Step 1

Clean the floor thoroughly by removing furniture, vacuuming, and wiping off with a damp cloth. Make sure your floor only has minimal wear and tear to it; if it does, consider hiring a professional to take care of the problem.

Step 2

Instead of sanding, you will be using a liquid etcher to rough up the surface of your floor, allowing the new coat of finish to stick. It is recommended that you put the paint tray (filled with etcher) into a shallow cardboard box lined with a plastic bag to catch spills. Make sure to scrub the floor firmly. Wipe off the etcher as you go along because it can damage the floor if left on too long.

Will paint-thinner ruin hardwood?

When it comes to using paint thinner on wood floors, this should be avoided where possible. This is because it is likely going to damage the floor significantly. While you may find that it is okay to use in very small amounts in areas in your room, it is not always worth risking using these things. Nothing is worse than finding out the hard way.

If you need to remove paint from wood floors, there are many other methods that are a far safer option to try first. We would recommend trying other types of paint removers products first. In addition to this, paint thinner cannot be used with paint that is water-based.

Paint thinner is something that should be used sparingly as a last resort due to how harsh it is. If you do need to use it, you will want to open the windows in your house and wear gloves, to protect your hands.

You will only want to use a small amount of the paint thinner, and place this onto an old rag. You will then want to scrub the area of the hardwood floor surface where the paint is present with the rag a few times. Furthermore, you do not want to do this too roughly. After a short while, you should start to notice the paint lifting.


How to Get Paint off Hardwood Floors without Sanding

Steps to Remove paint from floor Using a Paint Scrapper

You will need a paint scraper or any plastic object with a solid, sharp edge that you can use for this easy method. You will also need a damp rag.

Use the paint scraper to scrape away the hardened paint from your hardwood, back and forth all around, until all the paint stains come off. Then wipe with a damp rag, and you’re done.

Removing paint from hardwood floors Using Warm, Soapy Water

This method works best for water-based and latex paint. You will need a rag and warm soapy water.

Wet the floor with the paint and let it sit for a minute or two. Then, rub the paint off using the cotton swab. Next, wipe the surface to remove excess water and paint, then let it air dry.

How to get paint off of wood floors Using Rubbing Alcohol and Lemon Juice

This method works best for removing paint from wood floors without damaging the finish. First, you will need to mix lemon juice and add a few drops of rubbing alcohol in the ratio of 1:3. Then, apply the mixture to the paint stains using a rag and let it sit for a few minutes.

Rub the mixture and the paint out using a rag, non-abrasive sponge, or a floor scrub brush. Finally, wipe the floor dry and let it air dry further.

How to get paint off floor Using Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits can remove any paint.

Saturate a cotton ball or cleansing pad in the denatured alcohol and use it to soak the paint. The denatured alcohol will dissolve the paint and make it easy to remove. Finally, wipe the remaining paint stains with a damp rag.

Steps to Remove Paint from Hardwood Floor Using Vinegar

Soak the paint in vinegar and leave it for about a minute or more, depending on the thickness of the paint and how big the floor is.

While removing paint stains, rub it with an old toothbrush to remove stubborn paint. Then wipe it out with cleansing pads.

For a more detailed step-by-step procedure, check out our post on how to remove paint from wood using vinegar.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using Paint Thinners

Ensure you use a paint thinner specific to the type of paint on your wood floor surface for best results.

Apply the paint thinner on the paint and let it sit for a while. Then use a pull scraper to remove the softened paint stains from the wood.

Once all the paint has come off, give it a final wipe with a damp rag.

How to Remove Paint from a Hardwood Floor Using a Paint Stripper

Once you have chosen the paint stripper you intend to use, apply it to the paint using a paintbrush. Let it sit for about 30 minutes or until you see bubbles forming.

Scrape the paint stains along the wood grain and remove as much paint stains as possible.

Use mineral spirits, steel wool and paint remover to remove stubborn paint stains from between floorboards or hard-to-reach areas of the floor. Then, give it a final wipe with a damp rag.

How to remove paint off wood floor Using a Heat Machine

You can use a heat gun or a hairdryer set to the maximum heat setting. Hover it on the paint, about eight inches away from the wood. Once the paint stains begin to wrinkle, scrape it out using a metal putty knife while you continue heating.

Do the same for all parts of the hardwood floor. Clear out the debris and dispose of them appropriately.

How to take paint off wood floor Using a Steamer

Hold the steamer about three inches away from the wood and focus it on a section at a time. Once the paint stains begin to form bubbles and wrinkles, you can either wipe the remaining paint away with a cotton rag or scrape it off using a paint remover.

Finally, wipe the floor clean with a damp rag.

How to Tell the Type of Paint on your Hardwood Floor

It is crucial to know what type of paint is on your floors so you can use the correct method to remove the paint stains.

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol; rub it on a small patch of the painted floor. If the paint comes off, it is either latex or water-based paint stains. If none of it comes off, then you have oil based paint stains.

Removal Of Water-Based Paint From Hardwood Floors

Water-based paint stains have been used on hardwood floors for a long time because of their specific benefits. Oil-based paint takes longer to dry after painting with water-based paint.

In addition, it is safe for the environment and doesn’t have an odor, and is easy to clean and remove if paint drips or deteriorates on your hardwood flooring.

