How To Remove Chalk Paint Easily (Tips For Various Surfaces)

Chalk paint can be your best friend if you’re trying to give a DIY project a distressed vintage look or upcycle an old piece of furniture. But sometimes, the reality doesn’t match up with our expectations, or as the piece ages, the paint might begin to discolor. 

If your chalk paint finish is not up to scratch, this guide is here to show you how to remove chalk paint from all kinds of surfaces so you can get painting and revive any item!

Can You Remove Chalk Paints Easily?  

With the right tools and a decent amount of effort, chalk paint can be removed easily.

However, if the surface you are painting is more porous, you may have a harder time removing it, so it’s important to know how to get rid of it before you begin a project. 

The best way to remove paint will depend on the surface you are removing it from and the type of paint you’re trying to remove.

Runs and drips on your project can easily be wiped away with just water, and lots of water alongside white spirit can be helpful in breaking down the chalk paint and making it easier to remove.  

Other methods, such as using chemicals, sanding, or heat guns, are also effective but can be incredibly dangerous if done wrong. 

Chalk Paints on Brush Tips

What Can Be Used to Remove Chalk Paints? 

There are several options out there if you’re looking for a reliable, accessible, and easy way to remove unwanted chalk paint.

Before using any chemicals or equipment, check the surface you will be using them on will not be damaged and that you are wearing the correct safety gear, such as protective clothing, goggles, gloves, and a respirator. 

  • Paint Stripper
    this is a well-tested and reliable method for removing paint. After all, it was created for this purpose!

    However, chemical paint strippers do require protective gear, including a respirator or other mouth covering when they are used due to chemical fumes and potentially harmful ingredients. As chalk paint isn’t too hard to remove, paint stripper may not be necessary. 
  • White Spirit
    using a combination of white spirit and lots of water can be very effective for removing chalk paint from surfaces, especially wooden furniture. With some strong scrubbing, the white spirit should quickly break down the paint.
  • Vinegar
    instead of a chemical based paint stripper, you can make your own version with common household ingredients, such as vinegar. You will need to heat it and leave it on the painted area before attempting to rub the chalk paint away.
  • Washing Soda
    this is another potential homemade paint stripper but may not be as effective as some other homemade solutions.
  • Soap
    soap and water can be effective for removing chalk paint, especially if the surface was first painted recently.
  • Acetone, Denatured Alcohol, Rubbing Alcohol, and Mineral Spirits
    these are other alternatives to paint stripper. How effective they are may depend on the surface you are cleaning and if this surface was sanded beforehand. The smoother the surface, the easier the paint will be to remove.
  • Heat Gun
    These can be very effective for removing paint from old furniture very quickly. However, they can get very hot and pose a fire risk. This is probably the most expensive and most risky method of removing paint, so alternatives should be pursued first.
  • Sanding
    Can I sand off chalk paint? This could take a long time, but it is possible. However, you may damage some surfaces when sanding off paint.
Flaking Chalk Paint

How To Remove Chalk Paint: DIY Guide For Common Surfaces

Removing Chalk Paint From Wood, Wooden Walls & Floors

You will need: 

  • Warm (but not hot) water  
  • Sponge 
  • Paint thinner 
  • Steel wool 
  • Lint-free cloth 
  • Oil suitable for use on wood 
  • Wax or varnish 
  • Protective gear 

  1. 1
    If you are planning to use any chemical products, put on your protective equipment, such as goggles, gloves, and respirator.  
  2. 2
    First, try to remove the paint with water and a sponge. On some wooden surfaces, this may be all you need to remove most of the paint. If it’s a little more stubborn or the wood has a deep grain, try adding a small amount of paint thinner to your water.

    Regularly replace the water and wash your sponge to prevent paint buildup. Do not use water that is too warm, or it may cause the wood to warp. 
  3. 3
    If this doesn’t remove all of the paint, continue going over the surface of the wood with steel wool and warm water. This will also sand the surface of your wood, leaving it nice and smooth for the next coat of paint. Take care not to damage the wood by scrubbing too hard.  
  4. 4
    Next, clean and sand the wooden surface. Wipe down with mineral spirit or paint thinner and leave to dry. Next, finish however you like, either with oil and then wax or a new coat of paint. Oil, such as Danish oil, along with wax or varnish, will protect the wood and give it a nice shine. 

