Our dining table was in need of refinishing. The finish has begun to wear off in places and at 16 years old it was showing some wear and tear. I wanted to remove the finish and restain it or just reseal it. I decided to try the new way to strip wood, I put oven cleaner on wood furniture. Did you now you can strip wood with oven cleaner? I want to share my experience and also share how to strip furniture with oven cleaner.
A few notes about oven cleaner on wood
First, you need to make sure that the wood is solid wood. You don’t want to use this on veneer or faux wood finishes.
For a large table that seats 10 like ours, I used 4-5 cans of oven cleaner and I used the Easy Off Fume Free.
Plan to do this where you can use a hose. I did this on my grass, but I used a tarp to collect and protect the grass as much as I could. A dirt or gravel spot would be best. I did notice that some of he grass tips burned a bit, but as soon as we mowed it, the grass looked good as new.
Use safety glasses and rubber gloves. Its best to protect your skin from the oven cleaner, just as you would if using it on your oven.
A few tips for using oven cleaner on wood
- First, you need to make sure that the wood is real wood. You dont want to use this on wood veneers or faux wood finishes.
- For a large table tha seats 10, I used 3-4 cans of oven cleaner.
- Plan to do this where you can use a hose. I did this on my grass, but I used a tarp to collect and protect the grass as much as I could. A dirt or gravel spot would be best. I did notice that some of he grass tips burned a bit, but as soon as we mowed it, the grass looked good as new.
- Use safety glasses or goggles and rubber gloves. Its best to protect your skin from the oven cleaner, just as you would if using it on your oven.
Tools you’ll need
How to Strip Wood with Oven Cleaner
Set up your furniture on a tarp or protective covering. Begin by spraying the entire surface of the furniture with a coat of oven cleaner, I used Easy Off Oven Cleaner fume free. You want to make sure to give a good coat along the entire surface.
Let the furniture sit with the cleaner on it for 30 minutes.
Next squirt your dish soap around onto the furniture. Start scrubbing the surface using the scrubber brushes. Make sure to scrub with the wood grain. You can also use a steel wool scrubber. I find it is helpful when the finish is being stubborn.
Add a bit of water to get things moving. You can add more soap if it is being sticky. Keep scrubbing and washing as you remove the finish. Continue to do this until you have worked all the wood.
Wash the entire piece of furniture off once you have gotten the finish off. Rinsing the piece of furniture will help remove and leftover oven cleaner and old varnish. Sometimes you will have a small amount remain. Depending on the amount of layers of varnish it may take more than one time. You can repeat this process again to remove it all or oyu can sand off anything that is left behind with an orbital sander or belt sander.
Once it is cleaned completely, use your towels to dry the entire piece of furniture. You do not want the water to stay on the wood for very long. Dry the furniture and let it sit in the sun so it can dry out faster!
At this point you will need to sand the surface to smooth it out. I used my orbital sander, but you can use a belt sander as well if you are refinishing a large area.
Once it is sanded to your preference, you can restain or paint and seal the piece of furniture. I have decided to bleach my dining table and then seal it with a wax furniture polish. The raw wood finish is what I was wanting and gosh this wood looks gorgeous now that it has been stripped of its pervious wood stain. I love the natural wood look.
I think that using oven cleaner method to strip wood is a great alternative to using other furniture strippers.