How to Use Citristrip Stripping Gel on Furniture [5 Steps] (2022)

Using a paint stripper is one of the easiest methods of removing dry paint from surfaces. So learning how to use Citristrip stripping gel will go a long way in your woodworking projects. It not only saves you the effort but also the time since it’s fast-acting.

This guide will take you through the essential tools and materials you will need when stripping paint, citristrip directions, and a few helpful tips to help make this entire process seamless.

So read on and find out the details. It’s pretty straightforward.

What is Citristrip Stripping gel?

Citristrip stripping gel is a special orange-colored paint and varnish chemical stripper. It’s characterized by a pleasant citrus scent, unlike other paint strippers with harsh fumes.

Citristrip stripper gel can stay active for up to 24 hours and is therefore perfect for removing thick layers of dried latex, oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac from wood metal and old houses.

Citristrip Ingredients

The primary ingredient in Citristrip is citrus acid, which acts as an organic solvent and dissolves paint from surfaces like wood, metal, or even painted walls. This citrus stripper doesn’t contain methylene chloride or NMP; it’s non-caustic and therefore safe for use indoors or outdoors.

How to use Citristrip stripping gel to strip furniture

First, prepare your furniture. Next, apply the first coat of the citrus strip, then spread the second coat of the stripper for thickness. Let the gel work for a while, then scrape off the paint and gel residue. Finally, wash the surface with odorless mineral spirits.

That’s the snippet version. But, there’re several details and steps involved in the stripping process which we’ll discuss.

So, let’s focus on using Citristrip stripping gel to strip wood furniture. Even though the process is almost identical for other surfaces, the variation lies in the tiny details.

Tools and materials

How to Strip Furniture with Citristrip (Step by Step)

Step 1: Preparation

Safety preparation is critical for every refinishing project.

As much as Citristrip is a safe stripper, it’s still a chemical stripper that could irritate your skin and eyes in case of contact.

That’s why you need to wear chemical-resistant gloves such as nitrile gloves because Citristrip eats up rubber or latex gloves.

Also, wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes if you can’t find chemical splash goggles.

(Video) Remove Gel Stain using CITRISTRIP - Beginner - How To Process | DIY Power Couple

Ensure you follow the general rule of thumb; work in a well-ventilated space. If you can work outside in the open air, the better: If not, it is best to wear a respirator with a filter cartridge.

The next thing you want to do is line a carpenter’s plastic or drop cloth on the floor beneath and around the painted furniture you want to strip to collect the excess stripper from landing on a surface it shouldn’t.

If necessary, tape down the plastic wrap so it doesn’t move around and end up soiling the surface with the debris.

If you plan to strip a piece of painted furniture with moving parts such as drawers or hardware, it’s best to separate them beforehand then strip them separately later on.

Tip

Lightly sand the surface of your furniture before you apply the stripper. This helps the stripper to penetrate the layers of paint quickly. Of course, it’s okay if you skip this part.

Step 2: Apply A Thick Coat Of Citristrip Gel

We recommend using an old paintbrush or a chip brush you don’t mind disposing of once you’re done stripping.

First, shake theCitristrip bottle, pour the stripping gel into a metal container, then dip a paintbrush in the gel stripper and apply it to the furniture you want to strip.

Alternatively, you can pour the orange stripper on a few places on the surface of the piece of furniture you want to remove paint. Then use a paintbrush to spread a liberal coat of the gel stripper to every inch of the old paint on your furniture.

Apply gel stripper super thick to every intricate joint and corner of your furniture. If your furniture has drawers and or hardware, this is the step where you coat them with the citrus stripper as well.

Apply a second coat of the stripper; to be sure you have a thick coat of the stripper for better results when you scrape it off. Be careful not to overbrush the gel; otherwise, you are only going to thin it out.

Step 3: Allow Time For The Stripper To Work

The instructions manual on the Citristrip container and their website indicate that you can leave the stripper on for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 24 hours, provided the stripper remains wet.

How long does Citristrip take to work?

The amount of time you leave the stripper depends on the coats of stripping gel applied and the layers of paint or varnish you hope to strip from your piece of furniture.

