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How to Remove Spray Paint from a Wall in 6 Easy Steps (with Pictures)

spray painting on wall

Spray paint is a common household product that you can find almost anywhere. While you can use this convenient item to enhance or decorate your property, it can also be challenging to remove. Spray paint is no ordinary paint. When it comes into contact with other surfaces, such as drywall, it takes a while to break down and dissolve for the damage to disappear.

Perhaps you’re wondering how you’ll get spray paint out of your wall. These six steps will help you get spray paint off the wall, ensuring it goes back to looking as good as new. We’ll also briefly discuss how to remove spray paint from other surfaces.

Keep reading to learn more!

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What to Know Before Removing Spray Paint from a Wall

Spray paint is aerosol-based paint that comes in a can and is released in a fine spray when you press a valve button. It is used for craft and art projects.

You may decide to remove the spray paint from a wall or other surface for various reasons. For example, you may be using it for graffiti art, or you change your mind on the color of your wall.

If this is the case, you need to determine what spray paint has been used on the wall. This way, you can choose the correct method of removing it.

young woman using spray paint for wall art
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

What Tools Do You Need?

You should have the right equipment to remove spray paint from a wall. Make sure you use the appropriate tools for the job. You may have some of these tools. But, if you don’t, you might compare prices to see if buying them would save you money over calling a professional. Here are several tools you may need.

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Remove Spray Paint from a Wall

Spray paint can make a great statement when done correctly. But, it can be challenging to remove the spray paint without damaging or ruining the original painting.

Learning to remove spray paint from a wall requires a few steps and some effort. But, with these instructions, the process will be much easier. Here are the steps to follow.

1. Clean the Wall

Cleaning the wall may be sufficient to remove spray paint if it’s still damp. Usually, wet spray paint has a shiny appearance.

Start by cleaning the wall with detergent and water using a soft cloth. Wipe down the area you want to remove the spray paint and the surrounding area.

Leave a small amount of soap residue behind to soften the spray paint. It will make removing it much easier.

Cleaning Walls
Image Credit: Happy Author, Shutterstock

2. Test the Paint Remover

There are many products in the market. They promise to remove spray paint and other types of paint easily. But not all work as advertised. Do a quick test first to ensure you’re using a product that will do the job.

Before you begin, test a small area first to ensure that the paint remover will not damage your wall. Wait at least 15 to 20 minutes and see if the paint remover has damaged the surface or not.

If the wall is damaged, stop using it immediately and consider a different product. If not, proceed to use the paint remover.

You can remove spray paint from a wall in many ways. But, the fastest and most effective method will depend on the type of surface you’re working with.

When combined with the right tools, removing spray paint is simple, quick, and easy. All you need is a little time and patience!

3. Apply the Paint Remover and Scrub the Area

First, apply the recommended amount of chemical paint remover to the area of your wall that needs cleaning. Wear rubber gloves and work in a well-ventilated area if you’re working with chemical strippers.

Once you’ve applied the paint remover, allow it to loosen the spray paint. It can take a few minutes or an hour. It depends on the product. Once you’re ready, use a stiff wire brush to scrub off the loosened paint.

It can be hard work, so take frequent breaks. Attach a broom handle to your brush with duct tape if you need extra leverage.

When you’ve finished scrubbing off all the loose paint, wipe down the area where the spray paint was with a damp cloth and allow it to dry.

If there is still some spray paint left on the wall after you have scrubbed it with a graffiti remover, apply a layer of WD-40 to it. Let it sit for 20 minutes before wiping it off. It will loosen any excess paint and make cleaning it even easier.

scraping off paint from old concrete wall
Image Credit: Tomas Mikl, Shutterstock

4. Scrape Off the Spray Paint if You Can’t Scrub

If scrubbing will not remove spray paint on your wall, use a paint scraper to scrape away as much of the dried spray paint as possible. It’s much easier if you can’t scrub away all the spray paint.

A putty knife is an example of a paint scraper that should work to scrape off dried spray paint. Scraping off the spray paint involves taking off a layer of the paint under the spray paint. It means you’ll be stripping the wall.

Scrape the paint gently until most of it has been removed. Your wall will be clean but somewhat damaged.

Do not press the scraper too hard against the painted area because this will cause more damage to your wall. Also, it’ll make it more challenging to remove the spray paint.

5. Fix the Damage Caused

Once you’re through scraping the wall, it’ll be left with a bit of mess. Repair the mess you’ve made after scraping off the spray paint. Repairing it is as crucial as getting rid of the spray paint on your wall.

Fill any holes, scrapes, or gouges made on your wall with putty. Applying putty is easy. The only thing you need to do is apply the putty and disseminate it into place.

