White vinegar can do unique and useful things around the home besides being an excellent ingredient for your salad dressing. As a natural cleaner, it is an effective deodorizer, dirt cleaner, and even stain-remover. But does vinegar remove paint?
Yes, vinegar can remove paint. However, its paint removal power depends on the type of material you are removing paint from.
For instance, eliminating paint on metal is easier than wood with vinegar. Vinegar, though, is a cost-efficient alternative to store-bought paint strippers. It’s also gentle and safe to use.
Here’s the scoop on how vinegar performs as a paint remover for every material at home.
How Does Vinegar Work to Get Rid of Paint?
Vinegar contains mild acid and water, known as acetic acid. Typically, the distilled white vinegar you buy from stores has 4 to 5% acetic acid, which makes it a solvent. As for their chemical aspect, the acid in vinegar has two components: hydrogen and acetate.
The hydrogen atoms in vinegar are missing an electron. Thus, it weakens the latter’s molecular structure when it encounters any electron, say paint. The acetate, however, has extra electrons making the solution attractive to other atoms like metals.
The acetate tends to bond with other atoms to create new molecules easily dissolved with water. This is precisely how the two parts of the acetic acid work to weaken or remove paint.
Is it Safe to Use Vinegar to Remove Paint?
Vinegar is safe and can remove paint on wood, metal, plastic, or concrete surfaces. However, its acidity may dissolve or destroy wax, stone, and hardwood finishes. You may need to consider this before you use vinegar to remove paint.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Wood?
Yes, vinegar can remove paint. Vinegar softens it, making scraping off the paint easier and faster with a paint scraper. To remove paint from the wood, boil the vinegar and apply it to the wooden surface with a brush.
After a few minutes, the paint will start scraping off. Feel free to repeat the process if the paint only comes off partially when you apply vinegar for the first time.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Metal?
Due to the acidic properties of vinegar, it is efficient in removing paint from metal without damaging the material or harming yourself. Like the previous method, you need to heat the vinegar.
Use a brush or a clean sponge to dab the heated vinegar onto the metal. Leave the vinegar to set on the paint until the paint softens. Once it starts to peel off, use your fingers or scraper to remove the paint.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Plastic?
Vinegar can also remove paint from plastic. However, you can remove paint on plastics through dish soap and water alone. But you may only need vinegar when the paint is hard to remove.
To use vinegar to remove paint from plastics, the solution should be warm but not too hot that you can’t touch it. Use a sponge to apply the vinegar to the plastic. When the paint starts to fall off, you can use a scrub brush to altogether remove the paint.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Concrete?
Yes, vinegar can remove paint from concrete. All you need to do is take ½ cup of vinegar and heat it. Apply warm vinegar to the painted concrete area and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
When the vinegar bubbles, it’s time to eliminate the paint with a scraper. Rinse the concrete with water after that.
What are the Advantages of Using Vinegar to Get Rid of Paint?
Since there are a lot of paint-stripping products you can buy in stores or online, why should you use them instead of vinegar? You are free to use store-bought products, but there are also a few reasons why removing paint with vinegar is a better option.
It Is Affordable.
Vinegar is undoubtedly more affordable than store-bought paint remover. You may not need to buy vinegar because you already have it at home.
But should you need to buy vinegar, it will usually cost under $5. However, paint remover in stores costs around $20 to $40.
It Is Eco-Friendly.
Vinegar is environmentally friendly. It does not contain harsh chemicals or dangerous fumes. Thus, it is safe to use at home, especially with pets and children. Unlike store-bought paint removers, that may contain toxic chemicals that may harm you and your family.
It Is a Multi-Purpose Cleaner
When you buy a bottle of paint remover, you only use it for one thing – to remove paint. But with vinegar, you can use it for other cleaning purposes or even for your cooking needs.
What Other Household Items Can You Use to Remove Paint?
Besides vinegar, there are other items you can find at home that will help you remove paint. So, when vinegar or paint remover is unavailable, you can use these items instead.
Rubbing alcohol can also remove paint. To use it, put some alcohol in the painted area and cover the plastic with plastic wrap. Allow the solution to soak on the paint for about 30 minutes.
When the paint finally softens, you can lift the plastic wrap and wipe off the paint. Repeat this process to eradicate the paint.
If you want to remove paint from wood, you can use a wood sander to do the job. Sanding can strip away old paint and even the most stubborn. Use sandpaper when using a sander to protect the wood surface.
Yes, baking soda can be used as a paint stripper, too. You can use this item the same way we do above with vinegar.
Boil some water with baking soda and apply it to the painted area once the water is boiling. The paint will peel off on its own, or you may need a scraper to remove it.
Water and Dish Soap
Water and dish soap can remove oil-based paint. This is especially true for paint that gets on your skin. For this, use water and dish soap to remove the paint from your body.
However, these items may not be effective in removing other types of paint from concrete, wood, metal, or plastic.
We hope we have answered your question – does vinegar remove paint? Indeed, if you are looking for the safest and most natural way to eliminate paint from almost any surface, you should not look any further. Vinegar does the job; it can get into the paint particles and remove them without causing you or the material any damage.
Vinegar is also easy to use – apply it hot to any surface and wait for a few minutes to do its thing. After the magic happens, you can now scrape off the paint. Vinegar is reliable, although you may need time and patience to complete the work.
But the best part? It is non-toxic and is cheaper than buying store-bought paint removers.
To learn what else vinegar can clean in your home, read our article – Does Vinegar Clean Dog Pee?