How Do You Clean Spray Paint Stains
Tips & Tricks

How Do You Clean Spray Paint Stains?

Spray paint is impressive, especially if you’re a DIY enthusiast; however, it can be messy. Drips and overspray can leave you with paint on unsuspecting surfaces, which can be pretty challenging to remove. Do not panic if you’ve accidentally painted spray paint on an unintended surface; after all, accidents do happen.

If you’re considering undertaking a DIY project using spray paint, it is best to prepare all the surfaces well to avoid overspray and spray paint stains. It is always easier to prevent stains than to clean them up.

This article will give you a comprehensive roundup on how to clean spray paint from different surfaces. We will handle how to remove spray paint from the following surfaces:

  • Concrete
  • Skin
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Clothes
  • Mirror
  • Wood
  • Brick
  • Shoes
  • Tile

How to Get Spray Paint off Concrete

You shouldn’t panic if your painting project didn’t go as planned or if your kids decided to give the basement floor or driveway a different look. Instead, we will look at some methods you can use to get spray off your concrete surface.

However, before you get to cleaning, it’s best to understand that the concrete floor or surface is absorbent and may act like a sponge. This means that you might have to put in extra work and make a few reapplications to get your concrete surface back to normal.

It’s best to address a stain as soon as it happens to ensure that it doesn’t become permanent.  Here is how you can remove spray paint from a concrete surface:

Scrub With Soap and Water

You can remove spray paint stains from concrete using soap and water. This solution is the most economical and safest, especially if you’re cleaning a small area.

What You Need

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Stiff bristles scrub brush
  • Two buckets
  • Mop
  • Absorbent paper towels
  • Garden hose (If the stains are outdoors)
  • Protective gear


  • Wipe down or sweep the area to remove excess dirt.
  • Wear your protective gear
  • Add warm water into one bucket, and in the other, add warm water and a few squirts of dish soap. The warm water and dish soap mixture should be just enough to get a foamy solution.
  • Wet the affected surface using warm water.
  • Dip the scrub brush into the warm soapy solution, and then apply it to the spray-painted concrete using circular motions.
  • Blot the scrubbed area with an absorbent paper towel to soak up any loosened paint.
  • Rinse with clean and warm water, or use a garden hose if the stain is outdoors.
  • Repeat the process severally as required until you remove all the stains. If the stains were indoors, mop the surface thoroughly when you’re done.

Potential Problems That Might Arise When Scrubbing With Soap and Water

Using soap and water to remove spray paint stains from concrete is affordable because you most likely have all the required materials. However, using this technique might mean that you will have to put in more work to remove the stains because it uses a very mild solution.

Additionally, this method might not remove all the stains altogether if it’s been on the concrete surface for a long time.

You also risk staining your hands, breathing in paint molecules while scrubbing paint from the concrete surface, or soapy water splashing in your eyes during the cleaning process. You can avoid these problems by wearing protective gear covering your hands, mouth, eyes, and nose.

Use Paint Thinner or Stripper

Paint thinner is a solvent, meaning that it can dissolve substances, including paint. On the other hand, paint stripper is formulated differently from paint thinner; however, it’s also designed to remove paint.  They both work by breaking down or “thinning “paint from several surfaces, including concrete.

Common examples of paint thinners include turpentine, acetone, denatured alcohol, naphtha, and xylene.

What You Need

  • Paint stripper or thinner of your choice
  • Protective gear and clothing
  • Clean, disposable cloth


  • Wipe down or sweep the area to remove excess dirt.
  • Ensure that you have proper ventilation and put on your protective gear.
  • Apply your chosen paint stripper or thinner to the affected area, and be keen on the instructions available on the product label.
  • Wipe the area after the application.
  • Repeat the process if needed and use a clean section of the cloth each time.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Paint thinners and strippers are highly effective; however, they are flammable. It’s best to keep them away from all heat sources and never light candles or smoke when using them. If you’re using paint thinners or strippers indoors, ensure that the area is well-ventilated.