Ensure it is smooth and looks seamless with the wall. After applying and smoothing the putty on your wall, it should look as good as new.

old wall with rough texture
Image Credit: PIRO4D, Pixabay

6. Paint Your Wall Again

Repaint the entire wall if you want it to be clean. Also, repainting will remove any traces of spray paint and make your wall appear as good as new.

Once you’re done removing the spray paint and repairing the damage caused by scraping your wall, repaint it. The paint sticks to the wall much better. It also creates a smooth finish and a natural appearance.

Your wall should appear brand new if you’re through with all these processes. If you had decided to apply paint on the spray paint on your wall without removing it, it would have taken many coats to conceal the spray paint. But, it would still be visible.

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How Do You Remove Spray Paint from Different Surfaces?

There are varying degrees of difficulty when removing spray paint from different surfaces, and we will try to cover them.

§  Hands/Skin

For spray paint on skin, clean with mineral spirits and then wash with soap and water. Use acetone to get the last bits of paint off, and lube up your skin with lotion.

For dried-on paint on skin, soak your hands in warm soapy water before scraping the dried paint away with a plastic scraper. Soak again and use a scrub brush to remove the rest of the paint. Wash with soap and lube up with lotion.

§  Glass

The best method to remove spray paint from glass is using a nail polish remover, lacquer thinner, or paint thinner. It’s because they contain acetone.

Ensure you soak a clean rag in any of the above products. Then, smear it on the dried spray paint for a couple of minutes. Scrub the acetone away when it starts getting loose.

If the spray paint has been on there for more than a week, try using an abrasive material, such as steel wool, to remove it from the glass.

two paint spray cans
Image Credit: motointermedia, Pixabay

§  Metal

To remove spray paint from metal, avoid using any sharp tools such as knives or razor blades, as they can scratch the surface. Use a putty knife instead.

Wipe the scraped area with a wet rag and dip cotton balls in acetone nail polish remover to remove any remaining paint. You can also apply alcohol to the affected area with a clean cloth if you don’t have acetone nail polish remover.

If some of the spray paint remains after scraping, dip an old toothbrush in nail polish remover and rub it over the remaining paint until it comes off. Rinse the metal with water and dry it with a rag before repainting the surface if necessary.

§  Wood

You can use an acetone-based nail polish remover to remove spray paint from wood. Soak a rag in it. Then, dampen the area where the spray paint is. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a toothbrush or old toothpaste tube.

Is there any residue left over afterward? If yes, use another rag dipped in acetone before wiping with water as usual after cleaning up all traces of solvent.

§  Fabric/Clothes

Use rubbing alcohol. Blot the stain with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol until it no longer transfers to the cloth. Mix one part water with two parts rubbing alcohol and pour it directly onto the stain in a spray bottle if it’s a larger paint stain.

Allow the solution to soak into the fabric for 10–15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.

Also, you can use vinegar and dish soap. For large or stubborn stains, treat them with a mixture of two tablespoons of dish soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and ½ cup warm water.

Pour or spray the mix onto the stain and allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and repeat if needed until the stain is gone.

§  Carpet

If you are trying to remove spray paint from your carpet, you must use an excellent stain removal solution and a stiff brush. The first step is to blot the area with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Blotting helps absorb the spray paint on the carpet. It’ll prevent further damage. You can also use a stiff brush on the area to help loosen any dirt or other materials that may be stuck in the carpet fibers.

Besides, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide to clean the spray paint stain on your carpet. It’s also crucial to act fast when removing spray paint from the carpet. It’s because it can cause permanent damage if left for long.

Why Is It Challenging to Remove Spray Paint from a Wall?

It’s not just the paint but the surface. If you’re removing spray paint from a wall, make sure you use a product safe for the wall’s surface. You may need to research this one. Abrasive products can damage the wall’s finish, and some chemicals can react with wall materials.

Spray paint is engineered to be durable and long-lasting. The paint may have bonded to your wall with more strength than it would have if applied with a brush or roller. So, it won’t come off easily.

Spray paint has a thick consistency, similar to that of latex paint. It means that it will not come off the wall easily. Usually, it takes several applications of an ideal solvent to remove a layer of spray paint.

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Spray paint is a great tool. It’s cheap, easy to use, and there are thousands of colors to choose from. But sometimes, we have little control over where it ends up.

Whether your kid sprayed the wall or you were painting the outside of your house and had paint leftover, you’ll still need to remove it. The good news is removing spray paint is possible as long as you know what you’re doing.

Here, we have given you six steps to follow when cleaning up your spray-painted wall. As we said, it’s not an easy task, but with enough patience and elbow grease, it’ll eventually be cleaner than ever before.

Featured Image Credit: jdwfoto, Shutterstock


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