Hot Topics: Removing Paint From a Bathtub

A painted, peeling bathtub.

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After purchasing their home, this DIYer realized that the previous homeowner painted the bathtub. What once may have looked like a decent tub is now a peeling mess. The question is how to remove the paint completely. The forum has a few ideas (one of which is to completely replace the tub!).

Original Post: They painted my bathtub

Josh Roberts Member

The genius I bought my house from thought it would be a good idea to paint the bathtub. You can imagine what water soluable paint does over time as the kids take showers. Now I have a big mess. What is the easiest way to remove this paint?

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Just to be clear, they used latex paint and not a tub/tile paint? Denatured alcohol will dissolve latex paint, or a paint stripper could be used, but I don't know how either would affect the plumbing.

Marq1 Member

Have never used alcohol or heard that it will strip latex paint, but Goo Gone is a citrus based material that will clean/strip latex paint. I would just work an area at a time and try not to get too much down the drain.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

Just to clarify—denatured alcohol will dissolve latex paint, but rubbing alcohol won't. Products like Goof Off or OOPS will also dissolve latex, but denatured alcohol is cheaper.

joecaption Member

Start saving now to replace the tub.

XSleeper Member

Paint remover/brush cleaner—sold in the same aisle as paint thinner. There must be a reason they painted it. (Probably was unbelievably dirty and they thought it was an improvement...still a bad idea.)

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

I'm with XSleeper. There must be a reason they painted the tub. It's something that's done to make a bad tub look good for selling. I assume after you get the paint off you'll find that the tub underneath is either a crazy color or has bad scratches or the finish is worn through. Whatever the cause you probably will need to replace the tub or consider a professional refinishing.

Josh Roberts Member

Yeah, it is an ugly mauve color, but I can live with it. Right now it looks really bad—just kind of using it as catch-all for the last few weeks.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

It doesn't look like it will be too difficult to remove the latex paint. Might want to tape up the drain to prevent the peelings from going down the drain. I don't use strippers often and generally ask the folks at the paint store which one would be best for the job at hand. I'm not sure if one of the least caustic strippers or denatured alcohol along with a Scotch-Brite pad would be best.

wildbill7145 Member

When we bought our house, about a week later we realized the previous owners had painted our tub with latex. Just keep having daily showers or baths with a drain strainer. It honestly won't take long to have the thing strip itself.

I'd also second the motion of starting to get ready to replace it.

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