How To Get Spray Paint Off Wall

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Last updated: May 30, 2023

Learn How to Spray Paint Wall In This Comprehensive Painters Guide

How to get spray paint off wall

Spray paint is a convenient and useful tool to have as a DIYer. Spray painting is an adequate and simple method of applying paint on surfaces. However, sometimes things get out of hand, becoming a nuisance.

If you have recently foreclosed an abandoned property with spray paint all over it. Or have some regrettable artistic markings on your wall. Or even worse, you have fallen victim to unwanted graffiti on your property or business. Then you are looking for ways to remove the spray paint.

Lucky for you, I’ve got you covered. This post discusses how to get spray paint off walls such as brick, plaster, and wooden walls. I also detail any other factors pertaining to removing spray paints from walls.

How to get spray paint off the wall

There are numerous ways to remove spray paint from surfaces. The suitable method depends on the surface type you are working on. It is pretty easy dealing with metallic or plastic surfaces and more dreadful working on porous surfaces like brick or wood walls. The sooner you start cleaning up the mess, the better.

What To Know Before Removing Spray Paint From A Wall

Before jumping the gun, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind as you commence the project:

  • Spray paint has impressive adhesive qualities that are excellent when painting but quite frustrating when trying to remove it.
  • Walls like drywall or lumber damage easily if you are not cautious.
  • Have a positive attitude, and some elbow grease, as removing spray paint involves hard scrubbing the solvent into the painted surface and not just a simple wiping.
  • Avoid using pressure washer unless circumstances demand that you do.

How To Get Spray Paint Off Wall

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to strip off the spray paint from the walls:

What You’ll Need to Get Spray Paint Off Wall.

  • Protective gear
  • Paint remover
  • Magic eraser.
  • Paint thinner
  • Steel wool
  • Paint scrapper.
  • Putty.
  • Paint.

STEP 1: Test the paint remover 

First, confirm you have the correct solvent. Avoid making irreversible mistakes like applying the paint remover and damaging walls.

Then, wear protective gear and test out the paint remover by applying it on a surface covered with newspapers or cardboard in a less-obvious spot. Lastly, let the solvent settle for at least 15-20 minutes and assess the damage.

Keep an eye out for discoloration or white streaks, and if you notice any, you’ll need to work with a different paint remover or change tacks.

Another testing alternative is writing over the spray paint with a pen or sharp object and trying to wipe the words off with a rag damped in the paint stripper. If the spray paint remover gets rid of the words instead of the paint, you’ll need another stripper.

If you don’t have a paint stripper, mix baking soda and warm water into a solution and test it on the wall.

STEP 2: Apply the scrub and solvent 

You can scrub the paint with a magic eraser or sponge to help loosen the paint. Also, it creates permeability of the paint remover into the surface.

Apply the solvent onto the wall and scrub the surface with a bristle brush. Beware, the brush can make permanent scratches on your wall.

STEP 3: Scrap the surface if scrubbing doesn’t work

If scrubbing isn’t working, try working with a paint scraper. The scraper won’t be as gentle on your walls as the scrubber.

When you opt for the paint scraper, that’s the point of no return. You might as well strip the entire wall and repaint it. Strip the wall systematically, each layer simultaneously, to prevent extensive damage.

STEP 4: Fix the damage 

Repairing is more challenging than removing the spray paint. However, it needs to be done. You’d rather not remove the paint together than scrap it and paint over the damaged surface.

How to get spray paint off wall

Even if the cracks and dents aren’t as visible, make a point or repair the wall. Using a putty knife, fill in the voids, and leave the surface smooth and even.

If you skip this step, the imperfections will leave the surface bumpy and shabby.    

STEP 5: Paint the wall

In the long run, you’ll need to repaint the wall to make it blend with the surroundings.

Spray paint is usually a darker shade and will show through the new paint job, so you’ll need to paint thick coats.  

Blending the new paint with the existing layers of old paint will be difficult without forming a discoloration.

Do the necessary touch-ups on the surface to achieve an even and smooth finish. Then clean the top coat with warm water to soften it and bond better to the new coat.

Removing Spray Paint Off Brick or Plaster

Here is an easy method of removing spray paint off a brick or plaster wall:

Requirements 

  • Paint thinner or porous graffiti remover
  • Protective gear
  • Spray bottle.

Method 

  1. Follow the instructions indicated on the paint thinner or porous graffiti remover.
  2. Pour part of the solvent into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solvent over the spray-painted area.
  4. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes. It takes longer to soak into the paint on a cold day.
  5. Rinse the wall with warm water. You can use a pressure washer if you are cleaning a large area.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 if there are any leftover markings.
  7. Don’t apply acids to your wall; they erode the plaster and bricks.

