How to Remove Paint From Concrete (Best Solutions 2021)

Concrete is a very low maintenance flooring option, if you accidentally spill paint on it, you can quickly clean it up with a brush and some soapy water. However, concrete is also porous, which means it easily absorbs liquid such as paint because it seeps deep into the concrete surface. This means that if the spillage goes unnoticed and it dries, you’re going to have a difficult time removing it, although it’s not impossible. If you want to learn how to remove paint from concrete, then keep reading to find out more.

Top 3 Products For Paint Removal From Concrete

Here are three of the best products to remove paint from concrete. You can make your purchase online, or in most hardware stores.

OUR FAVORITES

  • Fast acting
  • Gets rid of the smell of the stain
  • Works on a variety of surface
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  • it starts breaking down the spray paint immediately
  • Biodegradable formula
  • User friendly, just spray and wipe
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  • Works on the majority of surfaces
  • No unpleasant smells or dangerous fumes
  • Does the job of several products
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1. Moonbocker’s Lift Off Spray Paint Graffiti Remover – Top Pick

Top Pick
Motsenbocker’s Lift Off
  • Safely removes old and fresh oil-based paints, primers, enamels, sealers, semi and high-gloss and more
  • Environmentally friendly, low VOC, water-based and biodegradable
  • Green cross-certified

Moonbocker’s Lift Off Spray Paint Graffiti Remover eliminates spray paint from the majority of surfaces. It won’t dull the color of the area, is a water based solution, and contains less than the legal limit of VOC. Moonbocker’s is environmentally friendly, and safe to use around people and pets.

Style: Ready to use

Size: 1 lb

Pros:

  • Fast acting, it starts breaking down the spray paint immediately
  • Biodegradable formula
  • User friendly, just spray and wipe

Cons:

  • You will need to use extra effort to get graffiti off bricks

2. ZorbX Extra Strength Heavy Duty Cleaner and Odor Remover – Runner Up

Runner Up
ZorbX Extra Strength Heavy Duty Cleaner and Odor Remover
  • Advanced, stronger, and safer cleaner
  • Safe for pets, people, and the planet
  • Safe to use on hard surfaces

Are your children practicing their artistic skills on your walls? ZorbX will easily eliminate glue, paint, and marker pens. It’s biodegradable and free of harsh chemicals. This heavy duty cleaner is environmentally friendly, and it’s safe to use around people and pets.

Style: Ready to use

Size: 1.5 lbs

Pros:

  • Fast acting, removes even the most stubborn stains within seconds
  • Gets rid of the smell of the stain
  • Works on a variety of surface, including carpets and walls

Cons:

  • Doesn’t remove paint from fabric

3. Max Strip All Purpose Remover

All Purpose Remover
MAX Strip All Purpose Remover
  • Fast acting spray gel stripper that can be used effectively on virtually all surfaces
  • No harsh fumes or unpleasant odor
  • Non-caustic and low volatile organic compound formula


Max Strip All Purpose Remover gets rid of difficult stains from the majority of surfaces. It works on paint, grease, grime, glue, and even graffiti. This solution is so strong that no effort is required on your end – simply wipe and go.

Style: Ready to use

Size: 1.38 lbs

Pros:

  • Works on the majority of surfaces
  • No unpleasant smells or dangerous fumes
  • Does the job of several products

Cons:

  • It only works on paint if its sprayed straight away

How to Remove Paint From Concrete Using Chemicals

The fastest way to remove paint from concrete is to use chemicals. Whatever solution you apply will break down the paint, making it easy to remove.

remove paint from concrete chemicals

Absorbent Paint Stripper

You can make your own absorbent paint stripper using the following method:

Step 1: Make the Paste – Combine equal parts of paint stripper and finely ground clay in a bucket, aiming to create the consistency of a thick paste.

Step 2: Apply the Paste – Spread a thick layer of the paste over the paint spill, and let it soak into the paint overnight.

Step 3: Remove the Paint: Use a paint scraper, or a brush to remove the paint from the concrete.

Step 4: Rinse the Concrete: Once you’ve got the paint off, rinse the area, and leave it to dry completely.

Pressure Washing

A pressure washer can get rid of any stubborn stains with the high level of pressured water that it generates. To remove paint from concrete, you’ll need one with high flow rates and pressure levels. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to remove paint from concrete using a pressure washer:

Step 1: Clean the Concrete – Sweep the floor to remove debris, dust or dirt, then give the concrete a once over with a bucket of water to make sure it’s clean. If there’s any loose paint, scratch it off with a knife or a scraper. You will definitely need to do this if the paint is oil based. Once the floor is clean, allow it to dry completely before continuing.

