How To Dull A Glossy Finish: 2 Simple Ways

Too much sheen in woodwork might not always do justice to its appearance. Maybe it would have looked better if it was less glossy.

So, how to dull a glossy finish?

To dull a glossy finish, you can try the sanding and polishing technique. For that, first, sand the surface to remove the sheen. Then use a polish compound to adjust the sheen to your liking. You can also try the sanding and refinishing method. Remove the polishing compound and sand the surface. Apply finishing spray and you’re done.

Those were only the surface points. Read along to know more about the process of the mentioned methods above.

Let’s jump right in. 

Table of Contents

How To Dull A Glossy Finish On Wood?

How To Dull A Glossy Finish

Getting a glossy finish comes with a few efforts. But removing the gloss would take a lot more work to do. 

Moreover, if you’re a novice, it might seem like a colossal job for you. But don’t be discouraged. We will help you to achieve the right sheen for your furniture.

All you’ve to do is follow the lead-

Method-1: Sanding And Polishing

This is the simplest and most straightforward process to lose the gloss. To do this project, you’re gonna need some tools. Here’s what you’re gonna need-

  • Sandpaper: You’ll be needing 220, 320, 400, 600, 1000, 1200 grit sandpapers. Keep finer sandpaper as well.
  • Clothes to remove dust: You’ll need a few pieces of clothes ready by your side.
  • Orbital slander: It’s optional. You might not need this. But it depends on the matte look you’re looking for.
  • Polishing materials: They’ll be necessary if you use orbital slander. Collect a coarse compound.

Now that you have the tools ready, it’s time to work.

Step-1: Sanding

First, remove any dirt on the surface with soap water. Now, check how thick the top coat of your product is. 

If the coating is thick, you’ll need 220-320 grit sandpaper. If it’s thinner or you’re not sure about it, use 400-grit sandpaper. It’ll be safer for the wood. 

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Now take 220 grit sandpaper and start sanding the glossy area. Gently rub over the whole surface once. Be careful not to accidentally remove too much layer, it’ll damage the wood.

Apply a little soap water and wipe it with a cloth. We’re going to sand the surface again. After you’re done, wipe the area with a cloth and soap water.

Now, use 600 grit sandpaper to rub the wood surface. It’ll remove any buffing stains and even out the surface. After sanding it all over once, wipe it with soap water. Repeat the process until the result is satisfactory for you.

If the outcome is to your liking, the work is done. But if it seems to become too dull, fret not. We have another remedy for it. 

To fix the issue, use 800 grit sandpaper to sand the surface. It’ll put some gloss back on it. After sanding, wipe it with soap water. Keep it going until you find the gloss to your liking.

If it’s still not sufficient enough, use 1000 grit sandpaper and re-apply the process. If you need more, move on to 1200 grit sandpaper. Higher grit sandpapers make the surface look smoother and satiny. 

Step-2: Polishing

If the previous step didn’t give a satisfactory outcome, follow this step. We’re gonna need an electric orbital sander for this. It’s advised to use a random orbital sander than using a traditional sheet sander.

Apply some coarse polishing compound to the buffing pad of the sander. Start polishing the surface without giving any extra pressure. If you’re finished buffing, wipe the surface with a cloth and soap water. Set it to dry.

Hopefully, this method gave you the right outcome you were looking for. If that isn’t the case, we’ll introduce you to another method.

Method-2: Sanding And Refinishing

The previous method might not be satisfactory to all. But this method works well for almost everyone. The things you’re gonna need for this process are-

  • Naphtha.
  • 220 grit sandpaper.
  • Finishing spray.
  • Clean cloths to wipe the dust.

Step-1: Sand The Surface

If you’ve followed the first method, you’ve to remove the finishing compound first. Use naphtha or mineral spirit to do the job. Now, pick 220 grit sandpaper and start sanding the surface.

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If you’ve landed on this method first then start with sanding the whole surface. Wipe off any dirt with soap water. Leave it to dry before moving on to the next step.

Step-2: Apply Finishing Spray

Before applying the finishing spray, make sure the surface is clean and dry. Apply a light coat of finishing spray on the surface. 

Use any finishing spray up to your choice. The favorable options would be matte, semi-gloss, or satin. It depends on how you like to keep the sheen.

Using matte spray will most likely give you the dull sheen you were looking for. Let it dry before applying another layer to it.

If you’re happy with the outcome, you’re done with this project. If you think the surface is too dull, re-apply the spray again. Keep repeating this process until you find the result is satisfactory.

Hopefully this time, you’re satisfied with the end result.


Question: Can you dull gloss paint?

Answer: Yes, you can. To remove the gloss, sanding the painted surface is the best choice. You can also try removing some finishing material.

Question: How do you remove shine from gloss paint?

Answer: sanding the glossy painted surface is the best option. You can try the methods we discussed above to lose the sheen of your paint.

Question: how to dull a glossy finish on metal?

Answer: Detach the metal parts and use a liquid deglosser to remove the gloss from the metal. Later use spray-on varnish. You can also try sanding the metal. Use vinegar or mineral spirit to rub the surface after you’re done sanding.

Question: Why would I want to dull a glossy finish?

Answer: Glossy finishes can be too shiny and reflect too much light, making them unsuitable for certain applications.

Question: What tools or materials do I need to dull a glossy finish?

Answer: Sandpaper or steel wool, a deglossing agent, and a cleaning cloth.

Question: What are the best techniques for dulling a glossy finish?

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Answer: Sanding or rubbing the surface with steel wool or a deglosser.

Question: Is it possible to completely remove a glossy finish?

Answer: Yes, through sanding or chemical stripping.

Question: Will dulling a glossy finish damage the underlying surface?

Answer: It depends on the type of surface and how it’s done, but it is possible.

Question: How long does it typically take to dull a glossy finish?

Answer: It depends on the size of the surface and the technique used, but it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

Question: Can I use household items to dull a glossy finish, or do I need specialized products?

Answer: Household items such as steel wool or vinegar can be used, but specialized products may be more effective.

Question: Can I apply a new, matte finish over a glossy finish without dulling it first?

Answer: Yes, but it’s recommended to dull the glossy finish first for better adhesion.

Question: how to dull a glossy finish on plastic?

Answer: Sand the plastic with a fine-grit sandpaper or use a plastic-specific deglossing agent.

Question: how to dull a glossy finish on metal?

Answer: Use a deglossing agent or sand the metal with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Question: how to dull gloss polyurethane

Answer: Sand the polyurethane with a fine-grit sandpaper or use a deglossing agent.

Question: Can you water down gloss?

Answer: Apply a matte finish product over the glossy finish.

Question: Can you make glossy paint flat?

Answer: Yes, by adding water to the gloss paint you can reduce its shine

Question: Can you paint matte over gloss?

Answer: Yes, by adding a flattening agent to the glossy paint you can make it flat.

Question: What can I add to glossy paint to make it flat?

Answer: Yes, by first sanding the gloss paint and then applying a matte topcoat.

Question: What can I add to glossy paint to make it flat?

Answer: Add a paint conditioner or a flattening agent to the glossy paint to make it flat.

Final Word

That was all from us about how to dull a glossy finish. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem like a tough job anymore.

See you soon in another post.

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