How to Remove Chalk Paint

How to Remove Chalk Paint (EASY Step by Step Guide)

Chalk paint is a highly versatile and unique paint you can use for any project. It can be used on just about any surface including wood, plastic, concrete, glass, and, yes, even fabric!

But sometimes you might need to remove chalk paint. Maybe you’re revitalizing an older project or maybe there’s some extra paint splattered on your project. Either way, removing chalk paint is easier than you think!

In this post, I’ll show you how to remove chalk paint from wood and other surfaces so you can get the results you want. Let’s dig in!

  • You can remove chalk paint by sanding the paint, using a paint remover, or even using a magic eraser.
  • It’s easiest if you can remove chalk paint before it’s had time to dry.

Best Ways to Remove Chalk Paint

1. How to Remove Chalk Paint from Wood

You can use a couple of methods to remove chalk paint from wood. You can use the mechanical method (sanding) and the chemical method (paint stripper.)

Mechanical Method for Removing Chalk Paint

Here’s what you’ll need:

Step 1: Prep the Wood for Sanding

Usually, when you use chalk paint, you will use wax as a top coat. This can “gum up” your sandpaper, so removing the wax beforehand is essential.

mineral spirits to clean paint

Take a clean cloth and mineral spirits and wipe down the entire surface of the wood project. This will dissolve the wax layer and allow you to sand the chalk paint.

Step 2: Sand The chalk paint

Attach the coarse sandpaper to your power sander and begin sanding the chalk paint in the direction of the wood grain. You will create quite a bit of dust, so make sure you are wearing a face mask to stay safe.

Once you have removed most of the chalk paint, you can see the wood underneath the paint. Switch to the fine-grit sandpaper and begin sanding to smooth out the wood surface.

Step 3: Clean the Surface of the Wood

Take a clean cloth and soapy water and wipe down the wood surface to remove the dust and paint chips left behind. Be sure to ring out the cloth so it isn’t dripping wet when you wipe off the wood.

Allow the wood to dry completely before applying your new coat of paint or stain.

Chemical Method of Removing Chalk Paint

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paintbrush
  • Paint stripper
  • Putty knife
  • Steel wool pad
  • Fine grit sandpaper (120 grit)
  • Soapy water
  • Clean cloth or paper towels
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
Step 1: Apply the paint stripper

Unlike the sanding method, there is no prep work for the wood when you are using paint strippers. Ensure you are working in a well-ventilated area since the paint stripper will give off fumes. Also, always make sure you are wearing a mask whenever you are working with chemicals. You can check out my woodworking safety gear for more info.

Using a paintbrush, brush a liberal amount of paint stripper onto the entire wood surface. Allow the stripper to soak into the surface – this should be indicted on the container. You will know the paint is ready to remove when it starts looking “bubbly” and is cracking all over the place.

Step 2: Scrap the Paint off

Take the putty knife and use it as a paint scraper to remove the paint. Be careful while scraping the paint off not to scrape the wood itself.

Once you have removed most of the paint, remove your steel wool pad and soapy water and gently wipe off the remaining chalk paint.

Now take your clean cloth and use soapy water to wipe down the entire surface of the wood piece. This will remove all the dust and paint particles.

Allow the wood to dry completely, then gently sand with the wood grain for a smooth surface. Wipe off any excess dust. Now it’s ready for its new paint job.

2. How to Remove Chalk Paint from Glass

(Source: TheSpruce)

Since glass has a smooth, nonporous surface, it’s much easier to remove chalk paint from glass than it is wood.

Depending on the chalk paint you used and how long it has been on the glass, you might easily chip it away and wash it off with only soapy water and a sponge. If that doesn’t work, you can use the following instructions to remove the rest of the chalk paint.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paintbrush
  • Paint stripper
  • Soapy water
  • Razor blade
  • Clean cloth or paper towels
  • Face mask
Step 1: Apply Paint Stripper

Using a paintbrush, apply a generous amount of paint stripper to the paint-covered glass. The paint stripper will work quickly, and you will see the paint bubble and lift off the glass.

Step 2: Wipe Off the Paint Stripper

Wipe off the paint stripper and as much old paint as possible with a clean cloth. If chalk paint is still left over, take the razor blade and carefully scrape off the remaining paint. Be sure you are not scratching the glass.

Step 3: Clean the glass

Thoroughly wash the glass using a damp cloth. Allow the glass to dry completely, and it is ready for new paint.

3. How to Remove Chalk Paint from Fabric

It is inevitable; if you work with chalk paint, you will get some on your clothes at some point. But don’t freak out just yet! Before tossing the damaged clothes in the garbage, why not try one of these solutions to remove chalk paint from the fabric?

Solutions to remove chalk paint from Fabric

Several different cleaners and solutions can be used to remove chalk paint from textiles and fabrics. Here is a list of household items you can use:

  • Soap and hot water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paint stripper
  • Vinegar solution (two parts vinegar, two parts ammonia, one part salt, and warm water)
  • Acetone nail polish remover
Step 1: Prep the Fabric

First, you need to lay the fabric flat on a solid surface. Ensure you are using a surface that your solution won’t damage.

Scrape off any paint with your hands that you can. If you work with a sturdy fabric such as denim, you can use a bristle brush to remove some of the paint. Just make sure you aren’t damaging the fabric underneath!

Step 2: Apply the Solution

Whether using a paint remover, acetone, rubbing alcohol, a vinegar solution, or soap and hot water, you will need to apply the liquid to the paint-stained fabric and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Once it looks like the paint is starting to lift off the fabric, you can remove the paint using a damp rag. Continue to wipe off the paint with a clean cloth to avoid smearing paint on other parts of the fabric.

