Removing old paint from walls is a simple job, it requires care and above all patience. Renovating the paint in a room is a cheap and refreshing change, it gives a new look to the environment, but you need to know how to remove old paint from walls so that the new one can show it off.

Do I need to remove old paint before painting the wall?

removing paint and adding new one

It will depend on the type of background color, the new color and if the paint is peeling, you cannot paint over it; the bubbles and flakes will show through the new paint, in that case, it is a resounding yes. For example, if the color to renovate is white, the background is white and there is no flaking paint there is no need to remove the paint.

However, it is good to clean the surface before applying the new paint, this way a good adhesion between the surface and the paint can be generated. Hard surfaces, such as wood or masonry, also need special attention.

A simple rule of thumb is that the surface to install the paint should be smooth. If it is not smooth, clean it as necessary until you have a good surface to paint on. Now, masonry will never give you a perfectly smooth surface, but it is necessary to remove chipping, peeling, or residual paint that could ruin the finish of your new paint job.

Also, if your house was painted before 1978 it is possible that the paint contains lead, in which case you should test it and if it is positive, remove it as carefully as possible without generating too much dust and dirt, lead is a toxic metal.

What is the easiest way to remove old paint?

There is no magic formula on how to remove old paint from the wall. It depends on the wall and the removal procedure. Here are a few:


 When the area to be worked on has a little area, do it with the spatula or scraper and scrape off the loose paint. Work in all directions to make it smooth.

Do this to remove all lumps, bubbles, flakes, or peeling paint from the wall. Use a wire brush for hard-to-reach places or to smooth a portion of the paint with the wall. If there are holes or cracks after scraping, patch the wall with a joint compound or caulk. Next, take sandpaper and sand lightly. Once dry, wipe with a damp sponge or cloth towel.


Sometimes a scraper can not remove all the paint, especially if there are many small flakes, in these cases use sandpaper to smooth the surface. At the end always wipe with a damp cloth with water.

Paint remover

paint removal

It is a particular chemical product, which safely removes the paint with proper use and employer’s safety.

The paint stripper applies as if it were painted, covering the area to be stripped, when the wall begins to bubble it removes with a scraper. The procedure continues until it is smooth. It can combine with some other method to achieve a neat surface.

Some products make the job much easier, such as those using methylene chloride, but they should be used with caution. There are other products made with soy or citrus that work well but may require a little more effort; the advantage is that they are less toxic.

Whatever you choose, if you use a chemical stripper, always make sure the room is well-ventilated and that you wear protective gear. These are the materials you will need when using a chemical stripper or paint remover:

Always remember to protect the floor from dust and dirt coming off the wall. Place newspapers, plastic, and tape with masking tape.

What can I use to remove old paint?

The tools you will need to remove the paint from a wall are:

  • Paint scraper
  • Wire brush
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Plastic gloves

If you are going to use the chemical stripper, you must have:

The chemical stripper, whichever one you have chosen or the one that best suits the needs or requirements of the wall.

  • Paint roller
  • Roller tray with insert
  • Paintbrush
  • Disposable paint coveralls
  • Plastic gloves
  • Protective goggles
  • Dust mask, at a minimum

How do you remove paint from walls without sanding?

The best way to remove old paint from walls is with water. Water can penetrate every paint chip on the wall, in every crevice. As well as using a chemical paint stripper, and then scraping the area with a scraper until it completely removes it without sanding.

Regardless of the method you choose to clean and remove old paint from the wall, keep in mind that you must plan your time by areas, you can’t do it all in one day or your back will suffer the consequences. Make a plan of action for areas, time, and breaks.

How to remove old paint from walls was last modified: September 5th, 2023 by Vanessa Gallanti
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