Asked on Feb 18, 2021

How can I remove varnish from floorboards without commercial product ?

Simple Nature DecorSUSAN DAVIESBetsy


Anybody know of an effective home-made varnish/ stain/polyurethane remover for wood floorboards (that contains no chemicals) ? I would be so grateful if anyone has used a natural remedy I could make at home - that really works.

19 answers
  • Kmdreamer
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Only thing I could think of is to lightly sand it off

    on Feb 18, 2021

    Thank you Kmdreamer, I will give that a go.

  • Redcatcec
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Yes, sanding is the only way to remove the varnish short of chemicals. If you don't have a sander, you can rent 1 from diy stores. I like the ones with the vacuum attached to capture the varnish as it is stripped off. Wear safety glasses.

  • Try vinegar. It's acidic and should dissolve the varnish.

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    Kathy Gunter Law
    on Feb 18, 2021

    I would get a small palm sander if it isn't a big area. For a larger area, rent one but they can get away from you easily and ruin the grain of the wood. You can try vinegar but it may also change your wood color.

  • Libbie B
    Libbie B
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Have you tried sanding?

  • Chloe Crabtree
    Chloe Crabtree
    on Feb 18, 2021

    I think you will have to sand that to remove the stain.

  • Mogie
    on Feb 18, 2021

    You would need to sand them.

  • I agree with the vinegar suggestion. It would go slow with it though, it might get gummy. Sanding might be the way to go though. Although, I think you might have to restain the floor boards underneath the area you remove the stain.

  • Sand it down. Nothing natural will work.

  • Janice
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Sanding by hand or with a palm or mechanical sander is the only way I know to remove the finish without using some type of stripper mixture. Start with a coarse grit and then end with a very fine sandpaper for the very smoothest finish.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY
    on Feb 18, 2021

    Agreed, without chemicals, sanding is probably your only hope.

  • Em
    on Feb 18, 2021

    A sander. You can rent a professional sander with a bag that helps keep the dust down for a weekend at most tool rental places. It is not hard to use just heavy. Get an orbital one and never leave it sit on one spot. The trick is to keep it moving at all times. You can finish off hand sanding the edges. No homemade concoction will strip varnish.

  • William
    on Feb 19, 2021

    Sanding is the only solution. Nothing homemade that will work.

  • Vimarhonor
    on Feb 19, 2021

    Sanding is a mechanical remover but can be very very messy. We contracted out to have our wall ceiling and floors done. Results are amazing!

  • Betsy
    on Feb 19, 2021

    Hi Susan: Here is a site that's sure to help:

    Good luck

    on Feb 19, 2021

    Thank you everyone for your advice - much appreciated. Accept that I may have to sand to get rid of the varnish ... BUT I am going to have a go with mix of warm water and white vinegar first - because wouldn't it be amazing if it worked ? Will report back if it does !

    on Feb 19, 2021

    Thank you, Betsy !

  • Simple Nature Decor
    Simple Nature Decor
    on Feb 20, 2021

    I only know Murphy oil

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