Another alternative method is mixing a cup of ammonia with half a cup of water in a bucket. Stir the mixture till it’s fizzy and apply it over the paint with a brush. Let it soak, and rinse the paint off with clean water.

Removing Spray Paint Off Wood Wall

The products and instructions for removing spray paint from wood are explained below:

Requirements 

  • Paint remover
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot air gun

Method 

There are three methods you can use:

  1. Sanding the paint off the woodwork. Use an industrial sander if you are working on a large wall. Power tools help you apply pressure on the surface without damaging the wood. Be gentle and work in small sections.
  2. Another method uses an electric hot air gun to heat the paint off the wood. Be careful not to scorch the wood, especially if you plan on leaving the surface bare.
  3. Spray paint stripper over the surface, let it sit for a while, then clean the wood. If the wood has a lacquer or varnish, apply a lacquer stripper. Chemical solvents work faster than sanding, and you can remove paint from carved wood.

Supplies Needed When Removing Spray Paint Off Walls 

Listed below are some necessary supplies for the project:

  • Paint remover or Graffiti remover: You’ll need to get your hands on a paint stripper or graffiti remover to simplify your work. You can rub alcohol on the spray paint and then scrape it off. Another chemical solvent to use is mineral spirits or paint thinners.  

  • WD-40: WD-40 is a non-flammable water-based cleaner and degreaser. Also, surprisingly an effective paint stripper. Apply small bits of WD-40 to the void, damaging the wall. 

  • Putty: You need a putty knife and putty to fill all the voids and dents left on the wall after the paint comes off. Use putty on the touch-ups to fix the damage before repainting the wall.

  • Paint scraper: At times, the scrubber might fail you, and that’s where the paint scraper comes in handy. You can remove the paint and leave the wall bare with a paint scraper. 

  • Magic eraser: The erasing pad is only effective on fresh paint stains on wood surfaces. It cannot dissociate dry and cured paint particles. 

  • Sponge: Damping the sponge in mineral spirits, paint, or nail polish remover will do the job. The rag is gentler on the walls than a stiff bristle brush.

  • Extra paint: After all the unwanted spray paint comes off, you might need to repaint the surface to let it blend with your new theme.

Methods of Removing Spray Paint Without Damaging Walls

Luckily, there is more than one way to get the job done. If one fails, you move on to the next till you find what works for you. Here are some of the methods to try out:

Using Chemical Solvents 

Chemical solvents range from paint remover, WD-40, graffiti remover, paint thinner, mineral spirits, rubbing alcohol, and acetone to nail polish remover. All the mentioned products are effective, but some are harsher than others. Read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid causing irreversible damage to your walls. Test the solvent first before applying it to the wall.

By Sanding 

Sanding is an effective method but quite laborious compared to the others. You can use different grits of sandpaper and power tools to prevent unevenness or dips on the wall. Sand lightly while adding gentle pressure for a better outcome.   

By scrubbing and scraping 

Once the paint has soaked in the chemical solvent and still won’t come off after rinsing, you’ll need to scrub the paint off with a brush. The stiff bristles will bring the paint down. Sometimes the brush doesn’t work, and you’ll need to use a paint scraper. Use the scraper with caution to avoid damaging the wall.

Using oil on oil 

If the spray paint is oil-based, you can eliminate it with oil. Some oils are; olive, vegetable or cooking oil, and petroleum jelly. You don’t need to wear rubber gloves as the oils are gentle on the skin. You can try moderate methods before advancing your way to chemical solvents.

By use of a heat gun  

A heat gun can soften the spray paint and make it easier to scrape off. Be careful when working with one, especially on drywall.

You can also use a hair dryer by directing the heat to the affected region and then wiping off the paint.

By pressure washing 

Pressure washing can help blast the paint away. It is best to use this method on a large surface and avoid damaging the underlying material. If you don’t own a pressure washer, place your finger at the end of your hose to increase water pressure mimicking the pressure washer.

By utilizing simple household items 

You can get creative with your household products and make homemade paint remover. You can mix baking soda and water to create a paste or vinegar and water to make a solution to dissolve spray paint stains. Apply the paste or spray the solution over the painted wall, scrub the surface with a rag till the paint lifts, then rinse it off with water.

Best Spray Paint Removers For Concrete Walls 

Below are my top choices of paint removers based on safety, application, surfaces, and ease of use. The products are available at your local hardware store or Amazon.

Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel 

  • SAFETY: It lacks harsh chemicals like methylene chloride and NMP. The stripping gel has a citrus scent, unlike the pungent odor in most products.

  • APPLICATION: Citristrip is easy to use and highly reliable. Apply the gel to the paint and let it sit for several hours. The paint bubbles and comes right off.

  • SURFACES: Citristrip works on brick, concrete, metal, or wood surfaces. It can remove latex-based paint, polyurethane, shellac, varnish, and oil-based paint.

Krud Kutter Latex Paint Remover

  • SAFETY: Krud Kutter is a biodegradable product with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) levels. However, it has an odor to it.

  • APPLICATION: Krud Kutter comes in a spray bottle, making it easy to apply. Soak the paint with the product and notice now it starts to loosen. It does a great job removing fresh and old paint altogether.

  • SURFACES: Krud Kutter works wonders on tiles, bricks, concrete, wood, vinyl, carpet, and fabric.

Sunnyside 2-Minute Remover ADVANCED Detailing Liquid Paint & Varnish Remover 

  • SAFETY: It is methylene chloride free

  • APPLICATION: if you want to finish the job quickly, Sunnyside 2-minute remover is the best option. In mere minutes the paint will be coming off.  

  • SURFACES: it removes varnishes, finishes, oil-based and latex paints. It is the best choice when working on textured surfaces.

Pro-Painters Tips For Removing Spray Paint Off Walls 

Removing spray paint from the wall is tasking. Here are some tips I use to help make my load lighter and the process smoother:

  • I always have my protective gear; rubber gloves, eyewear, and respirator. The chemical products are harsh on your skin and eyes, and inhaling the toxic fumes is unsafe. We have a whole post talking about how to remove spray paint off your hands and skin; you can check it to learn how to get rid of paints from your skin.
  • I work in a well-ventilated space to ensure the free flow of fresh air.
  • You should not mix different paint remover solutions as the outcome will be nasty and dangerous. Use one product at a time, the move on to the next.
  • I prefer to test the product first on a less-visible area before applying it on the entire surface. This tip is a great way to confirm whether the product will damage the wall.
  • Dispose of the used products safely as per the local laws.
  • I make a point to ensure that children, pets, and foodstuffs are far from may working space. It’s a good tip to help avoid accidents and ingestion of harmful chemicals.
  • Sometimes accidents happens, and there is gross spillage of the cleaning solution or simple splatter. Clean that up immediately to avoid additional mishaps.

FAQs: How To Get Spray Paint Off Wall

Can you remove permanent spray paint from the walls?

It is tasking to remove permanent spray paint due to its strong adhesive qualities, but you can strip it. Some methods are using chemical solvents, pressure washing, sanding, or with a heat gun.

What removes spray paint instantly from walls?

To remove spray paint from brick, plaster, or concrete walls, use a porous graffiti remover or paint thinner, and on wood surfaces, use a lacquer stripper or sand the surface.

Applying baking soda paste or commercial cleaners for metallic surfaces and a heat gun can also work. On plastic surfaces, use oil on oil or a nail polish remover.  

What is the best way to remove paint off walls?

That depends on the type of surface you are working on. For brick, concrete, or plaster walls, chemical solvents work best as they permeate the porous wall. Use a lacquer remover on wood surfaces. Remember to dispose of the waste containers as per your local laws.

Can baking soda remove spray paint off the wall?

Absolutely, by mixing baking soda with water and creating a paste. Rub the paste onto the paint with a sponge or rag to remove it. Baking soda works best on small painted sections. 

Does spray paint wash off walls?

Yes, you can pressure wash the wall and scrub the paint off. The other best way is using a commercial hot water pressure washer.

It effectively removes water-based and oil-based paints. Irrespective of whether you use cold or hot water, be mindful of potential damage to your walls.

Can a magic eraser remove spray paint from walls?

It can remove paint at some level. However, the erasing pad is specifically designed to remove grease and dirt from the surface safely. The magic eraser isn’t an effective paint remover, but it can get fresh paint stain off the wood.

Final Thoughts: How To Get Spray Paint Off Wall

Manufacturers did up their game by producing simple-to-use, more effective, and safe chemical solvents, unlike that nasty caustic soda which was the only product available back then.

This guide breaks down the information you need to remove paint from different surfaces into understandable portions. As a DIYer trying something new can be scary and confusing. Relax, as there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Pick what works for you and your wall and roll with it.

Good luck stripping spray paint!

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