You can cover the gel stripper on your piece of furniture with a saran wrap. This will ensure the gel stays wet for a longer time than it would if left exposed: therefore better-stripping powers of the Citristrip stripper.

You will know that its stripper has worked its magic enough when you see bubbles formed on the surface. You may also notice the paint looking fluffy and slightly separated from the natural wood.

(Video) How to Remove Paint from Wood Furniture | How to Use Citristrip Stripper on Painted Furniture

Step 4: Stripping Furniture with Citristrip

Scrape a small area to confirm if the paint or varnish is ready to come off. If the paint easily separates from the wood beneath, proceed: If it doesn’t, then allow it more time.

Read: Remove Paint from Stained Wood.

Begin scraping the loose paint using a plastic putty knife. Push it against the gelled surface to lift the loose gunk.

Ensure you push the putty knife slightly beneath the layers of paint build up, then glide it through to the other end, all this while going in the direction of the wood grain.

Using plastic tools helps you avoid damaging the wood if you accidentally dig into the wooden surface, unlike using a metal putty knife.

You can drop the debris on the drop cloth lined on the floor or in a separate trash bag. Wipe the edge of the plastic putty knife with a paper towel to remove build-up.

Use a wire brush to remove all the paint and gel striper from areas hard to reach with a putty knife.

Once you’re done removing paint layers and gel strippers from your furniture, you need to determine whether your project is good enough or needs another coat of the stripper.

Step 5: Clean The Surface

You need to clean the stripped furniture using either mineral spirits or paint stripper after washing. This step helps to break and remove wax that was contained in the gel stripper.

Use fine steel wool and odorless mineral spirits and gently scrub the entire surface of the furniture, adding more mineral spirits where needed. Ensure you cover every inch of the wood.

Then soak a clean cloth in mineral spirits and use it to wipe down every lingering paint residue from the surface. Finally, use a white lint-free cloth to be able to tell if there’re any more residues left.

If you have Paint Stripper After Wash at your disposal, use it the same way as you would, mineral spirits. You can use this product from the Citristrip or Klean Strip brand.

Once the stripped piece is paint-free, allow it sufficient time to completely dry before you re-stain or refinish your furniture.

This step applies to the detached pieces of furniture as well. Again, remember to paint or stain the separate pieces separately and only put them back together once fully dry.

(Video) How to Strip and Refinish Furniture - Using CitriStrip Paint & Finish Remover

Why Should You Use Citristrip?

Citristrip is the best paint stripper for removing thick layers of old paint from either wood, metal, or masonry surfaces.

Citristrip is found in a home improvement store near you or on Amazon right here. It’s also super easy to use. We covered the steps of using it above.

This citrus stripper doesn’t have crazy fumes, unlike other chemical strippers. Instead, you get a citrus scent that’s pleasant as long as you’re using it in a well-ventilated area.

Besides, it’s environmentally friendly and doesn’t have either methylene chloride or NMP.

You can use this stripping gel on both a flat surface and a vertical surface. This is possible because of the stripper’s super thick consistency that clings well and won’t run off on vertical surfaces.

Use this stripper if you want to strip multiple layers in one application. This stripper can remain active for up to 24 hours if you manage to keep it wet. And we have seen how to do it above.

If these aren’t reasons enough for you to use Citristrip, I don’t know what is.

Citristrip gel is also much less expensive than chemical stripper because you use so little of it at a time.

If you’re working on floors, here’s how to remove paint from hardwood floors fast and effectively.

Is citristrip safe?

Yes, Citristrip is safe for use and will not damage the surface, making this product ideal for paint removal.

Citristrip stripping gel is far superior to traditional chemical strippers in a number of ways. It’s safe, non-toxic, and low-odor. For indoor usage, it is safe (but still keeps the windows open for ventilation). There is no methylene chloride (non-caustic) in this formula.

