How to remove spray paint

Spray paints are very fun products that help you turn ugly and boring surfaces into trendy, colorful, and cool ones. Many Do-it-yourself people love to play and work with spray paints regularly. Although these spray paints are amazing yet they can be very messy sometimes. Moreover, they are really hard to get rid of if they accidentally covered some unwanted surface or area, including yourself. So, in this article i am going to give you a proper solution of how to remove spray paint.

They are removable when wiped immediately while they are wet, but their stubbornness can make you frustrated once dried.

But will fun and trend lovers like you stop using spray paints just because they are difficult to remove from the unwanted surface? Of course not. For making things easier for you, we have made a whole list of surfaces with proper steps to remove spray paint that will make your task a lot easier.

You can read our other how to guides like how to remove paint from walls etc.

There are two types of spray paints consisting of water-based and oil-based spray paints. Oil-based paints are extremely stubborn and can be more difficult to remove than water-based ones and have different methods and materials for the removal.

Guide to Remove Spray Paint from Different Surfaces:

Below we have provided enough information, including removal steps to guide you properly if you accidentally have some spray paint on an unwanted surface.

How to remove spray paint from skin

First of all, you will have to read from the can of your spray paint to know either your Spray is water-based or oil-based. Once you are aware of the product, you can follow the below-mentioned steps to remove the Spray paint accordingly.

Following is a detailed list of goods you’ll need to remove the Spray paint from your skin.

  • Pure essential oil
  • Liquid dish soap
  • ToothbrushCloth / towel

Steps for oil-based spray paint

You don’t have to worry if you have got stubborn greased oil-based spray paint on your skin because we are here with the perfect solution to get rid of it.

  1. The oil-based things are known only to be erased with the help of essential oils. So is the case with spray paint; you can easily remove an oil-based with the help of any essential oil you have near yourself either, coconut oil, mustard oil, baby oil, olive oil, etc.
  2. You just have to rub the oil in circular motions on the area on the skin that is stained with the spray paint. Just avoid the contact of oil with your eyes as some of the sting.
  3. Rinse the area after a good amount of rubbing.
  4. You can repeat the process if the spray paint is not completely gone.
  5. Make sure to clean the sink immediately afterward.
How to remove spray paint from skin

Steps for water-based spray paint

Now, let’s get onto the less stubborn type of spray paint, the water-based one, without wasting any time.

  1. Squeeze some drops of liquid dish soap and rub the skin in circular motions on the area that is stained by the spray paint.
  2. You can just wash the area with hot water, but if the stain is not gone however, then you will have to use some friction to get rid of it. In this case, use a toothbrush with the dish soap and gently rub it on your skin.
  3. Rinse it off.
  4. Clean your sink immediately.

Removing from Glass:

A couple of chemical products in the market have proved very useful in the removal of spray paint from the glass, including mineral acids, turpentine, some kinds of alcohol, and other products made solely for this purpose.

Following is the list of items you might need if you have an unwanted stain on a glass surface.

  • Right solvent (Alcohol, mineral spirits, turpentine, methyl chloride)
  • A bunch of clean rags

Steps to remove Spray paint from glass:

  1. The very first step in this process is to choose the right solvent considering the surface of your glass as well as the type of spray paint stain the glass has, either fresh or old. Methyl chloride is a very effective chemical to remove different types of the stain of spray paint but is a bit hard on human skin, and direct contact with the chemical frequently causes skin burns. Alcohol I also a good solution but is harmful to heat-reflective windows. Moreover, mineral spirits can remove fresh paints, while turpentine can remove old hardened spray paint stains.
  2. Make sure to use a clean rag for each wipe because reusing the same rag can cause the paint to smear.

There are two major types of glasses; you will have to distinguish your glass type and then follow the next steps accordingly.

For Normal Glass or Plexiglass

  1. A razor blade can come handy to scrape away any unwanted graffiti from the regular glass, and it is a very effective and most popular way of removing the spray paint stains from regular glass.
  2. For any other type of glass and marks, you can use any solvent suitable for the type of glass you have. Just soak a clean rag with the solvent and hold it over the graffiti for a while that will soften the paint, and it will become easier to wipe it. Be aware that you are using the right solvent, especially in plexiglass. Be aware of lacquer thinner solvents.
  3. Clean your glass surface thoroughly afterward.
  4. Also, clean the surface with a clean and dry rag to eliminate any residue of paint.

Removing from Plastic:

Plastic is a more vulnerable material than metal, ceramics, and wood, so it is important to choose the right methods and solvent to avoid damage to it as it tends to break and melt easily. Moreover, most of the solvents present in the market are efficient in removing Spray paint from metal and ceramic that is unsuitable for a plastic surface. So, if you have smeared any stain of spray paint on a plastic surface, you need to be extremely careful.

Here, we present with a walk through guide to help you through this process.The list of things that you might need for the removal of spray paint stain from a plastic surface include;

  • Nail polish remover
  • Vegetable oil
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Plastic putty knife/paint scraper
  • Detergent
  • Warm water
  • A sponge
  • Rag or paper towel

Steps to remove paint from plastic:

  1. The first step checks how much the paint has stuck to the surface while using a paint scraper. But try not to be very rough with the rubbing as it can also damage the surface. Got the paint removed well and well; the paint didn’t come out; just move on to the next step without rubbing the paint scraper.
  2. You can use vegetable oil to soften the paint from the surface. Just take some vegetable oil on a clean rag and place it over the spray paint surface for a while until the paint starts to soften. After the paint is softened, you can easily pull the paint from the surface with the help of a paint scraper. If it still doesn’t come out, you can try the below-mentioned solvent.                
  1. The other solvent is nail polish remover. Put the solvent on a clean rag and rub over the spray paint stain and leave it there for a while, approximately 10-15 minutes and then rub again. The stain will start to fade out. If not, you can try the next mentioned solvent. Just do not overuse the solvent as it can melt the plastic.
  2. The last solvent is denatured alcohol, but you might have to be very careful while using it as it is a very strong one and can damage the surface. Apply a small amount of the solvent on a clean rag and firstly test it on a small area. Leave the rag with the solvent on the spray paint stain for about 5-10 minutes. After you see the spray paint softening up, clean it with a paint scraper. Do not experiment with this solvent and repeat the process repeatedly, as it can damage the plastic surface. Moreover, it is not very effective for oil-based paints.
  3. Use warm water or detergent to clean any residue of the spray paint. Make sure to remove the residues completely, as it can cause problems afterward.
  4. At last, use a dry rag to clean the area.

