How to Remove Latex Paint from Hardwood Floors

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20-100
What You'll Need
Scraper, or screwdriver with flat tip
Plastic rubbish bags
Liquid soap
Shoe polish brush or old toothbrush
Paper towels or dishcloth
Cleaning alcohol
Mop and bucket

Latex paint can be used for a number of reasons, from decorating the walls to types of body paint, but if you have spilled it on your floor, then you may find that you are having some problems cleaning it up. You may also have just moved into a house, and found latex paint stains under carpets or tiles. Latex is a difficult thing to remove, particularly if it has been left to dry for some time, but before you call in any professionals, you should take the time to try and remove the latex paint yourself, following a few simple guidelines to getting this off your floors quickly and easily.

Step 1 - Clean up New Spills

A new spill of latex paint is easiest to clean off, so if this is your problem, then you should be able to overcome it in a matter of minutes. Take a dishcloth, and slightly wet it. Rub it briskly over the floor. While you are cleaning, take care not to widen the area of staining by spreading the paint across the floor. Mop up using some paper towels. Make sure that you are cleaning up all of the paint, and not leaving a stain on the floor.

Step 2 - Scrape Up Older Paint

Older paint will need harsher methods to get rid of it once and for all. Start with a scraper, or the flat tip of a screwdriver, or even a small chisel. Put some liquid hand soap on the stain, and then tub the scraper over the surface. If you are worried about the appearance of your floorboards, reverse the scraper and gently nudge the blade across the floor. You can wipe up the crumbs produced with a damp dishcloth, or rinse away using ordinary soap and water.

Step 3 - Get Serious

If you find that there is still a lot of staining on your wood, then you might need to pull out the bigger guns. This involves pouring alcohol, often methylated spirits, onto the floor. Only use a very small amount, and stay well out of the fumes while you are working this. Cover the area, and then use a mop to spread the alcohol around. You should then take some old garbage bags, and tape them over the floor. Leave for between 10 minutes and half an hour. Once this time has elapsed, scrub the alcohol surface with a brush or toothbrush. You can then run your mop, with some soapy water, over the entire area.

Step 4 - Finish Up

Once you have removed the paint from the surface, you need to lift it away using a dustpan and brush. Make sure that all the gaps in your wood floor have been carefully scrubbed free of the paint, and then use a standard floor cleaner to remove the alcohol you used to get rid of the paint stain.