Tips for Using Citristrip on Wood

  • Read all safety information prior to using Citristrip.
  • Apply Citristrip to dry surfaces
  • Be patient. Citristrip needs some time to work.
  • Ventilate the area prior to application
  • Dispose of Citristrip properly once you’re done stripping paint,
  • Keep the area surrounding the workstation secure when working outside. Be careful when applying Citristrip around plants or grass because this could affect them negatively.

How to Apply Citristrip FAQs

How do you clean up Citristrip?

To remove Citristrip residue, dip fine steel wool ( grade #0000) in mineral spirits or Klean Strip’s Paint Stripper After Wash and use it to scrub off the remaining stubborn traces of paint or varnish. Once there’re no more traces of paint on the furniture, you need to wipe the surface with a clean cloth soaked in mineral spirits or After Wash.

Citristrip temperature

Citristrip works best at temperatures between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are not sure what temperature your chemical works best with, it is always better to err on the side of caution by starting with a lower temperature and working up from there.

Does Citristrip remove wax?

Yes, CitriStrip can remove wax from your surface, but it will take additional time and effort. Citristrip will dissolve the top layer of the wax on wood surfaces, leaving behind only the natural color beneath.

(Video) How To Use Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripper

How to neutralize Citristrip

Okay, you’re not attempting to ‘neutralize’ the Citristrip but rather to get rid of it. If you want the best way to remove Citristrip, consider purchasing a Citristrip Wash. But neutralize the wood after using Citristrip, use a buffer with water.

How to dispose of citristrip

Citristrip may not mix well with other chemicals, so do not dump it down your drain or in your yard waste bin. In many areas, you should check for disposal instructions from the city where you live.

In other cases, there may be a take-back program from the manufacturer or you can look for recycling facilities.

If all else fails, your local landfill should accept Citristrip containers as long as they are properly sealed and labeled.

Does citristrip remove stain

Yes, citristrip does remove stain from wood surfaces. Citristrip works on surfaces where you can’t sand, like plastic. If it’s a stain that appears in the wood grain itself, then use a sanding block.

How long to leave Citristrip on?

According to the manufacturer, you can leave Citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel on a surface for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of up to 24 hours. The point is, as long as the stripper remains wet on the surface it is applied to, you can leave it for longer to strip multiple layers of paint or varnish.

Do I have to use mineral spirits after stripping?

You need to use odorless mineral spirits after stripping to help you loosen the residues on the surface of the stripped furniture. You can use an abrasive pad or fine steel wool with a bit of mineral spirits to break down the stubborn bits. Finally, wipe the lingering residues with a clean cloth dampened with mineral spirits.

What is a Paint Stripper After Wash?

Paint Stripper After Wash is a liquid designed to clean and prepare surfaces for refinishing by removing any stripping residue from the wood grain, metal, and masonry surfaces. Its fast-acting formula evaporates pretty quickly and leaves no residue on the stripped surface. It works great for furniture as well as antiques.

Can you Leave Citristrip on too long?

According to the Citristrip manufacturer, you can leave Citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel on a surface for up to 24 hours. The condition is, as long as the stripper stays wet on the surface it’s applied to, you can let it sit for long and strip multiple layers of paint or varnish.

Can you use Citristrip stripping gel on Metal and Masonry Surfaces?

Yes. You can use Citristrip all-purpose stripping gel to remove several layers of latex paint, oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, acrylics, enamel, polyurethane, shellac, and epoxy from metal and masonry surfaces. Apply two layers of a thick coat of the stripping gel on the surface, let it sit for a while, and then remove the loose layers using a wire brush.

How to Use Citrus Paint Remover Summary

This stripping process is the most satisfying for me despite it being messy. I hope you enjoy stripping furniture now because you have learned how to use Citristrip Stripping Gel.

The next time you are faced with a project that requires refinishing and other methods of removing layers of paint is daunting; you won’t be shaken because you can use Citristrip stripping gel with confidence.

Let me know in the comments below if you find this guide helpful. And if you are a seasoned woodworker, we’d love to hear your tips when using Citristrip stripping gel.

(Video) NEVER USE CITRISTRIP EVER AGAIN! - Wood Stripper Comparison

For those looking for alternatives, learn how to remove paint from deck without chemicals here.

