How to remove old paint from hardwood?

We just pulled up the carpet in our upstairs to find hardwood floors, covered with lots of different colors of paint splashes. Our budget doesn't stretch to refinishing for a few years, so if it's possible, I'd like to find a way to remove the paint. I have no idea whether it's oil or latex, and would guess that the paint splashes have been there at least 8 years. Can it be removed to make the floors look decent or should we just live with it until we can afford to refinish?
Donna
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You might try ice and a sharp solid knife. Freeze each droplet and then remove. The floor will probably look like it had the measles when your done.
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Chances are that any chemical you can use to remove the paint will also remove (or at least damage) the floor finish, leaving you with a likely blotchy mess with bare wood spots that will be subject to stain damage (from spills etc). It's probably best to leave it alone until you're ready to refinish.
That said, if the "paint splashes" are "droplets" (rather than smeared in), a metal spatula (don't use a paint scraper, or at least, as last resort with extreme care to avoid digging into the finish. A scraper with a bit of a "hook" would be best) might be able to "pop" them off. It's worth a try.
If you can DIY the floor refinishing, it's not that expensive to do - floor sander rental plus some cans of finish.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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You will have to try these methods out on an inconspicuous patch of your floor to make sure the floor finish is not damaged before using them on the paint:
1. For dried latex paint, try xylene or toluene. It is probably easiest for you to get it in the formulation called "Goof-Off".
2. For dried oil paint, soak the spot in linseed oil until the paint softens, then remove it.
Good Luck.

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