How to Remove Old Varnish Stains From Concrete

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Things You'll Need

  • Lacquer thinner

  • Rag

  • Scrub brush

  • Semi-paste paint stripper

  • Plastic putty knife

  • Breathing mask


Try lacquer thinner first. Paint stripper may etch the surface of concrete. Test it first in an inconspicuous spot on the concrete floor.

Even old varnish stains can be removed to restore your concrete floor.

Even if a varnish stain has gone unnoticed for years, it is relatively simple to lift from an untreated floor. Lacquer thinner will remove most small stains and spills. If the stain stands up to that, try chemical paint stripper. Designed to remove old paint and varnish, it will make short work of the stain.


Remove Varnish Stains with Lacquer Thinner

Step 1

Saturate the stain with lacquer thinner. Allow it to sit for five minutes.

Step 2

Scrub the stain with a natural bristle brush, then wipe it up with a rag. Repeat applying the lacquer thinner, scrubbing and wiping until the stain is removed or you make no more progress in lightening it.

Step 3

Wipe the lacquer thinner away with a rag soaked with water.


Remove a Stubborn Varnish Stain with Paint Stripper

Step 1

Pour a small amount of the paint stripper into a plastic container.

Step 2

Paint a generous layer of the stripper onto the stain. Be sure to stipple it into the nooks and crannies of the concrete where the varnish has penetrated. Leave the stripper in place for the manufacturer-recommended amount of time -- usually 30 minutes to one hour.

Step 3

Scrape the stripper and loosened varnish up with a plastic putty knife.


Step 4

Soak a rag in the stripper. Use the rag to scrub up any residual varnish.

Step 5

Soak a rag in water or the neutralizing solvent recommended by the stripper's manufacturer. Use it to wipe up any residual stripper.



Meg Butler

Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.