Safe Alternative to Chemical STRiPPER

2 Materials
2 Days

Ever get a really old piece and you go to sand it down and it gums up your sandpaper? Well, it's because it's OLD! This is when you use this method to strip and NOT GIVE UP and PAINT! Save those beautiful wood grains! It's even SAFE to do INDOORS! Unicorn SPiT Gel Stain is SAFE for INDOORS use too! How to Strip OLD Solid Wood with Gel Dishwasher Detergent: WHAT YOU WILL NEED: Cheap Dishwasher Detergent Bucket of water Spray bottle of water Metal scraper Scrub brush Gloves Eye protection

1. Make sure the piece you are going to strip is not modern polyurethane. It only works on very old finishes. The fingernail test is my fave. If you scrape it with your fingernail it will scratch off like a thick gum like film, especially in any crevasses. It'll feel like old hardened oil or wax. This is wax, polish, pledge like build up. Pre 1950's usually is good to go.

2. Get a spray bottle ready full of water. You will need to keep the Dishwasher Detergent moist.

3. Slather the piece with a very thick layer of the detergent. Let it sit for 10 minutes keeping it moist with the spray bottle of water if it starts to dry. 4. Start scrubbing with your scrub brush like you would your teeth ;o)

5. Once the clear gel starts to turn dark brown, it's time to scrape flat surfaces and scrub any detail with a clean scrub brush.

6. Once the majority of the gel is off, wash it off with water. Do 2 rinses to ensure that all soap residue is gone. 7. Let dry.

8. Do a light sanding with 120 sandpaper, dust off and it's ready to stain! (120 is the finest you should use when staining with a water based stain. Anything higher will close the grain and block the stain from absorbing deep)

This is Blue Thunder by Unicorn SPiT Gel Stain. Unicorn SPiT comes in the concentrate. As is, its a glaze thick enough to use as a paint. Diluted with up to 50% water you get a vibrantly potent stain! This just ONE COAT of Unicorn SPiT diluted with equal parts water! It's like getting 2 bottles for the price of one! (You can order at

Sealed with 3 coats of Quick Dry Oil Based High Gloss Polyurethane. General Finishes Arm-N-Seal in High Gloss is a better option.

There's no need to sacrifice beautiful wood grain and cover with paint for the love of color anymore! Unicorn SPiT is No VOC, NON TOXIC, and smells like JASMINE! You can strip and stain in your in your kitchen if you wanted or needed too!

Look at that tiger wood shine! Why would anyone want to put a mask on such beautiful natural beauty? This tree grew from our earth to display this magical and artistic medium for us to enjoy as a piece of eye candy!

1912, meet 2015! NO, you don't need to be painted! You are just so beautiful! Let's make you blue instead of all yellow and still show off those beautiful tiger stripes!

The way the light shines on the wood gives the beautiful blue stain (Blue Thunder) so many colors. It's like a multifaceted jewel! Unicorn SPiT plays with the natural tones of the wood giving you the most beautiful effects with just ONE COLOR! This is because it absorbs deeply into the wood and doesn't just float on top. This is what happens when you strip down to the bare wood. That's why I love this safe alternative to chemical strippers.

For more cool examples and tutorials visit Facebook! There's a group for more step by step instructions, guidance and comaradarie! Thank you for reading my post. I sure hope it opens your mind to staining beautiful pieces our ancestors crafted for us out of natural, beautiful wood. You don't have to use harsh chemicals to strip them. You don't need to use harsh chemicals with lots of coats to stain them, and you are not stuck to yellow, red and brown any longer! There's a RAiNBOW of colors waiting for you!

See more color options at

Suggested materials:
  • Unicorn SPiT   (
  • Arm-N-Seal   (
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  • JudyH JudyH on Mar 24, 2018

    Doesn't "washing down the wood" with lots of water to remove the dishwasher gel and old wax residue seriously raise the wood grain? Should you wait 24-48 hours to let the piece dry out before applying stain?

  • Rebecca Baca Rebecca Baca on Feb 12, 2019

    Will this work if it is painted?

  • Katrina Katrina on May 11, 2019

    Will this stain removal method work on inlays of veneer? I have this old radio cabinet that I want to transform into a kitchen island. I want to keep these beautiful inlays and woodgrain, and was thinking Unicorn Spit would be a great idea. Your thoughts?

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  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Apr 24, 2019

    I'm trying to find some kind of paint that I don't have to sand the piece I want to do it. it has scratches on it.

    • Gig69451122 Gig69451122 on Feb 20, 2023

      Depends on how deep the scratches. If gouged? Spot sanding by hand till disappears easier, then a second coat of paint. Otherwise, a good quality flat or satin paint. That says, " good coverage, or 1coat". Semi gloss paint is thicker, but, can magnify scratches/imperfections. It's best to "try as you go". One small section. Let dry. Then decide. You'll know 😉

  • Randi Thomson Randi Thomson on Mar 03, 2020

    yes, definitely!