Safe Alternative to Paint Strippers
Working on a restoration project doesn’t need to mean poisoning yourself and the environment. Paint strippers are one of the product categories to top the list of those likely to contain high levels of persistent organochlorine chemicals (POPs) and volatile organic chemicals. Protect yourself by trying this safer alternative for stripping old paint.
The mineral washing soda, found in the laundry section of the supermarket, is an excellent solvent substitute, and it works to strip paint; in fact, washing soda was used in the 19th century for such a purpose. Make a very thick paste of washing soda and water (wear gloves because although washing soda doesn’t give off fumes, it is slightly caustic), and spread with a putty knife on the surface to be stripped. Let it set for several hours, if not overnight, keeping it as moist as possible by misting frequently with water sprayed from a spray bottle. Rinse and peel off the paint.
Caution: Spot test this formula first to make sure the paste doesn’t damage the wood.