If spray paint has marred your concrete surface for any reason, the best methods to remove it are:
- Use a commercial graffiti remover product.
- Scrub the area with Trisodium Phosphate.
- Apply a gel paint stripper, then scrape off paint residue.
- Scour paint off your concrete by using a power washer.
- Use an angle grinder to grind paint off concrete.
Avoid using methods that involve vinegar or bleach to remove spray paint from concrete. They are mostly ineffective and can discolor concrete. Work carefully no matter what method you use and always test the cleaner on a small patch of concrete before you use it. This way, you can make sure the product doesn’t discolor your concrete before you use it elsewhere.
Can You Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?
Even the most stubborn spray paint can be removed from concrete. The key is selecting a method that removes the paint without damaging your concrete. Paint-removal tactics that involve grinding should be considered last resorts. This is because they remove concrete along with the paint. It’s best to begin with treatments targeted at removing the paint without damaging your concrete.
- Spray paint can always be removed from concrete, no matter how bad the paint looks now.
- It’s important to select a method that removes the paint without scraping away a layer of concrete, if possible.
- Take extra care when removing paint from finished concrete surfaces—use soap and warm water before resorting to paint removers that will strip away your concrete finish.
If your concrete floor is finished with a stain or sealer, begin by using soapy water to attempt to remove the paint stain. Any paint remover product will also remove your concrete’s finish. So, it’s best to start gently.
5 Super Effective Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Concrete
Whether you are trying to remove a small amount of spray paint overspray from your driveway or you’re intent on removing graffiti from a sidewalk or wall, the tactics below will help. They are the most reliable and quickest ways to fully remove spray paint from concrete. No matter what method you’re using, make sure to use the following safety precautions:
- Wear heavy duty gloves.
- Wear safety goggles or other eye protection.
- Wear an N95 mask or this specialized mask for breath protection.
- Avoid skin contact with any cleaning compounds used to remove spray paint.
With a few precautions, you can safely remove spray paint quickly with any of the following methods. They work for all types of paint, including latex paint, acrylic, and oil-based spray paint.
Specialized graffiti removers are one of the best ways to remove spray paint from concrete. With a bottle of high-quality graffiti remover and a stiff scrub brush, you can tackle the job yourself. Just follow these steps:
- Spray the painted area with this graffiti remover.
- Use this stiff bristle brush to scrub the area in circular motions.
- Reapply graffiti remover as necessary and continue scrubbing.
- Wash the concrete with warm water from a garden hose.
- If there is still graffiti residue, trying scrubbing with hot water and soap.
- Allow the area to dry.
- If spray paint still remains, repeat or try a stronger method from this list.
Graffiti remover works best when there is no water added until after you are done scrubbing. First, spray the graffiti remover, then scrub. Once you’re done, wash the area with warm water. This powerful tactic will take care of most spray paint stains. Typically, the job will be done once you try this method.
Trisodium Phosphate is a go-to cleanser for spray paint stains. It makes a great scrubbing solution. However, you should wear protective gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent skin, eye, and airway irritation from Trisodium Phosphate. Here’s how to use Trisodium Phosphate to remove spray paint from your concrete:
- Mix ¼ cup (60 ml) of this Trisodium Phosphate with 1 gallon (3.75 liters) of hot water.
- Use a stiff scrub brush with non-metal bristles to scrub the painted area.
- Apply more Trisodium Phosphate mixture and allow it to soak for 20–30 minutes.
- Scrub again, applying more Trisodium Phosphate mixture as needed.
- Wash the concrete with warm water.
It’s best to use a scrub brush with plastic or vinyl bristles when scrubbing paint off concrete. Metal-bristle brushes can remove the concrete surface, resulting in a pitted, porous surface. Use a wire brush only as a last resort.
Citrus-Based Paint Stripper
Similar to removing paint splatters from brick, paint stripper is extremely useful for removing paint from concrete. It’s one of the easiest solutions with the least scrubbing involved. Plus, using a gel paint stripper encourages the product to stay on the paint and work, while liquid products will usually run off or dry quickly. Here’s how to use paint stripper for great results:
- Use this paint stripper gel made from citrus.
