How To Clean Painted Wood In Any Color

If you can’t remember what shade your piece of wood is, you can do one of two things – you could paint it pink, red, green or any other color that comes to your mind.

If you’re painting a piece of wood you’ll be using in a project on the wall, you may want to consider painting it with a protective coating. The idea with the paint and spray of any kind is: You simply spray it on once, rub off any excess it has. Then rub it off onto both sides of the piece to create the proper finish. As you are able, you simply reapply the film over the wood piece at a different number of coats or if your wood piece is not very smooth, you might want to create two coats or five coats depending upon the grain of the wood and the finish you desire. In any case, with the exception of stains and stains that are meant to be removed prior to sanding down the piece itself, the paint and/or spray will wipe right off with no damage to the wood. If your piece of wood is not painted or any other type of finish is applied, however, you’ll need to use an “Applying Remover” to properly remove the finish and make a clean cut to remove the finish. While spray and brush methods are convenient and relatively gentle (even though they are typically more thorough) that does not include the possibility of staining the wood. When spray and brush methods are applied to finish, it will stain the wood, not the surface. And when an application remover is applied to finish, the wood does not stain.

What if your piece of wood is very difficult to wipe off?

If you think you can’t get a clean surface down to the wood, it is very possible that the piece of wood is actually too rough to get a clean surface. You’ll want to use a microfiber cloth – which can be purchased at Lowes for about $28 or at a nearby department store for a total of about $38. This will remove a lot of the finish, leaving a clean, level surface to sand.

A side-up image of a piece of wood after a hard sanding process. After the initial application of finish, the surface was not smooth, and I removed the finish with several rounds of sanding.

With the microfiber cloth, you should have an area of smooth finish that is just large enough to apply the sanding compound and sand to a level surface. To finish the piece we used a hand file and 600-grit sandpaper with a wet sanding block. I use a medium-soft-dry file to provide the ultimate in control and precision. As a guideline when using the handfile, you should sand the surface with at least 500 strokes. When using the sandpaper, you simply sand off at a relatively slow rate with a wet block. The wet block should be wet with water from your tap. To properly wet the block, simply run water over it once. While wet, use your fingers to press down on the block until the blocks is wet to the touch, and the wood will absorb water easily when you press down harder with your fists.

Sand the surface in the areas you marked with sandpaper. Use 400 to 500 grit in the areas marked with white on the picture below. The image is to give you an idea of the extent of your work. A second picture is of what your wood will look like after finishing with this method. As I mentioned above, this is a clean surface that is easy to sand with a very level face.

Sanding a medium-soft-dry file – the first sanding block.

The sanding block, sanded with 400 grit and 400-grit in the area marked on the photo. It is important to note that it is perfectly normal for the pieces to have some imperfections after roughing the surfaces and finishing with microfiber cloths and the handfile process. These areas do not have to be removed completely in order to use your hand file or sand paper – just sand the areas that contain irregularities.

A very level surface after removing the final layer of finish.

And there you have it! There are many ways to do any type of work on wood, whether it is to finish an object with a finish or finish it with an application remover, and with any number of ways to apply the finishing compound. But what matters the most is how the wood reacts. If it can be sanded, sanded thoroughly, and with a level surface after finishing, it should be easy to sand with your hands. Even so, using sand paper is an excellent technique for making it easier to sand and apply finish if you want something to do with your bare hands.