Citristrip Gel vs Paste: A Comprehensive Guide for DIY Enthusiasts

What is a substitute for Citristrip

Citristrip Gel vs Paste: A Comprehensive Guide for DIY Enthusiasts

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a novice looking to tackle your first project, choosing the right paint stripper can be a daunting task. Citristrip, a popular brand known for its environmentally friendly and non-toxic paint strippers, offers two main options: gel and paste. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of Citristrip gel vs paste, comparing their pros and cons, applications, and tips for achieving the best results.

Understanding Citristrip

Citristrip is a family of paint and varnish strippers that utilize the natural power of citrus oils to break down and remove various coatings from surfaces like wood, metal, and masonry. Unlike traditional paint strippers that contain harsh chemicals, Citristrip is considered safer and more user-friendly, making it a popular choice for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. When planning to heat a pole barn, it’s important to choose methods that won’t interfere with ongoing renovation projects, such as using Citristrip.

Citristrip Gel vs Paste: Key Differences

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While both Citristrip gel and paste share the same core ingredients, their different consistencies lead to variations in their applications and suitability for specific projects. Let’s explore these differences in detail:

Citristrip Gel:

  • Consistency: Thick and viscous, similar to jelly.
  • Application: Easy to apply with a brush or roller, adheres well to vertical surfaces.
  • Suitable for: Vertical surfaces, intricate details, multiple layers of paint or varnish.
  • Pros: Less messy, longer working time, ideal for intricate projects.
  • Cons: May take longer to work, not as effective on thick or stubborn coatings.

Citristrip Paste:

  • Consistency: Thicker and more spreadable, similar to peanut butter.
  • Application: Best applied with a putty knife or spatula, works well on horizontal surfaces.
  • Suitable for: Horizontal surfaces, large areas, thick or stubborn coatings.
  • Pros: Faster working time, effective on tough coatings, covers a larger area.
  • Cons: Can be messier, may drip on vertical surfaces.

Choosing the Right Citristrip for Your Project

The choice between Citristrip gel and paste ultimately depends on the specific requirements of your project. Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:

  • Vertical surfaces: Choose Citristrip gel for its ability to cling to vertical surfaces without dripping.
  • Intricate details: Opt for Citristrip gel as it’s easier to control and apply to intricate areas.
  • Multiple layers: Citristrip gel’s longer working time makes it suitable for removing multiple layers.
  • Horizontal surfaces: Citristrip paste is ideal for horizontal surfaces where it can be spread evenly.
  • Thick or stubborn coatings: Citristrip paste’s thicker consistency and faster working time make it effective on tough coatings.
  • Large areas: Citristrip paste covers a larger surface area, making it suitable for large projects.

Tips for Using Citristrip Effectively

Regardless of whether you choose Citristrip gel or paste, following these tips will ensure optimal results:

  1. Prepare the surface: Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Apply Citristrip: Apply a thick, even layer of Citristrip to the surface using a brush, roller, putty knife, or spatula.
  3. Cover with plastic: Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent the Citristrip from drying out.
  4. Allow to work: Let the Citristrip sit for the recommended time (refer to the product label).
  5. Remove the coating: Scrape off the softened coating with a putty knife or scraper.
  6. Clean the surface: Remove any residue with mineral spirits or a similar solvent.
  7. Repeat if necessary: Repeat the process if multiple layers of coating need to be removed.

Safety Precautions

While Citristrip is considered safer than traditional paint strippers, it’s crucial to follow safety precautions:

  • Wear protective gear: Wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area: Open windows and doors or use a fan to ensure good ventilation.
  • Dispose of waste properly: Follow local regulations for disposing of Citristrip waste.


Citristrip gel and paste are both powerful and effective paint strippers that offer a safer alternative to traditional chemical-based products. By understanding their key differences, choosing the right product for your specific project, and following the recommended tips and safety precautions, you can achieve successful results and breathe new life into your furniture, woodwork, or other surfaces.

Additional Tips:

  • For best results, work in a warm environment.
  • Test Citristrip on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire surface.
  • Don’t let Citristrip dry out; if it starts to dry, reapply it.
  • Use a plastic scraper to avoid damaging the underlying surface.
  • Neutralize Citristrip with a vinegar and water solution after use.
  • If you’re unsure which product to choose, consult with a professional.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can confidently embark on your DIY projects and achieve professional-level results with Citristrip.

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