How to Remove Paint Embedded in Wood Grain

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Mineral spirits

  • Rags

  • Plastic coarse brush

  • 300-grit sandpaper

  • Dental hook


Dental hooks are available at most pharmacies. You can use a power sander to remove paint embedded in wood grain, but be aware that this tool will remove the entire surface layer of the wood, possibly damaging its overall appearance. Only use a power as a last resort, after you have tried removing the paint by hand.


Do not over-sand with 300-grit sandpaper or you may damage the overall appearance of the wood. If the embedded paint does not come loose within 30 seconds of sanding, move on to the dental pick method.

Stripping paint is a tedious and difficult endeavor. All too often, amateur do-it-yourselfers successfully strip away surface paint, only to find lines of paint embedded in the grain of the wood. Rather than giving up, and living with the trace residue because you simply have no idea how to remove it, you can remove paint embedded in wood grain if you know the proper techniques. Be patient; the process can be painstaking, but the result will be a professional-looking paint job.


Step 1

Dampen a rag with mineral spirits.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Wipe down the paint in the wood grain with the dampened rag.

Step 3

Scrub the paint with a plastic coarse brush. Scrub along the grain and not against it.


Step 4

Dampen a second rag with mineral spirits and wipe the paint in the wood grain again.

Step 5

Rub the paint residue with 300-grit sandpaper, going along with the grain and never against it.

Step 6

Scrape any remaining paint out of the wood grain using a dental hook. Work slowly and meticulously to avoid gouging the wood.


Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...