How to Easily Remove Chalk Paint From Any Surface

Did you paint your furniture with chalk paint? Or did you paint a wall to look like a chalkboard? Are you now tired of looking at it?

Maybe you want to paint it a fresh new color or maybe you want to get rid of the chalk paint look entirely. Is chalk paint even in style anymore?

Chalk paint is relatively simple and easy to remove from any surface. It does require some time and physical work. You should know that different surfaces require different materials to remove the chalk paint.

Below I will discuss how to remove chalk paint from wood, glass, walls, and more. Each surface varies in its steps and materials needed to get the job done.

Be sure you read the entire section for your project because what works for wood does not work for metal.

how to remove chalk paint from any surface

Is Chalk Paint Hard to Remove?

Chalk paint was all the rage a couple of years ago, but now the trend is fading away.

Many of you may have different tastes now, or maybe you never liked the chalk paint look in the first place.

You will be happy to know that chalk paint is fairly simple to remove from any surface.

Some surfaces may require a bit of elbow grease and time to remove the paint. At the same time, others may require some paint-stripping chemicals.

Metal and glass are two of the easiest surfaces to remove chalk paint from.

Household Items that Remove Chalk Paint

There are household items that can be utilized to remove chalk paint.

You should remember that while these options will remove paint, they may not be the best option depending on the surface you are removing the paint from.

1. A Homemade Solution

Vinegar, soap, washing soda, and acetone can be utilized to make a solution to remove chalk paint. It is not guaranteed that this solution will remove the paint.

It all depends on how many layers of paint are on the surface and how deep the paint has penetrated the furniture’s surface.

This option is not a good idea for metal projects.

Depending on what type of metal your furniture is, the vinegar may react with the metal and not in a good way. Certain chemicals can warp metal and make it rust.

2. A Power Sander or Paint Stripper

A power sander and paint strippers are not items everyone has lying around their house.

However, if you have completed your fair share of DIY projects, odds are you have them somewhere.

Both of these can be utilized to remove chalk paint from surfaces. Again, just keep in mind that different products work for different surfaces.

Keep reading to find out what works best to remove chalk paint, depending on the surface you are removing the paint from.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Wood (Furniture) Step-by-Step

There are a couple of different ways that you can remove chalk paint from wood furniture. You can use a paint stripper, a sander, a heat gun, or a lot of elbow grease and hard work. I will focus on utilizing a paint stripper to remove chalk paint.

There is nothing wrong with removing chalk paint with a sander, a heat gun, or pure elbow grease.

It is simply less time-consuming to remove the paint with a paint stripper. It also requires the least amount of physical labor.

Materials You Need

  • Gloves
  • Masks
  • Paint stripper
  • Paintbrush
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Steel wool
  • Dry cloth
  • Sandpaper (100-120 grit)

Step 1.

Before you begin to remove the chalk paint, make sure you are in a well-ventilated area with your masks and gloves on.

You should also lay a protective sheet under the furniture to protect your floors.

Apply the paint stripper to the furniture with a paintbrush according to the instructions on the container. It is generally recommended to let the paint sit for 30 minutes to an hour. You should follow the wait time that is listed on the bottle.

Step 2.

Once the paint stripper has sat on the furniture for a while, the chalk paint begins to crinkle.

Now you should use to putty knife to remove the paint. The key is to apply gentle and even pressure to remove larger paint sections.

Step 3.

Now you will use the steel wool pad to scrub off the last remnants of the paint. You should get the steel wool wet with a mild soapy water solution.

You can use a dry cloth to wipe away scrappings and continue to repeat the scrubbing process with the steel wool pad.

Some people will suggest adding the paint stripper to the water and soap solution. You may not have to do this, as there should still be remnants of the paint stripper on the furniture.

Step 4.

After all the chalk paint has been removed, let the furniture completely dry. It can take 12-24 hours for it to dry fully.

Then you can use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out the wood.

If you are not repainting the furniture, you can apply oil such as Danish oil to protect the wood.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Glass Step-by-Step

remove chalk paint from glass step by step

Maybe someone messed up or got too happy with the chalk paint, or maybe you meant to paint the glass. Regardless, below I will give you easy steps to remove a large section of chalk paint from glass.

It is possible to remove chalk paint from the glass without water. You can simply use a razor and scrape the paint off.

