How to Remove Gel Stain From Fiberglass Door

Many people are not aware that gel stains will permanently damage the fiberglass door. Therefore, it is important to know how to remove gel stain from fiberglass doors to avoid this costly and irreversible mistake. The following article provides information on what materials are needed and steps for removing the offending gel stain.

How to Remove Gel Stain From Fiberglass Door

What Is Gel Stain?

Gel stain is a wood finish that comes in a gel form and is applied using an acrylic brush stroke. Gel stain from wood can be difficult to remove, even when it has been allowed time to dry. The following steps may seem extreme but are necessary for the complete removal of the gel stain with stain cleaner.

The process involves washing with large amounts of soap and water based stains, using multiple abrasive products, and ultimately using a chemical stripper solution. Once this process is complete, you may need to sand the gel stain away completely for it to be removed. You can then refinish the door with varnish or other sealants that will last for a long time before replacing it.

Types of Stains on Fiberglass Door

  • Gel-based Stains: gel stains are clear, and gel-based stains can easily penetrate fiberglass entry. Gel stains must be removed immediately from the entire surface of the door by using a gel stain remover or gel stripper.
  • Latex-Based Stains: latex-based (water-based) paints cause less damage to fiberglass doors than gel-based stains. Latex enamel paint should be removed from fiberglass as soon as possible, and gel stain strippers may be effective for removing latex paint.
  • Oil-Based Stains: Oil stains will penetrate the gel coat of fiberglass doors, which can permanently damage the surface. A professional should do gel stain removal to remove gel-based and latex paint from any fiberglass door surfaces.

What Causes of Stain on Fiberglass Door

  • Dust/dirt may cause gel stains on fiberglass doors. Excess dirt and dust should be removed from the gel-based or latex paint before it dries to prevent staining.
  • Windy conditions can disperse gel stain onto a fiberglass door if dust is present. If possible, delay stain removal from gel-based or water-based paints until the paint has dried.
  • Paint sprayed too close to a fiberglass door will cause gel stains. Be sure that gel stain is applied at least 2 inches away from the surface of the gel coat on fiberglass doors. Use a paint sprayer for the optimal distance between the gel layer and gel stain.
applied at least 2 inches away from the surface of the gel coat
  • A gel-based or latex paint that is too thick will cause gel stains on the gel coat of fiberglass doors. Always make sure to use the correct amount of gel-based paints when staining a gel coat door surface, and thin out any gel-based paints if needed before application. 
  • Improper application of gel-based or latex paint causes staining along the edges of fiberglass doors. Be sure to apply gel stain in thin layers using a roller for even coverage, and wipe off any excess residue before it dries.

Check It Out to Learn to Remove Paint From Fiberglass Door.

What You’ll Need for Removing Stains From Fiberglass Doors

  • Solvent-based cleaners, like mineral spirits  or turpentine
  • Cleaning Foam brush or rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • WD-40
  • Dry towels or rags
  • Rubber gloves
  • Thinned-down gel stain

Methods: How to Remove Gel Stain From Fiberglass Door

  • Blot the gel stain with a clean rag or cloth. Test to see if the stain is removable by dabbing just a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto the gel stain and blotting with a cleaning cloth. If it’s not removable, skip this step.
  • Use Rubbing Alcohol for cleaning stains from fiberglass doors. Spray the alcohol on the gel stain, and wipe away with a clean rag. Repeat until the gel stain is removed from your fiberglass door surface. 
  • Use WD-40 to remove gel stain on fiberglass doors. Spray WD-40 onto the gel stain, and wipe away with a clean rag. Repeat until the gel stain is removed from your fiberglass door surface. 
  • Use a Soft cloth with mineral spirit or turpentine. You can also use a clean paint dry cloth to cover the stained area of your fiberglass door, and apply either mineral spirits or turpentine onto the stains on your fiberglass door surface. Let it soak in for about 30 minutes, then wipe away using another cloth.
  • Remove gel stain from a fiberglass door using a thickened-down paint. Pour the thinned down gel stain onto the gel stain that is on your fiberglass door surface, then let it sit for about 30 minutes. Wipe away the excess with a clean cloth until it’s gone!
  • Remove stained gel coat from fiberglass doors by sanding lightly. Always start with the lowest grit (80-grit), and try to sand lightly. Start from one side of the gel stain, and work in small circles going towards the opposite direction until you’ve removed as much gel stain as you can. You’ll need to apply some pressure to remove all of the gel stains from your fiberglass door surface. So don’t be afraid to apply some pressure when you’re sanding the gel stain! 
  • Remove gel stain on fiberglass doors with a heat gun. If your gel stain is still visible after trying all of these methods, use a heat gun (or blow dryer) to slowly warm up the area where gel stain was applied to your fiberglass door surface. Do this lightly and in very small circles around the gel stain to avoid over-heating the gel coat on your door. Be sure not to get too close, or you will risk damaging your fiberglass door!