Step 2: Remove Items – Pressure washers are powerful and they can damage items that are in the way. Before you start using the pressure washer, clear the surrounding area of things such as furniture, potted plants, etc. You will also need to close all doors and windows to ensure the chemicals don’t travel inside.

Step 3: Douse in Paint Stripper: Before applying any chemicals, make sure you’re wearing protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask. To soften the paint, you’ll need to use a paint stripper that will work for the type of paint stain on the concrete. For water based paints, use a solution of methylated spirits, or a water-based paint stripper. If the paint is oil-based, you’ll need an oil-based paint stripper. Whatever solution you’re using, pour it directly onto the paint, this will soften it up. Let it soak in for six to eight hours, or overnight.

Step 4: Use the Pressure Washer: Set the pressure washer to no lower than 3000 PSI, attach a nozzle, point down towards the paint, holding it 12 to 18 inches away from the surface, and spray in a sweeping motion.

Non-Toxic Cleaners: There are a lot of soy-based, chemical free non-toxic cleaners that will help remove paint from your concrete. They do the same job as traditional cleaners, but they won’t harm the environment. Whichever non-toxic cleaner you choose, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the back, but in general, they work in much the same way as a regular cleaner. Douse the paint stain with the solution, let it set, scrape the paint off, and then wash the concrete.

How to Remove Paint From Concrete Without Chemicals

If you’re the environmentally friendly type and want to avoid using harsh chemicals to remove paint from concrete, there are several chemical free methods you can use. Here are some of them:

Use a Brush or a Scraper: If there’s a lot of paint to remove, this is not the best method. It simply involves getting down on your hands and knees, and using a tool to scrape or a brush to scrub the paint off the concrete manually.

Orbital Sander: An orbital sander gets paint off concrete in two ways. The motion will lift up any loose paint, and the sandpaper gets the paint off the surface of the concrete. To use an orbital sander, you’ll need to wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask. It’s also important to mention that you shouldn’t leave the sander on the same spot for too long, because it can leave a round mark. Don’t use too much pressure, and keep the sander moving around the concrete.

Floor Grinder: A handheld or a walk behind concrete grinder will remove a thin layer of paint. You can rent one from a home improvement store; however, it’s important to mention that the equipment can be difficult to use if you’re not familiar with it, in which case, it might be better for you to hire a professional.

Soda Blasting: You will need a blasting unit and some baking soda for this method. You can rent the blasting unit from a hardware store. The granules in the baking soda work to get the paint off the floor. Also, we are not talking about the baking soda you’ve got in your kitchen cupboard, you’ll need the industrial strength kind, and you’ll need a lot of it. The store that you rent the blasting unit from will be able to tell you how much baking soda will be enough. Again, make sure you’re wearing protective gear.

Heat Gun: The heat will melt the paint, turning it into a gooey like consistency and making it easy to scrape off. Most people don’t have a heat gun lying around the home though, so you’ll probably need to rent one. Here are some tips for learning how to remove paint from concrete using a heat gun.

To start, heat guns must be used the right way, or they can be dangerous. They release hot air at temperatures of 1000 degrees F or more. Heat guns should not be used around children, and apart from the person using it, the room should be empty when the heat gun is being used. Additionally, make sure you wear the appropriate protective clothing to prevent burns. Never rest an activated heat gun on a flammable surface. Whether it’s being used indoors or outdoors, clear the area of potentially explosive or flammable chemicals such as acetone or paint thinner.

It is important to mention that high heat can damage concrete, so you want to make sure that the temperature of the heat gun does not get above 1000 degrees F. Another important point to take into consideration is that paint made before the 1980’s may have had lead in it. So let’s say you’ve just moved into a new home, and the driveway has got paint on the floor and you don’t know how long it’s been there, the most sensible thing to do would be to call a professional, because heating the paint will release toxic fumes if it contains lead.

When you’re ready to start the job, arrange a drop cloth under your working area. Point the gun a couple of inches away from the surface. To prevent overheating, keep the gun moving, and don’t leave it on one spot for too long. When the paint starts to loosen, it will start bubbling. You can then turn off and put the heat gun down, and start scraping the paint off the concrete. You may need to go over the area again, but once the paint has been removed, wash the concrete.

