Nitromors – The Review They Didn’t Want You to Read

Nitromors Paint and Varnish Remover is one of the most famous brands in the decorating industry.

It has been around since the 1930s and has been used to remove many paints, varnishes and other coatings.

In 2009 the EU introduced legislation banning methylene chloride, a solvent that Nitromors had used in their formulation.

The ban on many solvents and the removal of lead from paint has undoubtedly had a beneficial effect on the health of painters and decorators across Europe and I welcome it.

The challenge for Nitromors

Reformulating their magic liquid in a way that kept Brussels happy and just as importantly, did the job for the painter and decorator. By all accounts it was not a straight line from A to B.

Nitromors launched a viable product which,  if left to act,  did the job eventually but the feedback from the trade was that they wanted a bit more of a show to indicate the product was working.

In effect, they wanted to see the kind of blistering and bubbling that was evident with the old product. So it was back to the test tube in the Henkel labs.

Using Nitromors

In this new formulation, there is faster blistering of the first layer of paint but it is not a deep-searching product.

You need to apply it with a stippling action and leave it to blister for 5 to 10 minutes.

Once you see evidence of some action all over the surface you then have to stipple the Nitromors sitting on top of the blistered paint back down onto the paint layers below. It won’t do it without help. This is the fundamental difference between the old and new formulations.

I have a long term paint and varnish stripping project that I attack in stages so I was in a good position to test both the Nitromors All-Purpose and their Nitromors Craftsman’s products.

The varnish I was removing is that thick dark brown wood effect coating that was popular around 60 years ago. If you try painting over it, in time the paint just flakes off.

So removing this troublesome surface has been an ongoing job that I have to psyche myself up for. That said it has given me the ideal place to test sanders, hot air guns and chemical strippers.

Of course one of the great advantages of chemical striping is that you don’t have to vaporise lead-based paint or other hazardous material, and you don’t create dangerous lead-based dust.

If you catch the Nitromors and paint in newspaper you can then wrap it up and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner.

The whole process is a lot less intrusive than burning or sanding but should be done with the windows and doors open to provide good ventilation.

Even better, if you can take doors off and apply Nitromors in the open air.

However, Nitromors is a non-drip gel consistency and can, therefore, be used on indoor vertical surfaces such as doors, stair spindles, and window frames etc.

In addition, it is coloured green and this enables you to easily see where it’s been applied.

The new Nitromors formulation worked surprisingly well on the varnish but on other surfaces not as well as the pre-legislation product.

If you follow the pack instructions you should get reasonable results but with all multi-layer paint stripping jobs you are working, like Time Team, down through layers of history and you never know what you are going to get.

Some coats yield easily and some put up more of a fight. We now have the added complication that it is likely that some of those coats may be water-based.

So you will inevitably get a variable result in terms of time and effort needed to strip any given surface.

If you are a professional decorator my advice is to try to do stripping on day rate rather than a price or, if you have to give a price, make it a good one.

I have reported my findings on this product as honestly as I can but I was surprised the lengths the manufacturers have employed to try and have my copy altered to reflect their own view, which is that this product is a perfect replacement for the old formulation.

It indicates a degree of nervousness on their part, and you can read into that what you will.

Buy Nitromors Paint and Varnish Remover

Nitromors All Purpose Paint Remover 750 ML

Nitromors 1772732 Craftsmans Paint and Varnish Remover

Nitromors 1770428 All Purpose Paint and Varnish Remover

Aircrete Blocks Cracking up – Unwanted Trouble

About Roger Bisby

Roger Bisby is an English television presenter and journalist, known for his expertise in the British building industry.

Check Also

horizontal damp proof course

8 Handy Hints for Installing Horizontal Damp Proof Course

Getting your damp proof course (DPC) right first time is critical in preventing rising damp in your property.


  1. Hi Roger, been following your YouTube channel for a while as I’m learning a whole load of new skills to make my own home out of a 180 year old building that was used as an office for decades…

    I stupidly bought a tin of Nitromors after a local bloke recommending it. It seems to work – but not without a whole load of hard scraping, re-application, and general effort. I was hoping to apply the stuff and see the paint come off within minutes. Maybe that was a silly expectation, either way Nitromors seems to be awful!

