How To Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors

by | Oct 25, 2021 | Painting, Remodeling

Unfortunately, paint is not one of the easiest substances to remove from hardwood floors, especially if you’ve had a large mishap. Thankfully, there are a number of ways in which you can safely remove it from the hardwood, without damaging the floorboards. 

It is important to ensure that you are using the correct methods and the most suitable tools to remove the paint.

To help you with the process, in this article we have discussed the best items you can use to remove even the more stubborn paint spills, safely from hardwood floors.

The Type Of Paint

Before we discuss the best ways in which to get paint off hardwood floors, it is worth noting that different types of paint will need to be removed differently. 

The two most common types of paint are water-based and oil-based. Because they are created with different ingredients, different solutions will need to be used. As a result of this, it is important that you know which type of paint you are trying to remove before trying these methods.

While you can use a process of elimination, it is far easier if you know what paint was used and spilled. 

How To Get Paint Off Hardwood Floors

When it comes to paint cans tipping over on hardwood floors, it can seem like a nightmare to get rid of if you’re not sure how. However, there are a number of different useful techniques you can incorporate and use. 

The Scraping Method

If there is a small amount of paint that is fairly fresh, you can try to use the scraping method. The levels of success will vary and you will need to exercise caution to ensure that you are not damaging the hardwood floor beneath the paint.

The best tool to use is a putty knife that is made of plastic, as this is going to cause the least amount of damage to the flooring. If the paint doesn’t want to budge, don’t force it, as this is when the damage will occur. 

Paint Removers

There are a handful of great paint specific removers that can be purchased. These are useful as they are intended for this purpose and perform well.

However, you will need to ensure you are purchasing the correct brand that will remove the paint type that has been spilled.

These removers do vary in their success, depending on the brand you choose and the quality of the substance.

These need to be applied with caution and care to ensure that it is not being placed on the flooring that doesn’t contain paint. This is because it can potentially stain or damage the floor.

Dish Soap

If you are looking for a less harsh cleaning solution, you can choose to mix dish soap with warm water. This method is fairly reliable, and it is not harsh on the hardwood floor.

If you feel as though the paint can be removed easily, and it is fairly new, this is the best method to try after you have attempted to scrape the paint off.

It shouldn’t damage the flooring or its finish in any way, which is something you need to keep in mind when removing paint off hardwood floors.

Cleansing Pads

Alternatively, you can choose to use alcohol cleansing pads. While these are intended to keep cuts and wounds clean from dirt and bacteria, they are surprisingly effective at removing paint from hardwood floors.

The only issue with these pads is that they are fairly small. As a result, they are best used if there is only a small amount of paint that needs to be removed.

Otherwise, you will need to use a significant amount of them. They also dry out fairly quickly, which is worth keeping in mind too. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a pretty successful way of removing paint from hardwood floors, but, it only tends to work well with water-based paints. For oil based paints the results will vary. 

To use rubbing alcohol, you will simply want to place a small amount onto an old cloth or rag and cover the paint area for around 5 to 10 minutes. This will allow the rubbing alcohol to break down the paint. 

After this, you can remove the rag and wipe down the hardwood floor. You should notice that most, if not all of the paint has been removed. To have the best results, we would recommend that you scrape as much of the paint off before using the rubbing alcohol. 

Paint Thinner

As we have already touched upon, oil-based paints are far more difficult to remove in comparison to water-based paint. Given this, you will need to use a substance that is slightly stronger.

We would recommend using paint thinner. It is a successful solution to use, but it is also quite strong. You will need to take care when using it to ensure that you are not placing it on any areas without paint.

It can potentially cause damage to the hardwood floor if it is misused. 

You will want to place the paint thinner onto a rag and allow this to soak through the paint for around 5 minutes. The paint should then rub away easily. You will need to take care not to scrub the floor too hard as this will affect the finish. 


We hope you have found this article useful. As you can see, there are many different ways in which you can attempt to remove paint from hardwood floors. This is reassuring to know if this is something you have been worried about. 

All of the methods we have included in the article have been tried and tested, and they are successful.

However, the type of method you choose to use will be based on the type of paint that was spilled and the amount of it. Feel free to use more than one of these methods if one does not prove useful.