Step 3: Rinse the Fabric

After you are done removing chalk paint from your fabric piece, you need to rinse it with warm water. This will remove any paint residue or cleaning solution left over.

Now you can wash the fabric in the washing machine like you would with other fabrics!

Magic Eraser for Removing chalk paint From FAbric

The Magic Eraser has become a staple item to keep on hand for cleaning up all kinds of messes. Why not try it for chalk paint, right? Follow these simple steps to clean up stubborn paint on fabric.

Step 1: Prep Fabric

Lay out the fabric flat on a protected table or countertop.

Step 2: Use the Magic Eraser

Get the Magic Eraser wet, and using some elbow grease, scrub the fabric with the Magic Eraser. Continue scrubbing till you remove as much paint as possible.

Step 3: Rinse the Fabric

Take the fabric to your sink and let warm water run over the affected area to remove any excess paint and cleaner from the Magic Eraser. The Magic Eraser is an excellent scrubbing sponge for this type of project.

Machine wash your clothing as you usually would.

4. How to Remove Chalk Paint from a Wall

You may have some chalk paint buildup on your drywall that you want to remove. Removing chalk paint from walls might be a little more tricky than wood, but if you follow these steps, you should be able to strip chalk paint off your walls in no time!

Step 1: Scrape the Walls

First, we want to remove as much paint as possible using a metal putty knife. Old chalk paint will be much easier to remove than fresh paint.

If you have issues removing chalk paint with a putty knife, you can apply heat to the paint using a heat gun.

However, using a heat gun can be tricky, and you could potentially damage the wall if you aren’t experienced in using a heat gun or hair dryer. For this reason, I don’t recommend using a heat gun unless you know how to use it properly.

Step 2: Apply a Mild Detergent

Mix hot water and mild detergent in a spray bottle or a bucket, and use a soft cloth to apply the solution to the stubborn paint areas.

Allow this solution to sit on the paint for a few minutes. Once the mild detergent has sat on the chalk paint for a few minutes, take a damp rag or scrubbing sponge and gently wipe the walls to remove the paint.

Continue this process until you have removed all the paint.

Step 3: Rinse the Wall

Now take a soft cloth with fresh warm water and rinse off the walls. Allow the walls to completely dry (12-24 hours) before you paint.

5. How to Remove Chalk Paint from Concrete

To remove chalk paint from concrete, you can use a pressure washer to easily lift off the chalk paint from the surface.

If this doesn’t work, you can also try using a solvent to remove chalk paint from concrete.

You can also check out this guide to learn how to remove paint from a mirror!

How Do You Remove Stubborn Chalk Paint?

The great thing about chalk paint is it is much easier to remove than other some paint types. For example, removing acrylic paint from wood can be slightly more challenging in some cases. If you can’t get it out on your first try, all you need to do is try again.

In many cases, you only need soap, hot water, and some elbow grease. If that doesn’t work, you can always use a paint stripper. Just ensure you use the appropriate protective gear and work in a well ventilated area.

How Do You Fix a Bad Chalk Paint Job?

We’re all humans, so sometimes our first paint attempt might not look stellar. I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me! Here are a few reasons why a paint job might not turn out how we want it to.

  • The tannins in the wood bleed through.
  • The paint runs or clumps.
  • Paintbrush strokes show up on the finished painted surface.
  • The paint doesn’t stick properly to the project surface.

Here’s how you can improve your paint job.

Sand the Damaged Area

Sanding is SO important when you are planning on painting any surface. It helps you have a smooth surface, which will help you have a smooth paint finish.

You should follow the instructions from the Mechanical Method from the “How to Remove Chalk Paint from Wood” section earlier in this post to get started.

Make sure you remove all the dust from the surface before you go on to the next step. This will help the shellac adhere to the wood properly and evenly.

Seal the Sanded Area

We will seal the wood using shellac to avoid the wood tannins bleeding through the paint coats.

Follow the instructions on the shellac container and allow it to dry completely before you paint over it.

Repaint with Chalk Paint

Finally, you can paint your project using at least two coats of paint. If the paint seems too thick, add a little water to your paint and mix well to incorporate it into the paint – but I’ve found most paints don’t need this.

Allow it to dry completely, then apply a topcoat of polyurethane or wax to finish your project if desired.


What Happens If You Paint Over Chalk Paint?

You can paint over chalk paint as long as it is smooth; however, you must first remove the protective wax layer. You can do so by wiping the surface with mineral spirits and a clean cloth.

How Do You Clean Dried Chalk Paint?

To clean furniture that has been painted using chalk paint, you can use a damp rag with mild dish soap and water mixture. I would not recommend any harsh cleaners since they could strip the paint.

Does Chalk Paint Come Off with Water?

No. It would be best to have another cleaning solution mixed with water to remove chalk paint such as detergent.

What Does Baking Soda Do To Chalk Paint?

Combining baking soda with chalk paint will give you a thick, matte finish paint with a fun, almost concrete-like texture. This is an excellent option for painting flower pots or other projects.

Is Chalk Paint Erasable?

Chalk paint is only removable with the necessary cleaning and removal supplies like a stripper or cleaning agent.

Final Thoughts

Chalk paint is a fun and versatile option that can be used on many different surface types and projects.

However, there might be some times when you want to remove chalk paint from wood or other surfaces.

The best way to remove it is by using a stripper or stain remover and rubbing it off with a clean cloth or scraping tool.

Miriam Ronne - Author

Miriam Ronne wears many hats, including but not limited to freelance writer, blogger, professional quilter, serial DIYer, and obsessed dog mom. She loves to teach beginners how to do all sorts of crafts and techniques. If she’s not writing her next blog post, she’s either sewing a new project or playing with her pup. You can find Miriam on her blog, Stitch Obsessed, or connect with her on Instagram.