How to dispose of polyurethane (with pictures)

How to dispose of polyurethane (with pictures)
How to dispose of polyurethane (with pictures)

Treated polyurethane finishes are effective protection for furniture or floors. If you want to remove a polyurethane coating, you will need to use a chemical stripper in a well ventilated area.


Part 1 of 3: Choosing a polyurethane stripper

Remove Polyurethane Step 1

Step 1. Observe your workspace before choosing a chemical stripper

You should wait to use the stripper in a well ventilated area that is neither too hot nor too cold. You should use ventilators and protective clothing throughout the process.

Remove Polyurethane Step 2

Step 2. If the area you are working in is poorly ventilated, use a water-based product

It will take longer to strip the polyurethane, but this product will be less harmful.

Remove Polyurethane Step 3

Step 3. Take a stripper

If you want to do the project in a very ventilated area, choose a chemical stripper that contains methylene chloride and wear a protective mask. This product is a known carcinogen, but it is very effective in removing polyurethane.

  • If you are worried that the surface you are going to be working on will contain lead paint, you are better off using these strippers instead of sandpaper or a heat gun. Lead is more toxic when heated.
  • Avis is a popular brand of polyurethane stripper.
Remove Polyurethane Step 4

Step 4. Consider purchasing a natural stripper

Otherwise, take a soy-based one if you're worried about the stripper's effects on the environment. You will need to use more product because it will be more volatile than chemical strippers.

Remove Polyurethane Step 5

Step 5. Use white spirit on the laminate or polyurethane coated surface

This petroleum based product is safe on laminate. You can find some odorless or with a slight odor.

Part 2 of 3: Prepare

Remove Polyurethane Step 6

Step 1. Move your furniture into the garage or outdoors

If you are working on a floor, open all doors and windows. Avoid working in direct sunlight.

Place a tarp under the object to avoid killing weeds or making a stain

Remove Polyurethane Step 7

Step 2. Wear long pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt

Buy thick rubber gloves to avoid contact with your skin.

Remove Polyurethane Step 8

Step 3. Protect yourself

If you are using a chemical stripper that contains methylene chloride or white spirit, purchase a face shield and safety glasses. Read the label for precautions and the degree of ventilation required.

Remove Polyurethane Step 9

Step 4. Purchase plastic putty knives to scrape off the polyurethane

You will also need very fine iron wool (or grade 0000).

Part 3 of 3: strip the polyurethane

Remove Polyurethane Step 10

Step 1. Spray the stripper onto the object's surface or apply it with a brush

Only apply it to an area that you can strip in about 15 minutes. Work in sections 1 meter wide, one after the other.

Remove Polyurethane Step 11

Step 2. Wait 15 minutes or the time recommended on the label

If you have evaporation problems, apply the stripper and cover it with a layer of parchment paper.

Remove Polyurethane Step 12

Step 3. Slide your putty knife over the surface of the object

Follow the grain of the wood. Wipe off the polyurethane with a rag or on the edge of an empty plastic yogurt pot. Continue until you have removed the entire layer of polyurethane.

Remove Polyurethane Step 13

Step 4. Apply another coat of stripper if there is still polyurethane

Otherwise, use paint to remove. Do not pass steel wool between two applications. Continue until the surface under the polyurethane is visible.

Remove Polyurethane Step 14

Step 5. Use fine steel wool

This will allow you to remove the polyurethane from wood engravings or crevices. Apply the stripper, wait and run the steel wool in the direction of the grain of the wood to remove the layer of varnish. Use the plastic putty knife as much as possible before using the steel wool.

Remove Polyurethane Step 15

Step 6. Soak the rags and steel wool in water

This makes it possible to prevent an outbreak of fire. Then take the water to a hazardous waste disposal area in your city, along with the remnants of the stripper. Do not throw rags and chemicals directly into the trash or down the drain.

Remove Polyurethane Step 16

Step 7. Pass the piece of furniture with steel wool

Do this after you've removed all the varnish and paint. Your furniture is ready to be repainted.

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