How To Get Spray Paint Off Concrete Surfaces 

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Last updated: June 6, 2023

Get the best tips and hacks on how to remove spray paint from concrete easily from this expert painter’s guide.

How to get spray paint off concrete surfaces.

Unwanted spray paint can be pretty challenging to get off concrete surfaces. Concrete is porous, allowing spray paint particles to penetrate deep into the surface. While this quality makes painting on concrete surfaces successful, it presents challenges when removing the paint. 

Luckily, removing spray paint from concrete is not impossible; you just need to use the right products and the appropriate methods.

This article discusses how to get spray paint off concrete surfaces in six effective methods. It provides both commercial and household solutions for removing spray paint from concrete surfaces where it is unwanted. 

Read along. 

Can you remove spray paint from concrete?

Yes, you can clean spray paint from concrete surfaces despite the paint being stubborn due to the porosity of the concrete. The key is to use the right product and select the appropriate method that is effective against spray paint on concrete. 

About The Nature of Spray Paint 

Spray paint, as the term suggests, is an aerosol found in pressurized containers. Activating the mechanism of the aerosol paint container releases the pigments as a fine mist through a valve. This applies multiple layers of the pigments in quick succession, making it a fast way to paint a surface. 

Types of Spray Paint

Spray paint is available in various types on the market; some are easier to remove from concrete than others. Here is a list of the main types of spray paint on the market. 

  • Acrylic Spray Paint: This is versatile and widely used for a variety of projects. It dries quickly, provides good coverage, and creates a durable finish.  

  • Latex Spray Paint: This is formulated with a water-based latex resin and is designed to provide a smooth and durable finish.

  • Enamel Spray Paint: It is known for its durability and high-gloss finish. It creates a hard, smooth coating that is resistant to chipping and scratching. 

  • Metallic Spray Paint: This spray paint contains metal flakes or pigments, creating a shimmering and reflective finish.  

  • Chalkboard Spray Paint: It creates a surface that can be written on with chalk, making it popular for creating chalkboard walls, signs, or labels. 

  • Specialty Spray Paint: There are various specialty spray paints available for specific purposes, including fluorescent spray paint for creating vibrant and neon colors, glow-in-the-dark spray paint for creating luminous effects, and textured spray paint for adding texture or creating stone-like finishes.

Latex-based spray paints are water-based, making them easier to remove from concrete surfaces than oil-based spray paints like enamel spray paint.

How to get spray paint off of concrete

To get spray paint off of concrete, spray the area with your preferred choice of graffiti remover and scrub with a scrub brush. This method may be insufficient for stubborn oil-based paints, so consider applying Trisodium Phosphate and warm water instead. 

Alternatively, you can use a citrus-based gel paint stripper to remove spray paint from concrete or blast it out with a power washer. If all the methods fail, grind off the layer of tough paint with an angle grinder.

Here is a summary of the most effective methods for removing paint from concrete without damaging the material: 

  • Using a specialized graffiti remover.
  • Stripping off the paint using a gel stripping paint remover.
  • Scrubbing off the paint with Trisodium Phosphate.
  • Washing the affected area with soap and warm water.
  • Forcing out the paint with a power washer.
  • Grinding affected areas as a last resort.

The effective method for removing spray paint from concrete will depend on the type of paint involved and how porous the concrete is. 

The more porous the surface, the more stubborn the paint is likely to be. Also, water-based paints may wash off the concrete more easily than their oil-based cousins.

When removing spray paint from concrete, start with milder solutions such as soap and warm water before attempting the more aggressive methods. Using an angle grinder should be your last resort, used only when all the other methods are unsuccessful.

How To Get Spray Paint Off Concrete With Commercial Products  

Removing spray paint from concrete using commercial products is generally effective and quick. Various commercial products are available that you can use to get spray paint off your concrete floor or wall.

Whether only a small area has spray paint or a large one, such as a wall or sidewalk with graffiti, using commercial products will help. 

Method 1: Graffiti Remover

Graffiti removers are commercial products designed specifically for removing spray paint from concrete. 

These products are available from local paint shops or online stores as graffiti removers. Various graffiti removal products are formulated for different types of paint, so you must choose one specifically designed for removing graffiti from concrete. 