    Thanks for posting this review. I’m currently trying out Rustin’s Strypit. Didn’t look on the tin to see what the active ingredient is. Seems a little bit better, but still not hugely fast acting and I can’t see any bubbling…

  2. I thought this stuff would work but unfortunately it didn’t. It only left my door in a mess. I now have to find something else to remove the varnish! It was a complete waste of 15 pounds and elbow grease.

  3. The fact that Regulation requires changes has to be accepted – the issue for me is that the product name has set a n expectation of performance and the new formula does not Perform as well as we have have come to expect.
    So why continue to call it Nitromors ?
    This at least is a misrepsentation and should be challenged.
    Paramose remains available for industrial use – it does the job that Nitromors used to.


    • This is why the EU gets away with it,. NO we don’t have to accept useless products – Nitromors is one, weedkillers are another – they don’t work either anymore. If the product doesn’t kill children and pets – then it’s useless. The Nanny EU….. You should be able to purchase Xyclon B – just use it carefully for its intended purpose… I expect the German EU Commissioners are embarrassed by that and so they’ve banned it too………….

      ……………tongue firmly in cheek, what a sad weak world we live in!

      Tony where can we we buy Paramose?

  4. I have noticed you don’t monetize your site,
    don’t waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash every month because you’ve got hi quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra bucks, search for: best adsense alternative Wrastain’s tools

  5. Not happy!!! I spent £11.00 on Nitromors. It used to be a brilliant product, bubbling almost immediately.

    Well this time it did nothing at all! I applied one coat, nothing so wiped off and tried again. Using two thicker coats left on for the allotted time again nothing! I might as well have thrown my money down the drain.

  6. Dont waste one single penny on a can of Nitromors or any of the others , instead nip along to your nearest Auto Paint supplier and buy a can of Synstrip paint stripper, its even better than the old Nitromors by a long way and it appears that all this tinkering with formulations is only for the amateur market .Synstrip whips off even old lead based paint in seconds and you really have to see what it does with modern synthetics ….ps It hurts like hell if you get it on your skin !

  7. Dichloro methane or methyl chloride was banned for use in paint strippers in the UK and EU in 2009 hence the formulation changes. The old Nitromors was an excellent stripper of most coatings, the problems we have today are that we are dealing with many more generic paint types with different reaction behaviours and therefore needing different bullets to remove them, 2 pack materials and some of the water based materials are proving particularly problematic and require specific strippers to remove them. The new Nitromors is just one of a range of materials designed to remove old paint but should not be considered as a total solution, you should check that the substrate you have got is going to be removed by the stripper you have, a bit of online ‘research’ should help. not many strippers will touch two pack polyurethanes and epoxies! If you need to blame anyone, have a go at the legislation for removing powerful tools and the paint manufacturers for developing and making more robust coatings!!

    • I don’t understand your comment. I am in favour of getting rid of methyl chloride and have no wish to go back but when I suggested that the new formulation was not as good at removing paint as the old Nitromors it was met with resistance and hostility from the people at Henkel. I stand by that comment notwithstanding the new paints.

      • the new nitramorse is not a touch on the old stuff and further more i have had to use a full can just to remove a small amount of paint ,but now i have a further problem ,i cannot get any gloss to stick where i used it ( undercoat went on fine ) but not the gloss and i will be fkd if i am forking out another 11 quid on the nitramorse remover remover , any ideas would be helpful

        • Ricky

          All I can think of is the hot air gun. Strange that the gloss wouldn’t stick. Contamination bleeding through. Maybe a job for Zinsser. That sticks to most things.

      • I regret not reading this article before I used nitromors to strip a garage door, it was useless, back when I started work in the early eighties I used to help recondition automatic washing machines, stripping the paint with nitromors ready for a respray I remember well how quickly it worked its magic, I used a paint roller and brush, one application is all it took, ah the good old days, mind I now have twelve fingers, must have been the active ingredient !!!!

      • Hi roger,this newer version of nitromoors is the best out there.ive been stripping door. Frames all
        week in my sons house.its a 1930 house,so layers of paint on gets it off pretty good,
        I tried other brands,but useless. It starts bubbling up in about 10 minutes yes it’s hard work ,but you get results,brian,

  8. Started stripping a bike frame with ‘old’ Nitromors , with not a lot left in the can ( perhaps 7 years old) , and was working great . Then started on the ‘new’ can ……… guess what ? It didn’t touch the paint ! Wasted my £9 , and now going to buy some proper paint stripper .
    Don’t labour under the misapprehension that this new product is actually Nitromors ………. should be under the trade description act.
    I am furious , over my wasted time and money …..roll on Brexit , to get away from these idiot bureaucrats ……… nothing works as it used to …… they ruined Dulux Weathershield Primer as well .

