HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS NEW TECHNIQUE OF STRIPPING WOOD FURNITURE WITH OVEN CLEANER? Today I’ll show you the results of stripping two different wood finishes on furniture and my findings with this method. I think you’ll enjoy this.
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Before & After – Stripping Wood Furniture With Oven Cleaner
I found this great wooden rocking chair on FB Marketplace for a steal, and I thought it was the perfect specimen for trying out this stripping technique. I recently discovered this technique from Natalie from My Vintage Porch. You can CLICK HERE to see her post on stripping with oven cleaner.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine if a finish is a varnish or not. It’s a total guessing game.
Needless to say, I gave it my all and learned a lot in the process of stripping wood furniture with an oven cleaner. And of course, the before-after was impressive non the less.
- oven cleaner
- plastic drop cloth
- heavy duty scrubber sponges
- heavy duty gloves
- scrubber brush
- Surfprep Sanding System (discount code DOIT10) 10% savings on all products
- 100 grit sandpaper (film sheet for sander) Variety Pack
- very fine sanding pad (280-400 grit)
- drop cloth chalk mineral paint
- 2-inch mini angle synthetic paintbrush
- easy peasy spray wax
Stripping Wood Furniture With Oven Cleaner – Does It Work?
Here is what you’ll need. I purchased the generic version of oven cleaner because guess what? The ingredients read the same on the can—no need to spend that extra money. The total cost for supplies was about $10. That’s cheaper than most chemical strippers I have used in the past.
The best part about this whole technique of stripping wood furniture is that there is absolutely no prep. Say what??? NO PREP? Even if the wood is dirty and covered in gunk, guess what? Oven “cleaner” will clean it during the process. That’s was my first win!
STEP 1 Prepare Your Site For Stripping Wood Furniture With Oven Cleaner
Stripping wood furniture with oven cleaner can get messy, so your best bet is to do it outdoors. But if it’s winter and cold, it can be done indoors as long as you prepare your site.
Use a high-density plastic drop (like painters use) to protect your area from overspray. Allow a good 5-10 ft around your furniture. Again, it’s best to do this outdoors, in my honest opinion.
STEP 2 Application Of Oven Cleaner To The Wood
Like cleaning an oven, you spray the oven cleaner over the wood. I saturated this chair and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. So far, so good. This part is easy!
STEP 3 Stripping The Wood
Wait for the oven cleaner to do its magic (20-30 minutes), and then it’s ready to scrub.
I aggressively scrubbed every inch of the wooden rocker with a kitchen scrubber (the scrubby side) and used a stiff bristle brush in the corners. This will help break down the varnish on the wood.
After scrubbing to remove that topcoat of varnish, I took this rocking chair outside and used the water hose to rinse off the oven cleaner. Sorry, no pictures. You can remove the oven cleaner with a bucket of water and a sponge but that will take a lot longer. Just hose it down!
The wood at this point will be saturated, and that’s okay. It will dry out.
Again you will need to scrub as you rinse. Be sure to rinse away the oven cleaner thoroughly from the wood. If you don’t, you will see a leftover film after it dries. It’s no different than cleaning an oven. I remember the old ovens that weren’t self-cleaning back in the day. I cooked a lot more back then, so I have some experience cleaning them. Thank goodness for take-out.
Immediately after rinsing, towel dry to absorb any excess water. Be sure to get into the corners because water will get trapped there. Allow it to dry in a warm area for 24 hours.
My Findings Stripping Wood Funiture With Oven Cleaner
The next day, I inspected two different projects I had started with this technique. I can’t do anything simple. I was too excited about this technique and decided to go ahead and do both projects since I had my work area prepped.
#1 Project Result – Wooden Rocking Chair Makeover
After a close inspection, I was a bit disappointed that stripping the wood with oven cleaner didn’t lighten the wood as I expected on this wood rocking chair. I have determined that the finish on this rocking chair was not varnish but a water-based topcoat. However, it did remove it, so it wasn’t a total fail. What didn’t happen was the wood remained dark and didn’t lighten as expected.
If this happens, you can always easily remove the leftover stain by sanding over the wood stain to reveal the bare wood underneath. I used a 100 grit abrasive with my SurfPrep Sanding System to remove the stain. Using this sander is one of the easiest ways to sand wood. Once removed, I used a fine grit abrasive (sandpaper) to smooth the wood grain.
Stripping Wood Furniture Video Tutorial
#2 Project Result – My Antique Sideboard Test Piece
THIS is what I was expecting and was dreaming of! I did a test piece on one of the doors to my antique sideboard. I sprayed a small area on it with the oven cleaner and totally forgot to check it until the next day. Here is what I found the next morning. SCORE! And I hadn’t even rinsed it with water.
I promise you I’ll follow up with the results of my sideboard once I get it completely stripped down using the oven cleaner. I’m so excited!
Painting The Rocking Chair
Since the wood on the rocking chair didn’t entirely turn out as planned, painting the wood was my plan B.
I finished this rocking chair makeover with two coats of this gorgeous color, Drop Cloth Chalk Mineral Paint, followed up with multiple coats of the Easy Peasy Spray Wax. The spray wax was also applied to the bare wood to seal and protect it.
Summary – Stripping Wood Furniture With Oven Cleaner
Here is what I learned from both projects. This technique does work to remove varnish and whatever this water-based topcoat was. But if you’re looking to lighten the wood as well, it seems to work best on older varnished pieces. The ones that have darkened over time.
Is it worth it? YES! But it’s not just for wood furniture. Think of all the old wood decor items and the old wooden mirrors that would look amazing with this bare wood look. I’m sure you will be seeing this finish from me again.
I could not be happier with the results. Who would have thought stripping wood furniture with oven cleaner would be a thing? It makes me wonder what other products we could have in our home that could help us in our never-ending love of refurbishing furniture.
I’m dying to know what you think about this process, and better yet, have you tried it? Let me know in the comment section. Is this crazy or what??? Gosh, I love what I do!
Until the next project… xo, Do