So I told you all about how we bought a paint and varnish stripper for the bedroom set we have. Whelp, it sucked and literally didn’t work so Charlie’s dad found us an awesome stripper that actually worked! It’s called Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, and it works wonders on removing paint and varnish so you can stain whatever it is you’re working on. In our case, we’re just trying to strip all the varnish off the furniture so we can stain it darker. Staining the furniture darker seemed like such a brilliant idea about 2 months ago, and I’m pretty sure I said at one point I could have it done in 2 weeks. Well, here we are 2 months later and still stripping the furniture. But, in my own defense, life got in the way of these projects and we had a big annoyance occur when the first stripper didn’t work. For a week or two after we realized it didn’t work on the furniture we had, I was trying to sand by hand. Literally using a sander and some sand paper. The neighbors were probably amused by this, watching their new small female neighbor in her driveway attempting to sand a nightstand. It actually wasn’t hard, just time consuming.
Anyway, back to the Citristrip, here’s how it works:
- Shake the gel well, then pour into a metal container. You apply it to the surface you’re working on with a paint brush. Remember you’re working with some strong chemicals here, so wear goggles if you want, rubber gloves, and long sleeves so it doesn’t get on your skin. Oh oh, and don’t apply it with a sponge brush. I found out the hard way the chemicals in the stripper just eat the sponge. It dissolved. RIP sponge brush. So use a paint brush or something you don’t mind throwing away if you need to.
- After applied to the entire surface, wait at least 30 minutes. You can leave it on up to 24 hours, which I tried on the headboard and foot-board, and it didn’t really seem to make a difference. 30 minutes is fine for us.
- Take a plastic stripping tool and scrape in the direction of the wood grain. Be prepared for a mess. It’s literally taking off the varnish, and you’re removing the gel, so it’s pretty messy. I went through a roll of paper towels on just a couple of pieces of furniture, so maybe use old rags or something disposable.
And that’s about all there is to it. Although, the furniture we used it on has details on it. Of course. Hard to reach details where the gel gets stuck inside. Lol. If yours has details too, all you do is try to use the edge of the scraping tool to get as much out as you can. The rest can be removed when it’s dry with toothpicks or just sand it off. Also, I couldn’t get the gel completely off every centimeter of space on the furniture, so I just sand it off. The gel doesn’t remove 100% of varnish, so I do a light sand after 24 hours when it’s completely dry. Don’t get me wrong though, it gets off 99% of the varnish, I just sand it to be safe. If you look at this picture below you can see what I mean. The glossy areas are where there is some varnish left.
You can tell with these 2 drawers that the stripper literally removed all the varnish. I only left the gel on these for 30 minutes, too.
Here’s a before picture of the furniture. Look at the end of bed storage before…
And here’s the end of bed storage after I stripped it. The gel worked amazing on this.
Overall I would give this stripping gel a 9 out of 10. And I consider myself to be a hard judge.
It really works amazing and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good paint and varnish stripper for your own projects. Like I said, it can get pretty messy, but that’s a small price to pay for an awesome outcome. Would you rather use an easy stripping gel or sand it all by hand? Hmm…
If you’re interested in trying this out, ours was purchased at Lowe’s, but I just found it online at a great price. You can literally buy one for half the price it is at Lowe’s, or get 2 for the price of 1! Awesome! Click here to order Citristrip online.
Hope you found this review helpful. Have a great Wednesday!
Librarian Tells All says
Citristrip is the best! I’ve used it to remove paint. Good to know it removes varnish and wood finish, too… I have a poorly refinished coffee table I’d like to revamp soon!
<3 jen @ librarian tells all
Yes! I love it!