This method works great for small splatters, but it is not feasible when you have a large chunk of paint to remove.

Materials You Need

  • Bucket with warm water and mild soap
  • Cotton cloth
  • Razor or scrapper

Step 1.

You should start by preparing the area around the glass. You may want to lay down some towels to dry up the water.

When your area is prepped, dip the cotton cloth in your warm soapy water solution and apply it to the glass.

Step 2.

While the paint is wet, take your razor or scrapper and begin to scrape off the paint. It is very important to keep the area wet while you work.

If the glass becomes dry, it can scratch easier. You should use light and even pressure across the surface to remove the paint.

Repeat these steps until all of the paint has been removed.

Once the paint is removed, you can dry the glass. You may want to clean the glass afterward to ensure it does not have any dry water spots on it.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Wall Step-by-Step

Several years ago, there was a huge trend in painting walls with chalkboard paint. Now, many people find themselves trying to cover up this paint.

Whether you have a chalkboard wall or you use regular chalk paint on your wall, I will help you figure out how to cover it up.

Materials You Need

  • Towels
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paint roller
  • New paint color

Step 1.

If you are removing a chalkboard wall, make sure you clean the wall first. The wall can be cleaned by using a towel and some warm water to remove any chalk on the surface.

Allow the wall to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Sanding and painting can get dirty very fast. You should lay down protective sheets before you continue.

Any furniture and floors that are in the room should be covered. You should also ensure the room is well-ventilated.

Step 2.

Sand the wall down until it is smooth. You may need to feel the wall or take a few steps back and search for bumps.

If the wall is very textured, it may require a lot of pressure or a power sander to make it smooth.

If you are covering up a black chalkboard wall, this step is vital. Black paint is very difficult to cover up, whether it is chalk paint or normal paint.

By removing the texture and leaving a smooth surface, you decrease the number of paint coats you will have to apply later.

Once the wall is smooth, you should use a wet towel to clean off debris and dust. Allow the wall to dry again before continuing to the next step.

Step 3.

Now you get to apply an oil-based primer to the wall. Oil-based primers are very thick and should prevent the black paint from coming through.

It can take 8-12 hours for the primer to dry. After it dries, if you notice the black still comes through, then apply another layer of primer.

Step 4.

Finally, you can apply the new paint color. If you had to apply more than one layer of primer, you might only need one layer of paint.

Just make sure each layer fully dries before you apply another layer.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Metal Step-by-Step

Chalk paint can be easily applied to metal paint and just as easily removed from it. Metal is one of the easiest surfaces to remove chalk paint from.

You do need to know what kind of metal you are working with, and I will discuss why in a minute.

Materials You Need

  • Water
  • Cleaner
  • Scrubbing pad
  • Dry cloth

Step 1.

The most important step in removing chalk paint from metal is determining what metal you are working with. Why is this important?

You have to use a cleaner to scrub off the paint, and cleaners have chemicals in them. Different metals react differently to different chemicals.

Some chemicals in cleaning products could cause the metal to rust. Once you have determined which cleaning product can be used on the metal, you can begin to remove the paint.

Step 2.

You can take the cleaning solution and a scrubbing pad and remove the chalk paint. It should come off easily with minimal elbow grease.

You should not use a steel wool pad or a brush with metal bristles because it will scratch the surface of the metal furniture.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Fabric Step-by-Step

Did you accidentally paint your clothes? Or maybe you forgot to cover the couch while you were painting?

The good news is that chalk paint can be easily removed from any fabric or upholstery.

In this section, I will discuss removing chalk paint from clothing. However, these steps can also be applied to furniture.

The steps may need to be modified since you cannot put your couch in the washing machine.

Materials You Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White towel
  • Hand towel or washcloth
  • Pretreat detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Drying rack

Step 1.

You should start by placing a white towel under the item of clothing. Then you can use another towel to blot the stain with rubbing alcohol. Continue blotting the stain until no more color appears on the towel.

Step 2.

If the stain is still present, you can use a stain remover or pretreat detergent. Follow the instructions on the package. The treatment should sit on the clothing for at least 15 minutes before washing.

Step 3.

Wash the clothing item in the hottest setting it can handle per the instructions on the tag. Do not place the clothing in the dryer.

The high heat of a drying machine can cause the stain to set. Instead, hang the clothing on a drying rack and let it air dry.

