Cleaning Up Latex Paint

      Tips for getting a latex paint drip off a polyurethane finished surface. August 30, 2005

Any ideas on removing white latex flat paint from a satin finished polyurethane dark stained oak finish?

(Furniture Making Forum)
Try using Goofoff. You can find it at any good paint or hardware store. Test in an out-of-the-way place first.

You didn't say if you're dealing with spatter, spill, or a silly painter. In any case, I've always found that very hot water in a sponge would soften latex and the difference in thermal expansion rates releases any molecular bond that may have formed. Rubber gloves and a plastic scraper.

That's right about Goof-Off. Another alternative you may already have on hand is lacquer thinner.

My wife, a professional painter, uses rubbing alcohol and a terry cloth to remove latex paint (hardened or not) from just about everything. Should not hurt the poly finish.

The most reliable method is to use Goof-off 2. It's different from standard Goof-off. Goof-off 2 is an ammonia based solvent which softens the latex without touching the oil based poly. Windex seems to have a similar property, but a little more mild. Use a clean rag and rotate often as to not rub the softened latex into any open pores of the oak.

I recommend Simple Green. I had 54 cherry wall lamps (sconces) that had paint spatter. My finish was a Waterbased poly. The Simple Green took off the spatter very nicely and hardly touched the finish.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor M:
I have drops of latex semi-gloss enamel on my oak stairs that have been stained with oil-based stain but water-based polyurethane. I tried Goof Off 2 and rubbing alcohol, and neither really worked. They softened the latex just a little bit, and seemed to affect the finish.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: Refinishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article