How to Remove Oil Based Paint

Oil based paints

Oil based paints, or more technically known as “alkyd” paints or solvent based paints are widely regarded as an artist’s favorite type of paint. Oil paints give a very detailed and glossy finish. Mostly used for painting walls and paintings –these paints carry a higher amount of organic contents as compared to water based paints. Although, these oil paints account for a rather strong aroma, which can be noticed if a person goes near a freshly painted surface, they also provide a very premium finish. Which is why most artists, artisans and painter opt for these paints over mainstream latex or water based paints. These oil paints are typically painted upon a canvas, which suits them best. Oil paints are very popular among people who work with paint regularly due to their many advantages.

Oil paints match very well with the surrounding colors on a canvas –making for more detailed painting, surfaces painted with oil paints can be left open for weeks at once, it generally takes a long period of time for oil paints to dry out completely, these paints have the ability to be exposed to open air for a very long period without drying quickly –this enables the artists to make more changes and improvements to his masterpiece when needed, Oil paints are rather slower in drying as compared to other types of paints, Oil paints or “Alkyd” Paints make a very vivid and glowing painting, which is more durable and long lasting. Oil paints have a very long history, these paints have been used by many different artists dating back to the Renaissance period. Many famous artist who’ve chosen oil based paints for their works include; Rembrandt, Raphael, Vincent van Gogh and Peter Paul Rubens, including many more famous names.

Difference between Latex paints vs. Oil based paints

Latex paints and Alkyd paints are considered to be the most popular between all types of paints. Many artists agree on Oil based paints being the superior choice due to its quality durable and hard finishing. But some argue that Latex paints make for a better medium of painting, because of it’s easier to work with nature and quick drying abilities. But, given below are some key differences between both kinds of paints.

• Latex paints:
Generally, latex paints are considered more easier to work with due to the fact that they dry rather quicker than other types of paints. Latex paints don’t (spoil) get yellow over time, Latex paints are known to be safer for the environment, these paints come off easily using only soap and water, latex paints are more easily available in stores and markets as compared to oil based paints. But sanding wooden surfaces after every coat of latex paint is necessary because latex tends to swell the surface of the wood. Latex paints are considered ideal for general painting on surfaces like ceilings and walls. When painting on walls, adding a latex based primer to the paint is very important.

• Oil based paints “Alkyd”:
Oil based paints are widely known to be more durable and provide a better, smoother finish to surfaces. But, the clean-up process is very daunting as it requires special substances like paint thinner or turpentine. Alkyd paints take longer periods of time to dry off –which may be either good or bad based on the set of conditions. Alkyd paints are generally considered more hazardous towards the environment as compared to other varieties of paint. Oil based paints provide for an attractive gloss coupled with a durable and tough finishing. The surface also gets a smooth exterior as brush strokes tend to fill themselves. Oil based paints are very popular among surfaces that require glossy finishes such as; woodwork, furniture and even floors in some cases.


Oil based paints give out a much more attractive finish as compared to many other paints. These paints dry slower than most paints, resulting in a more smooth and glossy surface. Usually surfaces which have been painted with oil based paints are able to resist; staining, scratching, scuffing and fingerprinting. Oil based paints are typically applied upon surfaces such as bathrooms, doors, kitchens, and basically anywhere a glossy look would look good. Oil based paints are best coupled with the right tools to provide the needed finishing. Alkyd paints go best with premium quality bristle brushes and/or any suitable synthetic brush. A pint of mineral spirits is also considered necessary to be nearby during the paint job to avoid the excess mess. Many stores refrain from selling oil based paints, due to their hazardous nature but these alkyd paints can easily be found at leading paint and hardware stores –under different headings sometimes. Letting the paint stay and ventilate after a coating is very essential for a durable, glossy, hard finish. Before applying a coat to any surface, it is appropriate to mix the alkyd paint with a suitable primer and to use a sand paper on the surface to smooth out any imperfections.

Removal Methods

When using oil based paints it’s not uncommon to get paint where it’s not needed, maybe due to the messy nature of the paint or due to the negligence of the painter. The paint intended for walls or furniture ends up on skin and clothes, but there’s no need to panic as there are many ways a person can go about getting rid of the wretched paint stains. It’s essential to tackle the stains with an organized approach rather than going all out which may in return also cause some uncertainties like rashes on the skin or torn pieces of clothes. Getting paint on skin or clothes is inevitable so a painter should take the necessary precautions for getting rid of the stains. Given below are some means by which a person can get rid of oil based paint from clothes or skin:

• Removing Alkyd Paint from Fabrics or Clothes:
It can be difficult to remove oil based paints from fabrics due tothe sensitive nature of the fabrics. And partly because oil paints are generally made to last a long time. But removing paint stains can be possible following this following method. What you’ll need to get rid of the stain is:

• Gasoline
• Bowl
• Water
• Turpentine or paint thinner
• Liquid detergent or Bar soap

Now choose the suitable thinner for your paint stain and proceed to apply it to the area that has been stained –use turpentine if an appropriate thinner can’t be found. Be sure to place the piece of cloth over a bowl to avoid further mess, Pour the thinner over the cloth into the bowl from the back of the stain towards the front. Completely dip the cloth into clean water and gently rinse it for some time, then rub the stained area with the soap bar or liquid detergent. Dip it into the water again and rinse, repeat if needed. If the stain still doesn’t go away –use gasoline. Gently dab some gasoline on a cotton ball and proceed to rubbing the stained area with the cotton ball. Gasoline contains toxic materials which are bad for health, so take all necessary precautions. Rub the stain until it is completely removed. Then throw the now clean cloth or fabric into laundry to get washed and get rid of the gasoline odor.

• Removing Alkyd Paint from Skin:
There are a variety of ways one can go about for removing oil based paints from skin. Skin is very sensitive and should be treated as such to avoid any sort of rashes or allergies. Removing paint from skin can be a rather difficult task but given the right stuff –it makes for an easy task. There are some complications involved in the process, but these can be minimized by following the proper method. The stuff which is needed for this method is:

• Nail polish remover, turpentine or paint thinner
• Soap
• Baby oil or Olive oil
• Bowl
• Water
• Mayonnaise

Skin is sensitive, so before moving on to the more harsher methods try to get rid of the stains the easy way by household items. Try rubbing nail polish remover on the stained area and give it a thorough wash. –If this doesn’t work, dab some baby or olive oil onto your skin, oil helps break oil so this is bound to work to some extent. Gently massage the stained area of your skin and then rub soap all over your hand and then proceed to wash them, another alternative to oils is mayonnaise –rub some mayo on the stained area on your skin, like a lotion. Then rub soap over the mayo, make some lather and then wash it all off. Using these methods, stains usually come off fairly quickly and easily. But if the above mentioned methods still don’t work for you, you can opt for turpentine. But be cautious as turpentine contains materials which are harmful for skin, dab some turpentine onto the stain and the rub it gently. Immediately after the paint comes off proceed to wash the stained area with soap and water to avoid any harmful effects.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here