Have you been painting your school project with spray paint and mistakenly painted the concrete floor? Did your children paint your walls with spray paint? No matter what the case is, spray paints are a pain in the head. They are difficult to get rid of.
Concrete is a porous material that has small openings on its surface. The openings let the spray molecules and pigments fill them. Spray paints are also developed to make them more sticky and adhesive.
If the spray paint is fresh, wipe it immediately to reduce damage. However, dried-out spray paints are difficult to remove.
Removing these paints is no doubt difficult, but that does not mean you cannot remove them. There are many products developed on the market that can solve your issue. These products include graffiti remover, acetone, and WD40.
Other than these, other methods are available at your disposal. These methods allow you to remove the spray paint with the help of simple tools and accessories.
How to remove spray paint from concrete
Pressure washers are getting common these days as people know their utility. You can use it to remove spray paint from various concrete surfaces. It is the most effective way to remove the paint, but not everyone can afford it.
The pressure washer is a portable but heavy machine that costs a lot for its power. This is one of the main reasons why people do not recommend pressure washers. Most people go for more cost-effective substitutes. However, if you can purchase it, there is no better way to do this job.
A pressure washer is readily available on the market. You can either purchase it or lease it from machinery stores. If you plan to use a pressure washer to clean the spray paint, then you should lease it. You will need a manual to operate the pressure washer. If you do not have a manual at your disposal, then consult a YouTube tutorial.
Select the sweeping mode for those already familiar with how the pressure washer is operated, and you are food to go. You can add hot water to the pressure washer to make the removal more effective.
Add trisodium phosphate to form a cleaning solution if the paint is stubborn. Trisodium phosphate forms an alkaline mixture with water to make removal easier.
There are several things that you should check before operating a pressure washer:
- The power of your pressure washer should be between 2000 to 3000 PSI.
- Inspect the concrete surface and the nearby fittings. If they are fragile or physically deteriorated, avoid using a pressure washer.
- Wear all necessary safety gear and take precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.
- A narrow jet is great for cleaning but must not be too narrow. A 15-degree ejection angle is the most suitable option.
- Keep repeating the procedure if the paint does not wash off.
Vinegar can be used to clean the spray paint off the concrete surface. It is a cheap method to serve this cause. It does not damage the environment.
Moreover, excess vinegar remaining after cleaning can be used elsewhere. It is better than other corrosive chemicals that damage the environment and have limited use in the household.
Using vinegar to remove the spray paint from the concrete surface will include the following steps:
- Clean the dirt off the surface to avoid creating an unnecessary mess.
- Pour vinegar into a pot and heat it on medium flame. This will heat it sufficiently without boiling it. Warm vinegar is more soluble and reactive than colder one.
- Let the vinegar rest for around 15 to 20 minutes. It will react, and the surface will get bubbled.
- Once enough bubbles are formed, scrub the paint. Soak a cloth in vinegar and rub the remaining spray paint traces.
- Wash the surface with water and wipe the remaining diluted vinegar.
Dish soap is another substitute for cleaning the spray paint from the concrete surface. It is not that effective when removing adhesive paint. However, there are several other benefits of dish soap. It is easily available in the household.
The cost is not that high; you can use it somewhere else to clean. Using dish soap can get laborious as more scrubbing is required. You should not use it if the area to clear is large. The whole cleaning procedure consists of the following steps:
- Heat water in a pot and wait until it comes to a boil.
- Turn off the stove and mix dish soap in the water.
- Scrub the spray paint surface before applying the dish soap solution.
- Remove the scrubbed paint remnants.
- Pour the dishwasher solution on the spray paint and scrub it until it is removed. Use a high-pressure garden hose to remove the remaining spray paint particles.
Solvents and chemicals
Numerous chemicals available on the market can be used as a spray paint remover. These chemicals are often very expensive and can be hazardous at times.
However, these chemicals are very simple to use, and the removal process is very efficient. One such chemical is Trisodium phosphate, and here are the steps to use this chemical:
- Wash the paint surface to remove the unwanted dirt particles.
- Apply a thick layer of trisodium phosphate on the paint’s surface. Make sure that the whole surface is covered.
- Let the trisodium phosphate rest for 4 to 5 hours on the surface. It will dissolve the paint and do its job by reacting with it.