Additionally, these solvents can burn your skin when in contact with it; therefore, you should protect yourself by wearing protective gear when in contact with them.

Using paint thinners might smear paint; hence, blot the surface using a clean cloth if you want more control over your project.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Skin

If you’re working on projects that require spray paint, it might be impossible to prevent some of it from getting on your skin. While chemical solvents and paint thinners can remove spray paint, they can also cause skin irritation and damage.  

Here is how you can remove spray paint from your skin without damaging or irritating it:

Use a Homemade Paint Remover

A homemade paint remover is safer than paint thinners and chemical solvents. Here is how you can make one and use it to remove spray paint from your skin:

What You Need

  • Lemon oil
  • Baking soda
  • Coconut oil
  • Running water
  • Bowl
  • A new toothbrush


  • Add ½ cup of coconut oil and ½ cup of coconut oil in a bowl. Add at least six drops of lemon essential oil and mix everything with a spoon until it forms a smooth, paste-like consistency.
  • Go with the mixture to the sink or shower and scoop out some of it. Then, put your hands underneath the water and start rubbing at the affected areas.
  • If some spray paint got to your fingernails, scrub it off using a new toothbrush.
  • Rinse the mixture thoroughly, and then wash your skin with a hand or body soap to eliminate it.
  • Pat your skin dry using a hand towel.

Use Some Basic Household Items

You can remove spray paint from your skin using some readily available household items. Here is how to do it:

Use Vegetable or Olive Oil to Remove Paint

You can use vegetable or olive oil to remove paint from your skin by following these steps:

  • Put your hands over a sink and pour a generous amount of vegetable or olive oil into your palms.
  • Rub your hands together thoroughly and focus on removing the paint.
  • Turn on the water using your elbow and continue rubbing your hands beneath the running water.
  • You can squirt some hand soap into your palm and continue rubbing if the paint isn’t coming off.
  • If the paint is on any body part other than your hands or arms, you can use the steps above but ensure that you’re in a shower.
  • Squirt some dish soap into your hands and rub the soap on any part of the skin that still has paint on it.
  • Rinse the soap off your skin and pat dry using a hand towel.

Use Purification Essential Oil

You can opt for a purification essential oil instead of vegetable or olive oil. Purification essential oil is a blend of multiple oils that are used to eliminate odor. Here is how to use it to remove spray paint from your skin:

  • First, drop a few drops of the oil on your skin where there is spray paint.
  • Massage the oil into the skin. The spray paint should start to thin at this point.
  • Continue rubbing until all the paint is gone.
  • Next, squirt some dish soap into your hands and rub the soap on any part of the skin that still has paint on it.
  • Rinse the soap off your skin and pat dry using a hand towel.

Avoid touching your eyes when you have purification essential oil on your hands because it might cause irritation and stinging.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

If you have spray paint on a plastic surface, you should be very careful when dealing with it because plastic is very sensitive and requires the use of specific tools to protect it. Here is how you can remove spray paint from plastic:

Remove Spray Paint With Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is affordable and easy to find. However, you should ensure that it contains acetone before using it to remove spray paint. Acetone is the main ingredient that will thin out the spray paint. It also liquefies dry paint, making the removal process effortless.

What You Need

  • Nail polish remover containing acetone
  • A piece of paper towel, cotton swab, or cotton ball
  • Warm water
  • Clean rag


  • Soak a piece of paper towel, cotton ball, or cotton swab in nail polish remover.
  • Rub the soaked paper towel, cotton ball, or cotton swab on the affected area.
  • You might need to use more energy to work the nail polish remover onto the plastic.
  • The paint will begin to loosen when you rub the cotton ball filled with nail polish remover on it. Next, clean the loosened paint using a clean rag and warm water.

Potential Problems and Solutions

If you’re planning to remove spray paint stains from plastic using nail polish remover, you should understand that it can cause breathing problems and irritation. Therefore, ensure that you use it in a well-ventilated area and wear protective clothing such as gloves and a mask when handling it.