Removing Chalk Paint From Glass (Jars etc.) 

You will need: 

  • A straight razor blade 

  1. 1
    Glass is one of the easiest surfaces to remove chalk paint from. Using a straight razor or razor scraper tool, angle the blade to 45° and push against the paint.

    It should scrape away quite easily. If you’re removing a large amount of paint from glass, it will take less time if you use a wall scraper instead of a razor blade. 

Removing Chalk Paint From Concrete (Concrete Walls And Floors) 

You will need: 

  • soap and water 
  • TSP 
  • Long-handled brush 
  • Putty knife 
  • Paint stripper 
  • Scraper or wire brush 
  • Pressure washer (optional) 
  • Protective gear 

  1. 1
    Concrete is one of the trickiest surfaces to remove chalk paint from as it is very porous.

    First, clean your surface well with soap and water, and use a brush to remove any debris or dust. You can also clean it with a solution of water and trisodium phosphate, or TSP, which may be more effective, but you will need to wear gloves before handling.

    Work either the soap and water or TSP into the concrete with a long-handled brush. Wash with more water and leave to dry thoroughly. 
  2. 2
    Next, scrape any peeling paint with a putty knife before using a paint stripper on the surface. Cover thickly and leave it on for around six to eight hours. Remember to use protective eyewear, gloves, and a respirator before using chemicals. Make sure all skin is covered too. 
  3. 3
    Using a scraper or wire brush, remove the paint stripper, and with it, the paint residue. For a large area of concrete, it will be more effective and quicker to use a pressure washer set at 3,000 psi. Repeat until all paint is removed.  

Removing Chalk Paint From Metal 

You will need: 

  • Cloth 
  • Water and soap 
  • Solvent such as rubbing alcohol 
  • Paint stripper  
  • Protective gear 

  1. 1
    First, clean the area you will be removing the chalk paint from with soap and water. 
  2. 2
    Then use a cloth to rub a solvent such as rubbing alcohol across the surface. If the area is not smooth and has any grooves, use a paint stripper instead.

    Before applying any chemicals, check they will not damage the surface and put on protective gear. Do not scrub metal with steel wool, as this may scratch it. 

Removing Chalk Paint From Furniture 

How you remove chalk paint from furniture will depend on what the furniture is made of.

See above for information on removing paint from wooden or metal furniture. 

Removing Chalk Paint From Clothes 

You will need: 

  • Spoon or knife 
  • Warm water (not hot) 
  • Paper towels 
  • Laundry detergent, liquid soap, or stain remover 
  • Brush or rag 
  • Washing machine 

  1. 1
    If the paint on your clothes is still wet, begin by using a spoon or the blunt edge of a knife to scrape off the paint. 
  2. 2
    Put the clothes affected with chalk paint stains under the tap and run warm water over it from the back of the cloth. Then use the paper towels to soap up what paint you can. 
  3. 3
    If a stain remains, apply laundry detergent, liquid soap, or stain remover. Scrub with a brush or rag, then wash in the washing machine as normal. 

Removing Chalk Paint FAQs

Why did my chalk paint wax turn yellow?  

There can be a few environmental factors that cause chalk paint or wax on top of it to begin to yellow. It could be tannins from a wooden surface, exposure to the sun, or from not priming your surface before applying the paint. 

Can you paint over chalk paint instead of removing it?  

You can paint over chalk paint as long as any wax applied over the paint has been removed first. This can be done with mineral spirit on a rag. 

How to remove chalk paint from the chalkboard?  

The methods mentioned above can help to remove chalk paint from a chalkboard, or the board can simply be painted over if it is looking old and stained.  


Chalk paint can help you achieve the chic vintage distressed look of your dreams, and fortunately, if you don’t end up liking your final result, it’s not too tricky to remove your chalk paint and try again.