FAQs

How long do you let Citristrip sit? ›

Citristrip is meant to be left on for anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. I typically find that 1-6 hours is sufficient but it's always best to test a small area first before removing the whole application. Steel Wool is your friend.

How do you use an orange stripper? ›

This works on painted and stained finishes I prefer to use citrus strip when I'm I'm stripping

What do you use after Citristrip? ›

Citrus strippers such as CitriStrip have a wax in them to keep the product from drying out after it's applied to the surface. Mineral spirits is recommended after the stripping solution because it's important to break down those waxes before getting started.

What happens if you leave Citristrip on too long? ›

As I proved above, yes you can leave Citristrip on too long. According to the manufacturer, Citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel will stay active and remove layers of unwanted paint and finish for up to 24 hours as long as it remains wet. If it dries out, then you end up in the same mess I did.

How long after stripping can I paint? ›

How long after stripping can I stain or paint? Wait 24 hours after the piece is cleaned and stripped before adding any stain, sealer, or finish. This will allow any and all fumes to dissipate and make sure the surface is free of any residue.

Can't get Citristrip off? ›

If you only have a light layer or small spots of dried Citristrip, you can use Mineral Spirits and a Heavy-Duty stripping pad to remove it from wood, furniture, metal, and concrete. It should be pretty easy to scrape Citristrip off furniture. If it isn't, it's probably too dry.

Do I have to use mineral spirits after stripping? ›

Difference Between Mineral Spirits and After-Wash

When using water-based products, paint stripper after-wash is preferable since you can only use mineral spirits with oil-based products. However, spirits can be a better choice for various reasons, including dissolving strength, price, and usefulness.

What is Citristrip after wash? ›

A: CitriStrip is for use on wood, metal, and masonry surfaces. After the finish has been removed, use a paint stripper wash to loosen remaining residue and then mineral spirits to prepare surface for painting. Surface should be completely clean and dry before refinishing.

How do you apply stripping gel? ›

How To Strip Furniture Using CitriStrip - YouTube

How do you strip furniture? ›

Simply brush a layer of stripper on the furniture and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then use a scrapping tool and scrape the finish or paint off of the piece. Repeat as necessary and use Afterwash to clean the piece in the end.

How do you use paint stripping gel on wood? ›

How to Strip and Refinish Wood with Soy Gel Stripper - YouTube

How do you neutralize wood after stripping? ›

One of the most common ways to clean down wood after it has been stripped is to employ a combination of vinegar and water. Mix these two liquids together in equal proportions. Immerse a soft rag within this solution and gently wipe any wood that has been subject to the stripping agent.

Can you use vinegar to remove Citristrip? ›

Heat a bowl of white distilled vinegar in the microwave for 30 second and liberally apply (with a brush or a rag) a decent amount of vinegar over the surface. Make sure to let the vinegar puddle! After 15 minutes, use a plastic scraper to remove the paint.

Does Citristrip remove wood stain? ›

But will Citristrip remove stain? YES! It can and will remove old stain.

How do you remove dried citrus strips? ›

How do you clean up Citristrip? To remove Citristrip residue, dip fine steel wool ( grade #0000) in mineral spirits or Klean Strip's Paint Stripper After Wash and use it to scrub off the remaining stubborn traces of paint or varnish.

What is the easiest way to remove varnish from wood? ›

All you need to do is start with 150-grit sandpaper and sand the entire surface. Once you've done that, move onto 220-grit sandpaper and repeat. This should remove the varnish. An orbital sander will make this job much easier and quicker if you're removing varnish from a flat surface.

How do you strip a table? ›

  1. Brush on Thick Paste Finish Remover, Letting the Chemical Work. ...
  2. Use a Wide Putty Knife and Scrape off the Finish. ...
  3. Apply Liquid Stripper and Use Steel Wool to Lift Remnants. ...
  4. Wash Away Waxy Stripper Residue with Lacquer Thinner. ...
  5. Use a Finishing Sander to Smooth the Surface. ...
  6. Apply Matching Stain, Letting It Dry for 24 Hours.