    • Yeah and that old asbestos was really great for sanding down and drilling through too, bloody bureaucrats, and why did they take all the dangerous to health chemicals out of paint and paint stripper, it’s ok to get incurable diseases. Every time those bureaucrats get involved they ruin something, I used to smoke 150 fags a day, never did me any harm, and I drank Brasso, the proper old formula not that new stuff! Brexit will put it all back the way it was….

    • I been using new nitrmoors all week stripping door frames in a 1930 house,it’s the best out there,
      got good results all week. Yeah it’s hard work and elbow grease,but I’m quite happy with my results.

      • This post (which has been repeated after 1 year(!)) is clearly written by an employee of the outfit that makes this rubbish. Don’t waste your money on this totally useless product. Nitromoors it aint.

  9. Our very elderly house in France ( C15th) has lots of very old paint on masonry and wood. Nitromors is a waste of time but Peelaway works very well,taking several layers at a time off any surface. Our 500 year old fire places are now back to the original stone colour and the lead and other types of paint have all gone- thanks to Peelaway. It’s well worth trying with minimal fumes etc.

  10. Hello ,
    just to add to previous comments I have just bought the new nitromors as I have run out of my old stock.
    The new stuff is absolutely rubbish compared to the old stuff.
    No blistering at all after 40 minutes.
    It is that bad that I am taking the expensive 4 litre can of it back to whom I purchased it from to demand my money back because it certainly is NOT an all purpose varnish and paint stripper.
    I don’t normally comment on things like this or take items back for refund but this product is so poor in my opinion it is not fit for purpose.

  11. I agree with almost all the comments above. The new Nitromors is nothing like as good as the old methylene chloride-based product. If you’re lucky, three applications of the new stuff will do what one application of the old Nitromors did.

    It’s also worrying that the manufacturers don’t say what is in the new version.

    • Download the safety datasheet for the product.

      That will tell you what is in it.

      • Good idea!

        30%-50% 1,3-Dioxolane
        10%-30% Methylal
        10%-20% Ethyl acetate
        10%-20% Acetone
        3% – 10% Methanol

        All of them less toxic than the old methylene chloride.

  12. Good advice, learn your trade and then use the stepping stones to get were you want to be. Self employed and skilled. Learning on the job and picking up business skills. Combine the two, trade skills and business acumen you will succeed. We need alot more young men and women to drive this industry.

  13. Spent 5 hours today and £25 on a tin and it is shite. Hardly touched the paint! I shall be asking for a refund tomorrow

  14. A hot air gun works wonders for stripping paint! It peels straight off in seconds… but wear a mask

  15. After reading the comments I will not be making a purchase.
    Found that stainless steel pan scourer from a hardware shop removes danish oil from an oak kitchen easily and quickly. A bit messy but does the job .

  16. All the above comments re the uselessness of Nitromors are entirely correct. I haven’t used it for many years, the new stuff is hopeless. I followed the instructions to the letter and repeated the process, minimal success.
    Don’t waste your money.

  17. Just saved me quite a bit of money reading these responses. I am stripping door frames in a 120 year old house and using a blow torch to get the top layers off but was advised by a decorater to use nitromors to get the residual brown/green tacky basecoat stuff which just clogs up sandpaper very efficiently. Seems like nitromors is now nitroless. Does surprise me that they can still call it that as it now seems a pretty neutered product compared to what it was in the past. It’s about time somebody challenged it if it fails to perform what it states it can do. They (Henkel) cannot be allowed to keep riding on the approval wave of a product that has been altered so dramatically.

  18. Is the original Nitromors formulation available to the trade ? if not then why is Synstryp (which as mentioned earlier in this thread, contains dichloromethane) available on Amazon for anyone to buy ?? doesnt make any sense does it ?

    Im glad the proper formulation is still available to those who know how to use it properly and safely, but its still hard to understand why the original Nitromors isnt available through decorating suppliers to the trade only ?

    • A similarly efficacious product is still available but I have not seen it in trade counters. (Doesn’t mean that your luck won’t be better though.)

