Can You Actually Strip Wood Using Easy Off Oven Cleaner?

Close up of a wooden spindle bed with oven cleaner on it. The text reads 'how to strip wood with oven cleaner"

Using Easy Off Oven Cleaner on Wood Furniture

Have you heard about the latest trend in furniture makeovers? The one where you use Easy Off oven cleaner to strip the wood.

Being the curious, furniture-flipping, obsessed girl that I am, as soon as I saw this method, I knew I had to try it.

And I just happen to have the perfect furniture piece sitting in my garage. A pair of spindle beds! You know stripping spindles is the worst, so I was hopeful the oven cleaner would be my easy way out.

I was just as curious as you to see if the oven cleaner method works. So, here is what I did, how it turned out, and the things I’d do differently next time.

Start by printing this step-by-step guide that gives the supplies, technique, and tricks to getting this stripping hack to work!

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Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.

Using Easy Off Oven Cleaner to Strip Wood

Light wood spindle bed frame against a board and batten wall

Using the easy off oven cleaner to strip wood method is pretty straightforward.

But, these are some of the things I wasn’t sure about:

  • How thick do I apply the oven cleaner and 
  • When do I wash it off 
  • What should I use to wash it off
  • Do I need to work the oven cleaner in by scrubbing it

I’m going to answer these questions, plus many more you may have. And stick around until the end of this post because I will share a video tutorial of exactly what I did.

Steps-by-Step Stripping Wood with Oven Cleaner

Step One: Prep your wood

Prep: Even if you can’t see anything on the surface, you’ll still want to clean your wood piece. Dawn dish soap and some warm water works well. Unless the item is greasy, in this case I’d recommend Krud Kutter.

Next, you’ll want to set up in a well-ventilated area such as your garage or driveway. Even the blue oven cleaner can, which says fragrance-free, has a really strong and terrible smell! 

Step Two: Apply Easy Off oven cleaner

wooden spindle beds with oven cleaner soaking on them

Apply: Shake and spray a generous amount of oven cleaner onto the wood. It took me two to three coats of the oven cleaner.

Then wait.

Let the oven cleaner go to work! I let the blue can sit for close to an hour and the yellow can for no more than thirty minutes.

Step Three: Scrub it in

Scrub: For best results I suggest using a scrub brush, like a pot scrubber, and warm water. I did not do this, but I think this would have helped remove even more of the old finish.

Then rinse off the oven cleaner with your hose.

Again, do as I say, not as I do, because I used a power washer instead of a hose. And it was over kill. And actually, I think it rips up the wood grain way more, so play it safe and stick with the garden hose.

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Step Four: Sanding after oven cleaner

Sanding: Originally, I had hoped I wouldn’t need to do any sanding, but obviously that was not realistic. But! Using oven cleaner definitely cut down on how much sanding I needed to do.

Before moving onto sanding, make sure everything is completely dried out. I let my bed frames dry outside on a warm summer night, overnight.

I used 80 grit to smooth out areas where the oven cleaner and power washer roughed up the wood. Then, I wiped away the sanding dust with a dry cloth.

Step Five: Wood Topcoat

wooden spindle bed that has been stripped with oven cleaner and a white wax finish was applied to give it a light wood look

I debated if I should apply a protective coat based on bad past experiences.

You know; that one project where you put so much time into stripping paint to only have it ruined by the finishing cost. Ugh, it’s beyond frustrating!

Not wanting to take any changes, I ended up using Behr white wax as my topcoat, and it turned out incredible! I applied a layer using this special waxing brush and then buffed it with a clean cotton cloth followed by 220 grit sandpaper.

This white wax gave my wooden spindle beds the exact finish I was looking for. It completely neutralized the orange-ish-red-ish color of the wood. It also highlighted the wood grain and gave this a smoother, more polished appearance.

Applying the white wax and buffing it out was a lot of extra work, but it was seriously SO worth it.

Topcoat tip: In my experience, poly pulls out the orange in wood. Every single one I’ve tried, this happens. So, if the wood project I’m working on is not likely to get wet, then I either skip a topcoat or use wax. There is this Behr white wax as I used for this project, or also a liming wax. I love both!

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The Oven Cleaner Wood Stripping Mistake I Made

My mistake was that I should have scrubbed the oven cleaner into the wood surface. That’s step three of this tutorial.

I had let the oven cleaner soak and then immediately rinsed it off. But, based on my results, I think scrubbing may have reduced the total number of cans I needed to remove the old finish off my spindle beds.

Since this was my first-time using oven spray, I did not do this step. But afterward decided this would help remove even more of the old stain finish.

