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How to Clean Paint or Wood Stain Off of Glass

James makes a living cleaning strangers' toilets. As a professional house cleaner of over 5 years, he loves to share what he has learned.

Decorating can be a messy business, and no matter how many precautions you take, there is always a little spillage: paint, emulsion, or even wood stain that drips onto the window or your favorite glass table.

If wet, paint, emulsion, and wood stain are quite simple to deal with. But if you miss the spillage and it has time to dry, then removing the stain can be a little more difficult, but it can be removed quite easily without damaging or scratching the glass.

White spirit, paint thinner, or turpentine are ideal for removing wet oil-based paint or wood stains from glass.

White spirit, paint thinner, or turpentine are ideal for removing wet oil-based paint or wood stains from glass.

How to Remove Dried Wood Stain From Glass

Dry wood stain or paint are fairly easy to remove.

  • The best thing to do is wait until it has completely dried and make sure that it is not sticky or tacky. If you try to remove it too soon, you will have a far more difficult task on your hands because you will spread the stain even more over the glass surface.
  • Paint drips are the easiest dried stains to remove. The best tool for this job is a simple fingernail: a simple pick and flick and it is gone forever.
  • An accidental brushstroke or splatter is a little more difficult to remove. Wait for around 48 hours for the paint or wood stain to completely dry out. Use a double-edged razor blade as a scraper to remove it. The blade is, as you can imagine, very sharp, but it is soft enough to remove the dried paint easily without scratching the glass surface. Cover the side you are holding with a piece of cloth or leather to avoid a trip to the hospital.
  • You may find that the paint was only dry to the touch and was still a little tacky inside and it smears a little as you try to scrape it off. Because it is still tacky you will find that a cloth dipped in paint thinner or white spirit will remove those smears, too.

When you're done, all that is left is to clean your glass in the normal way and the surface will be like it was before your painting accident.

How to Remove Wet Wood Stain and Wet Paint

Like paint, there are two different types of wood stain: water-based and oil-based.

  • To remove oil-based paints or wood stain from any surface when they are still wet is a simple task. All that you have to do is give the affected area a wipe with a soft cloth dipped in either paint thinner or turpentine and the stain is gone in seconds. Remember to use a clean, dry cloth afterwards to clean off any residue.
  • To remove water-based paints or wood stain when they are still wet is even easier. All that you have to do is wipe the affected area with a damp cloth and the paint is gone in seconds.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use a blade to removes a wood stain from glass? The stain is dry.

Answer: Yes, but be careful not to scratch the glass.


Barb Schommer on August 03, 2019:

I covered my door with double fabric but my oil stain (sprayed siding) still left an ugly film on the glass. How can I get that off?

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on November 14, 2012:

Great tips for those DIY home improvement types! Simple and straightforward. Rated up and shared! Best, Steph

Jimmy the jock (author) from Scotland on November 13, 2012:

Thanks Sunshine, glad to help.....jimmy

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on November 13, 2012:

Very useful tips Jimmy! I'm sure many people will find this useful.