      We get it mail order.

      Take al look back through the comments above to find a link.

  19. Hi Guys,

    Damsel in distress here.. I need to strip the polyurethane varnish off a Brazilian Rosewood guitar. What vernish strippers will do it bearing in mind that I will use gloves, and face mask, and take the guitar into the garden for added safety re ventilation.

  20. Thanks for the link Badger. I’ll do some research.

  21. I recently bought a small can of new Nitromors to strip very small remaining bits of emulsion from an oak table having stripped most with a heat gun and scraper. I does not work even on a very thin layer of emulsion. Nitromors is no longer fit for purpose and the product should be removed from sale.
    It is so expensive I feel I have to complain.

  22. I have tried both products from Nitromors, neither worked after multiple coats, a waste of money.

  23. Nitromors not was it once was and I feel I was hoodwinked who can you trust these days?
    I tried to use it on outside window reveals it did nothing. I will never buy this product again.
    What a shame it was such a good product years ago and now they are cheating us on the good name they once had.


  24. I was about to buy a can of Nitromors until I read the user reviews.
    I previously had tried Screwfix No Nonsense Paint stripper – didn’t scratch the surface. At @ nearly £20.00 per bottle I took it back. Described as ‘highly effective’ this surely flouts any trade description act – ‘highly ineffective’ would have been truthful. I then tried a can of Toolstation’s Paint Panther which proved to be equally ‘toothless’ and falsely describes itself as ‘Fast Acting’ with ‘Powerful Performance’. Just as big an untruth as the Screwfix product blurb.
    I can only say thanks to all who described their experiences with (distressed purchase by now) Nitromors truthfully and saved me a not inconsiderable sum and a considerable amount of frustration.
    How do these manufactures get away with misleading the public whilst chasing profit/greed whichever you want to call it? It would seem until they spend the money and find a safe Methylene Chloride alternative they will mislead you while chasing the buck.
    Shameful is all I can say.

  25. Hannah Sutherland

    Glad I came across this review and the comments. I’ve been trying to strip an old oak trolley with a coating of really dark varnish. What a faff with nittomors. I was going to buy more as thought I was doing something wrong! Followed instructions to the letter and literally nothing after two generous coats. Used it years ago on an old dresser and got perfect results. Think it’s now a case of doesn’t do what it says on the tin. If a product has one job ie. strip and it can’t do it, sell something else. All for not murdering fish and killing the environment but….

    • The only type of strippers comparable are industrial and not generally available to the public.
      Nitromors today is a complete waste of money, as are the other modern strippers from Screwfix etc.
      I took mine back as it was totally ineffective.
      Descriptions are verging upon contravening the TDA – – probably not even verging.

  26. MY FIRST THOUGHT ON APPLYING ‘nitromors’ was ‘it’s runny,NITROMORS isn’t runny, defeats the purpose, and three coats later, this stuff is not the NITROMORS i used to use!

    is anybody making NITROMORS now and using the original trade name? i am totally unhappy having bought what i thought was NITROMORS, a product that did the job efficiently and thoroughly. ii admit i haven’t used it for some time, but i expected it to be the same. as it is it is being sold under false pretences

  27. Has anyone tried using the Liberon stripper
    I have been told it is pretty good stuff but would like to know before I buy

    • I had to use an industrial product (observing all safety regs – I am trade). Domestic products have the working ingredient removed under whatever regs. and are totally inneffective.
      I returned bought strippers to Screwfix as being not fit for purpose. So weak you’d have to apply several or more coats on a very thin top layer and it would probably take several tins and cost a fortune – Nitromors was one of those products!

  28. All the comment that say it doesn’t work are correct. Should be called “Remorse”

    If you remember the real stuff and think you are going to strip some paint, then you are wrong.

    It is a waste of money thanks to the EU nanny. The best I saw was some vague bubbling but it failed to do anything.

    It is good as a skin moisturiser, I often rub some into my scrotum after showering, I have to get my moneys worth from my purchase somehow.

    Just buy methylene chloride from a chemical supplier (Charles Tennant) uk and mix some into the awfull paint stripper you wasted your money on and it will work. Don’t rub it on your scrotum after adding this stuff.

    I am sure the frustration and labour to remove the paint with the new friendly paint stripper does more harm to ones health than drinking 2 litres of the old stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *