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Removing Polyurethane With Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits have the tendency to soften a varnish finish so that the surface material may be wiped off.

Will Mineral Spirits Remove Polyurethane

So here's a question: "Will mineral spirits remove polyurethane?"

Yes, they will!

Mineral spirits dry out the oil present in polyurethane and soften the coating, which can then be removed easily.

You have to examine the existing finish to find if it really needs to be stripped off or not. If it is dirty, dull or dark with age, you may need a rejuvenator along with mineral spirits. You also need a sanding sponge, a good rubbing tool that softens the varnish.


Here's a list of mineral spirits and their uses for removing polyurethane:

1. Lacquer Thinner

Lacquer thinner is highly toxic and flammable. It can be applied to remove polyurethane from furniture; however, you have to do this outdoors with plenty of ventilation.

Use a squeeze bottle to wet the coating with lacquer thinner, and wipe off the polyurethane from the wood with a rag.

2. Methyl Ethyl Ketone

This is another highly flammable and volatile liquid. Apply it onto wood outside and use gloves and masks for safety. Use rag to wipe off polyurethane from the wood.

3. Naphtha or Turpentine

Damp the rag with naphtha or turpentine and slowly wipe off the wood finish.

It will take 15-20 minutes to remove the polyurethane coating. Do not apply excess pressure as it can damage the wood coating underneath.

4. Gasoline

Mix gasoline with 25-30% spirit and apply it to the wood finish. Gently wipe off the coating using a sanding sponge. Make sure there is proper ventilation when you do this.

5. Penetrol

You can also use penetrol to remove the poly coating. Penetrol helps the oil to dry out faster. You can wipe the coating easily using a rag.


As you can see, there are many mineral spirits that can remove polyurethane. Just make sure that you keep your face covered with a mask, and use gloves as well, to avoid any harm to your health.

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