Soy Gel is a non-toxic soy-based stripper for paint, polyurethane, and other finishes. It’s made of 100% soybeans and works on wood, metal, stone, brick, and other surfaces.
I first saw Soy Gel on Cool Tools (a really great site for gear/tools reviews, definitely read it if you don’t already). I used Soy Gel in the last camper that I restored. I used it to strip the wood that I was going to refinish with fresh polyurethane. I loved using it because it’s totally non-toxic and virtually odorless, so I didn’t have to be too careful about wearing gloves and I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out. When you’re working in a small space, such as a camper, with little ventilation, I think it’s essential to use non-toxic, odorless, and No-VOC products. The application process was easy: Soy Gel is a thick jelly that you spread onto the surface you are stripping. Let it sit for a while, just long enough to work it’s magic (I would say 2-10 hours) then use a plastic scraper to remove the Soy Gel and the finish underneath it. It’s really satisfying to peel the Soy Gel off in big chunks! It works great. The only thing is that you can’t leave it on for too long or you will have to re-apply the Soy Gel again and use it to remove the original finish AND Soy Gel application #1. I once left the Soy Gel on a surface for 24 hours, thinking it would be better to leave it on too long than not long enough. I was wrong, the Soy Gel basically became a new layer of polyurethane and I had to start over. but if you leave it on for the right amount of time, you’ll be golden.
I would recommend Soy Gel because it is super safe and easy to use. It is especially awesome for working in tiny spaces, because it is so harmless. It’s also great for vertical surfaces because of it’s viscosity – perfect for camper walls and cabinets.
Soy Gel, $65/gallon