How To Chemically Strip Wood Floors:



This is the stuff I use mainly because of it’s low vapor toxicity. Bear in mind that if this material touches you it will burn in less than a minute. Wash the area affected immediately with soap and water. About a third of it is actually made from orange peel oils and the rest is NMP which is a moderately toxic solvent and has not been shown to cause cancer. It has been shown to cause some mutagenic affects in the next generation of lab mice. So keep pregnant women, or wanting to be pregnant women away from this stuff.

But this is far safer than the methylene chloride strippers, which are confirmed carcinogens, and toxic by breathing, and can cause a change in your heart rate. Methylene chloride is a confirmed human mutagen, it causes changes in inherited characteristics. But don’t get even Citristrip in your eyes or you will be in serious trouble. Use odorless mineral spirits instead of regular paint thinner to remove Citristrip from the floor as this low odor varsol or naphtha (as it’s also called) is a bit less toxic to breathe. Contact Citristrip or use the link below to purchace from


These are the top quality knives still made and sold in England. A regular putty knife simply won’t give you the control. These filling knives will keep your knuckles out of the goo, because of their length and flexibility. I found that they had the least tendency to scratch the bare wood surface, even when working against the grain. The secret is in the ground taper in the blade, you would not believe the difference over those 5 dollar putty knives. These cost 15 or more USD and are worth every cent, even their walnut handles feel comfortable after hours of use. You can order these fine tools through various British tool suppliers, and I’ll give you one to get started at


It is preferable to use chemical wash bottles, that you gently squeeze the solvent through it’s spout. These bottles will hold up against most all solvents and they are so simple they will never fail. Does the best job at irrigating the goop out of those gaps. I tried sprayers in the past but beside filling the air with fumes when the solvent is misted they all failed when the mineral spirits melted their inner parts. The 500-ml Fisherbrand ® polyethylene wash bottle 03-409-22C, from Fisher Scientific.


You will be using lots of these, so seek them out at the bulk section at supermarkets. The best are the flat green 6″ by 9″ pads I find at Loblaws in Canada, you’ll have to scout out your own, keep an eye out for them when you grocery shop. There are more expensive ones made by 3M at woodworking shops. They are used to rub out finishes but are far too costly for this purpose. Steel wool, I found to be not absorbent enough and couldn’t be held with the knobbie handle I suggest you buy for the flat pads. Remember you must keep your fingers out of the stripper. And as for the paper towels, you are going to use lots. It’s typical to use 6 rolls to mop up each 100 square feet of floor, so look for them on sale a couple of weeks before you do the job, and buy more than you think you need.