Use Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)

You can use rubbing alcohol if you have incredibly stubborn paints on a plastic surface. Unlike harsh paint thinners, rubbing alcohol can remove spray paint stains from a plastic surface without melting the plastic.

What You Need

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)
  • Rag


  • Pour the isopropyl alcohol over the unwanted stain and scrub firmly using a rag.
  • You might need to scrub firmly with the rag before the stain begins to disappear.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Rubbing alcohol can produce harmful fumes; therefore, be sure to wear a face mask to protect yourself from inhaling the fumes, and wear gloves to protect your skin.

How to Get Spray Paint Off Glass

A bit of overspray or graffiti on glass doesn’t always spell disaster. You most likely have what you need to remove spray paint, and if you don’t, it won’t cost much to purchase. The key to removing spray paint from glass successfully is understanding the type of glass and the type of painting on it.

Here is what you should do:

Remove Spray Paint From a Mirror Using Nail Polish Remover

You can give your mirror a completely new look by painting the frame; if spray paint gets to the mirror, you can use the following solution to save the day:

What You Need

  • Nail polish remover (With acetone)
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Water


  • Ensure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area. After that, proceed to wear your rubber gloves and wet a microfiber cloth using nail polish remover.
  • Hold the dampened cloth against the section with the paint on the mirror to loosen the bond. When paint starts to soften, use a microfiber cloth to scrub it away.
  • Use another cloth dampened with water to wipe away the nail polish remover from the mirror.
  • Clean your mirror using a commercial glass cleaner or a homemade one that prevents streaks.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Acetone is highly flammable; therefore, ensure that the microfiber cloths used in cleaning aren’t laundered or piled up in the trash together because they can spontaneously ignite. Instead, dispose of the fabrics safely according to your state’s waste management rules.

Check this too: How to Clean Garage Floor Mats

Use White Vinegar to Remove Spray Paint From Glass

If you have white vinegar in the house, you can remove spray paint from the glass. You can lubricate the glass first with soapy water to prevent scratches. Here is how to do it:

What You Need

  • White vinegar
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Old towels
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Plastic tarp
  • Window scraper with a razor blade
  • Superfine steel wool
  • Window squeegee with a rubber blade


  • Put the plastic tarp beneath the window you want to clean. Then, protect wood sills by placing a dry towel along the bottom of the window frame.
  • Bring one cup of white vinegar to a boil.
  • Wear thick rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat, and dip a clean cloth into the hot vinegar. Press the dampened cloth against spray paint spots and rub vigorously to eliminate the stains. If you’re lucky and the paint lifts off, proceed to step nine.
  • Add some dish soap to a bucket full of water.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to apply soapy water to the window. Wait for at least four minutes and then reapply more soapy water.
  • Test the window scraper in an inconspicuous area. You can do this by pushing the blade forward and lifting it from the glass when you complete each stroke. If you hear a coarse and gritty sound, the blade might be dull or broken; therefore, you should replace it with a new sharp one. Be keen not to drag the blade backward because you could scratch the glass.
  • Scrape around the window’s perimeter, ensuring the blade is at a 300 to 450 angle from the window’s frame. Continue scraping until all the edges are clear.
  • Clean the remaining surface, ensuring the blade remains at a 300 to 450 angle. The angle is perfect because it helps slice the paint off in large pieces instead of smaller flakes. In addition, you can use overlapping horizontal or vertical strokes and add more soapy water if the paint starts flaking or drying.
  • Use fine steel wool to eliminate any small pieces of paint remaining on the window. For example, if your window only had a small spray paint stain, you can use soapy water and steel wool to eliminate it.
  • Rinse with soapy water and use the window squeegee to remove the cleaning solution to ensure you have a streak-free finish.
  • Fold up the tarp and throw it away.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood

You may need to remove spray paint from wood if you painted a wood object in your home and would like to get it back to its natural finish. But, unfortunately, you may have also accidentally gotten some spray paint on a precious wooden surface.