- Apply the paint stripper to the spray paint, according to the product instructions.
- Allow the paint stripper to work undisturbed for 30 minutes.
- Use a paint scraper tool, like this one, to remove the loosened paint.
- Stays wet and active for up to 24 hours which will allow for the stripping of multiple layers in a single step.
- Removes a variety of materials, including dried latex and oil-based paint, varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, and shellac.
- Does not include methylene chloride or NMP.
A gel paint stripper is the best product to use for porous concrete surfaces, such as driveways and sidewalks. It loosens the bond between the paint and the concrete, causing the paint to lift away from the concrete. This trick saves a lot of scrubbing and hard work.
If your paint won’t budge after you’ve tried scrubbing and paint stripper, you’re dealing with some serious spray paint. The best course of action is to use a power washer to scour that paint out of every crevice in your concrete. To do this:
- Rent a power washer from your local hardware store.
- Hook up the power washer to a power supply and your garden hose.
- Set your power washer to 3,000 PSI.
- Begin with a test spray from a distance before bringing the spray wand close to your concrete.
- Keep your spray nozzle at least 12–18 inches (30–45 cm) away from the concrete at all times.
- Spray at an angle to remove paint from the concrete surface.
Using a power washer to remove paint from concrete works best when combined with a paint stripper. So, it’s best to apply the gel paint stripper from Method 3, let it sit for 30 minutes, then use your power washer. This will double your paint-removal power because a power washer is even better at removing loosened paint than a paint scraper.
As a last resort, you can use an angle grinder to remove paint on concrete. However, it’s important to note that this method will also remove the top layer of concrete along with the paint. That’s why it’s best to try scrubbing methods and paint stripper before reaching for your angle grinder. However, you can follow these steps to use an angle grinder to remove paint:
- Make sure to wear heavy gloves, hearing, and eye protection whenever you use an angle grinder.
- Equip your angle grinder with this specialized paint stripping wheel.
- Position your angle grinder so the flat part of the wheel, not the edge, will touch the concrete.
- With your angle grinder running, gently bring it in contact with the concrete to scrape away excess paint.
- Work slowly and carefully. Stop if the concrete appears damaged when you use the angle grinder.
It’s best to only use this option if you are experienced with using an angle grinder. If you’re new to this tool, scraping paint off concrete is a tough job to begin with. However, it’s a heavy-duty option that will always remove paint from paved surfaces without any harsh chemicals.
Does Vinegar Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?
Vinegar is a poor paint remover that can discolor your concrete. You’ll get much better results by using a paint stripper to break the bond between the paint and the concrete. If you are going to use vinegar, test a small, out-of-the-way section of concrete first. If it discolors the concrete, don’t use it as a paint remover.
Does Acetone Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?
Acetone can remove spray paint from concrete in some instances. However, it’s not the most powerful paint remover. If you’d like to try using acetone, make sure you are wearing rubber gloves, goggles, and breath protection. Then, apply acetone to the concrete and scrub with a stiff-bristled brush.
Will Paint Thinner Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?
You can often remove spray paint from concrete using paint thinner. It’s not one of our top options because of the fumes it releases, but it can be effective in some cases. Douse the area with paint thinner and then scrub with a brush. You can often remove spray paint from concrete cheaply with this method.
Will Bleach Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?
Bleach is never a good choice for removing paint from concrete. Bleach will lighten and stain concrete. Even if you remove the paint, you will often see a bleach stain in the area. Avoid destroying the color and look of your concrete by using a paint stripper or Trisodium Phosphate.
How Do You Get Spray Paint Off Concrete?
To remove paint from concrete, start by spraying the area with graffiti remover and scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush. If this is insufficient, you can scrub the area with a solution of Trisodium Phosphate and water. For a powerful way to loosen the bond between the paint and the concrete, apply a gel paint stripper, wait 30 minutes, and then scrape the paint off. You can also use a power washer to blast away paint residue after applying gel paint stripper. To remove extremely tough spray paint from concrete, equip an angle grinder with a “clean and strip” wheel and carefully grind the paint off your concrete.