Removing Spray paint from Car:

Did someone deface your car with Spray paint? Get over your frustration and anger quickly so that you could start removing the spray paint stains immediately. Several different approaches and practices can be used to effectively remove the spray paint stain from your car that will save you money by not having to go to a professional to get it removed.

The list of things you will need for different methods include;

  • Clean clothes / towels / rags

For Technique 1:

  • Soap
  • Water

For Technique 2:

  • Non-acetone nail polish remover

For Technique 3:

  • Lacquer thinner

For Technique 4:

  • Rubbing compound
  • Wax

For Technique 5:

  • Gasoline

For technique 6:

  • Clay bar kit

Steps to remove  from the car:

Technique 1:

  1. If the spray paint stain is still wet, you can easily remove it with the help of soap and water. Mix soap and warm water and pour it onto the spray paint stain and rub it continuously.
  2. Clean the cloth or towel repeatedly to avoid any paint smear.
  3. Dry the affected area.

Technique 2:

  1. Take some non-acetone nail polish remover on a clean rag and rub it on the affected area in circular motions.
  2. The paint will start fading. Keep on rubbing until the paint is all gone. Just make sure not to use the same side of the towel continuously to smear the paint.
  3. Stop immediately if you see the car’s original paint coming on the rag.
  4. Rinse the area afterward.

Technique 3:

  1. Smear a minorquantity of lacquer thinner on a clean rag and rub it on the affected area.
  2. Start with a small amount of the solvent and increase gradually but make sure not to exceed a limit and stop when you see the car’s original paint coming out.
  3. Keep rubbing till all the paint is gone.
  4. Rinse the area afterward.

Technique 4:

  1. Take a small amount of rubbing compound on a clean rag and rub it on the stain of spray paint. Rub until it is all gone.
  2. Be careful that the car’s original paint doesn’t damage.
  3. Wax the area afterward to restore the car’s shine.

Technique 5:

  1. Pour a little volume of gasoline on a clean towel and rub it on the affected area. You can also perform a test with it before as you have done in the nail polish remover technique to check if the car’s original paint is damaged.
  2. Continue rubbing till all the stain is gone.
  3. Rinse the area afterward.

Technique 6:

It is the most effective yet expensive technique.

  1. Cut off a small part of clay and mould it into a flat circular shape to cover more space.
  2. Spray a good amount of lubricant on the flat side of the clay.
  3. Rub the clay with the flat surface on the affected area with some pressure till all the paint is gone.
  4. Rub the specific affected part with a clean towel.

Wax the area to restore the shine of the car.

Removing Spray Paint from Wood

There can be certain cases in which you might smear or stain the wood surface with spray paint. You must consider removing it immediately, as spray paint tends to get stubborn as it dries out.

The list of things that you might need for this purpose are mentioned below;

  • Acetone solvent
  • A clean rag

Steps to remove  from wood:

  1. For dried spray paint stain, take a good amount of acetone and apply it directly to the affected wood surface.
  2. Let the solvent sit there for several minutes for effective removal of the stain.
  3. Apply some acetone on a clean rag and start rubbing the affected area to clean the stain. Change the rags continuously to avoid any trouble.

Rinse the affected area with water afterward.

Removing Spray Paint from Metal:

Due to its non-porous nature, metal makes it easier to remove the spray paint stain. So, you don’t have to worry you have gotten any stain of spray paint on a metal surface because we here for your rescue with a complete and easy guide for the removal.

Following is a detailed list of materials you will need for this purpose;

  • Baking soda
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paint scraper
  • Work gloves
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Respiratory mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Chip brush
  • Paint stripper

Steps to remove from metal:

  1. If the affected area is a small metal object, cover the base of an old pot with baking soda, then fill half of the pot with cold water.
  2. Now, set the affected metal object into the pot and place it on a stove at low heat for almost 30 minutes. The heat and baking soda will help the spray paint loosen up and come up to the surface.
  3. Take the object out with the help of some metal tongs and let it cool down enough. When the object is warm enough to touch, remove the spray paint with the help of a paint scraper. be careful and do not scratch the surface
  4. For larger metal surfaces, get prepared by taking safety measures, including a respiratory mask, gloves, and goggles.
  5. Now add a thin layer of chemical paint stripper over the affected area using a chip brush.
  6. Let the chemical sit according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and then brush off the paint with a stiff-bristle scrub brush. Repeat the process if necessary.

Damp a clean rag with mineral spirits and rub it off the affected surface to eliminate any residues of the paint.


Who wants to miss out on new trends and fun elements just because of some messy element? No one does. The same is the case with spray paints. They can be extremely frustrating when you have them on an unwanted surface, but you will never want to miss the art they help you create. Also, we have presented you with the best methods to help you get rid of any unwanted graffiti. 

Hopefully, the elaborated guide for different surfaces will prove very helpful if you have had a messy experience with spray paint. Just be careful and make sure to take all the precautionary measures while working with chemical solvents. All the techniques mentioned above are very effective and can help you save a lot of money and time.

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