READ ABOUT MY THREE ATTEMPTS AT USING OVEN CLEANER TO STRIP FURNITURE AND WHY I DON’T LIKE THIS METHOD.
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.
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!
After scrubbing, they say to wash it all off with a garden hose. Yes, you actually spray water on the wood.
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.
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.
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!