ORC Week 7 | CitriStrip Adventures


Our girls bedroom renovation includes needing to furnish it, of course. Currently we have one mini crib, one toddler mattress, and two small plastic drawer sets. So a primary goal with this room is finding and flipping furniture.

A few weeks back I obtained a 5 drawer dresser for free on Facebook Marketplace. It was free because one drawer was broken apart and the piece has been carelessly painted over multiple times.

Flipping the dresser

After inspecting the dresser and finding that the broken drawer simply needs some wood glue, we got to work.

Step 1 was cleaning the dresser from top to bottom.

Step 2 was stripping paint. We used CitriStrip for the first time to try it out. There are fairly vague instructions on the bottle, so we learned more about using it from user reviews than anything.

The first coat was satisfying to watch but I should have applied a thicker layer of stripper, and then covered the whole surface with plastic wrap. But since I wasn’t quite sure yet what I was doing, I did not take those steps the first time and had to do a second go round.

The second time worked like a charm! The paint stripped down through all 3 or 4 layers of paint to the bare natural wood, and when scraped it rolled away like butter cut with a hot knife. I cannot express how satisfying it was!

Instructions say to use mineral spirits to rinse afterwards, but we did not have any on hand. The dresser sat for several days before I abruptly took an orbital sander to the drawer fronts. They sanded down beautifully!

Step 3 is refinishing. I still need to decide on stain or paint colors for this piece, and glue the drawer back together, but then this beauty will be finished!

I couldn’t be more excited about the success of flipping my first dresser! And having gotten it for free was really icing on the cake.

CitriStrip Tips

Since using this product was slightly less intuitive than the instructions would have you believe, here are a few recommendations from our experience.

  • Coat your piece in a thick layer of Citristrip, making sure to go back over spots you may miss
  • Immediately cover the whole piece in plastic wrap to keep the product from drying and keep it working potently for longer
  • If you’re doing a huge piece consider working in segments, coating and covering one portion at a time.
  • Allow a minimum of an hour before scraping at all, and I’d say even 2 hours if you can. The longer the better!
  • Work over a drop cloth or cardboard, newspaper, etc that can be thrown away with all the scraped debris to minimize messes
  • Instructions say to use a plastic scraper but we had greater success with a metal drywall knife. Just be cautious not to gouge the wood, as this product can make the surface fairly soft temporarily until it dries after stripping.

I think with our next furniture flip we may try a different product, just to test alternates, but we are happy with how this product worked and would still be happy to use it again in the future.

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