How to remove spray paint on plastic

How to remove spray paint on plastic (2023 Guide)

Hey! Here is how to remove spray paint on plastic. The procedures outlined are simple do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. 

How to remove spray paint on plastic

Spray paint leaves a trail behind it. Over-spraying when painting a wall or our furniture can result in the paint ruining the room, furniture, and clothes, to say the least. Plastic is at the top of the list of items that spray can spoil. Hence, it is important to know how to remove spray paint on plastic.

But before we concentrate on spray paint, let us examine how to remove paint from plastic generally.

How to remove paint from plastic

Now you are doing a painting job, and then it sprays on plastic! Drips and splatters on plastic surfaces, such as light switch covers, handles on uncovered appliances, step stools, and outdoor furniture, ruin the satisfaction of a paint job.

While removing paint from plastic may require more effort than a simple swipe, especially if the paint has dried, the techniques listed below have proven to be effective.

1. Wash it off

Painting blunders should always be addressed as soon as they occur. So, if you see a new spill, fill a bucket halfway with warm water and dish soap, grab a clean rag or paper towels, and wash it away.

Once the paint has been removed, rinse the item with a hose or a clean, damp rag.

2. Rub it off

If soap and water are ineffective, the paint has most likely dried. Use some vegetable oil (a non-toxic, usually skin-safe substance) that can help soften and lift the paint.

Apply some of the oil to a clean rag and rub the spill with elbow grease.

When the paint starts to “give way,” use a paint scraper and move on to the third option below.

If vegetable oil doesn’t work, put on a pair of work gloves and try acetone-based nail polish remover. Pour enough on to cover the affected area, then rub and wipe with a clean rag or paper towel until the paint is gone.

3. Scrape it off

A paint scraper is your go-to tool for removing dried paint from a flat plastic surface.

Beginning at any corner or edge of the spill, slide the scraper underneath to gently “lift” off the splotch. Be patient and apply consistent, steady pressure. If you attack it too vigorously, you may mar the plastic.

To remove paint from a contoured plastic surface, such as a chair, follow the steps outlined above. Keep the blade at an angle to avoid damaging the piece, and always remember to be safe.

4. Scrub it off

For truly stubborn paint spills on plastic, use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), which is widely available.

Unlike harsh paint thinners, rubbing alcohol removes paint without melting the plastic. Nonetheless, wear a face mask to prevent inhaling fumes. Also, use work gloves to protect your skin.

Pour the alcohol over the unwanted paint and scrub firmly with a rag, following the printed instructions for safe use.

You may need to be patient until the paint starts to fade. Simply persevere, and your patience will be rewarded with a clean, paint-free surface. Nobody will ever know you lost a painting!

But what if the paint is hard and stubborn, say spray paint? Let us, therefore, examine how to remove spray paint from plastic.

Why is it more difficult than you think to remove spray paint from plastic?

Plastic and spray paint are at odds. Carelessly removing it will damage the plastic. Yes, working with nail polish or paint remover is the same. If we are not careful, they will consume a significant portion of the plastic we are attempting to save.

There’s also the issue of smell. If you use a chemical to clean or remove spray paint, chances are it will leave a strong odor behind.

Paint thinners are also of a similar nature. They have the potential to damage the chemical bond of plastic itself. If you put too much in, it has the potential to dissolve. If you are not cautious, you may end up with a problem that is larger than the solution. Harsh paint thinners will almost certainly harm your hands.

Therefore, don’t be reckless while getting paint off from plastic.

Must Read: How to tell the difference between cellulose and asbestos insulation

How to remove spray paint on plastic

Despite the fact that some preparation and work are required… Spray paint removal is possible. However, the methods will differ depending on how new or old your spray-painting job is. Let’s, therefore, look at some of the most popular spray paint removal methods.

1. Wipe the paint off while it’s still fresh.

But you must maintain safety. If you’re dealing with electronics, make sure to turn them off. Unplug the appliance before proceeding.

Water can be used to wipe the paint off. Warm the water up a little and add some dishwashing soap to it.

Use a sponge for the cleaning. Get the sponge wet and work on the area of the plastic where there’s spray paint. Thereafter, wipe the soap off your plastic substance. You may want to use a clean cloth and wipe the area that you just cleaned. Finally, let the substance dry before using it again. I’d suggest keeping the plastic-made furniture in a well-ventilated area.

2. Use rubbing alcohol to remove spray paint that is completely dried on plastic

If the spray paint is completely dried, water can not be used to clean it off. Alcohol will be just fine.

3. You can also use a paint scraper

Hold the paint scraper at an angle. Push the scraper from the edge of the dried paint. If the entire surface is covered with paint, you can start from anywhere you like. Place the edge on the area that’s not painted.

Scrap off the paint. It’s good to start scrapping in the direction of the paint job. Make sure to move the scraper from the opposite direction of the paint.

Finally, wash the affected area either with water or alcohol and wipe thoroughly.

4. Use solvents to remove spray paint from plastic

You can use solvents to remove oil paints from plastic as well.

What solvent do you use?

If it is a latex-based paint, use ammonia. Oil-based paint reacts well with alcohol. People use paint thinner and acetone for the job as well.

When using paint thinners or nail polish removers (they do the trick as well), wear protective gloves if you have sensitive skin. Feel free to use plastic or vinyl gloves for the job.

Supplies You’ll Need for Removing Spray Paint from Plastic

Cleaning spray paint, or any other type of paint, from plastic, can be a messy and time-consuming process, especially if you don’t have the right tools.

Unfortunately, this is not a trial-and-error process because any errors will cause the plastic to deteriorate, destroying any progress you’ve made. The following are the most important supplies to keep on hand.

1. Warm water

Warm water is useful for rinsing the surface before attempting to remove the paint, but it is also necessary for the remaining steps. If the paint is still wet, warm water may be able to remove it. If not, you can combine it with soap or dilute the paint remover to make it less likely to damage your plastic.

2. Soap

If warm water doesn’t work, try a soapy water mixture to break down the paint so you can scrub it off.

3. Towels

Towels or paper towels are used for scrubbing and cleaning up. It prevents too much mess and assists in the removal of any paint that has broken down.

4. Paint remover/thinner

Paint thinner or remover is a strong option, but use it with caution because it has the potential to damage the plastic. It should be considered a last resort.

The best option is to mix a little with water to see if you can remove the paint while preserving the plastic. Then you can gradually increase the concentration of the thinner.

5. Brush

Depending on how thick the paint is, you may need to use a brush to scrub it off as you work.

6. Paint Scraper

A putty knife or paint scraper will also come in handy while removing paint from plastic.


How to remove spray paint on plastic? We have carefully examined the procedures. As a way of summarizing, here are they:

  • Rinse the surface with water (warm water will be just fine.)
  • You may also try to scrub the paint off with soapy water
  • If it’s stubborn, consider using a paint thinner/water mixture to remove the paint
  • Make sure to increase the paint thinner until the paint comes off
  • Finally, wipe off the excess paint and clean up.

Always remember to be careful and patient and take your time when cleaning off paint from plastic.

We hope you found this article helpful. Do well to share it with others. Thank you.


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