How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic (8 Methods)

Oops, you just accidentally sprayed paint on plastic. Don’t get worked up over anything.  It happens to the best of us.

While spray painting is a quick and effective paint application method, it often comes with some uh-oh moments where you accidentally spray on the wrong item. It could be your plastic bag, plastic chair, plastic table, or any other plastic household item.

Though no one likes a stained plastic, the good news is removing sprayed paint from plastic is easy as long as you know what you are doing. With the right items, you will remove spray paint from any plastic surface in seconds.

So, how to remove spray paint from plastic you might ask? Well, you are in luck because this post will introduce you to and explain all you need to know about this topic. So, let’s get on with it. First, let’s check out the tools needed to remove spray paint from plastic.

What Tools Do You Need to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic?

Before we go ahead to list the tools, you should know that most of the solvents and chemicals used to remove spray paint from other surfaces might not work well on plastic.

Using strong solvents and chemicals on plastic will most likely damage or at least, discolor the plastic and leave you with a bigger problem on your hands. Did you know that normal spray paint isn't made for plastic because it doesn't stick? Manufactures had to make a special kind of spray paint so it can stick to the plastic.This is because popular solutions like acetone, nail polish removers, and paint stripping solvents will most likely damage the plastic material. So always ensure the tools you get are recommended for use on plastic or take the easier route by following the guide below.

Here are the tools needed to remove spray paint from plastic surfaces.

Scraper and Soft Brush

This is especially needed when you are dealing with dried spray paint on plastic. Ensure the scraper or putty knife you get is made from plastic. Using metallic scrapers or metallic putty knives will leave marks on the plastic surface.

A soft brush: This might come in handy to scrub off excess paint. Remember we are working on plastic so pick a soft or mild brush. A hard brush will leave scratches on the plastic surface.

Cleaning Products

Soap or detergent: Most times, spray paint can be removed by applying soap to the affected spot. Ensure not to get an aggressive detergent. A bottle of dish soap should suffice. Clean rags: To wipe off any dirt and to clean the plastic surface after removing the spray paint.

Water: For plastic, warm water is best. Warm water can also remove the paint if it’s still wet. You will also need warm water to rinse and clean the plastic surface before and after removing the paint stain.

Paint Thinner or Rubbing Alcohol

Paint thinners are known as painter’s cleaning agent. This is because thinners are tough solutions that will remove virtually any paint stain from any surface.

Though thinners are tough enough, let’s hope you wouldn’t need to use one. This is because paint thinners need extra care especially while being applied on plastic.

An alternative to using paint thinner is to get rubbing alcohol or isopropyl. Rubbing alcohol is milder than paint thinner.

Safety Gear

Your safety gear includes everything that will protect you from harm. Accidents can still occur while removing paint stains due to the strong chemicals and objects that will be used.

So protect yourself. Get a pair of thick gloves, breathing protection like a face mask, and a pair of goggles if you would be using chemicals or solvents.

Solvents and chemicals most times produce toxic fumes when applied to paint. You don’t want to inhale the fumes or let them get into your eye. So again, protect yourself.

Alright, since we got our tools ready, let’s get rid of that pesky spray paint stain from your plastic surface.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

Ensure to put on your safety gear before you continue with the task.

Scrape the Paint Off

Before you try out any solution, try using a plastic scraper or a plastic putty knife to remove the paint. This usually works better on dried paint which I’m guessing is what you are most likely dealing with. Try scraping the paint off the plastic surface with a plastic scraper or a plastic putty knife.

To do this, place the sharp edge of the scraper or putty knife in a 45-degree position.  This means you should lift the scraper or putty knife a bit so the sharp edge can get underneath the paint stain. Then scrape the paint off repeatedly.

Remember to be gentle so you don’t damage the plastic surface underneath the paint stain. Chances are a bulk of the paint stain will come off after doing this. This step is like a preparatory step. It makes the following steps work better on the affected spot.

Clean and Rinse the Affected Spot

Your best chance of removing a spray paint stain is to wipe it off immediately the stain occurs but this is easier said than done. This is because most times, we don’t notice the paint stain until it had dried off.

The bright side is even if the paint has dried off, there is still usually some wet paint left on the affected area. So use a rag to clean the affected spot to get rid of any dust or debris especially after scrapping. After doing that, use the warm water to rinse the affected spot.

Chances are the warm water will remove the stain and even if it doesn’t, it will still weaken the paint stain so removing it will be easier.

If you don’t want to pour the warm water directly on the surface for any reason, you can dip a clean rag in the warm water and use it to wipe the affected spot. If you still notice the stain, don’t sweat it. There are still more steps to try out.