How long do I leave stripper on furniture? ›

DIY Furniture Refinishing | How To Strip Wood Furniture - YouTube

How long does wood need to dry after stripping? ›

* Let the stripped piece dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours to 48 hours for softer woods or pieces that required long soaking to clean off all the finish. Refinish promptly to seal and protect from humidity changes and environmental contamination.

Is it better to strip or sand furniture? ›

So then I point out that stripping is faster, and in the case of paint could even be safer than sanding. It's almost always better to strip than to sand. To begin with, except in cases where the old finish is flaking off, it's a lot more work to sand than to strip using a paint-and-varnish remover.

Will CitriStrip remove polyurethane? ›

Use CITRISTRIP® to remove multiple layers of dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane and shellac from wood, metal and masonry surfaces.

Will CitriStrip remove chalk paint? ›

You may like CitriStrip because it doesn't contain any harsh fumes, so it really doesn't have an unpleasant smell at all. For me, the CitriStrip worked well on taking that top coat of blue paint off, but it did NOT work at all for white chalk paint, so I moved on to step 3.

Is citrus stripper flammable? ›

It does not contain methylene chloride, NMP, caustic, flammable chemicals or harmful vapors like many traditional strippers.

What's the difference between denatured alcohol and mineral spirits? ›

Denatured alcohol is alcohol with additives that make it poisonous. Mineral spirits, on the other hand, comes from petroleum. They are both solvents but mineral spirits do not mix with water. The popular names for denatured alcohol include; 'wood alcohol' and 'methylated spirit.

How do you remove excess paint after stripping? ›

Protect yourself by wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area. Household vinegar will neutralize some paint strippers. Paint stripper is a strong chemical that dissolves paint, allowing you to remove paint from a wall or other surface.

What can I use instead of mineral spirits? ›

We did some research for you and found that there are 5 alternative to mineral spirits solutions available.
  • Denatured alcohol.
  • Charcoal lighter fluid – actually mineral spirits rebranded.
  • Acetone (think nail polish remover)
  • Turpentine.
  • Oil, soap and water (natural ways to clean up paint)

Can you use Citristrip indoors? ›

Citristrip is an orange paint stripper in gel form that actually smells decent and it is safe to use indoors! No crazy toxic fumes like other paint strippers.

What is after wash used for? ›

Taking a small step of Comfort After Wash Fabric Conditioner nourishes the cloth fibres damaged by detergent, giving them softness and new like shine even over repeated washing. Not only shine, our range of fabric softeners gives visible softness to your favourite clothes while also delivering a long-lasting freshness.

What is the best stripper for refinishing furniture? ›

The best paint stripper
  • Best Overall: Citri-Strip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel.
  • Most Eco Friendly: Dumond Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Fastest Working: Sunnyside 2-Minute Advanced Paint Remover.
  • Most Family Friendly: MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper.
  • Most Heavy Duty: Dumond Peel Away 1 Heavy-Duty Paint Remover.
17 Aug 2022

How do you remove old finish from wood? ›

How to Strip Wood Finish the Easy Way | NO SAND PAPER NEEDED

Does vinegar remove paint from wood? ›

Vinegar does not remove paint from wood, but it can soften paint and make it easier to remove. It is a non-toxic, natural alternative to chemical paint strippers, but may take a little more time and effort to get all the paint off.

How do you strip furniture without sanding? ›

The Quickest Way to Remove Varnish & Stain Without Sanding
  1. Liquid and gel strippers soak into the finish to loosen it, and heat guns work by softening it; both methods require scraping. ...
  2. Liquid and gel strippers are brushed on, and an inexpensive, natural-fiber craft paintbrush works as well as an expensive brush.

How do you strip a dresser? ›

How to Strip Wood Furniture | AOM Dresser Makeover - YouTube

What is the best paint stripping product for wood? ›

Best for Wood: MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

This option from MAX Strip is free from methylene chloride, NMP, and other caustic chemicals but can still successfully remove paint from wooden items—even layers of paint.

