I have a household chemistry puzzle I'm hoping people on this forum might be interested in.
I live in a 1848 farm house that has had about 13 layers of paint put on it over the years. I've found that various strippers work OK for the top layers, but I'll then get down to the bottom layers and no normal paint remover will do anything. That tough layer is probably homemade milk paint.
I ordered a milk paint remover online even though it looked a little bit like an online scam. It looked very homemade (you be the judge: https://img0.etsystatic.com/121/0/5556274/il_875xN.878519080_s0dw.jpg
). But it worked like a dream! The iron-hard milk paint that could only be painstakingly chipped off quickly became so easy to remove I could wipe all the milk paint off or spray it off with a garden hose. (Example FYI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z18ZHjeFVsE
Here's the problem. My house has so much paint on it there's no way I can afford this stuff. It costs about $0.75 per ounce when shipping is included and shipping is a lot of the price. I'm wondering if there is some household or garden product that will produce this effect on milk paint. Alternately, I wonder if I can figure out what is in this mysterious online powder.
Here are some clues (?):
I see online that in the 1800s milk paint was usually cow/goat milk + hydrated lime (calcium hydroxide).
On the updated packaging for that online milk paint removing powder, it says "contains sodium carbonate and calcium hydroxide." (https://www.realmilkpaint.com/shop/strippers-removers/paint/
). In household terms, that's "Arm & Hammer washing soda and Mrs. Wage's Pickling Lime" -- both are on sale at the Walmart near me.
On other Internet forums people recommend a variety of household concoctions to remove milk paint. Typically they recommend hot water and soap (this did not work at all for me) or ammonia (did not try).
In case it is not clear, I have NO CHEMISTRY KNOWLEDGE.
I'm hoping this post interests someone enough to help solve the puzzle! Happy to try things and report back.