I finally caved. This method has been popular for years, but I never had a desire to do it. Well, I finally wanted to see what the fuss is about. I found this chair at Goodwill for and I decided to try using oven cleaner to strip furniture.
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This antique chair is going to go in my daughter’s room. She has a vanity and needs a stool/chair for it. The wood colors are different, but I wanted to match them better which meant stripping the wood. I’ve tried other methods for stripping wood furniture, but never oven cleaner.
First, I had to remove all of the staples and little nails holding in the fabric on the seat and the bottom of the seat as well.
Once I had it down to the just the wood frame, I gathered my supplies.
Supplies Needed To Strip Furniture With Easy Off
Here are the supplies needed when using oven cleaner to strip furniture:
- Easy-Off Oven Cleaner (Try to get the fume free if it’s available)
- Scrub brush
- Dish soap
- Steel Wool
- Safety Glasses
- Protective covering (tarp, cardboard box, etc)
- Water (from the hose and mixed with the soap)
How To Remove Wood Finish With Easy-Off Oven Cleaner
Here are the steps to removing wood finish using easy off oven cleaner:
Step 1-Spray On Easy-Off To Wood Surface
The First step is to spray a good, thick layer of the easy off oven cleaner. Don’t freak out when it starts to bubble up and foam on the wood. It’s just doing it’s thing. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes before moving onto the next step!
Step 2-Clean Off The Wood With A Brush and Soap and Water
Next, is cleaning the wood surface now that the easy off has had a little time to work. This is where you need to have your safety gear (glasses, mask, and gloves) because the easy off has strong fumes. With a soft bristle brush and a bowl of warm soapy water, clean off the gunk that strips off after spraying the oven cleaner.
You can also use steel wool here if there is a large amount of stain and finish coming off. Be sure to rinse your brush/steel wool often in the soapy water.
Step 3-Rinse The Wood Furniture With The Hose
The fastest way to get the oven cleaner residue off and to clean your wood furniture is to hit it with the hose.
Rinse it THOROUGHLY until the water runs clear meaning there is not more stain, residue, or oven cleaner left on the wood furniture.
Step 4-Let Dry In The Sun
This is a very trust the process step. The wood furniture may still look dark despite using the oven cleaner to strip off the paint/stain/varnish. As the piece sits in the sun, it will dry and bleach while under the sun and you’ll see the magic that is the oven cleaner stripping method.
Check on the piece after a couple of hours and truly be amazed at how the color of the wood has been transformed. You’ll also see if there are spots that need another coat of easy off before moving on to the next step.
Step 5-Lightly Sand
Once your wood furniture has been stripped by the easy off oven cleaner to your satisfaction, it’s time to give the whole piece a light sand. Take 120 grit sandpaper and use it to even out the finish of the wood surface.
Some areas may be darker than others or some spots may still have slight bits of stain or paint still on the raw wood. A light sand can get the last stubborn bits off and make everything nice and smooth.
Step 6-Stain Or Seal The Wood Furniture
Now that it is down to the raw wood, you can personalize what you do next. Depending on the type of wood furniture you have (pine, cherry, mahogany, etc), there still may be a little bit of orange or red tones to the wood.
Some may want to bleach or white wash to remove the red tones of the wood.
You may love the wood finish that you have and want to seal it just like it is. If you need to figure out the what furniture sealer that won’t change the wood, check out the best sealer for wood furniture.
Or others may want to stain the wood to match another wood finish. This is what I did. I love staining furniture with antiquing wax. It gives just the warmest and most beautiful finish. Then I sealed it with polycrylic.
Step 7-The After!
The last step is always my favorite, admiring and enjoying your hard work. Look at this before and after. I had an extra step of adding back a new seat and recovering it with a pink blanket, also from goodwill.
The best part is that I finished it just in time for my daughter’s birthday, and she LOVED IT! Worth all the hard work of redoing this wood chair.
FAQ of Oven Cleaner As A Paint and Stain Remover
Here are some frequently asked questions about stripping furniture with oven cleaner:
Will Oven Cleaner Strip Furniture?
Yes! Oven cleaner has some pretty harsh chemicals in it which are used to break down grease and grime in your oven. It uses these same properties when it is applied to a wood surface and works extremely well to remove varnish and wood stain.
Can Easy Off Oven Cleaner Remove Paint?
Yes, it can remove paint as well as stain and a top coat on top of a wood stain. If you have some little bits of paint that need removing, that’s probably fine. I would not use oven cleaner to strip a fully painted piece of wood furniture. I would strip the furniture using Citristrip.
Is It Safe To Use Oven Cleaner On Wood Furniture?
Yes, it is completely safe, but you should still take safety precautions. I wore gloves when I scrubbed off the easy off oven cleaner and I wore safety glasses.
Can I Use Oven Cleaner Inside?
Technically you can, but I would not. It is a very harsh smell, and indoors it is just going to smell up your house quick, even the fume free one. If you are just dying to try this stripping method in the dead of winter, make sure you open doors or window for lots of ventilation and take lots of breaks.
What If My Wood Finish Is Still Really Orange or Red?
If you aren’t happy with the color of the raw wood because there are orange or red tones, then there are ways to solve this. Bleaching is one way and there are other ways in this post.
Which Oven Cleaner Is The Best To Use On Wood?
I used the Easy Off Oven Cleaner that was Fume Free. It worked really well, and was perfect for stripping the varnish and stain off of the wood furniture. I don’t know how an off brand or another kind of oven cleaner would do, so I would just use the Easy Off!
Do I Need To Dry It In The Sun To Help Bleach It?
No, the sun just helps it to dry faster. I left my soaking wood chair out in the sun in the late morning, and about 2 hours later it was almost dry and the wood had changed almost all the way. Talk about FAST!
Things To Remember When Using Oven Cleaner To Strip Furniture
- Use the Easy Off Oven Cleaner that is Fume Free
- It is best to use it outside if you can on a sunny day
- If you use a hard bristle brush to clean the stain and varnish off the wood, it could scratch the surface
- Trust the process, the wood color will change, I promise.
- This is MESSY!
- For best results, spray thoroughly with the hose and let dry in the sun
- WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR!
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Ok, so my final thoughts on using oven cleaner to strip furniture are that it works really well and was pretty easy and pain free to accomplish. I did most of the project in a day in between caring for my kids and working on other projects.
I don’t know why I waited so long to try it! This is super messy, but with the right tools and prep work, it creates really beautiful results! I only tried in on a small piece, I’m not sure how bad it is to do a large item. Maybe next time.