How do you use CitriStrip on a wood table? ›

How To Strip Furniture Using CitriStrip - YouTube

Do I have to use mineral spirits after stripping? ›

Difference Between Mineral Spirits and After-Wash

When using water-based products, paint stripper after-wash is preferable since you can only use mineral spirits with oil-based products. However, spirits can be a better choice for various reasons, including dissolving strength, price, and usefulness.

Does CitriStrip remove stain from wood? ›

But will Citristrip remove stain? YES! It can and will remove old stain.

How do you strip wood furniture? ›

Simply brush a layer of stripper on the furniture and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then use a scrapping tool and scrape the finish or paint off of the piece. Repeat as necessary and use Afterwash to clean the piece in the end.

How do you clean wood after stripping paint? ›

One of the most common ways to clean down wood after it has been stripped is to employ a combination of vinegar and water. Mix these two liquids together in equal proportions. Immerse a soft rag within this solution and gently wipe any wood that has been subject to the stripping agent.

What is CitriStrip after wash? ›

A: CitriStrip is for use on wood, metal, and masonry surfaces. After the finish has been removed, use a paint stripper wash to loosen remaining residue and then mineral spirits to prepare surface for painting. Surface should be completely clean and dry before refinishing.

How do you use paint stripping gel on wood? ›

How to Strip and Refinish Wood with Soy Gel Stripper - YouTube

How do you clean off Citristrip residue? ›

You can apply Mineral Spirits to a heavy-duty paint stripping pad to scrub off any residue and small gummy bits of Citristrip and paint.

How do you fix blotchy wood after stripping? ›

The only effective way to lighten the color of wood after it has been stripped of all surface coatings is to use a wood bleach. Sanding does help to lighten wood in many cases, but this only applies to surface soil or grime, and even then only if the discoloration has not penetrated very deeply.

What's the difference between denatured alcohol and mineral spirits? ›

Denatured alcohol is alcohol with additives that make it poisonous. Mineral spirits, on the other hand, comes from petroleum. They are both solvents but mineral spirits do not mix with water. The popular names for denatured alcohol include; 'wood alcohol' and 'methylated spirit.

Do I need to remove all stain before restaining? ›

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to completely remove all traces of the previous coat of deck stain before applying a new one. The reasons for this may be fairly obvious -- a previous coat of stain might be peeling away from the surface in several areas.

Is it better to sand or strip furniture? ›

So then I point out that stripping is faster, and in the case of paint could even be safer than sanding. It's almost always better to strip than to sand. To begin with, except in cases where the old finish is flaking off, it's a lot more work to sand than to strip using a paint-and-varnish remover.

How do you strip furniture without sanding? ›

The Quickest Way to Remove Varnish & Stain Without Sanding
  1. Liquid and gel strippers soak into the finish to loosen it, and heat guns work by softening it; both methods require scraping. ...
  2. Liquid and gel strippers are brushed on, and an inexpensive, natural-fiber craft paintbrush works as well as an expensive brush.

How do you refinish furniture for beginners? ›

Just follow these steps.
  1. Clean the furniture thoroughly. If it's an older piece of furniture, there's a good chance it's built up some dust, dirt, and grime. ...
  2. Strip the wood. ...
  3. Sand it down. ...
  4. Seal the wood. ...
  5. Apply your paint or stain. ...
  6. Finish your piece.
18 May 2022

Do you need to strip furniture before painting? ›

If you are painting as opposed to staining, there is no need to strip the finish or sand it down to the bare wood. Simply removing the glossy finish will suffice. If the surface is already dull, you can skip this step.

Videos

1. Removing Citristrip
(Rustics by Risa)
2. The EASY Way to Strip Paint from Wood Furniture With Citristrip Paint Remover & Plastic Wrap
(Abbotts At Home - DIY)
3. How to strip furniture with Citristrip
(At Home with Ashley)
4. How To Strip Wood
(Eight Hundred Furniture)
5. Using Citristrip paint & varnish stripping gel
(Michael Gersitz)
6. How to use Citristrip to strip the paint with maximal result
(Yvonne Brilhart)

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