How to Remove Paint from Walls

Using Sandpaper for Drywall

  1. Clean the wall with soap and hot water. To prepare the wall for sanding, first fill a bucket with hot water and soap. Then, soak a cloth in the water and wash off the wall. This will remove any dirt or markings that the paint has accumulated, simplifying the rest of the job.
  2. Purchase a sanding block or sander to use. Unfortunately rubbing sandpaper against the wall won’t work very well. Instead you will need to invest in a sanding block or a sander. A sanding block is a small block of material that you can wrap sandpaper around, making it easier to sand flat surfaces. A sander is a automated tool like a drill that you load sandpaper into and it sands the surface for you. 
    • To use a sanding block, wrap the sandpaper around one side of the block and grip it with your hand from the other side.
    • Sanders can differ in how you load them with the sandpaper, but generally they have a slot that you can load the sandpaper into before turning it on. If you haven’t used a sander before, a sanding block is a safer option.
    • A coarser grit on the sandpaper is acceptable because you’re aiming to strip the unwanted paint. Use 80-grit sandpaper if you’re looking to remove globs of paint.
    • Sanding a wall will cause a risk of inhaling toxic dust, so wear a mask before beginning.
  3. Sand away the unwanted paint. Rub the coarse side of the sandpaper against the paint. Move the sanding block or sander back and forth in 1 square foot (0.09 square meter) sections. Apply lots of pressure to the wall if you are using a sanding block.
    • Sand the unwanted paint until the entirety of the paint becomes dull. Then, wipe away the dust.
  4. Strip the paint if you want to remove it entirely. If you prefer to remove the paint entirely as opposed to painting over it, use a paint scraper to peel off the remaining unwanted paint.
    • Place the paint scraper’s blade at the bottom of the unwanted paint, apply pressure to the blade, and slide it under the unwanted paint, peeling the paint off.[
    • The sanding process will have weakened the paint, making it easier to strip.