Natural strippers for all surfaces allow you to fix any DIY mistakes you may have made without the need to use particularly harsh chemical strippers.

Whether you’ve painted over light switches or outlets while trying out the latest trending paint ideas, or you’re preparing for a recycling project, there are plenty of times you’ll need to remove the painting on your DIY trip.

“Paint is made to adhere to a surface with longevity as the goal, which is why it’s obviously not easy to remove paint from surfaces, especially finishes such as gloss and eggshell” says Michael Rolland, DIY expert and Managing Director of The Paint Hangar.

“There are paint strippers on the market that are meant to remove paint, but the problem with some of them is that they can be harmful, especially when inhaled,” he continues. “This is driving DIYers to look for less hazardous natural alternatives for hobbyists who may not have the proper protective gear.”

If you’re looking for a healthier home alternative, here’s what you need to know.

Why use natural strippers?

So how can chemical strippers be harmful? “Chemical strippers, and liquid forms in particular, present a range of hazards such as damage to the respiratory system, skin disease, damage to internal organs, and damage to the brain and nervous system, not to mention that the most chemical strippers are also highly flammable, putting your home at risk,’ Michael from the Paint Shed (opens in a new tab) Explain. “It is best that these products are only used by professional painters and decorators.”

“In addition to being hazardous to health, these strippers are also bad for the environment. Most chemical strippers contain large amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which have been shown to react with oxygen and damage the ozone layer.

“Fortunately, there are less harmful paint strippers on the market that contain more natural materials and, although these take longer to work, the reduced risk and damage to the environment is well worth it” , adds Michael. It’s the same as making sure you buy the best eco-friendly paints for your home.

What can I use as a natural stripper?

A dining room with a white dining set and a two-tone blue wall

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

1. Soy-based stripping gels

Soybean strippers contain methyl soybean, which is a methyl ester distilled from soybean oil. As this solvent is derived from a natural source, it is much more durable and environmentally friendly than petroleum-based products.

“This type of natural stripper is safe to use on wood, concrete, and metal, but is not recommended for plastic surfaces such as UPVC and laminate,” says Michael.

“It comes in gel form and is effective in removing paint from the type of surface listed, but it will take longer than chemical strippers. The longer it stays on the paint, the easier it will be to strip it off.

2. Citrus-based strippers

Citrus-based strippers, like soy-based strippers, remove paint more slowly than stronger chemicals, but are again less harmful to health and the environment.

“Citrus-based strippers contain terpenes, which are organic compounds derived from plants, usually oranges – hence their name,” says Michael.

“In general, they are safe to use on any painted or varnished surface, and work particularly well on wood, metal and masonry. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before application.

“While less harmful than chemical strippers, some ingredients in citrus-based strippers are harmful to the environment, so precautions should be taken to ensure proper disposal,” it adds. he.

3. Heat gun

Heat guns are ideal for removing paint from any surface, without using chemicals.

They work like hair dryers – a stream or jet of heated air is blasted through the front opening of the heat gun, which heats the paint or varnish enough to be scraped off the surface you are trying to strip. However, it should be noted that they are much more powerful and can damage your hardware if used incorrectly.

“The hot air guns should be held at an angle of about 45 degrees and never held in one place for more than a few seconds, you don’t want to burn the paint,” says Michael.

“When the paint begins to bubble from the heat, move the gun around and scrape the paint off with a scraper, moving until you’ve removed all the paint you want.”

Graphene paint

(Image credit: Graphenstone)

4. Alcohol strippers

“Alcohol strippers are made from a part water-based and part alcohol-based formula, the main active ingredient of which is usually benzyl alcohol,” says Michael. “It is an organic compound found naturally in plants and essential oils.

“Although less harmful than many paint strippers, like most alcohols, there is technically a danger when inhaled.”

‘Bartoline TX10 Paint and varnish remover (opens in a new tab) has a highly effective formulation that is methylene chloride free, non-flammable and biodegradable,” he continues. This product is water based which means there is minimal evaporation. “It clings to vertical surfaces, which means there are no drips, drips or waste. It is suitable both indoors, in a well-ventilated space, and outdoors, by decorating professionals and beginner DIYers. You can use it to remove paint from wood, metal, glass, plaster and concrete.

How to do? “Users of this product should apply a generous coat with a brush to the surface to be stripped and leave to act for approximately 30 minutes,” explains Michael. “For areas where there are more than five coats, a second coat may be required, but once the TX10 has penetrated the substrate, it can be scraped off, leaving the surface clean. The stripped area can then be scrubbed with using sandpaper, steel wool or a scrub brush.

5. Ammonia, borax and washing soda

You can also create your own home remedies with natural products that you may already have in your kitchen cabinets.

“To make your own paint stripper, all you have to do is take a dish or container and pour in one part ammonia, one part borax (the two natural elements) and one part washing soda,” says Michael. . Also add a small amount of water. Two tablespoons is perfect for one cup of each ingredient, so scale up/down from there.

‘Mix the mixture until a paste forms. Take a brush, coat the paint with the mixture and let it sit for at least 10-20 minutes to break down the paint. When the time is up, scrub the paint with steel wool.

This solution can be used on most surfaces, but perform a patch test first in a part that is not too visible.

Pink home office

(Image credit: John Day)

6. Soda lye, water and flour

You can also use a mixture of washing soda, water and flour to remove the paint.

“Take a large container and pour four tablespoons of washing soda to one cup of water,” advises Michael. ‘Once mixed, add a tablespoon of flour to the mixture to thicken it. Fully incorporate the flour and add another tbsp.

“Repeat this process until the mixture is creamy but still spreadable.”

He continues, “Once you’ve made your remover, simply coat the target surface with a paintbrush or palette knife. Allow the coating to sit for about half an hour before removing it, scraping off any leftover paint as you go.

This solution can be used on most surfaces, but perform a patch test first in a part that is not too visible.

7. Vinegar

Although the vinegar does not remove the paint directly, it softens the paint considerably, making it easier to remove by hand.

“If you’re working on a smaller project, vinegar can be a great way to speed up the scraping process considerably,” says Michael.

‘To use vinegar, heat it in a saucepan and wait for it to boil. Using a brush, apply the vinegar to the surface and let it sit. Keep testing the paint to see if it has softened. Otherwise, repeat if necessary.’

He adds: “If you want to strip the paint off a small object, you can also take an old pot and fill it with water and put it on the hob. Add ¼ cup of baking soda to the pot and let it blend in. Be sure not to stir it.

“When the pot reaches a boiling point, making sure it doesn’t boil, place any paint-covered object in the pot. If your pot is big enough, you can do multiple items at once, but make sure you don’t let them come into contact with each other or the side of the pot.

‘After about 10 minutes, check the items in the jar to see if the paint has been removed. Then let it dry.