- Scrub the spray paint, and the surface will be clean.
- If anything else remains on the surface, remove it with water and a brush.
Acetone is usually used in nail polish remover. This chemical effectively removes all sorts of paints, including spray paint. This can be a very costly option because it is expensive.
You should not use it on a large surface area because it will burden your budget greatly. You also need to handle it with care, as concentrated acetone can cause damage to your body. Acetone cleaning has the following steps:
- Wash all the dirt sitting on the surface. Also, scrub the paint and wash it with a soap solution.
- Wipe and dry the surface once again.
- Pour acetone into a metallic container.
- Wear gloves and a mask while handling acetone.
- Start applying it on the spray paint surface with a brush.
- The paint will peel off in a few minutes.
- Remove the peeled remnants.
- Wash the concrete surface with the soap solution and water.
Graffiti remover is one of the most common solutions to removing unwanted spray paint on walls and other concrete surfaces. State agencies use graffiti removers to clean public walls. Graffiti and spray paints have the same composition overall. The usage method is as under:
- Wash the concrete surface with a cloth to get rid of unwanted dirt.
- Apply the graffiti remover on the spray paint surface and ensure you have covered it all.
- Scrub the paint surface with a hard brush. Go in circles to make scrubbing more effective.
- Wash the concrete surface with hot water to ensure the remnants are cleared.
WD40 is usually used in machine-intensive factories where the workers have to deal with grease and rust. This highly efficient stain remover works not only on grease but also on other things like spray paints.
You can remove the spray paint with this product, but only when the layer of paint is thin. If the spray paint penetrated the concrete surface, WD40 would not work. The process includes the following:
- Wash the surface with a soap solution to remove dust.
- Apply WD40 on the paint surface.
- Let it rest on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Scrub it with a hard brush to remove the paint. Make sure that no paint remains on the surface.
- Wash the concrete with soap and water to make it shiny.
If nothing else on our list works, you should use muriatic acid. It is an extremely dangerous acid that can be used as a last resort. It can burn or deform anything. However, diluting its concentration can be used on a concrete surface.
Ensure you wear gloves, a mask, and eye protectors to avoid damage. Following these steps to clean concrete surface with muriatic acid:
- Add 1 cup of muriatic acid in 8 cups of water. This will make it perfectly dilute. The one-to-eight ratio is great, but ensure you add water to the container first.
- Apply the dilute muriatic acid solution on the spray paint and cover it entirely.
- Let it sit for a minute or two. Use a brush to scrub the layer of paint covering the concrete surface.
- Must wash the remaining muriatic acid solution with water. It might be diluted, but it is still dangerous.
Lacquers are chemical compounds that are made of plant derivatives. These compounds are used in various paints to make them adhesive and difficult to remove.
Thinners on the market dissolve all sorts of plastic, pigments, and plant derivatives. Some spray paints have lacquers to make them more resistant. If other methods do not work, then try lacquer thinner. The method is as under:
- Scrub the paint from the concrete using a bristle brush.
- Spray the lacquer thinner on the spray paint.
- Let it rest for a few minutes.
- Scrub the softened spray paint.
- Wash concrete with water and soap solution.
Here are small tips to consider before proceeding
Before going ahead with opting for and applying a spray removal procedure, you should consider the following things:
- Do not use a sandblaster, even if any DIY website recommends it. It can damage the concrete surface.
- Do not use bleach to decolorize the spray paint. While it decolors the paint pigments, salt stains are left behind on the concrete surface.
- Avoid the use of muriatic acid as much as possible.
- Ensure you have worn all sorts of protective accessories to avoid damage.
- Read and understand what a method brings. Understand how it works and pay attention to the pros and cons of each method used.
- Cheaper methods will usually be less effective.
Spray paints are abundantly available and are fairly simple to use. However, their paint result is difficult to remove. Concrete surfaces are even more difficult to wash as they have pores.
Despite all these problems, there are methods available to solve your problem. The methods mentioned above are the most versatile way to remove the spray paint from the concrete surface.
These methods vary regarding budget-friendliness, effectiveness, simplicity, and safety. You should look at your pocket to select the most beneficial method that will let you solve the problem with your current budget.
Also, effectiveness is important since the cheap options are usually not good at removing spray paints. You should also ensure the method is safe to avoid damage.