Regardless of the scenario, here is how you can remove spray paint from wood:

Use Soap and Water

The first thing you should do if you want to remove spray paint stains from wood is to use soap and water.

What You Need

  • A bowl
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Metal or plastic scraper


  • Get a bowl of soapy water and pour it onto the stained area; ensure that you cover the entire area. Doing this ensures that your soap solution sinks into the layers of paint to help you get the best possible results.
  • Use the soft-bristle brush and start rubbing in the paint. Use soft and consistent circular motions when rubbing.
  • Do not scrub too hard because that might damage the wood. Instead, clean small areas at a time as thoroughly as possible.
  • If spray paint starts to thin or fade, that’s a good sign. It implies that the soapy water is loosening up the paint from the wood. Continue scrubbing until the stain disappears.
  • You can change the water during the process if the spray paint stain is too bad.
  • Keep washing your brush in soapy water when necessary. Hopefully, the more work it does, the more paint it will lift.
  • If the method isn’t working, you might need a scraper to help you out. Sometimes a bristle brush might not do the work; however, you can use a metal or plastic scraper to get you through.
  • Ensure that you cover the scraper with some sort of fabric or a piece of cloth because if not, it might scratch the wood and worsen the situation.
  • Continue moving the scraper in circular motions until the spray paint stain starts to loosen or fade. Continue moving if you see progress to ensure that you remove the paint from the surface.
  • You might need several tries to get the stains off the wood surface ultimately; therefore, you’ll have to be very patient. Continue soaking the spray paint stain with soapy water as you strip away the paint layers for excellent results. The process might take some time; however, the stains should come out eventually.
  • If the stains do not come off, you might need to try a harsher method, such as using acetone. However, you should wait for the wood to dry before trying a different approach.

If you are going to retouch the wood, you can remove the paint and other imperfections using a power sander. Faster and more efficient.

Use Acetone to Remove the Spray Paint

If you can get your hands on some acetone, it will work exceptionally well in removing dried spray paint. Here is how to do it:

What You Need

  • Acetone
  • Clean rags


  • Pour a generous amount of acetone onto a rag. Also, apply a tremendous amount of acetone directly onto the surface of the wood. Remember that the more acetone you use, the higher the chances of removing the spray paint stains.
  • Allow the acetone to sit on the wood for several minutes before you begin scrubbing. Letting it sit will allow the acetone to penetrate through the paint layers and make it more effective.
  • Take your rag and scrub the paint away.
  • You can wash your rag or use a new one because the older one gets covered in paint.
  • You should reach the bare wood after some time and enjoy a spray paint-free surface.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Too much scrubbing can scratch and damage the wood; therefore, ensure that you only use a microfiber cloth or a soft-bristled brush. Avoid any abrasives when scrubbing the wood.

If you’re planning to use acetone to remove spray paint stains from wood, then you should take appropriate safety precautions to ensure that you’re protected. Breathing moderate to high amounts of acetone for some time can irritate your nose, eyes, throat, and lungs. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. Therefore, you should have a pair of gloves and a mask to protect yourself. Additionally, you should use acetone in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Brick

Before you attempt to remove spray paint from brick, you should be prepared for a laborious process because the rough brick texture makes it perfect for paint molecules to cling. Although removing spray paint stains from brick is a complicated process, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. However, it would help if you remembered that the longer spray paint stays on a brick surface, the more challenging it will be to remove it later.

Modern solutions mean that you don’t have to live with paint residue on a brick surface. Here is how to do it without damaging the brick:

Use Solvents to Remove Spray Paint Stains

You can use solvents to remove spray paint stains from brick. However, read the manufacturer’s directions carefully before using any solvent.

Additionally, regardless of the solvent you choose, always spot-check first to ensure that it’s suitable. You can spot check by applying a small amount of solvent to a patch of the brick in an inconspicuous place.