Mistakes to Avoid When Removing Gel Stain From Fiberglass Door

  • Do not use gel stain on fiberglass doors that are made of gel coats. In addition, gel stains should never be used on gel-coat finishes, as the gel layer will melt onto the gel-coat surface and cannot be removed.
  • Never apply a gel stain to the same place too many times. It’s okay to make mistakes, but gel stains should never be applied over the same spot too many times. Once you’ve successfully removed gel stain from fiberglass or gel coat doors using any of these methods, let your gel-coat surface dry completely without applying any new gel stain.
  • Never use a harsh chemical cleaner to remove gel stain from fiberglass door surfaces. Also, never use a gel stain stripper on gel-coat doors that have gel stain applied over them because you’ll end up removing the gel stain layer from your gel-coat surface.
Never use a harsh chemical cleaner
  • Never use gel stain on fiberglass or gel-coat surfaces that are new. New gel-coat surfaces may have an oil slick exterior finish, which will not allow gel coats of stain to properly dry and can cause the gel stain layer to turn white and look cloudy. Once your gel coats of paint doors have been used a few times, try applying gel type stain and gel-coat doors instead of exterior oil based paint on fiberglass doors.
  • Remove gel stain from gel-coat surfaces that are already damaged. If your gel coat surface is already scratched up or has gel stain damage, it’s best to bring your gel coat door into an auto body shop and have them remove the gel stain for you. You’ll find gel stain coating damage removal gel-coat surfaces at an auto body shop much cheaper than if you were to do it yourself.

Hopefully, these tips will help you successfully remove gel stains from fiberglass door surfaces.

How Do You Refinish a Faded Fiberglass Door?

1) Remove Excess Stain:

It’s best to remove gel stain from fiberglass doors by sanding lightly, starting with the lowest grit (80-grit). Then, use a gel stain stripper to remove gel stains quickly.

2) Sand Fiberglass Doors:

Sanded gel coat fiberglass doors will allow you to easily apply gel coats and prevent your gel coat from bubbling or peeling.

3) Remove Lap Marks:

Sometimes gel-coat lap marks can be removed by simply using a gel stain water based stripper or gel coat.

4) Wax Fiberglass Doors:

Apply a gel wax once you have ensured that all kinds of stains on fiberglass doors are completely dry. Waxing fiberglass door surfaces will prevent them from drying out quickly and will also add some extra shine to your gel coat.

5) Protect with Polyurethane:

Apply gel-coat polyurethane once gel wax has dried to your gel coat fiberglass surface. We recommend using UV gel coat polyurethane, such as 3M Marine Exterior Acrylic Paint Clear Varnish with Poly Urethane, to protect base coat paint surfaces from the sun and outdoor elements.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Remove Gel Stain From Fiberglass Door

How to Remove Peeling Paint and Gel Stain?

You have tried everything to remove the coat of paint and light stain off your white fiberglass door, but it seems impossible. Unfortunately, many of us find that when Peeling Paint comes on their Fiberglass door surface, they start to research all types of chemicals to use.

How to Remove Peeling Paint and Gel Stain

The problem with chemicals is that many are not safe for Glass Fiber or Steel Fiber, and many will damage the seal around the door. If all fails, you can try using homemade paint remover on the Fiberglass Door surface when the paint peels off. Also, use heat if infected Stain peels off after some time since Gel Stain jobs usually cannot be repainted as easily as conventional Bad Paint jobs.

Why Gel Stain Is Applied on Wood Surfaces?

Because gel stains are easy to apply and give a beautiful “lacquered” look, but it’s not so easy to remove stains from wood stains. That’s why they recommend you to use gel on fiberglass or gel-compatible materials: pine, cherry, oak, walnut, etc.


The key to removing any type of stubborn stains is time and patience. You should also always wear gloves if at all possible when dealing with chemicals because they may irritate your skin over long periods of exposure (especially if it’s not already irritating). We hope this blog post has helped you learn how to remove gel stain from fiberglass door issues. If not, please contact us, and we would be happy to help you!

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