clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Best Paint Strippers (2022 Review)

Removing paint can be a hassle when you’re trying to do it by hand with a sander. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best paint strippers available on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

paint stripper, paint remover This Old House Production and Workshop Media

While painting over a wall with a new color may seem tempting, it can lead to bumpiness, chipping, or cracking. The best option is to remove the paint, which is made easy with the help of a proper paint stripper. To help you select a product, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best paint strippers on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.

Top 5 Paint Strippers


Longest Lasting: Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

This stripping gel takes 30 minutes to wet your paint and get it ready for removal. It also keeps it wet for up to 24 hours in case you want to take a break from your project and pick it back up the next day. It can remove multiple layers of oil and latex paint in addition to varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac.

Key Features

  • Has a gel consistency
  • Comes in a 32-ounce container
  • Meant for latex and oil paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac
  • Works on wood, metal, and other surfaces
  • Stays wet for 30 minutes to 24 hours

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who like this product said that it adhered well to surfaces, had a pleasant scent, and was easy to use. However, some dissatisfied customers claimed that it sometimes failed to remove more than one layer of paint. They also said that it left a difficult-to-remove residue.


Best For Indoors: Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover

Removing paint indoors, especially in spaces where there’s minimal or no ventilation, can be risky if your paint stripper contains toxic chemicals. This paint stripper, however, has a non-toxic, eco-friendly, and odorless formula, ensuring that you won’t get lightheaded or faint.

Key Features

  • Has a paste consistency
  • Comes in a 128-ounce container
  • Meant for paint and other coatings
  • Works on wood, brick, metal, and other surfaces
  • Stays wet for three to 24 hours

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for this product said that it worked quickly, was easy to clean up, and could be applied to multiple surfaces. However, those who left negative reviews claimed that it covered less surface area than expected and had an unpleasant scent.


Best For Latex Paint: Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Latex Paint Remover

This paint stripper removes latex paint from a wide variety of surfaces, including fiberglass, carpet, brick, and upholstery. Because it comes in a small sprayable bottle, it’s only meant to remove the occasional blotch of paint. However, it has a water-based, biodegradable formula to ensure you don’t breathe in harmful chemicals as you work.

Key Features

  • Has a liquid consistency
  • Comes in a 22-ounce container
  • Meant for latex paint
  • Works on fiberglass, carpet, brick and other surfaces

What Customers Are Saying

Satisfied customers said that this paint stripper was simple to use, worked on multiple fabrics, and was effective on old paint. However, some customers who left negative reviews claimed that the bottle leaked.


Fastest Acting: D SUPER REMOVER Paint Stripper

This product is effective at stripping paint from wood, metal, and concrete, working in a similar way to products that use methylene chloride without containing it itself. It wets paint within minutes, though it’s recommended that you wait 15 minutes for the best removal results.

Key Features

  • Has a liquid consistency
  • Comes in a 128-ounce container
  • Meant for latex and oil paint, varnish, epoxy, polyurethane, and shellac
  • Works on wood, metal, and concrete
  • Wets paint in 15 minutes

What Customers Are Saying

Positive reviews for this paint stripper said that it worked quickly and got rid of old paint effectively, especially on wood. However, customers who left negative reviews said that it didn’t work well on automotive-grade paint. Others said that they had to apply multiple coatings to get it to work.


Best Comprehensive Stripper: MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

This paint stripper fits the needs of almost every customer. It can remove layers of paint, varnish, shellac, and other coatings from a wide variety of surfaces, including wood, glass, laminate, metal, fiberglass, plastic, brick, and porcelain. Because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, it doesn’t have a strong smell, so it’s safe to use indoors as well as outdoors.

Key Features

  • Has a gel consistency
  • Comes in a 32-ounce container
  • Meant for latex and oil paint, varnish, shellac, and other coatings
  • Works on wood, metal, brick, and other surfaces

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left positive reviews for this product said that it was fast-working, didn’t have an overpowering scent, and came with easy-to-follow directions. However, customers who left negative reviews said that this paint stripper was less powerful than expected and dried too quickly.


Buyer’s Guide

Before deciding which paint stripper is best for your painting project, consider the factors in the following buying guide.

Type

There are several types of paint strippers, including:

Solvent

Solvent paint strippers break down the bond between the paint and the surface. They effectively remove paint, epoxy, and polyurethane from a variety of surfaces, including wood, masonry, and metal. Though effective, they contain harmful chemicals, such as methylene chloride and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, that pose serious health risks.

Caustic

Caustic paint strippers turn the paint into a soap-like substance. This type of paint stripper works well with oil-based paint.

Biochemical

These paint strippers are a safer alternative to traditional solvent ones, as they’re made from plant-based solvents. They’re effective at removing water- and oil-based paints from masonry, wood, and metal surfaces.

Non-Toxic

Non-toxic paint strippers usually have either no volatile organic compounds or a minimal amount. They’re the safest option on the market for removing oil- and water-based paint on metal or masonry.

VOC Level

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a group of chemicals that are often found in home-maintenance products. They release a gas that can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat in the best case scenario or cause cancer in the worst case scenario. A safe paint stripper for indoor use has a low VOC level. If you’re working outdoors, VOC level is less of a concern because you’ll have the open air around you for ventilation.

Paint and Surface Compatibility

Different paint strippers work on different coatings and surfaces. If you need a product for a particular project, make sure its label lists the type of paint and surface you’re working with. However, if you’re an avid DIYer, choose a versatile product that works on a variety of coatings and surfaces to complete a range of projects.

Application

How you apply a paint stripper depends on the type you’re using. Solvent strippers can be applied in a thin one-eighth-inch layer. They stay on the surface for about 15 minutes before being removed. For caustic strippers, use a thicker quarter-inch layer. Leave the layer on for at least half an hour before removing the paint with a scraper and neutralizing the stripper with water or vinegar.

Biochemical paint strippers should also be applied in a thick layer. However, they should remain on the surface for longer, typically between two and four hours. Finally, non-toxic strippers can be applied in a layer between one-eighth and a quarter of an inch. They should be left for anywhere from three to 24 hours depending on the amount being used and the surface being stripped.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are paint strippers?

If you apply a layer of paint over an already painted surface, it may cause bumps or other uneven textures. A paint stripper keeps this from happening by helping to remove the old paint before applying another coat. It’s a chemical solution that reacts with the paint to loosen it.

What safety precautions should I take when I’m using a paint stripper?

Here are a few guidelines to follow regardless of the type of paint stripper you’re using:

  • Make sure the work area is as ventilated as possible. This may involve opening vents, windows, and doors.
  • Clear the area of children and pets.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, close-toed shoes, safety glasses, and chemical-resistant gloves.

How do I dispose of extra paint stripper?

Never dispose of paint stripper by throwing it in a trash can or dumping it down a drain. Instead, bring it to a hazardous waste collection facility.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.