Spray paint is amazing. Do it your-self types love keeping cans on hand, and with good reason. You can use spray paint for everything from making decor out of recycled wine bottles to giving old, ugly dressers a stylish new look. And all without so much as dirtying a paintbrush. There's a downside to spray paint, however. Spray paint can be notoriously difficult to remove if you accidentally cover the wrong surface.

If you've unintentionally painted spray paint on a prized possession there's no reason to panic. Accidents happen. Even the most careful individuals have to deal with the repercussions of a rogue blast of paint now and then. Your friends at Oola are here to help.

Read on to learn how to remove spray paint from metal, concrete, fabric, and even your own skin.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Your Skin

Hands covered in paint.

If you get spray paint on your skin there's no reason to panic. It's relatively easy to remove. First, read the label of your can to determine if you've managed to coat yourself with oil-based paint or water-based paint.

Water Based Paint

  1. Wash your hands under warm to hot tap water and a few drops of dish soap.
  2. If the paint doesn't come off, a little bit of friction is required. Use a toothbrush, the abrasive side of a household sponge (not steel wool). or even an abrasive facial cleanser from your bathroom to gently scrub the area and remove the paint from your skin.
  3. Rinse
  4. Be sure to clean your sink immediately afterward.

Oil-Based Paint

  1. The best way to remove oil is with more oil. You can use essential oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or baby oil - whatever you have handy. Take care not to get any on your clothes or in your eyes. Some oils can stain or sting.
  2. Rub the oil back and forth over the painted area just as you would if you were trying to work up a lather with soap.
  3. Rinse.
  4. Repeat if necessary.
  5. Clean the sink immediately.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Metal

A microfiber cloth wipes the hood of a car.

If you're working outside on your project, it's easy to let an errant spout of spray paint come into contact with a metal surface, such as metal patio furniture or the side of your car. Luckily it's fairly easy to remove spray paint from nonporous surfaces like metal.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth. The last thing you want to do is scratch the existing paint.
  2. Apply a few drops of dish soap directly on to the offending area.
  3. Massage the dish soap with warm water and a microfiber cloth, rinsing frequently.
  4. If the paint was applied recently this should do the trick. If it doesn't work, it's time to move on to tougher methods. Although many online resources recommend nail polish remover, rubbing compounds, lacquer thinner, and gasoline, we strongly discourage the use of these substances because they remove the existing paint. This could lead to a very expensive problem.
  5. If soap and water don't work, a clay cleaning bar is a preferred method for removing spray paint from metal surfaces.
  6. Cut off a section of the clay bar.
  7. Spray the section with lubricant. Although you can purchase special a clay bar lubricant, it's cheap and easy to make your own DIY version. Just add a few drops of dish soap to a pint of warm water.
  8. Rub the paint stain firmly with the clay bar, applying more lubricant as you go if necessary.
  9. Wipe the area with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any lubricant or traces of paint.

Note: If the metal surface you're cleaning is a car, It's a good idea to give it a good wash and wax when you're finished. This will make sure any abrasive bits of paint have been removed and help protect your existing paint from further damage.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Fabric

Brightly colored bottles of spray paint.

Few users of spray paint haven't dealt with noticing they've ended up with a bit of the stuff on their clothes. In fact, people have special outfits they save for these projects just in case.

Wet Paint

  1. If the paint is still wet, blot, don't rub, the area with a light colored cloth and warm water. This is the same method you use to remove stains from carpet. Blotting draws the stain upwards into your towel. Rubbing, on the other hand, forces the stain down, deeper into the fabric, making it even more difficult to remove.
  2. Use a dab of dish soap oil-based stain remover if necessary.
  3. Blot the area with a dry cloth to absorb the paint.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

Dry Paint

  1. Use a butter knife, spoon, or fingernail to scrape up as much of the hardened paint as possible. Take care not to tear the fabric.
  2. Use nail polish remover or paint remover to remove the excess paint. Perform a test first on an unseen area to make sure you can safely use these substances without removing the dye.
  3. If you are dealing with fabric from clothing, throw the garment in the washing machine to remove as much as the paint as possible.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Concrete

A large red paint stain.

Pressure Washer

  1. If you have access to a pressure washer, move everything else out of the area. Pressure washers are powerful and can damage patio furniture or the paint on your car if you're not careful.
  2. Spray the area with water from the pressure washer, moving the hose back and forth so the blast of water essentially scrubs the painted area.
  3. Rinse thoroughly and be sure to sweep up and remove all the dirt and spray paint from the area when finished.

TSP

  1. If you aren't able to get your hands on a pressure washer, or if you are dealing with an area where for some reason a pressure washer wouldn't be ideal, Powdered Trisodium Phosphate, or TSP, is your friend, but don't underestimate its power. TSP should only be used in a well-ventilated area, wearing gloves, goggles, and a respiratory mask.
  2. Mix ΒΌ teaspoon in a bucket for every gallon of water. The number of gallons you'll need will be determined by the size of the area you need to clean.
  3. Scrub the area with a stiff bristled brush. If the spray paint still remains, allow the solution to sit for a half hour before you attempt to remove it again.
  4. Repeat if necessary.
  5. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and clean the area of solution and debris when finished.

Removing spray paint from most surfaces is easy. All it takes is a little bit of elbow grease and know how.

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