How to strip stain with Oven Cleaner!

What You Will Need:

  • Oven Cleaner:  for this project I used Great Value fume free oven cleaner.
  • Sponges
  • Dry Rags
  • Bucket of water 
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Drop cloth or Tarp so you don’t ruin anything else

Why this is a good alternative to actual stain remover:

If you are anything like me, you get pretty antsy in the winter time for a project! But when its 4 degree’s outside, you can’t do any of them because stain stripper requires temperatures to be around 50 degree’s in order to get results. Anyone out there ever tried to strip stain in freezing temperatures? I have… (face palm.) Needless to say, it didn’t work and I should have followed the instructions on the back. It made a much bigger mess!

SO! Being cooped up in the house with an itch to switch things up and change my interior decor, I went on the hunt for something I could use indoors that could get the job done! Thats when I discovered that oven cleaner can take off old stain! YAS!

I have no idea the science behind this, all I know is it worked for me. I purchased a very inexpensive brand of oven cleaner to test this out, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Here’s a Before and After for ya:

As you can see from the after photo, the oven cleaner got rid of that awful reddish stain that was on these shutters and gave them a natural weathered look I’m obsessed with!


Ok, let’s get to it.

STEP 1: It’s pretty simple really! I laid out my project on a protected surface, removing any hardware and making sure it was clean and dry first. With my protective gloves on, I then just started spraying a pretty liberal coat of oven cleaner on the surface I wanted the stain to be removed from and let it sit for 20 minutes.

*Note: These old shutters are vintage and are pretty old. They had little to no finish/top coat left on them so I didn’t need too many coats of the oven cleaner for this particular project. Some projects may require to do these steps a couple of times.

STEP 2: After 20 minutes, I took my sponge and scrubbed a small spot in a circular motion to see if it was ready. 

*Note: In this photo I was using a sponge scrubber I had on hand, but I switched to regular scotch sponges because having an absorbent side and a scrubbing side of the sponge was very helpful in this process! You want the sponge to absorb the oven cleaner as you go.

STEP 3: My shutters were ready after 20 minutes so I began to scrub off all the loose stain with the ROUGH side of the sponge, continuing to scrub in a circular motion to really get it out of the grain. I went up one side of the shutter getting all of the stain off, and then I dipped my sponge in a bucket of water, rung it out, and wiped all the excess oven cleaner off with the sponge side to absorb any oven cleaner that was left. *Repeat that cleaning step as many times as needed. 

Continue this process all the way around your piece.

STEP 4: I had a few different kinds of scrubbers laying around for my piece because getting in-between the shutters was not easy, however I did find that the most tried and true piece was the sponge <3

I ended up cutting my sponge into smaller pieces to get in the small spaces.

after I had the entire piece stripped, I took my dry rags and absorbed any water or oven cleaner that was left to avoid my wood taking on too much water. I got it good and dry and set it up next to my fireplace to dry overnight.

*Note: because the wood is wet during this process, it will look a bit darker still then when it dries. give your piece 24 hours to dry before doing anything else with it to avoid damage.

Voila! This is the look after 24 hours of drying. 

A couple of my shutters got a little soft so I took some 100 grit sand paper to any parts that got a bit fuzzy or over dry (you can see the fuzz on the bottom of this shutter – the wood got too soft and probably too much water).


From here you could go in a number of directions! You could add a new stain, paint, wax, etc. 


I liked the look I ended up with, so I flipped my shutters over and added a sawtooth picture hanger to the back of each of my shutters, reapplied the hardware, and hung them up over my dining room fire place. This space has been empty for months so this was the perfect location. 

Everything else you see in this picture is from Hobby Lobby.

Galvanized wall planter

Faux eucalyptus & beach basswood bush

Cotton Wreath (the one seen here is homemade, but I linked a similar one.) 

If you want to make your own, here is the cotton garland I used.            I zip tied the garland to an embroidery hoop.

Thanks for stopping in, if you have any questions, leave a comment for me below and  will do my best to answer your questions!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Deanna

    I love the way you hung them separately. Very pretty!

  2. Lauren Del Rey

    This is excellent, thank you for sharing. Thinking I’m going to use this method for a large piece.

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