What you will need

  • Your preferred spray paint removal product.
  • Scrub brush.
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • Eye protection or safety goggles.
  • N95 mask or some other specialized safety mask.
  • Plastic sheeting or drop cloth.

How to get spray paint off concrete using graffiti remover 

Once you have assembled the required tools and materials, follow these steps to remove the stubborn paint from your concrete. 

Step 1. Prepare the area 

Clear the immediate area around the painted surface and protect nearby objects or delicate surfaces with a plastic sheeting or drop cloth. 

Ensure good ventilation in the area by opening windows or using fans if you’re working indoors. Graffiti removers often emit fumes, so proper air circulation will help keep the fumes from saturating the air. 

Step 2. Wear protective gear 

Put on protective gloves, safety goggles, and appropriate clothing to protect yourself from any contact with the graffiti remover. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended safety equipment.

Step 3. Test a small area 

Before applying the graffiti remover to the entire painted surface, it’s important to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the concrete. This will help ensure the remover doesn’t cause any unwanted damage or discoloration. Follow the product instructions for the test patch.

Step 4. Apply the graffiti remover and allow it to work

Typically, you will spray or brush the graffiti remover onto the paint. We recommend following the method recommended on the product label for the best results. 

Once you have covered the entire affected area, let it sit for the time specified on the label to work. This time should vary depending on the remover and the thickness of the paint. However, you must not let the remover dry on the surface.

Step 5. Agitate and scrub the covered surface 

After the recommended dwell time, use a brush, sponge, or scrubbing pad to agitate the surface and help loosen the paint. Scrub the area gently but firmly, paying extra attention to any stubborn or deeply embedded paint.

Step 6. Rinse the surface 

Once you have scrubbed the surface, rinse it thoroughly with water from a garden hose. Ensure that all traces of the remover and paint are completely rinsed off the concrete.

Step 7. Repeat if necessary

Depending on the spray paint’s severity and the graffiti remover’s effectiveness, you may need to repeat the process to remove all traces of paint fully. 

Follow the product instructions for any specific recommendations regarding multiple applications.

Step 8. Properly dispose of used graffiti remover, waste materials, and cleaning tools

Your area should have local regulations regarding proper waste disposal. Ensure you follow them when disposing of any used graffiti removers due to their chemical properties. 

Check with your local waste management or environmental agency for guidance on how to dispose of these materials safely.

If spray paint still remains after all the steps, consider trying a different method from this list.

Method 2: Citrus-Based Paint Stripper

Citrus-based paint strippers can be a less toxic and environmentally friendly option for removing spray paint from concrete surfaces. Like any paint stripper, it softens the paint, making it easier to scrape off the concrete surface.

What you will need to use this method 

  • Your preferred citrus-based paint stripper.
  • Stiff-bristled brush or wire brush.
  • Protective hand gloves.
  • Respirator mask.
  • Garden hose (or a bucket of water for an indoor project)
  • Sponge.

Here’s a general step-by-step procedure for using a citrus-based paint stripper to remove spray paint:

Step 1. Prepare the area and wear protective gear 

Once you have assembled all the tools and supplies needed, clear the immediate area around the painted surface and protect nearby objects or delicate surfaces with plastic or drop cloths. 

Also, wear your gloves and a protective mask to keep you from inhaling the fumes produced while the chemical works on the paint. 

Step 2. Apply the citrus-based paint stripper 

Once you have confirmed the suitability of the citrus-based stripper by testing it on a small, inconspicuous area, apply it to the spray-painted area. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and allow it time to work. The product label should indicate how long you must let the chemical sit on the painted concrete surface, usually 30 minutes or longer, depending on the thickness of the paint and the type of stripper used. 

You will know the stripper is working when the paint begins to bubble, indicating that the chemical is beginning to lift the paint from the concrete.

Avoid letting the stripper dry on the surface, as it may become less effective.

Step 3. Agitate and scrape off the residue

Use a brush, sponge, or scrubbing pad to agitate the surface and help loosen the paint. After that, scrub the area gently but firmly, paying extra attention to any stubborn or deeply embedded paint.

