How to Use Steel Wool on Painted Furniture

The process of using steel wool on painted furniture is simple and can be done at home. In addition, it is a great way to remove paint that has chipped or scratched off, revealing the natural wood beneath it.

How to Use Steel Wool on Painted Furniture

This technique will also protect your investment by providing extra protection from future scratches and chips. The article below includes step-by-step instructions on how to use steel wool on painted furniture and tips to ensure you get the best results possible!

What Is Steel Wool Used for?

Steel wool is a versatile cleaning and polishing tool that can be used for both small and large tasks. It’s available in fine and medium grades to choose the right one for your needs. Whether polishing furniture or refinishing bathroom tiles, steel wool can help you get the job done quickly and easily.

Steel wool contains no chemicals or abrasives, so it won’t damage the surface of whatever you’re cleaning or polishing. Steel wool is created by heating steel bars to high temperatures and then grinding them down into small fibers that can be used for various home improvement projects.

Instructions: How To Use Steel Wool on Painted Furniture

The process of using steel wool on painted furniture isn’t too difficult. It’s also a common method for restoring the original finish on a piece of painted furniture or bringing it back to life after years of neglect while keeping its integrity intact.

Step 1 – Clean Furniture Before You Begin

You first want to thoroughly clean the surface and remove any loose paint chips using a wire brush and oil soap.

Cleaning The Furniture

Step 2 – Place Steel Wool in a Bowl

Place 1/2 inch-sized pieces of steel wool into a bowl with cleaning solutions such as tung oil or olive, linseed, or other wood oils. Use warm water instead of solvents if you prefer not to dissolve the paint further than it already is.

Step 3 – Rub Steel Wool Against Surface of Furniture

Rub the steel wool against the surface for about three minutes or until you see a beautiful shine. You’ll need to get your hands wet because this will remove all the layers of paint from the wood. If you don’t have tung oil on hand, use linseed oil. It’s also possible to use turpentine or other solvents, but that can affect the integrity of the finish and remove more paint than needed if you’re not careful.

Step 4 – Sand Furniture With Fine-Grit Sandpaper

After you’ve rubbed off all the old layers of paint from your furniture, it’s time to sand it down. Use fine-grit sandpaper that’s wet, and gradually work your way up from 200 grit to 400 grit until the surface is smooth and you can’t see any more paint on the wood.

Step 5 – Remove All Dirt From Furniture

Use a tack cloth after you’ve sanded the furniture pieces to get rid of all the sawdust. The tack cloth will also help you see if any spots still have old paint or dirt in them that need attention.

Step 6 – Apply a Filler Paste to Uneven Areas

Use a filler paste-like wood filler raw umber to cover up uneven areas and holes from the sawdust.

Step 7 – Sand Filled Areas Smoothly

Use your fine-grit sandpaper and work from 200 grit back up to 400 grit to continue sanding block the filler paste areas. This will even out the surfaces and give you a smooth finish, free of bumps or humps. It’s essential for a professional appearance.

Step 8 – Apply a New Coat of Paint to Furniture

If you’ve done everything correctly up until this point, your furniture should be ready for a new coat of paint. You can begin with the paint color your piece originally came in or try something a bit more creative and change the look completely.

Apply a New Coat of Paint to Furniture

Step 9 – Apply a Stain to the Furniture and Let it Dry.

Apply your favorite color of stain, being sure not to get any on the areas you don’t want stained. For example, olive oil naturally darkens the wood, often used as a stain for painted furniture. Let the stain dry, then put on two coats of polyurethane. Be sure to sand between each coat of paint to ensure there aren’t any rough spots.

Step 10 – Carefully Clean Your Furniture and Enjoy the Delightful Results!

Finally, clean your furniture with a soft cloth dipped in olive oil. This will bring out the deep shine you’ve just achieved–it will look like it just came out of the furniture store!

10 Tips for Using Steel Wool

  • To give painted furniture a distressed look, you can rub it with steel wool.
  • If you have a scratch on the finish, bit of steel wool will remove the paint to match the surrounding area.
  • A clean and lightly used steel-wool pad is a safe way to buff out scratches in your furniture’s finish gently.
  • Medium Steel wool will also remove scratches from glass, ceramic (try not to scratch), porcelain and mirror surfaces (for a brighter shine), and tile or marble floors (to restore them to their original beauty).
  • Cut the steel wool into smaller pieces to get at the grooves in your furniture.
  • Rub steel wool over the rough surface of wood areas to remove stains, and then rub it on a damp sponge to clean any remaining grime from hard-to-reach spaces.
  • It is also an excellent way to restore silverware, old tools, or other metal objects that you think are too scratched up for polishing.
  • It is best to use it on metal items after polishing or preparing the surface before you paint a piece of furniture metallic.
  • Grade of Steel wool works just as well on non-metal surfaces, too; try using it to clean an old wooden ladder, remove candle wax from furniture upholstery, and even polish tortoise shell jewelry.
  • Protect your hands with gloves, and strands of steel fibers wool is an excellent way to clean paint from your car (be careful not to use too much pressure when using it, though!)
Excellent Way to Clean Paint

Is Steel Wool Flammable?

You may wonder if steel wool is flammable, and the answer is yes. However, it must be ignited to catch fire. When cut into squares or smaller pieces, the one side of the square where it was connected to another piece of metal will leak a small number of orange sparks. This can look beautiful when used in art projects, but it can also be dangerous.

On the subject of safety, remember that steel wool will conduct electricity. Therefore, you should never use steel wool on a finished piece of furniture and plug it in afterward. This is especially true for older pieces with the insides coated with layer upon layer of different lacquers. Applying some pressure against the steel wool can cause it to spark inside the piece of furniture.

How to Use Steel Wool to Remove Paint?

If you are wondering how to use steel wool on painted furniture, the first thing you will want to do is soak a small piece in lacquer thinner. You can purchase this at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. It may also be referred to as paint thinner or mineral spirits. Do not use gasoline; it will ruin your finishes and possibly even start a fire.

To remove paint, you will want to use an old rag or tea towel. It may be helpful to douse the cloth in the thinner as well. This will help it slide more easily over the surface without dripping too much. The idea is to strip off the topmost layer of paint and some of the primer or sealer that may be beneath it.

How to Use Steel Wool to Remove Rust?

Using Steel Wool On Furniture

Sometimes you may come across an old piece of furniture with no paint. However, there is still plenty of rust. Ideally, you will already know what caused the rust to avoid it happening again. Rust from metal can be avoided if the furniture is made of cast iron. Cast iron contains a high enough percentage of

If not, you might want to try using steel wool on the rust before tackling it with any chemical solutions. Steel wool can remove rust because of its roughness. However, for this method to work, the rust must be very shallow and have a fine consistency. If you think there is still enough paint left on top of the rust, you may want to strip some off beforehand.


Steel wool is a tried and true solution when it comes to keeping your furniture looking its best. All you have to do is rub the surface with the steel wool in one direction using pressure until you see residue left behind on the cloth or brush off any excess dirt that clings to the fabric.

With just these few steps, we can ensure our furniture stays clean and beautiful for years to come! We hope this blog post on using steel wool on painted furniture has been educational. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or concerns, and if you enjoyed this article, be sure to share it with your friends and family. Thank you for reading!

You may also read – How to Change the Color of Wood Furniture

Jennifer Branett
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