How to Remove Polyurethane from Wood without Removing the Stain

We use polyurethane to preserve wood from any external force. It creates a smooth finish on the wood.

It is necessary to know how to remove polyurethane from wood without removing the stain.

For example, you need to remove polyurethane from the wood for some reason.

how to remove polyurethane from wood without removing the stain

But removing it without removing the stain is a tough task to do if you don’t know the proper way to do it.

Using chemicals is the best way to do it. Below, we will show you how you can remove polyurethane from wood without stripping stain.

How to Remove Polyurethane from Wood without Removing the Stain

Make a mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner to remove polyurethane from wood. Apply the mixture on the wood using a regular paintbrush. After 10 seconds, remove it using steel wool. Another alternative is to use a mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and corn starch. Sand the wood with sandpapers.

Step 1: Prepare the area where you will be working

At first, you will need to take a few preparations. You will be working with some strong chemicals.

So, you will need a room with proper ventilation. Before starting to work, make sure that the windows and doors of that room is opened.

You will need to wear gloves and goggles as well. If you have an asthma problem, you should wear a mask as well.

Step 2: Make a mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner

You can make this mixture on an empty paint can. Take one part of denatured alcohol and mix it with one part of lacquer thinner.

Lacquer thinner is mainly used to dissolve paint and varnishes. On the other hand, denatured alcohol will work as a cleaning agent.

Take a stick made of wood and stir the mixture well.

The advantage of using the mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner is that it will help to remove the finish from the wood.

On the other hand, the mixture is not strong enough to affect the wood.

As a result, it is the perfect combination of removing polyurethane from wood without removing the stain.

Step 3: Use the mixture of denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner to remove polyurethane

Now, you will need to apply the mixture on the polyurethane finish. You can use a regular paintbrush to do this.

For a better result, stroke the place two or three times so that every part of the polyurethane gets covered.

Step 4: Remove the mixture after waiting for 10 seconds

You will need to be very careful after applying the mixture. After you are done applying, you will need to wait for around 10 seconds so that it gets soaked in the wood.

Then immediately remove it with steel wool.

Step 5: Clean the wood with warm water

After wiping away the polyurethane with steel wool, you will need to wash the wood. Use a wood cleaner to get rid of extra dirt.

Then, use warm water to clean it. At last, use a clean piece of cloth to make the wood dry.

Step 6: Use baking soda and vinegar if you don’t want to use strong chemical

A lot of people don’t like to use strong chemicals in the woods. We have a solution if you are one of them.

You can make a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and cornstarch to remove polyurethane from wood.

To make the mixture, you will need 4 cups of hot water and 1 cup of cornstarch. Mix these well in a bowl filled with half cup of cold water.

After mixing it well, you will see that it has formed a paste. Then, take another bowl and add 4 cups of water in it.

Then, you will need 1 tablespoon of vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Stir this mixture well. Then, add the second mixture into the first one and mix properly.

Step 7: Apply the mixture with a paintbrush

Then, you will need to apply this mixture the same way as before in the wood.

After applying, you will need to wait for a few minutes so that the mixture sits properly in the wood. Now you will need a wire brush so that you can scrub the furniture.

You might be worried about scrubbing the wood with the wire brush. Don’t worry. You can provide a bit pressure while scrubbing.

Because the solution won’t discolor the wooden surface. After scrubbing, let the area get dried for a few minutes.

Step 8: Sand the wooden surface simultaneously with 60, 80 and 120 grit sandpapers

Now, you will need to buy a few sandpapers to sand the wooden surface. At first, start with the 60-grit sandpaper.

After sanding the wooden surface for a while, you will see that the polyurethane is getting removed, and the natural color of the wood is coming out.

You will need to be very careful while sanding the wood. You must sand towards the direction of the wood grain.

If you use the sandpaper in both directions, you will see marks all over the wooden surface. A lot of people make this mistake.

Then, move to the 80-grit sandpaper. You will need to spend less time than before.

As you will use these sandpapers, you will see that the wood is becoming smoother. For the best result, use 120-grit sandpaper at the end.

Now, with a dry and clean rag, wipe the surface, and you will have a beautiful wooden surface without polyurethane.

That is how you can remove polyurethane from wood without removing the stain. The whole process will be a bit time-consuming.

But you will need to be patient if you want the best result.

Can You Sand Off Polyurethane?

Yes, you can sand off polyurethane.

Although using sandpaper solely will not work to remove polyurethane, you can use it at the end to remove any residual polyurethane from the wood.

You can use 120-grit sandpaper or 150-grit sandpaper to remove it from the wood.

Using sandpaper will remove any excess coats of polyurethane; it will make the wood smoother than before as well.

It is always better to use heavy sandpapers. Otherwise, it will take a long time to smooth wood with lighter sandpaper.

You will need the correct tools and techniques to polyurethane from wood without stripping stain.

With patience and care, you can easily do it on your own without calling an expert. It will save you money and provide you a learning experience as well.

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