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How to remove spray paint stains

Discover the easiest way to remove spray paint on different home surfaces.


spray paint stains on sofa, carpet, and table

Key Steps:

To remove spray paint stains, follow these key steps:

  1. Rinse the treated area with warm, soapy water.

  2. Scrub off as much as you can.

  3. If the paint still remains, consider using stronger paint stripping chemicals as described below.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to have paint sprayed onto your property or one you’re looking after, then you’ve probably asked yourself ‘how do you remove graffiti?’ or ‘what will remove spray paint?’ While getting rid of spray paint isn’t the most fun activity, it can be relatively straightforward if you know how. 

Here’s our guide on how to remove spray paint from a range of different materials and surfaces.

Be sure to wear full protective clothing when removing spray paint as it’s a pretty messy job.

How to remove spray paint: the basics

The easiest way to remove spray paint is with soap and water - this is true regardless of the material involved.

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  • Get a large bucket, fill it with warm water, and add a good quality soap (washing up liquid will do). 

  • Scrub at the spray paint with a brush (for hard-wearing surfaces) or dab with a cloth (for deliacte surfaces).

How to remove spray paint from plastic

If soap and water doesn't work then you can use oils, acetone, and even alcohol to remove spray paint from plastic.

  • Try a paint scraper such as a plastic putty knife – just be careful not to scratch the area too much.

  • Vegetable oil applied to an old (clean) rag and rubbed onto the affected area can also work.

  • Consider a nail polish remover with acetone. Rub directly onto the affected area or let it soak for 5 minutes.

  • The most intense treatment for plastic is denatured alcohol (this only works for latex-based paint, not oil paints). Be sure to protect your skin and eyes, use a respirator, and work in a well-ventilated space as the fumes can be harmful. Apply the alcohol to the area, scrub, and rinse off thoroughly.

Safety Warning

Before trying any of the of these methods to remove spray paint from walls or other surfaces, perform a test on a small area first.

How to remove graffiti from concrete

Spray paint on concrete walls or floors? No problem!

  • If you’ve had no luck with soap and water, you could try blasting it off with a power washer.

  • Alternatively, try spray paint remover chemicals such as trisodium phosphate. Simply mix half a cup with two gallons of warm water and apply on the area. Be sure to use protective clothing and eyewear as if this chemical comes into contact with the skin or eyes it can cause damage. Apply to the spray and scrub with a brush that has fibre bristles.

  • If the paint is still not coming off, apply a layer of the trisodium phosphate solution and leave for 10 minutes before scrubbing again.

  • Always be sure to clean the area with water thoroughly after you’ve finished.

How to remove spray paint from wall

For brick walls you could opt for a dedicated graffiti remover. These can be bought from most DIY and hardware stores. 

  • Apply the paint stripper to the area.

  • Start in one corner and work downwards and outwards.

  • Work slowly section by section.

  • Rinse thoroughly with water once you’re finished.

  • Repeat the process until all the paint has gone.

  • Always wear personal protective gear when using these chemicals.

If, while removing spray paint from surfaces, you get some on your clothes then use our guide on how to get paint out of clothes to tackle them.This is not the easiest DIY chore to do but when you’ve finished and can survey your newly paint-free surface, it’ll definitely be worth it.

Originally published