Spray paint removal from concrete can be a very daunting task since it dries quickly compared to fresh paint and due to the porosity of concrete.
So how do I get it off? Thankfully, you have several options, and the method depends on a couple of factors. These factors include; how long the spray paint has been there and how big the stain is. You can use non-chemicals such as scrubbing with soapy water, soda blasting, home remedies such as vinegar and acetone, and chemical methods such as using TSP, graffiti remover, and paint strippers or thinners.
This article will help you with the best methods on how to successfully remove spray paint from concrete and circumstances they best apply.
Scrub with hot water and dish soap
You can remove water-based paint with soapy water if it is still wet and minimal. But when it dries, it becomes as permanent as oil-based spray paint, which needs a chemical solution. Dealing with it sooner will help because concrete is porous, and spray paint tends to dry quickly.
- Put on your protective gear.
- Mix some dish soap and water in a bucket.
- Wet the spray paint stain with the soapy water and vigorously scrub off the paint using a stiff-bristled brush.
- Rinse this area with warm water and repeat the process until you remove all the paint.
If it does not come off, opt the chemicals listed below.
Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) and HOT water
TSP is a strong chemical that is a highly effective cleaning agent for stubborn stains and mold and mildew growth. It is considered the best paint remover for concrete.
- Remove surface dirt from the concrete.
- Wear protective gear (protective glasses, overalls, gloves, respirator) and ensure the area is well ventilated since TSP is highly potent and can burn your skin and damage your eyes.
- Carefully pour a quarter of TSP powder into a gallon of hot water in a bucket until and mix until it dissolves. Do not pour out the TSP powder if it is windy or with the fan on as the TSP may spread to the rest of the house or the plants.
- Pour part of the mixture on the stain and wait 15-20 minutes for the chemical to dissolve the spray paint.
- Scrub the stain using a hard-bristled brush to loosen the paint tag further.
- If the paint stain does not clear, pour more of the mixture and scrub again.
- Rinse the area thoroughly with a garden hose or a pressure washer with hot water. If you are indoors, mop the area with warm water until all the TSP clears.
- Allow the concrete to air dry.
Graffiti removers contain chemicals that dissolve spray paint off of surfaces. There are a variety of graffiti removers in the market, get yourself an amount suitable for your paint stain and one specified for concrete surfaces. Keep in mind also that highly corrosive graffiti removers can corrode concrete.
- Clean off any surface dirt first.
- Pour or spray some graffiti remover on the stain.
- Allow it to sit for 10-30 minutes to allow the graffiti remover to soften the paint stain. This waiting time may vary depending on how dry the stain is and the weather temperatures. If the temperatures are low, give it more dwelling time, and if it is hot, you won’t have to wait too long.
- Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the area or pressure wash the area with warm water if possible, and repeat it until the stain clears completely.
Paint Stripper or Paint Thinner
Paint strippers and paint thinners are different formulations, but they break down paint from various surfaces, including concrete. You should get one designed for the type of paint you are trying to remove. That is, use an oil-based paint stripper for oil-based spray paint. If you’re unsure, your best bet is to choose an oil-based paint stripper.
You also have a natural option of soy-based paint strippers that are environmentally friendly and less harmless to the skin.
- Wear protective gear and ensure the area is well ventilated. Also, keep all heat sources away as these solvents are highly flammable.
- Thoroughly clean off any dirt from the concrete to allow maximum action of the chemicals on the paint.
- Apply a generous or thick amount of paint stripper or thinner on the spray paint stain as instructed on the product label and allow it to sit for up to 30 minutes.
- When you see the paint wrinkling, wipe it down. Use a damp cloth to prevent smearing the stain. If the stained surface is too large, you can use a pressure washer set at 3000 psi or a garden hose to blast away any paint residue.
- Repeat the process until the stain clears and wipe using a clean cloth with each wipe.
For large spray paint stains, soda blasting is efficient for the removal of paint on concrete. Soda blasting requires some experience or training, or you can hire professionals to help.
Soda blasting is a non-destructive process of applying baking soda( Sodium Bicarbonate) at high pressure to strip off paint from a surface. Soda blasting is much safer than sandblasting since it maintains the integrity of your concrete due to the much smaller particles.
- Cover windows and doors and remove anything else out of the way.
- Wear protective gear (protective glasses, gloves, canvas suit, or overalls and a respirator) to protect your body from the pelting baking soda and concrete particles.
- Set the soda blast gun at 30 psi, stand several inches away from the concrete surface, and turn on the air compressor.
- Open the nozzle of the gun, aim it towards the stain, and pull the trigger.
- Once the spray paint tag loosens, wipe the area with soapy water or pressure, wash the area.
Does Vinegar Remove Paint from Concrete?
White vinegar is good for tackling smaller spray paint spills. It is effective due to its high acidity level of 5% required for cleaners.
- Heat the required amount of white distilled vinegar.
- Pour the hot vinegar on the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to soften the paint.
- If it doesn’t soften, add more hot white vinegar and allow it to sit.
- Remove the loosened paint with a scraper or hard-bristled brush.
Will Acetone Remove Paint from Concrete?
Acetone is a solvent that will effectively remove dry or wet oil-based spray paint from any surface; however, it is best used for small-sized spills and can substitute for vinegar.
- Clean the stained area with dish soap and water to remove some of the layers.
- Wear protective gear to keep the acetone away from your skin and eyes.
- Spray the acetone and allow it to sit for 15-30 minutes to break down the paint drip.
- Scrub off the paint with a stiff-bristled brush and repeat the process until the spray paint clears.
- Wash the area with soapy water to remove the acetone residue.
Will Rain Wash Away Spray Paint?
Rain may wash away spray paint and form streaking when it is wet, but since it is fast drying, it becomes water-resistant and permanent once it dries. Unfortunately, rain does not have enough pressure to get rid of the spray paint stain completely.
Remember that the longer the spray paint sits on the concrete, the more it will stain the concrete and probably require chemical removal and a lot more effort and time. You can always hire professionals if the stain is sizeable or risk damaging your concrete. But with these methods, the spray paint should come off rather well.