How to Get Minwax Polyshades Off Your Woodwork?

How to Remove Minwax Polyshades Finish from Wood

Minwax® is one of the most popular manufacturers of wood finishing products in the US.

Their product Minwax® PolyShades® is specially designed for enhancing the wood grains by combining beautiful rich stain color and long-lasting polyurethane protection in one easy step.

It’s available in a regular 1 quartz tin can and also as aerosol sprays for spraying.

The best thing I love about Minwax PolyShades is it can also be used over finishes like polyurethane and others to recolor old pieces of furniture, doors, windowsills, or other woodwork accessories.

Also, removing the PolyShades is not very tricky as all you need is standard paint or varnish removers like mineral spirits, paint thinner, or a gel-based paint stripper.

Removing Minwax PolyShades

If you need to change the color (to a lighter or a darker shade) that Polyshades has already imparted to your furniture piece, you can strip the old coating off and apply a newer one.

Here is a step-by-step process on how this can be accomplished…

Step 1- Prepare

Spread the drop clots over the floor and place the furniture piece on it.

If it’s a cabinet or a windowsill, from which you need to strip the Polyshades, place the tarp under it on the floor to prevent the damage that can be caused by the paint remover you will be using.

Also, consider applying the painter’s tape to adjoining trims or surfaces to prevent damage.  

Step 2- Protect yourself

Before you start working with the stripper for removing Polyshades finish, it’s important to put on the safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a face mask (or respirator).

This is to protect yourself from harsh chemical fumes.

Step 3- Apply paint stripper on the surface

Take a can of gel-based paint stripper and apply it on a wooden surface with a paintbrush.

Alternatively, you can use a paint thinner or mineral spirits with a piece of clean rag.

Dip a rag into the solvent and apply it evenly on the entire surface from which you need to strip the Polyshades off.

Regardless of what paint remover you use, make sure you apply a very thin coat over the surface and let it sit on the surface for about 20 to 30 minutes.  

Read the instructions on the gel-based paint stripper can to get an idea of the time you need to allow the product to sit on the surface.

Step 4- Scrape off the gel and Polyshades finish

Once the stripper has worked and has dissolved the Polyshades finish, scrape off the gel along with the wood stain and poly in one finish with a plastic putty knife.

Try to remove as much of the gel as possible.

Step 5- Scrub lightly with a steel wool or sandpaper

With a fine-grade steel wool pad or fine grit sandpaper, sand the surfaces as well as crevices of the woodwork.

This will work to remove the remaining traces of the finish.

Step 6- Wipe clean the woodwork surface

Once the paint stripper has removed the Polyshades finish, you will need to refinish the surface.

Start by cleaning the surface with a soapy warm water and sponge. Then, wipe it with a clean towel to dry.

Step 7- Spray the Minwax PolyShades or apply it with a brush

Now that you have removed the old finish of the wood, it’s time to finish it with a new color and protective coating.

For applying a fresh coat of Minwax PolyShades choose the color of your liking.

Some of the most popular color options you can pick are Antique Walnut, Bombay Mahogany, Classic Black, Classic Oak, Mission Oak and Pecan.

Apply the selected Polyshades with a natural bristle brush evenly on the surface.

Or if you want, you can use an aerosol spray can, to achieve the rich wood color along with long-lasting protection and enhanced wood grains.

Tips and Warnings:

When working with PolyShades® keep these things in mind…

  • It’s not a recommended product for use on floors
  • It’s great for DIY projects but you will need to add 3-4 coats to get the desired rick look
  • Do not use the paint stripper to remove the Polyshades from the finished woodwork that you do not want to recolor

While removing Polyshades is easy, you might be left behind with a dull faded surface that needs to be refinished with either paint, stain, varnish or polyshades.

So, you should only try this method on your old woodwork that needs to get a fresh new color or a refinishing touch up.

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