Have you seen the oven cleaner method for stripping furniture on Pinterest or Instagram?? Instead of sanding off the old stain you can just spray on the oven cleaner and scrub it off. I wanted to test it out and here’s what happened.
Using Oven Cleaner to Strip Furniture
I hadn’t refinished a piece of furniture in ages…I used to do it all the time but lately, I just hadn’t had the time for it and frankly I missed it! I was so intrigued after I had seen a few furniture makeovers using this over cleaner method to strip furniture that I was dying to try it. Shoutouts to My Vintage Porch and The Coastal Oak for the inspiration!!
Pick a Piece of Furniture
Now to find a piece of furniture!! A family friend was clearing out some old furniture and gave me a coffee table. Perfect timing because I was changing some things in my living room around and was on the hunt for a smaller table.
The important thing when using this oven cleaner furniture stripping method is that you need to make sure you are using a piece of solid wood furniture. Don’t use MDF or a piece that has veneer.
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Spray with Oven Cleaner
I already had half a can of this Zep Oven & Grill Cleaner under my sink so I decided to try it out. In the other tutorials I see that they recommend this Easy Off No Fume and have fantastic results.
- Make sure you are working in an area with good ventilation!
- Also, have something underneath your piece of furniture like a tarp or in my case I used a big piece of cardboard to catch the overspray.
- For this part work in the shade or a garage so that the oven cleaner doesn’t dry too quickly.
Now it’s time for the oven cleaner. I sprayed a pretty thick layer of the cleaner over the entire table…then crossed my fingers that this was going to work!!!
I waited probably longer than I needed to because I got sidetracked with other things. On other tutorials I have seen to leave the oven cleaner on for 15-20 minutes but I left it on for 45ish.
Cleaning Off the Table
What I Used to Clean Off the Table:
- Bucket of Warm Water with a healthy squirt of Dawn dish liquid
- Scrub Daddy Sponge
- Pot Scrubber
- Old Bath Towels
Now to get to work! First, I moved the table outside to my driveway. Then I filled up a bucket with warm water and Dawn dish soap and grabbed a pot scrubber and a Scrub Daddy along with a stack of old towels.
Make sure you have a tarp down if you are working in an area that might be discolored by the stain runoff.
Then I started scrubbing the table. I couldn’t believe that the stain was really coming off!!
This was a bit of a tedious process. Lots of scrubbing and wiping.
Wear old clothes because as I was scrubbing dots of the water were getting on my clothes…and I ruined my favorite little gray slip-on sneakers (I wasn’t thinking!!!)
What I was worried about was after I managed to scrub off all of the coats of poly and most of the stain the top of the coffee table has lots of dark discolorations. I wasn’t sure if it was from the kind of 70s stain that was used.
This was the point in the project that I thought this was destined to be a Pinterest fail…but dear readers just you wait!!!
Here is an important step: After I had scrubbed off all of the stain that I could I used a clean bucket of water and towels to make sure that all of the oven cleaner and residue was cleaned off.
You could also use a hose to make sure the piece is cleaned off but it is still pretty chilly here and we haven’t turned on the outside water yet.
Then put the table out in the sun to dry. This lightened up the table so much!!
Repeat the Process
Once the table was dry I repeated the oven cleaner process again from start to finish.
On my first go-round I had slacked on the bottom shelf of the table and had missed a section of the wood on the side (do you do that, miss a spot when you are painting or working on a project?? I always manage to do this more often than not!!)
After the table dried in the sun for the second time, it was like a miracle (queue up the angels singing!!)
Now, there was a little bit of leftover stain on the turned table legs and on the edges of the table. At this point, I could have used fine-grit sandpaper to clear it off but I was kinda digging the detail it gave to the table so I decided to leave it.
Finishing the Table
Now that the table was down to the natural wood I just loved how it looked!! I knew I didn’t want to stain it but wanted to add a finish to it.
I found this Minwax Wood Effects on my last trip to Lowe’s (with my teenage son…one thing teens LOVE is when you look at every single stain and product…while you have them holding a roll of chicken wire and weed fabric…they do not get annoyed AT ALL…I’m still giggling about it!!)
It was super easy to use, all I did was brush it over the table using a foam brush. For the top, I used a wider brush and on the legs and sides, I used a smaller size. You just brush it on and leave it…no wiping off like stain!
I did the Wood Effects 3 times letting it completely dry between coats (but it dried super fast).
Just look at the table now!!! Like, can you even believe it’s the same dated orange looking table??
I do plan on putting a matte top coat on the surface of the table but I have to order it.
Here’s the finished table that was stripped with oven cleaner
So what do you think??? I am in love!! I would definitely use this process to strip furniture again for sure.
The coffee table that I stripped with the oven cleaner is the exact style I was going for in my living room…comfortable casual.
Since the Fall I have really drawn to using more natural elements in my decorating. I’ve added more organic materials like the seagrass baskets hanging on my living room wall. I’ve also switched up my living room rug from a more muted blue and gray one to this pretty blue, cream and rust rug.
Final thoughts & tips
- Do you think this would work on any piece of wood furniture? I feel like with this oven cleaner technique that there will be mixed results depending on the type of wood and what was originally used to stain the piece of furniture
- Can you use any brand of oven cleaner? I can only speak to what I used which was the Zep Oven and Grill Cleaner on the majority of this project and I ran out and had to use some Easy-Off for parts of the table when I was doing the second go-round. I didn’t notice a difference in how they worked on this particular project.
- Was this easier than sanding? On my gosh, like a ziiiiilllion times easier!! Especially doing the turned legs. Full disclosure, I really not a fan of sanding!
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