Leave it for the duration it’s required to work to see if the solvent may cause any damage to the brick before covering it all insolvent. Here are some solvents that you can use:

What You Need

  • Mineral spirits
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Methylene chloride
  • Mask
  • A pair of gloves
  • Old washcloths

Using Mineral spirits

Also known as white spirits, mineral spirits can remove spray paint stains from a brick wall without leaving a strong odor. If you don’t have access to mineral spirits, you can use turpentine to remove the stains.


  • Wear gloves before you come into contact with mineral spirits.
  • Soak an old washcloth into the mineral spirits solution.
  • Use the washcloth to apply the mineral spirits to the brick wall and scrub to dissolve the paint.

Using Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride strips paint from surfaces. The chemical can harm your health; hence, it’s advisable to wear a mask and gloves when dealing with it. Additionally, the chemical can dissolve plastics, so protect all exterior plastics around your home before using them on a brick wall or surface.


  • Wear gloves and a mask before using the product.
  • Apply methylene chloride onto an old washcloth.
  • Scrub the spray paint stain until it dissolves.

Lacquer Thinner

A commercial lacquer thinner is very effective at removing spray paint. Although the chemical can dissolve hard paint, it can also cause damage to many vinyl and plastic surfaces. Cover vinyl windows to protect them, and wear gloves when working with lacquer thinner to protect your health.


  • Wear gloves before using a lacquer thinner to protect your health.
  • If you have vinyl windows, cover them to protect them.
  • Soak an old washcloth in the lacquer thinner and scrub on the stain until it dissolves.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Lacquer thinners are highly flammable and toxic; therefore, ensure that you work in a well-ventilated area.

Methylene chloride can harm your health because it produces toxic fumes; therefore, ensure that you always wear a mask and gloves when working with it. The chemical can also dissolve plastic; so, protect all exterior plastics around your home before applying the chemical to a brick wall.

Pressure Washer

Once the solvent has gotten the job done, you need to remove it from the brick surface. The easiest way of getting rid of excess paint is by using a pressure washer because it does a thorough job and is quicker than many available manual options.

However, if you don’t have a pressure washer or clean a relatively small area, you can opt for soap and warm water. Soap and water are a little more labor-intensive; however, they will get the job done and give you a thorough clean.

How to Get Spray Paint off Shoes

You can quickly get spray paint on your shoes when decorating a room, painting a wall, or creating a DIY craft. It is best to know how to get spray paint off your shoes because you can’t always be careful when doing a project. The paint is easy to remove if you catch it early; however, removing it becomes a more difficult task if it dries.

Here is how you can get spray paint off your shoes:

How to Get Spray Paint off Shoes When It’s Still Wet

Spray paint has the same chemical structure as other types of paint; therefore, you might think that removing it from your shoes will be similar to removing any other paint. However, because shoes are made from various materials, including leather, suede, or rubber, removing spray paint from them might be quite a challenging task.

Before removing spray paint from shoes, you’ll have to consider your footwear’s material. However, there’s one method that can be used for all types of material. Here is how to do it:

What You Need

  • Mild detergent
  • Water
  • Paper towel
  • Sponge


  • Use a rolled paper towel to wipe the paint away carefully.
  • Sponge away the paint residue using water and a mild detergent.
  • Dry the shoes using a paper towel.
  • Get rid of paint residue because there will be some on your shoes.
  • Make an easy DIY cleaning remedy to help you eliminate the residue. Mix an ounce of mild detergent with a quart of hot water.
  • Sponge the paint residue with the homemade cleansing paste.
  • Dry your shoes using another paper towel when they’re free from spray paint.

