How to Remove Varnish: Protect Your Hands and Eyes
Because many chemicals used to remove varnish are harmful when they get in the eyes or even just on the skin, it is important that you protect yourself. Wear protective gloves and goggles when you are working.
How to Remove Varnish: Work in a Ventilated Area
In addition to protecting your skin, you will also want to protect your lungs from breathing too much of these chemicals. Outside is best, but if you must be indoors, open the windows and use fans to blow air out one side and in the other.
How to Remove Varnish: Work on Manageable Areas
If you have a large piece of furniture from which to remove varnish, then work on it in small sections. This will help you to remove the products before they dry on again.
How to Remove Varnish: Use Paint Remover or Paint Stripper
Varnish can be removed by using the same products as you would use to remove paint. They will cut through the varnish and break it down so you can easily scrape it away.
How to Remove Varnish: Use Liquid for Few Layers
If there is only a layer or two of varnish to remove, then use a liquid paint remover or paint stripper, which will dry more quickly and be far simpler to clean up.
How to Remove Varnish: Use Thicker Brushable Products for More Layers
Brushable paint removers and paint strippers need to be applied in a thick layer with a brush. They will stay on the surface as you are working so you can get them down through all the layers of varnish.
How to Remove Varnish: Scrape Old Varnish Away
Once the paint remover or paint stripper has been on the surface for the needed amount of time, you can use a paint scraper to scrape away the layers of varnish. They should come off cleanly, but if not, another coat should do it.
How to Remove Varnish: Use Abrasives if Needed
For tough spots, you can use abrasive materials such as steel wool or sandpaper to get at the varnish. In fact, if you have an electric sander and don’t mind scraping away a bit of the wood with the varnish, that is an option for doing the whole job.
How to Remove Varnish: Use Heat if Needed
Another way to remove varnish is to heat it up, which will break it down and allow you to just scrape it off. Make sure not to heat spots too much, or your wood may start to get burnt.
How to Remove Varnish: Be Patient
Removing varnish can be a big job, but if you are patient, you can get old varnish off without causing any damage to your furniture!