If the stain is still present after air drying, then repeat the steps. Once the stain is removed, it is safe to place the clothing in the dryer the next time you wash it.

How to Remove Chalk Paint From Skin Step-by-Step

remove chalk paint from skin step by step

It is extremely easy to get paint on your hands no matter what you are painting.

Even professional painters get paint on their skin at most of their jobs. Thankfully, chalk paint is water-based and is very easy to remove from the skin.

Materials You Need

  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Hand towels or paper towels

Step 1.

You should grab a gentle soap to use since you may need to scrub your hands vigorously.

Get your hands wet with lukewarm water and apply the soap. Lather your hands and arms and scrub them thoroughly for a couple of minutes.

Step 2.

Once you have produced a good lather, you can rinse your hands and arms. Repeat the process as needed until all of the paint has been removed.

Then dry your hands with a towel or paper towels. You may want to use a moisturizing lotion to help prevent your hands from cracking.

Precautions to Follow To Remove Chalk Paint Without Damaging the Surface

When removing chalk paint from a surface, ideally, you do not want to damage the material underneath the paint.

There are a few different precautions that should be taken with each type of surface.

Wooden Surfaces

A plastic putty knife should be used instead of a metal putty knife when removing paint from wood.

Plastic is softer and less abrasive on wood. Many people also suggest scraping with a grain of the wood to reduce scratching.

Glass Surfaces

Removing chalk paint from the glass without scratching the surface keeps the glass wet.

You can also hold the putty knife at a 45-degree angle when scraping off the paint. This helps alleviate some of the pressure off the glass.

Metal Surfaces

Do some research on the metal you are removing chalk paint from. Try to find out what chemicals react with that metal. Generally, metal can be sturdy and stand up to scratching.

The bigger concern is ensuring your cleaning solution does not warp the metal or cause it to rust.

Fabric Surfaces

Do not under any circumstance rub chalk paint that is on the fabric. Rubbing paint can make the stain set.

You should always blot the paint until your towel has stopped picking up the color from the stain.

You should also air-dry any fabric that has a paint stain. Placing a stained fabric in the dryer will cause the stain to set. The stain can still be removed after drying, but it does become more difficult.

Removing Chalk Paint: FAQs

Do you still have questions about removing chalk paint from the surface?

Below I will answer some other questions people ask when they are working on removing chalk paint from furniture.

1. Does chalk paint come off with water?

Chalk paint can be easily removed with water alone due to the way it is created.

Chalk paint is weaker than typical paint, which allows it to be easily broken down with water.

Now, water alone will not remove the paint. You have to scrub the paint off the surface.

2. Does vinegar remove chalk paint?

Vinegar can be used to weaken chalk paint. This makes the paint easier to scrap off any surface.

It should be combined with water in a 1 to 3 ratio and warmed before being placed on the paint.

Vinegar does offer a cheap and more natural alternative to a paint stripper.

Just keep in mind there is no guarantee the vinegar will weaken the paint enough for you to remove it.

3. Can you remove old chalk paint from the furniture?

You can, and you should remove old chalk paint from furniture before refinishing it.

Walls can be repainted multiple times in their life, but furniture needs to be stripped of paint anytime you want to change the color.

Stripping the paint between paint colors keeps the furniture from looking bulky and clunky. Imagine replacing a dresser drawer that was caked in paint.

At some point, that drawer is not going to fit. The dresser may even remove paint from the drawer while you try to force it in place.

4. Can you remove chalk paint from wood without sanding?

Technically, you can remove chalk paint from wood without sanding it. You can use a paint stripper and putty knife to remove most chalk paint.

After that, a sponge or steel wool pad and water can be used to remove the small bits of paint that are left.

You will have to sand the furniture before repainting or refinishing the wood.

If you choose not to sand the wood, the new color will not adhere very well. You will also notice obvious bumps and blemishes in your finished project.


You may not know if chalk paint is still in style, but you know it can be easily removed.

Different surfaces will require different steps. You simply have to figure out what surface you are removing paint from.

Then you can follow the steps outlined above to remove the paint.

Be patient and take your time when removing the chalk paint. The idea is to remove the paint without destroying the underlying surface.

No matter what surface you are removing paint from, the job will require some physical work to scrape the paint off of the furniture.