Vinegar: To use vinegar, you’ll need to do a patch test if your concrete has a finish coating or a sealer to ensure that further damage isn’t caused. Do the patch test on a small area that is unlikely to be seen. If all is well, then follow these steps to remove paint from your concrete using vinegar:

Step 1: Gather your equipment – You will need the following materials to get started:

  • 1 cup of white vinegar, distilled
  • A small microwaveable bowl, or a small saucepan
  • A paintbrush or a sponge
  • A wire scrub brush or a paint scraper

Step 2: Prepare the vinegar – Add the vinegar to the bowl or the saucepan, and heat until it gets hot. This will take around 30 seconds in the microwave, and 1:30 minutes on a stove.

Step 3: Apply the vinegar – Pour the vinegar onto the paint, and use a paintbrush or a sponge to work it into the area. Leave the vinegar to soak into the paint for at least 15 minutes. When the paint starts bubbling, it means the vinegar is doing its job.

Step 4: Scrape the paint – Use a wire scrub brush or a paint scraper to get the loose paint off the floor. If any of the paint remains, apply the vinegar again.

Step 5: Wash the concrete – Use warm soapy water to give the area the once over. Rinse it, and allow the floor to dry completely.

How to Clean Your Concrete Floors

As mentioned, concrete is porous, and after you’ve got the paint off, there may be traces still embedded. To make sure you’ve got it all up, give your floor the once over. To start, there are four types of cleaning solutions you can consider using:

Alkaline: Used to degrease concrete floors inside or outside. Often used as a neutralizer after using an acidic cleanser.

Acidic: Good for removing rust and dirt on floors outside

pH Neutral: Mild, typically used inside on light stains

Enzymatic/bacterial: Breaks down soil matter, animal droppings, and plant stains

The cleaning method will depend on whether your floors are sealed or unsealed, and inside or outside.

How to Clean Your Concrete Floors

Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors Inside

  • Sweep the floor
  • Fill a one gallon bucket with warm water and add three tablespoons of washing soda
  • Soak a mop and go over the room
  • Empty the bucket, and fill it up with clean water
  • Mop the floor once more (do this as many times as is necessary
  • Once clean, rinse the floor with warm water
  • Leave the floor to dry completely

Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors Outside

  • Sweep the floor
  • Mix either an enzymatic or an acidic solution in a bucket of warm water
  • Alkalize with a trisodium phosphate, for every gallon of water, use a quarter cup. Use half a cup to make it stronger
  • Pour water over the floor to dampen it, and then apply the solution
  • Use a hard bristled brush to scrub the floor
  • Rinse the solution off the floor using a garden hose
  • If the floor isn’t clean enough, repeat the process

How to Protect Your Concrete From Paint Stains

Protect Concrete From Paint Stains

There are two ways you can protect your concrete from stains. You can either apply a coating, or a sealant. There is a slight difference between the two:

Coating: A coating is like a shield that ensures no spillages come into contact with the concrete. Different areas will require different coatings in anticipation of the type of spillages; for example, you’ll want to use an acrylic coating for an outside patio or driveway. A garage floor, meanwhile, is likely to have gas and oil spillages, so you’ll need to use a Urethane.

Sealers: Sealers don’t cover the concrete like a coating; instead, they plug the pores to prevent liquids like paint being absorbed into the surface. They don’t offer full protection against stains, but they do limit the amount of damage that can be done. A water repellent sealer is the most effective.

Additional Paint Removal Tips

Removing paint from your concrete is a relatively simple process, but here are a few extra tips to assist you:

  • If you know who the paint manufacturer is, contact them to find out the best way to get the paint off your concrete.
  • Don’t apply paint remover on surfaces that are warmer than room temperature.
  • Whether you are using a chemical free cleaner or not, always do a patch test before cleaning the entire floor.

FAQ

Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about removing paint from concrete.

Does vinegar remove paint from concrete?

Yes, vinegar will remove paint from concrete, it’s an environmentally friendly way to get rid of dried paint without using chemicals.

How do you remove paint from concrete without chemicals?

There are several ways you can remove paint from concrete without using chemicals including a heat application, power washing, or you can scrape it off.

Does acetone remove paint from concrete?

Yes, acetone is a very powerful solvent, and it will definitely remove paint from concrete.

Do I need to remove paint from concrete before repainting?

Yes, you will need to prep the concrete before repainting it, if not, the new paint will peel off shortly after.

Final Thought

Accidents happen all the time, and they’re unpredictable; so it’s advised that you have the products and materials on standby just in case. Remember, the longer you leave paint on concrete, the more difficult it will be to remove. Therefore, the next time you have a spillage, act quickly and use one of the methods above for paint free concrete. But if all else fails, don’t hesitate to get some professional help.

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