Homemade Mild Varnish Remover

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Things You'll Need

  • Water

  • Pot

  • Stove

  • Small container

  • Cornstarch

  • Bucket

  • Baking soda

  • Ammonia

  • White vinegar

  • Wooden spoon

  • Rubber gloves

  • Paintbrush

  • Rags

Varnish protects the wood while giving it a glossy look.
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Varnish is applied to wood items, such as furniture and flooring, as a final coat. The varnish helps protect the wood from damage and gives the item a glossy look. Over time, the wood item may need to be refinished or stained. To accomplish this, first remove the varnish from the wood. You can remove varnish from wood with chemical removers that contain harsh toxins, or you can opt for a more natural mild homemade varnish remover.


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Step 1

Add 4 cups of water to a pot, and bring it to a boil. Remove the pot from the stove, and allow to sit for five minutes.

Step 2

Mix together thoroughly ½ cup of cold water and 1 cup of cornstarch in a small container.


Step 3

Pour the 4 cups of hot water that you brought to a boil into a bucket. Add ¾ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of ammonia and 1 tbsp. of white vinegar. Stir the contents with a wooden spoon.

Step 4

Add the cold water and cornstarch mixture, and stir thoroughly.


Step 5

Equip yourself with a pair of rubber gloves.

Step 6

Dip a clean paintbrush into the hot mixture, and apply to the wood varnish. If the mixture becomes cool, reheat in a microwave. Allow the mixture to sit on the wood varnish for several minutes.


Step 7

Soak rags in hot water, and wring out the excess. Scrub the wood with the hot rags to remove the wood varnish.

Step 8

Repeat the previous two steps until you have removed all of the varnish.


The mixture must be hot when applying it to the varnish.