You can remove the water-based paint as well as haziness from hardwood using the following procedures:

Soap & Water

Because this paint is water-based, it can be washed off with a hose. This sort of paint can be thinned with water. As long as you add a bit of soap to the water, you’ll be able to get the hardwood floor looking new:

  • Fill a bucket halfway with warm water. Mix in a small amount of dishwashing soap with your hands to create a warm, soapy solution.
  • Rub the water-based paint on your wood floor with a cotton rag that has been dipped in the water and drained of excess solution.
  • To remove wet paint, use your hands to rub the surface. Alternatively, you can soak it in a moist rag for a few minutes.
  • Dry the cotton cloth and then use a damp cotton swab to remove any remaining paint residue. Ideally, the paint will come off.
  • In the event that this does not work, keep scrubbing until all of the paint is removed.
  • Dry the wood floor by wiping it down with an absorbent cloth to remove any paint residue and excess moisture from the surface.

Rubbing Alcohol & Lemon Juice

To remove water-based paint from wood floors, all you need to do is make up a batch of rubbing alcohol and lemon juice combination.

  • Get a jar and mix lemon juice and rubbing alcohol in 1:3 proportion. Using this formula, you can change and mix the ingredients for your painted floor according to its size.
  • When you’ve mixed the mixture, dip a cotton rag into it. Let the saturated rag soak on the painted wood floor for around 5 to 10 minutes. This helps loosen the paint.
  • Follow circular movements and rub the paint using the same mixture-soaked fabric. You can also use a floor scrub brush for the removal of paints.
  • Remove any remaining paint with a moist rag and allow the wood to air dry.
  • To remove all water-based paint from wood flooring, repeat the procedure until all of it is removed.


No matter how old and stubborn the paint is, sanding can be helpful to remove them, and water-based paints are no exception. You can follow this method to remove such paints. Please make a list of everything you’ll need and get to work assembling it.

If you wish, you can get an electric sander from any local hardware store. After that, make sure the house is well-ventilated, and block off any openings that could harbor dust. Put on a face mask and goggles, and then you’re ready to go.

  • Your electric sander must be connected to a power source in order to run.
  • Make use of the 60-grit sandpaper to sand your wood flooring. This will help remove several of the paint’s heavy coats. Take out all of the trash and sand dust with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Switch out the 60 grit sandpaper for the 80 grit variety. To remove more paint stains from your floor, continue sanding and then vacuuming.
  • You’ll need to switch out the 80-grit paper with the 120-grit variety now. Your hardwood floor’s paint or black water stain will continue to fade as long as you keep sanding. Get a fine sandpaper grit to ensure a smooth finish.
  • Using handheld sandpaper, sand the paint in between floors and around the corners.
  • A mixture of rubbing alcohol and lemon juice can be used to remove stubborn paint from wood. A moist cloth can be used to remove any remaining paint and sanding marks from the wood.

Removing Dried Oil-Based Paint

Painting is a simple method to freshen up a room. When allowed to dry for many days, oil-based paint provides a dazzling glossy finish and long-lasting durability. Remove oil-based paint from wooden flooring using these methods.


Wooden surfaces may be sanded to remove almost any form of paint. An exception to this rule is oil-based paint stains. Look around.

  • Begin the process with 60 grit sandpaper. The wood grain should be sanded. The less grit there is, the more probable it is that the paint will peel.
  • Make sure to vacuum up any loose sandpaper and replace it with new material. The 80 grit sandpaper should be used for the second sanding step.
  • Continue sanding in the direction of the wood grain. A little finer grit is used to remove any remaining paint from the first sanding.
  • Use 120-grit sandpaper instead of 80-grit. All paint will go off, and your wood floor will be a shade lighter after this round. The wood will also be easy to work with and appear uniform.
  • After sanding once more, use a vacuum to clean the floor.
  • It’s time to give your hardwood floor a thorough clean with a moist cloth and spare no residue.

Paint Stripper

If you need a paint stripper, there are many options to select from. Make sure you select one made for oil-based paint removal as your initial step. Non-toxic options are also available.

When handling these goods, be sure to follow the safety measures advised on the label. Keep all safety equipment handy before starting the work. Make sure that it is a well-ventilated space where you perform the job.


  • Brush on the paint stripper with a paint remover or a painting brush on the hardwood floor. Allow it to soak into the wood for 30 minutes to an hour before moving on to the next step.
  • Peel the dry paint with a hard plastic putty knife when it is flexible enough to lift it. If you have a metal putty knife, be strong yet soft enough to avoid damaging the wood.
  • Mineral spirit and a firm-bristled brush would be a perfect choice to remove old paint even from unreachable corners of the hardwood.
  • To ensure that the wood is clear of any chemicals or dried paint residue, use a moist rag to wipe it down.

Paint Thinner

Make sure the paint thinner you choose is designed explicitly for oil-based paint. In this case, you can use either mineral spirits, turpentine, or even acetone. Dissolve the paint with the paint removers, and you’ll be done with it.

  • Choose a paint thinner and soak a rag in it. In order to remove oil-based paint spots, use paint thinner.
  • Rub the rag on the paint as soon as it has been wet in paint thinner to begin the dissolving process.
  • After some time, rub off the paint thinner to prevent it from drying and ruining the paint.
  • Remove all paint from wood flooring by repeating the technique.
  • To avoid the chemical harming the wood, use a moist rag to wipe the floor clean.

Step 3:

Once the floor has dried for about 30 minutes, re-mop the floor with a solution of 2 tbsp. dishwashing liquid and a gallon of warm water. Wear shoe covers to keep the floor clean. Wipe up the wetness. Fix scratches with matching stain and floor finish from the kit.

Step 4

Apply the finisher with help from a buddy. One of you will apply the finish with a paint pad while the other follows close behind with the applicator pad. The helper can fix drips and puddles with a paintbrush as you go along. Make sure not to paint yourself into a corner!

Once finished, allow about 3 hours for the first coat to dry, then apply a second coat. I can’t wait to try this!  This will make a very dreaded task a whole lot easier:)

See full tutorial at the Family Handyman.


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