Step 4. Rinse the surface

Once you have scrubbed the surface, rinse it thoroughly with water. Use a garden hose if you are working outdoors or a bucket of water for an indoor surface. 

Ensure that all traces of the stripper and paint are completely rinsed off the concrete.

Step 5. Repeat if necessary

Depending on the severity of the spray paint and the effectiveness of the citrus-based paint stripper, you may need to repeat the process to remove all traces of paint fully. 

Follow the product instructions for any specific recommendations regarding multiple applications.

Method 3: Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)

Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) or sugar soap is a potent cleaning agent commonly used on various surfaces to remove stubborn stains. 

Spray paint is one of the stains that this cleaning agent is effective in removing from concrete surfaces. 

What You Will Need

  • TSP (sugar soap)
  • Scrub brush or sponge.
  • A bucket of warm water.
  • Gloves.
  • Face shield or safety goggles.
  • Respirator mask.
  • Protective clothing.

Step-by-step procedure for using Trisodium Phosphate  

Step 1. Prepare the TSP solution by mixing ¼ cup of TSP per gallon of water in a bucket. Stir the mixture until the TSP is completely dissolved.

Step 2. Protect yourself and the surrounding area by wearing your protective gear and laying a plastic sheeting or drop cloth over nearby objects or delicate surfaces. 

Step 3. Wet the painted surface using a hose or bucket of water to loosen any debris and prepares the area for cleaning.

Step 4. Apply the TSP solution: Dip the scrub brush or sponge into the TSP solution, making sure it is saturated but not dripping and use it to apply the solution to the spray-painted area and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes to work.

Step 5. Scrub the surface with a scrub brush or sponge. Work in small sections, applying moderate pressure to help loosen the paint. 

Step 6. Rinse the scrubbed surface thoroughly with a clean water rinse. 

Step 7. Repeat the process if some traces of paint remain. This time, you may consider increasing the ratio to create a stronger TSP solution.

Note: 

TSP is a harsh chemical, so ensure you follow proper disposal guidelines and wear proper safety gear when handling it. Improper handling of such a chemical can have a negative impact on the environment. It could also cause eye and skin irritation. 

How To Remove Spray Paint From Concrete With Household Items 

You can also remove paint from concrete using items and products you already have at home. Some of these methods involve using mild products like dish soap and warm water, which are kinder to your skin and the environment.

This section looks at how to get spray paint off concrete surfaces using some common household items.

Method 1: Soap and Water

If you are dealing with water-based spray paint on a fine or polished concrete surface, dish soap and warm water should be all you need to remove the paint.

Water-based paints are easier to remove from surfaces, including concrete. However, old, oil-based spray paint may be more challenging to remove, requiring a more effective method. This is especially so for an unsealed concrete surface.

Tools and materials to use 

  • A bucket.
  • Warm water.
  • A scrub brush or sponge.
  • Mild dish soap or laundry detergent.
  • Hand gloves.
  • Safety goggles.
  • Protective clothing.
  • Absorbent towel.

Procedure for removing spray paint from concrete using soap and water 

Step 1. Fill the bucket with warm water and add a generous amount of mild dish soap or laundry detergent. Mix the solution until the soap is fully dissolved.  

Step 2. Wear your protective gear and prepare the area by covering nearby objects or delicate surfaces with plastic sheeting or drop cloth.

Step 3. Wet the painted surface with water from a garden hose or bucket to loosen the debris and paint. 

Step 4. Apply the soap and water solution with a scrub brush or sponge.

Step 5. Scrub the affected area in a circular motion to loosen and dislodge the paint from the concrete. 

Step 6. Rinse the concrete with clean water, preferably from a garden hose.

Step 7. Repeat the process if some paint and debris remain on the concrete until all traces of paint are gone.  

Method 2: Power Washer

A pressure washer or power washer can be a highly effective way of removing spray paint from asphalt concrete. Spray paint particles typically get lodged deep into the concrete material. A power washer sends a jet of water under high pressure into those pores, forcing the paint out.

However, notice that a power washer differs slightly from a pressure washer since it uses warm water instead of the cold water that a pressure washer uses. 

