I applied a coat of Polyshades on top of a cabinet I am refinishing. It looks HORRIBLE! I'm trying to be patient but I have other things to do and don't want to wait a day or two to remove the Polyshades. Can I remove it while it is still wet and tacky using paint stripper? I imagine if possible, it will be quite messy but I don't care about that. I just don't want to cause any damage to the wood.

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    If it is oil based, paint thinner or mineral spirits will clean it off if the item you are painting can handle it.
    – Jack
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 18:46

2 Answers 2


Okay first: don't use PolyShades for anything...ever. Its the worst. Second: Stripper is great except when its not. Sometimes certain strippers react to certain finishes in a way that is...undesirable. Then you have a mess. I've been doing this longer than I care to remember and I still have weird results now and again. No rhyme or reason. CitriStip gel is pretty good, and safer to use than the solvent based variety.

I like to remove finish with a scraper, especially when green. It cuts through the finish quickly and doesn't clog like sand paper. Its a modest investment and learning to sharpen them properly takes a few tricks (see William Ng's tutorial on Youtube) and profiled moldings present a bit of a challenge, but its a skill worth learning if your into working wood. Good luck.


Is it a standard poly or waterborne?

You could use the appropriate solvent to remove it...though if it is a traditional poly it will likely settle a lot during the drying process which will make it look better. And if you are applying multiple coats (I always suggest at least two with any type of Poly) you can sand it smooth once it dries, clean it, and apply the final coat. If you have stain or something under it you run the risk of messing that up by removing the coat that has already been applied. Plus, you'll still have to let it dry and then resand if you remove it (most likely)

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