How to Get Spray Paint off Shoes When It Has Dried on Them

You are lucky if you managed to remove spray paint from your shoes before it dried up. However, do not despair if you missed the moment and it dried up; you can still get it off your shoes. Here is how to do it:

What You Need

  • A citrus cleaner
  • A sharp object
  • Footwear conditioner


  • Remove as much dry paint as you can using a sharp object. You can either use a common pin or the tip of a sharp knife. However, be careful not to scratch the shoe’s surface.
  • Treat the paint spot using a citrus cleaner. Pulverize the mild citrus cleaner over the paint spot residue using a spray bottle. Let it soak for at least a minute. Be careful only to soak the stained part of the shoe.
  • Wipe the paint residue off the shoes and examine how things are going. Repeat the cleaning procedure if there are any traces of paint left on the shoes.
  • Treat your shoes with a footwear conditioner.

Potential Problems and Solutions

A citrus cleaner is excellent for cleaning stained shoes; however, you might not always have it when the need arises. If you have dried spray paint on your shoes and you don’t have access to a citrus cleaner, you can use the following:

  • Olive oil
  • Latex paint remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paint removers
  • A mix of pure acetone and nail polish remover
  • Dish detergent powder
  • Mineral spirits

Although the above items will help you get rid of dry paint from your shoes, you must be careful when using them. For example, you shouldn’t inhale acetone, and rubbing alcohol is quite smelly; however, these items are excellent alternatives to a citrus cleaner.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Tile

It is possible to remove spray paint from tile; however, the proper removal technique will depend on the extent and tenacity of the paint you want to eliminate. Always remember that if the tiles’ glaze has flakes, cracks, or webbing, any attempt to remove spray paint might worsen the damage.

Here are some methods that might be suitable for you:

Heat and Scrape Method

A heat gun can help loosen dried spray paint on your tiles. You can use it by following this procedure:

What You Need

  • Heat gun
  • Plastic scraper
  • Dust mask
  • Water
  • Clean rags


  • Work in a small area at a time.
  • Heat the tiles while moving the gun constantly to avoid scorching any spot.
  • Continue heating until the paint feels tacky and soft.
  • Get the plastic scraper and hold it at a 450 angle and start removing paint from the tile. Start from an outside edge and slowly work your way in. The paint should lift off in strips.
  • Be patient when scraping the paint off tricky areas such as corners.
  • Wipe the surface periodically using a water-dampened clean rag.
  • Repeat the process to ensure that you’ve removed all the paint.

Problems and Solutions

If you are not careful, the heat gun can scorch some tiles. Move the gun constantly to avoid any scorching when removing the paint.

Check this too: Can You Paint Over Stained Wood Without Sanding?

Use Paint Remover

You can use paint remover on damaged tiles or remove stubborn spray paint stains. Let the hardware store attendant know the type of tiles you have before purchasing any paint remover. If you’re unsure, you can always opt for a citrus-based remover because it is the least likely to damage your tiles.

Ensure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area regardless of the paint remover you choose.

What You Need

  • Household cleaner
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Clean rags
  • Plastic scraper


  • Clean the tiles using a household cleaner or a solution of water and white vinegar.
  • Wipe the surface with a water-dampened cloth to neutralize it.
  • Put on your safety goggles and rubber gloves before proceeding.
  • Test the tile’s ability to handle the paint remover in an inconspicuous area. If the tiles can handle the paint remover, use a clean rag and apply paint remover on the tiles as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Let the paint remover sit for the recommended time.
  • Hold the plastic scraper at a 450 angle and use it to scrape off the paint. Wipe clean with a clean rag dampened in paint remover after scraping. If the glaze isn’t damaged, repeat the procedure on the remainder of the tile. However, if the glaze is damaged, you can continue cleaning, but you will have to refinish the tiles.
  • Clean the tiles with warm soapy water after removing the paint to your satisfaction.
  • Dry the tiles with a clean rag.

Problems and Solutions

Paint removers can cause skin and eye irritation, nausea, headaches, drowsiness, and dizziness. Ensure that you use rubber gloves and safety goggles when handling paint removers. Additionally, ensure that the room is well-ventilated before using a paint remover.

Do not fear undertaking a DIY project that involves spray paint. You can take care of drips and overspray easily using the tips above.