So, this method uses a combination of heat and water pressure to soften and force out the paint from your concrete wall. This makes it a more effective method against spray paint on concrete than a standard pressure washer. 

What you will need to use this method 

  • Power washer or pressure washer.
  • Personal protective equipment.
  • Detergent (optional).

Steps to follow

Step 1. Prep the area by clearing away any objects that might stand in your way. 

Step 2. Remove any loose debris or dirt from the concrete surface.

Step 3. Wear protective gear, including safety goggles, gloves, and appropriate clothing, to protect yourself from flying debris and water pressure. It’s also recommended to wear non-slip footwear to ensure stability while operating the power washer.

Step 4. Connect and set up the power washer according to the manufacturer’s user instructions.

Step 5. Select the appropriate nozzle. Choose one that provides a concentrated and high-pressure spray pattern, such as a 15-degree or 25-degree nozzle.  

Step 6. Test a small area before going all in on your entire project. You want to ensure that you have the right technique and that the distance from the surface is appropriate.  

Step 7. Adjust the pressure and distance accordingly. Start with a lower pressure setting and gradually increase it if needed. Maintain a distance of about 6 to 12 inches between the nozzle and the painted surface for the best results without damaging the concrete. Experiment with different angles and distances to find the most effective approach.

Step 8. Start power washing the painted surface, moving the spray wand back and forth in overlapping motions. Aim the nozzle at the painted area and let the high-pressure water spray remove the paint. 

Work in small sections and give the concrete a good blast, and consider using a degreaser or a detergent along with the power washer to lift the spray paint from the concrete more effectively.

Step 9. Monitor progress and adjust technique. Gradually move the nozzle closer to the concrete surface if the paint is not coming off easily. You can also try adjusting the pressure or changing the angle—and observing the progress.

Step 10. Turn off the power washer once done and allow the surface to dry. Clean up any paint chips or debris from the surrounding area and perform any necessary post-treatment, such as using a concrete cleaner or detergent to remove any remaining paint residue or stains.

Method 3: Angle Grinder

Using a grinder is the most aggressive of all methods discussed. Therefore, it should be the last resort, only used if the other methods have failed to bear fruit. 

What You Will Need

  • Angle grinder.
  • Protective clothing.
  • Dust mask or respirator.
  • Goggles.
  • Gloves.
  • Diamond cup wheel.
  • Vacuum cleaner.

How to get spray paint off concrete using an angle grinder

Grinding can be aggressive and may cause damage to the concrete if not used carefully. So ensure you follow these instructions carefully when using this method to remove thick spray paint from concrete. 

Step 1. Clear the immediate area around the painted surface and protect any nearby objects and surfaces with a drop cloth. 

Step 2. Protect yourself by wearing protective garments, gloves, and goggles.   

Step 3. Set up the grinder with the right paint stripping wheel and prepare it following the manufacturer’s instructions.  

Step 4. Test the set grinder on a small, inconspicuous area. This helps you determine the appropriate speed, pressure, and technique for removing the paint without causing excessive damage to the concrete.

Step 5. Grind the paint off the concrete, holding the equipment firmly with both hands and moving it back and forth in smooth, overlapping, gentle motions. Work in small sections to ensure thorough coverage and to prevent the surface from overheating.

Work slowly but carefully, and stop if the concrete surface appears damaged as you use the angle grinder.

Step 6. Allow the surface to settle after removing the paint and clean up the place. 

Method 4: How to get spray paint off concrete with vinegar

Vinegar can be an effective and natural option for removing spray paint from concrete surfaces. 

What you’ll need to use this method

  • White vinegar.
  • Spray bottle.
  • Scrub brush or sponge.
  • Gloves.
  • Safety goggles.
  • Protective clothing.

Here’s a procedure you can follow to use vinegar for this purpose:

Step 1. Prepare the vinegar solution by filling the spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar. Step 2. Wear your protective gear and cover the surrounding area and surfaces with plastic sheeting. 

Step 3. Test the vinegar in a small inconspicuous area and check for any unwanted damage or discoloration.

Step 4. Apply the vinegar solution to the spray-painted area with the spray bottle, covering every inch of the affected area. Ensure you spray generous amounts of the vinegar solution and let it sit on the surface for about 10-15 minutes. 