Using Oven Cleaner to Strip Wood Tips and Tricks

Close up picture of a wooden spindle bed after being stripped with easy off oven cleaner
  • Do not attempt to use this on wood veneer.
  • This method works for removing stain; however, I’m not convinced it wouldn’t work well to strip paint. If you want to strip paint like its soft butter, then you need to check out The Better Then Citristrip Paint Stripping Strategy.
  • This stuff stinks- do it outside.
  • They are not kidding when they say heavy-duty- the yellow can (aka heavy-duty oven cleaner) is much stronger, so don’t leave it on nearly as long.
  • The heavy-duty spray went on clear, and the blue can oven cleaner was more white- don’t worry about the heavy-duty being clearer; it’s on there and working!
  • A power washer is not necessary- a hose would be just fine.
  • Sanding is still required- but it’s much less intensive.
  • I did not use any mineral spirits or other chemicals to neutralize the easy off. Maybe something to look into to be sure the oven cleaner doesn’t continue to eat away at the wood.
  • This is ideal for stripping ornate details like wood legs, or spindles.

What are you waiting for? Print your guide now!

stripping wood with oven cleaner step by step how to guide

Does the Easy Off Oven Cleaner Method Work

Yes! Yes, it does. Especially when working on a project that has fine, ornate details, like the detail of my wooden bed spindles. 

Having used many stripping methods and sanding techniques on other furniture projects, I knew these methods would work, but take a lot of time and effort.

And I know my limits and don’t have the patience for this! That’s why the oven cleaner method was so perfect for this project. 

Do I Recommend Stripping Wood with Oven Cleaner?

Yes, but not for all furniture makeover projects. This worked well in my case due to the shape of the wood.

But if you’re doing anything larger, such as a table, a door, a dresser, a hutch etc., then I do not recommend oven cleaner.

That’s because there is another other cost-effective and even easier approach to use. If you want to effortlessly strip away layers of old paint like its soft butter, all within a matter of minutes, then you need to discover the best stripper and one tool that, when used together, produce mind-blowing results. 

If you’re itching to try the oven cleaner method (like I was), then I’d suggest starting with a smaller project. Maybe something like a small coffee tabletop or mirror for example.

How Thick Do I Apply The Oven Cleaner?

Use a generous layer. As I mentioned above, the original formula (blue can) comes out slightly white, so apply enough so that you can barely see the original surface.

How Do I Know When to Wash the Oven Cleaner Off?

I let the blue can sit for close to an hour and the yellow can for no more than thirty minutes. Keep in mind though your time will vary based on how thick the original layer is. A thicker layer requires more soak time than a thinner layer.

When NOT to Use Easy Off Oven Cleaner to Strip Wood

This method of stripping furniture is ideal for pieces made of solid wood, so do not use easy off on wood veneer. Oven cleaner will eat right through this, leaving you with nothing but the ugly underneath.

Another time to use something other than oven cleaner to strip wood is if you are trying to strip through layers of old paint.

I haven’t tried it yet, but based on how this project went, I bet it would take excessive oven cleaner to strip paint (even chalk paint) off wood furniture. Especially if there are many layers of paint on your furniture piece, which there usually are!

Lastly, a can of easy-off oven cleaner does not go as far as you’d think, so I would not use this method for larger pieces of furniture. 

Before and After Using Oven Cleaner on Wood

Wooden Spindle beds laying on a drive way and the word before is at the top

These before and after using oven cleaner on wood pictures don’t totally do the results justice.

First, I was too impatient to wait for the sun to go behind a cloud, so the images are not great.

Next, the wood is very wet in these images, which skews the results. Again, I was too impatient to wait for the wood to dry before taking my pics.

Considering these things, looking at the wood spindle bedframe before you’ll notice how dark and shiny the wood is.

Then, after the oven cleaner method, you’ll see how the wood has a rustic, lighter wood tone.

To further enhance the look of these bed frames, I applied a white wax, which is what you see here. This is before buffing the wax followed by after buffing.

wooden spindle bed with white wax applied before it is buffed. The bed frame is leaning against the side of a house.
Wooden spindle bed shown against a white board and batten wall. The bed frame is a light wood color

The white wax was a pain in the rump to use around all the spindles, but it was worth it! The finish resembles a white oak bed that would have cost me thousands to buy new from a store.

Video Tutorial Using Easy Off on Old Wooden Spindle Beds

So, what’s the deal with these spindle beds?

A few summers ago, at a local barn sale (which is just like a thrift store, garage sale, or antique store), I snagged these twin spindle bed sets for $10.

That’s the total cost! Ten bucks! Crazy, I know! They were in rough shape, but that didn’t deter me because I had just hit the bed frame jackpot. These were solid wood, and to buy something similar new would cost me closer to $2000.  

So, why not give the oven cleaner method a shot?! I figured this would be my best option, and if it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be a huge loss. If all else failed, there was always paint. Right?!

You asked about using the oven cleaner method on wood furniture and I delivered. These are the exact steps I used to remove an old finish and get a light wood look; plus the things I would do differently next time for even better results.

I hope you feel more confident about using this wood furniture stripping method now that I’ve covered all the essentials.

Hey Friend!

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Every successful DIY project starts with a plan. That’s why I created the Project Planner Pack.

It’s everything you need to complete your project on time and on budget.

Unleash your creativity with a click, download your Planner Pack and start your DIY journey today!

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