How To Clean Old Paint With Acetone

What a fantastic idea.

The paint is peeling and chipping, and some of it has even fallen across the sofa cushion below. How easy is it to clean up paint damage like this? You don’t need anything too radical, actually. You don’t even need a paint stripper; simply add a little bit of acetone (from a spray can) to a paint brush and scrub the painted surface using a little elbow grease. The acetone will lift the stain and create a thin film that can be removed with a sponge. So get out that old paint stripper (or better yet, an old soft brush, like a tooth brush) and let your senses be your guide.

First scrub the area with the paint stripper, making sure that the stripper is well and truly lubed up. After that, you need to use a bit of elbow grease. If you want you can use your fingernail or a cotton bud to gently rub the paint in a circular motion to get to any stray spots where the stripper just barely touched. If you want, you can clean up the whole area with acetone, and then go on cleaning up later–but I prefer scrubbing the entire surface.

I’ve also discovered that one of the best cleaning products for old paint is the old-fashioned (and inexpensive) brush that used to come with your brushes. Brushes made for cleaning, like Dremel’s and many household paintbrushes, are the best tool for removing old paint stains–but you can also buy special brush cleaners that are specifically designed to clean up peeling paint.

For this project, I’m going to use a household brush with small pointed tweezers that you can find at your favorite home improvement store. A fine-point brush will get the job done just as well, but a smaller brush will take up less room. For this project, we are going to scrub with the small pointed brush. With the tweezers, you can easily wipe away any stray paint streaks.

Here is what you’ll need:

· A clean, empty paintstripper tube

· White acetone and rubbing alcohol (about $3)

· A clean, empty paintbrush

· A clean, open drawer or box

· Small pointed tweezers

You should begin by cleaning the inside of the paintstripper tube. You can gently scrub the inside of the tube with a clean white cloth, just to make sure that the tube cleans up easily.

After that, remove any debris that might be left in the paintstripper tube. If it’s not completely empty, put a dab of acetone in the open end of the tube and wipe out as much of the old paint as possible with the tweezers. You don’t want to get too much acetone on the tube, but you do want it to dry thoroughly and dry quickly, so that whatever you’re trying to remove doesn’t get stuck to the tube. (I think you can guess what happens when you don’t do that.) You don’t want your tubes to be too wet, but the point here is to make sure that there are no residues present that will prevent your new painting surface from bonding to the old surface.

After that, spray on some white acetone. This will lift the stain and remove any small splotches or paint streaks that the stripper didn’t get to. As you’re trying to remove old paint, the acetone will lift the paint and lift it from your surface. You can use a lot of acetone in this process, just like you’d use a toothbrush or a rag. I used about 1 teaspoon of acetone to fully dry a single tube of paint. You don’t want to use too much, though–this will leave residue that won’t adhere to the new surface.