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Favorite paint stripper?

17 years ago

I've tried 3M Safest Stripper and Bix Nature's Own Stripper. Both resulted in about the same level of strippage - lots of goo, not a clean strip. Three coats required (to strip to a repaint level, not a stain level).

3M wins out for me because it took less time to break the bond.

What's your favorite stripper and why? Do any strippers *really* result in a near-clean first strip?

My recent project had at least 7 layers on built-ins on a 1936 home.


Comments (16)

  • brickeyee
    17 years ago

    Methylene Chloride. The more the better. Use it outdoors, and do not use it at all if you have any type of heart or reparatory problems.

    MEK is also effective for clear finishes and not nearly as dangerous.
    Sawdust is the best abrasive to remove the curdled paint (less damage than scrapers).

  • prettyphysicslady
    17 years ago


    It is non-flammable and did a decent job stipping the 100 years of paint and stain the last house had.

  • kec01
    17 years ago

    Peel away I've used both #1 and #7 and I now keep it on hand.

  • housekeeping
    17 years ago

    My current fave is Soy-Gel, which I got from the Real Milk Paint Co., though it can be ordered from the manufacturer and other suppliers.

    I added it to a recent order more out of curiosity, and without much hope. But holy smokes, it works like gang busters if left alone to do its thing. I haven't done a big project with it yet, but I plan on stripping a pine floor. My test patches have been great!

    I have tried just about every chemical and mechanical method, and So far Soy-Gel is the best I've found.

    Depending on what you're doing I have read recerntly of rsuccess with steam as a paint remover. You can og to John Leeke's website and see info about his experiemnts with it.

    That's: There is a semi-active forum on old-house issues there, too.


  • ginam_oh
    17 years ago

    A quick note about methylene many places its use is prohibited or restricted, so make sure that, if you choose to use it (too caustic for my taste), check with the state EPA and or your local environmental authorities.

    My personal favorite is the Silent Paint Remover. Steam also works fabulously, from what I've seen.

  • gfoak
    Original Author
    17 years ago

    Thanks for the responses thus far... I was basically trying to decide if the methyl chloride was worth it/made that much of a difference.

    I am *very* tempted by the silent paint remover, and have a dumb reason not to buy it: I'm afraid if I make it too easy to strip paint, I'll never stop!

    I will do a test patch on crown molding this weekend - I want to see if there is wood under there ;) I have a living room with dark wood trim and WHITE crown molding (what were they thinking!). I have no idea at what stage/age that molding was added. Preferably, I'd take it down and dip it (pay to) - but I am afraid to tear up the plaster and lath getting it down. So I think I'll do a test patch first.

    Meanwhile, I'll finish off my 3M job... and consider the harsher stuff (nonflammable preferred) for the next iteration!

    Thanks guys

  • rrobinson720
    17 years ago

    Another vote for Soygel here. I bought some on a lark when ordering some other things, and it has been great on my test patches on my pine floor, too. This floor has been covered by carpet and old carpet adhesive for over 30 years, as far as I can tell. I put the Soygel down, left it for a couple of hours (no fumes to worry about), and a quick scrape took all the adhesive right off the floor.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Franmar, makers of Soygel

  • sombreuil_mongrel
    17 years ago

    I really loved the two gallons of cheap generic stripper I bought when the Jamesway chain went OOB. It was useless as a stripper for architectural woodwork because it was too weak. One day I discovered that it removed three layers of metallic gold paint without disturbing the (sealed with varnish) hand-painted 1896 decoration underneath it.
    Sometimes less is more.
    I invariably use a heat gun for the paint then clean up with Kutzit. This is on originally-shellacked interior mouldings, BTW.

  • jcin_los_angeles
    17 years ago

    What's great about Soygel is that it's nontoxic. Better for you and much better for the environment.

  • jgarner53
    17 years ago

    A vote here for Peelaway #7. Non-caustic, and cleans up with water. Goes on nice and thick, so it's great for vertical surfaces.

  • zarine
    17 years ago

    I have a 1929 Tudor and i was removing 77 years worth of paint on the trim. Nothing worked until I got the heat gun. I have a steamer, too, but I liked the heat gun. Careful, though. With that project, I found out that not all wood is meant to be stained! The wood used was definatly not stain grade (at that point, I didn't care!).

  • mhotte
    17 years ago

    For thick multi layer paint--heat gun all the way. OUTDOORS of course--don't want to inhale all the lead vapor. Indoors--wear an appropriately rated mask, or you may affect your cognitive capacities! I have always used a heat gun--practice first-some woods scorch easily,-like cherry--and then cleaned it up with Circa 1850 furniture stripper--which is a meth chloride, and fine steel wool. If stripping only varnish--use just the stripper. It will cut it very quickly.

  • brendankiely
    11 years ago

    Has anyone used the SoyGel Paint and Urethane Remover Stripper. It worked amazingly well for me.

    Here is a link that might be useful: SoyGel Paint Remover

  • bloggerpro6771
    7 years ago

    The best stripper that I have used is Star Ten. It did an incredible job and it's also environmentally friendly with a lack of fumes. I absolutely personally recommend it.

  • sambah006
    7 years ago

    A few positive comments about soy gel. Are these paid comments? I found that stuff absolutely miserable to use the few times I've attempted to use it. Just creates a goopy sloppy mess. And even if it worked, which is works terribly by the way, it's too runny to use on vertical surfaces. And the crap is expensive.

    The only good thing Soy Gel has going for it is an amazing ad copy writer.

    I've tried using it on varnish, laquer, modern paint, and lead paint. Surface coating does not matter. Stuff is lame.

    Citri Strip relatively inexpensive and easily available at Home Depot is far, far, far superior to Soy Gel.