Step 5. Scrub the surface once the vinegar has had time to work, and then rinse with clean water.

How to get dry spray paint off concrete

Dry spray paint can be stubborn to remove from concrete surfaces. However, the right method can still remove it. 

What you’ll need

  • Gloves.
  • Eye protection.
  • Respirator mask.
  • Acetone.
  • Scrub brush.
  • Clean water.

The most effective method:

Wear your protective gear and apply generous amounts of acetone directly onto the paint and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen the paint. Once the acetone has had time to work, scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush and rinse with clean water. 

How to get black spray paint off concrete

You can remove black spray paint from concrete using a citrus-based paint stripper. 

What you will need to use this method

  • Gel paint stripper.
  • Scrub brush.
  • Protective hand gloves.
  • Respirator mask.
  • Water.
  • Sponge.

To remove the paint, wear your protective gear and apply generous amounts of the citrus-based gel paint stripper to the paint, covering every inch of the affected area. Let the chemical sit on the concrete for about 30 minutes, and then scrape it off. Finally, rinse the surface with water and sponge and let it dry. 

Personal Safety Tips for Cleaning Spray Paint Stains 

As you may notice, removing spray paint from concrete involves using harsh chemicals or power tools. Any of these can cause accidents if not handled properly, so follow these personal safety tips to avoid accidents. 

  • Always wear a protective garment, hand gloves, and eye protection.
  • Learn and practice using the tools and equipment before using them on the project.
  • Avoid using harsh chemical whenever possible. For instance, try soap and warm water or a power washer before any chemical product.

Success Tips for Removing Spray Paint from Concrete Surfaces 

  • Start with milder methods, such as soap and warm water, before moving on to abrasive methods or harsh chemicals. 

  • Go for borax instead of TSP if you want a non-toxic, eco-friendly alternative. 

  • Leave a paint stripper on the paint surface for as long as possible, but don’t let it dry before scrapping it off.  

  • Use a dust shroud to reduce the dust when grinding concrete with an angle grinder.   

  • Always use painter’s tape to avoid getting paint on unwanted concrete surfaces when spraying—as a preventive measure.  

FAQs – Removing Spray Paint from Concrete

Can I remove spray paint from concrete using bleach?

Yes, you can use bleach to remove spray paint from concrete, but you shouldn’t use it. It can stain the concrete, leaving undesirable marks and salt deposits. For chemicals that remove spray paint from concrete, consider using Trisodium Phosphate or gel paint stripper instead. These will give the desired results without staining the concrete.

Will spray paint eventually come off the concrete?

No, spray paint will not eventually come off the concrete unless you remove it with a commercial paint stripper, graffiti remover, power washer, or angle grinder. Always start with a gentle method, like soap and warm water, and only switch to harsh chemicals or grinding if the initial method is unsuccessful. 

What liquid removes spray paint from concrete?

Liquids that remove spray paint from concrete include oven cleaner, paint thinner, and nail polish remover. Any of these liquids will loosen the paint, allowing you to remove it easily by scrubbing. Finally, ensure you rinse the surface with soap and clean water to remove all traces of the chemical. 

Does WD 40 remove spray paint concrete?

Yes. WD-40 is a potent household cleaning agent that can remove spray paint from concrete surfaces. It is effective for small indoor areas such as walls and concrete floors, but it is not ideal for removing graffiti on outdoor concrete surfaces.

Can you wash spray paint off the concrete?

Yes, you can wash spray paint off the concrete using a power washer. Alternatively, you can use dish soap or laundry detergent and warm water to wash spray paint off concrete surfaces. When using the latter, ensure you scrub the surface with a stiff-bristle brush for better results.

How To Get Spray Paint Off Concrete: Final Take 

Spray paint can be a menace on concrete walls, sidewalks, or floors where it is unwanted. Thankfully, you can remove the paint in one of the many ways available for removing spray paint from concrete.

This article discusses seven potent ways to get spray paint off the concrete. We recommend starting with soap and warm water and only proceeding to harsh chemicals or grinding methods if the gentle ones fail.

Share your experience with us in the comments. 

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