When deciding how to remove paint, you have a number of options. Determine how much paint you need to remove, from which surface, and you can make the task much easier and faster. Follow these guidelines below to remove paint from interior surfaces.
If the wall material under the paint is drywall, do not use chemical paint removers, as they can damage the drywall. Use a sander to clear layers of paint off drywall. Use a sander as well if you are removing paint from hardwood floors or plain door frames. You will need to use chemical paint stripper on molded baseboards, as sanding will destroy their contours.
Clean the painted surface thoroughly with a grease-cutting cleaner. Dish detergent or an all-purpose household cleaner will work well. Rinse the surface well, and let it dry overnight.
Tape off the edges of the area where you will be removing paint, so you don't sand or spray into areas where paint is not being removed.
Many paint removers that are environment-friendly come in a trigger spray bottle. Spray the paint remover onto the wall or baseboard and allow it to stand for a few minutes, then wipe it off with paper towels or clean rags. Use a paint scraper to lift off paint flakes that don't dissolve in the paint remover. Wear eye goggles and a face mask even when using environment-friendly paint removers, and work in a well-aired space. Dispose of your wiping cloths and paper towels in the regular trash.
Remove all furniture and wall hangings and draperies or blinds from the space. Open all the windows into the space, and tape plastic drop cloths over doorways to keep sawdust from blowing into other rooms.
Start your sanding with a coarse, 60-grit sandpaper, moving the orbital sander evenly over a large area at a time. After sanding the whole area, vacuum with the shop vac so you can see the results of your first pass. Sand again with a medium sandpaper, 80 to 100 grit, and vacuum afterward. These 2 passes should remove all the paint. Smooth the surface of your wall or floor with a fine-grit sandpaper, from 150 to 200 grit. This final sanding should leave your surface ready to refinish as you desire.
If you have respiratory allergies, sanding or using paint remover might be hazardous for you. You can use an infrared heater to warm the paint just enough that you can strip it off with a paint scraper. Move the infrared heater up and down near the walls as you would a paint roller. The paint should bubble and loosen as it is heated, so you can scrape it off easily.