Wash the Affected Spot With Warm Water and Dish Soap

After rinsing the spot with warm water, mix a bit of dish soap in a bowl of warm water and use that to wash the affected spot. If needed, you can use a soft brush or a rag to scrub lightly with the soap and water.

This step is sure to remove a good deal of paint from the plastic surface. You can wash the affected spot repeatedly and up to 3 times.

If you notice that the paint stain is gone, rinse the spot with warm water and clean it with a rag so it can dry. If you still notice the paint stain there, don’t worry. As stated earlier, there are still more steps to try out.

Use Vinegar

Vinegar has always been one of man’s best cleaning solutions. If you have a paint stain on your plastic, a bottle of vinegar might be your answer to remove the stain. Douse a rag with some vinegar and use it to clean the surface. You can also apply a few drops of vinegar to the affected spot and leave it for a few minutes.

Vinegar removes paint stains from windows, doors, frames, and it might work well on your plastic too. A big plus with using vinegar is that it is environmentally friendly and it is a cheap option.

Most of us usually have a bottle of vinegar lying around the house somewhere so you can try that. If the paint stays, don’t worry it can still be removed.

Use a Paint Cleaning Solution

If you have used vinegar on the affected spot but you still notice the stain, that means it’s time to pull out the big guns. There are different paint cleaning solutions.

You can use paint thinner or rubbing alcohol. Paint thinners are tough solutions and sometimes they can be too tough for plastic surfaces so be gentle. Professionals advise starting by mixing a bit of paint thinner with water to reduce the aggressiveness of the thinner.

Mix a bit of paint thinner with water and then use the mixture to clean the affected spot. After mixing the thinner with water, you can dip a rag in the mixture and use the rag to dab the spot.

Remember to use your pair of gloves and breathing protection for this. After applying the mixed paint thinner. Leave it on the surface for a few seconds. Then use a soft brush to gently scrub the spot. After that, use a rag to wipe the spot and see what you have.

Add More Paint Thinner To The Water

There is a huge chance that the paint stain will have been removed. If you still see some paint on the surface, then you must be working on some tough paint stain.

Don’t fret though. It can still be removed. If the first solution of paint thinner and water doesn’t work well enough, increase the amount of paint thinner in the water. Remember to be gentle.

Then apply the new mixture on the surface. Ensure to inspect the plastic surface before increasing the amount of paint thinner used.

Use Rubbing Alcohol

If you want to use rubbing alcohol, you don’t need to mix it with water. You can use the rubbing alcohol directly from the bottle. Just add a bit of rubbing alcohol to a clean rag and use it to wipe the area.

If the stain is still there, you can increase the amount of rubbing alcohol used. You can also leave the rubbing alcohol on the spot for a while before wiping it off.

I’m very sure the paint stain on the plastic will be removed after you use paint thinner or rubbing alcohol. You should also remember that thinners are stronger than rubbing alcohol so be careful while applying them.

Call for Professional Back-Up

Though I doubt any paint stain can withstand paint thinners, your paint stain might prove me wrong. If you still notice paint stains after using rubbing alcohol or paint thinner, then you should call for help.

Put a call through to any cleaning agency or store and ask them for help with the stain. The cleaners will help you get rid of the paint stain.

You should however expect to pay them for the services which can range from as low as $50 to as high as $1000. The cost depends on the size of the stain and the method of removal that will be used.

Pro Tips to Follow While Removing Spray Paint From Plastic.

Though removing spray paint from the plastic can be easy, there are still a few tips to follow.

  • Ensure all the solutions you use are recommended for plastic. Don’t be fooled by the hard nature of plastic. It’s just rubber that has solidified over time. So if you use an aggressive solvent, it will ruin the plastic.
  • Do not leave chemical solutions on the plastic surface for too long or it will scathe or even melt the plastic.
  • Always put on your safety gear at all times.

Is Spray Paint Difficult to Remove From Plastic?

No, spray paint is not difficult to remove from plastic. Removing spray paint stains from plastic is an easy process that can be a little complicated. However, if you use the right tools and you know what you are doing, removing spray paint from plastic is very easy.

The reason most people feel it’s a difficult task is because of the nature of plastic. Plastic is usually just hardened rubber. This makes it difficult to use strong chemicals and cleaning solutions on plastic.

Many of the chemicals and solvents like acetone and paint strippers that are used on other surfaces like wood and concrete will most likely damage or discolor plastic. Also, sharp objects like metallic putty knives and metallic scrapers will leave marks on the plastic.

Overall, removing spray paint from plastic isn’t difficult. You just have to ensure you use the right tools and follow the right steps.

So there you have it. If you have any questions or comments about the topic, please leave them below and I’ll attend to them as soon as possible. Have a nice day.

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