Using Oven Cleaner To Strip Furniture – Why I Don’t Like It


You guys, there won’t be any pretty photos in today’s post. But I wanted to keep it real and share with you a few DIY fails I’ve had recently.

If you’re on Pinterest or Instagram, you’ve probably seen DIY’ers posting about using oven cleaner to strip furniture. They show how it works to remove wood finishes without tons of sanding or the use of chemical strippers.

Not only that, their outcomes look to be a natural, raw look when finished. So while I usually share things that have worked well, today I wanted to share a few projects that haven’t. Mainly because I see this oven cleaner method often and want you to be aware that it doesn’t always work.

This will hopefully save you a few of the headaches I’ve had with this.

It started earlier this year after seeing other people’s results. It looked promising and was something I had to try!

Using Oven Cleaner To Strip Furniture Round #1

The first time I tried using Easy Off oven cleaner was back in early spring. I used it on a painted table and it didn’t work well. I figured the reason it didn’t work was because the table had multiple layers of paint.

After the oven cleaner failed, I ended up stripping the table the old-fashioned way. That project never made the blog. After stripping, I discovered the table was made up of different types of wood.

table project gone wrong

It was a total disaster and after all that work I had to repaint it! This wasn’t a good project to judge the oven cleaner method, so I resolved to try it again.

Oven Cleaner Round #2

Next up was this vintage magazine table. I found it super cheap at a yard sale. This was a perfect piece to try the oven cleaner method again. There’s the risk you can ruin wood furniture with this so try it first on something inexpensive.

This table is solid wood, with no varnish. It was aged (not in a good way) and dirty. It was the perfect candidate for this method.


I sprayed the whole piece with Easy Off and let it sit for about 20 minutes or so.


Next, I mixed water with dish detergent and scrubbed the whole piece down with that. This part is messy!

using oven cleaner on wood

After scrubbing, they say to wash it all off with a garden hose. Yes, you actually spray water on the wood.

how to use oven cleaner to strip furniture

From what I’ve read, you just let it sit and dry after that, but I did wipe it down with paper towels first. The next morning, this is what it looked like.

stripping wood

After seeing this, I was very hopeful that this was working. The lighter areas showing through looked how I hoped it would look. Unfortunately, there was still a lot of black left on the table. I had to do the steps again.

After the next round, while it did lighten up a little more even the lighter areas started to look weird. The wood looked dehydrated. I’m not sure if that’s a thing but it’s the only way I can think to describe it. So I did it a third time and it looked no better after that.

bad review using easy off on wood

The picture above shows what I ended up with. Definitely not what I was hoping for.

Stripping wood with oven cleaner round #3

At this point, I was convinced using oven cleaner to strip furniture wasn’t going to work. But because I’ve seen others have such great results, I decided to try it one more time.

This time, I used it on a small wooden spice rack I found. This is what it looked like when I found it.

I gave the spice rack one treatment with the oven cleaner and while it does look better (less black), I again got that dehydrated look.

Now, I’m planning to sand that one down by hand and see if I can’t make it look good.

My Conclusion on stripping wood furniture

After three tries trying the oven cleaner to strip furniture, I will not be trying it again. I believe there’s no easy way around stripping furniture. It takes time and elbow grease to remove paint from wood or strip furniture. But when I’ve done it with chemical strippers and sandpaper I’ve had much better results.

I spoke with a few DIY’ers at a flea market recently who told me they too have not had good results with this method. I’m sure it has worked for people. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, or maybe it depends on the type of wood, but it most definitely has not worked well for me.

A few things I think might have made a difference is, leaving the oven cleaner on longer and scrubbing it multiple times before rinsing. Getting it done in one try might get a better result.

But as I said, I won’t be using that method again. Have any of you had success using oven cleaner to strip furniture? I’d love to hear your feedback if so!


  1. Linda Hickey says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

  2. Leslie Zagrobelny says:

    You were very brave using oven cleaner. There are things posted that I would never try, they just don’t make sense. Glad you tried so the rest of us don’t have to.

  3. Ruth Myers says:

    I don’t even like using oven cleaner to clean ovens!

  4. I’ve been stripping furniture since the 70’s and have tried every method out there. I always had good results with the old chemical stripper, the one that was taken off the market due to the cancer causing ingredient of methylene chloride (which gave it the best stripping ability for me). Since then I’ve tried Citristrip, but don’t like it, it’s messy, I had to apply multiple coats, wrap the piece in plastic, and it left the wood with a weird orangey tone on every piece I used it on. I’ve had varied results with the new generation stippers, like Klean Strip but they just aren’t as effective as the MC strippers. Enter Easy Off… I’ve had varied results with this. It’s great and removing wax and varnish but won’t remove most paint, it also dries out the wood horribly, is toxic and also messy. Sooo, back to, as you pointed out, elbow grease, regular stripper, and sanding. There just isn’t a safe and effective stripper out there anymore in my opinion. I am going to try a soda blaster on a table. We’ll see. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for sharing your feedback, Crystal. I tried a soda blaster once years ago and didn’t like that either. Good luck with your table.

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