How To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

Nothing is more frustrating than finishing a tiring paint job, only to discover that you’ve accidentally got paint onto places it shouldn’t be, such as plastic handles, light switches, and other types of household items and surfaces.

The good news is that you’re not alone.

Regardless of whether you’re a painting professional or a keen DIY’er, rest assured that it can happen to all of us no matter how careful we might have been, so don’t stress it. We’re here to lend a helping hand!

How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

If you’ve accidentally sprayed some plastic and you’d like to figure out how to correctly remove it, then you’re in the right place.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about removing spray paint from plastic, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Read on!

Removing Spray Paint From Plastic: What You Need To Know:

Before we talk you through how to remove spray paint from plastic, there are a few important things that we’d like to run through first, as removing spray paints from plastic isn’t the easiest thing to do.

First off, we strongly recommend making sure to wear some kind of protective clothing (PPE is best) because if you choose to work with paint thinner or mineral spirits, you’ll need to protect your eyes and skin from becoming irritated.

Unlike other types of materials, paint tends to adhere itself to plastic very quickly, bonding with the components of the plastic held on its exterior.

For this reason, you’ll face a higher chance of causing damage to the plastic’s exterior if you try to remove the dry paint using the incorrect tools or method, which leads us to our next section.

Removing Spray Paint From Plastic: What You’ll Need

Before you begin attempting to remove the dried spray paint, you’ll first need to make sure that you have the correct tools at hand.

If you don’t, the whole process will become even more complicated, which is why it’s important to make sure that you have the right supplies.

Paint thinner

You might not need to actually use this to remove the spray paint from the plastic, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep it at hand.

Paint thinner will be able to help break down the components of the paint so that it can be scrubbed off more easily. Realistically, you’ll only need to use this for stubborn stains, or large amounts of paint.

Warm water

Next up? Warm water! This is a necessity, as most stubborn stains should wash off when rubbed with warm water.

In addition, you’ll also be able to mix in a few drops of paint thinner into the water if needed, too.

Scrubbing brush or towel

Regardless of whether you’re choosing to stick to warm water or work with the additional help of a paint thinner, you’ll need to make sure you have a scrubbing brush in order to gently buff the paint away.

It also means that you don’t have to worry about your hands coming into contact with the paint or paint thinner.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a great alternative to paint thinner, especially if you don’t want to use something as heavy-duty as paint thinner, which could potentially strip the plastic’s exterior color coating.

Method One: Remove With Water

The first option available to you is trying to wash away the spray paint with warm water, which is best-suited to recent spray paint mishaps.

If you notice that you’ve accidentally sprayed paint onto plastic as soon as it occurs, then there’s a strong chance that warm water and a cloth will be all that’s required to effectively remove it all.

Additionally, if you notice any stubborn stains or patches of paint that aren’t being washed away by the water, we recommend adding a little soap to the water, as this will help to successfully lift away the paint without causing any damage to the plastic underneath.

Method Two: Scrub it Off

If the warm water method isn’t enough to remove the spray paint, then the next step up is to try scrubbing the spray paint off with the additional help of rubbing alcohol.

The great thing about rubbing alcohol (otherwise referred to as isopropyl alcohol) is that it does a very good job of removing stubborn stains without actually damaging the plastic underneath.

All you have to do is simply pour the rubbing alcohol over the area of plastic that contains the dried spray paint, and then take your scrubbing brush and begin gently rubbing until the paint starts to lift away. It’s as easy as that!

As a side note, if you’re going to try out this method, then we strongly recommend wearing gloves to protect the skin on your hands, and a face mask to shield your eyes and stop yourself from inhaling the fumes.

Though rubbing alcohol isn’t as potent as paint thinner or mineral spirits, it’s important to keep yourself safe at all times.

Method Three: Use Paint Thinner

Last but not least, the final method available to you is using paint thinner.

We don’t recommend trying this option unless the other two absolutely haven’t worked, as paint thinner runs the risk of damaging the plastic due to its powerful chemical formula.

Making sure that you have fully protected yourself in PPE (or an alternative form of protective clothing) including a mask and gloves, pour a small amount of paint thinner into a bowl of warm water to dilute it.

By doing this, you will be lowering the risk of the plastic becoming damaged.

Then, with either a scrubbing brush or a cloth, gently begin rubbing the dried spray paint in a circular motion, as this will help to ‘loosen’ the paint so that it can be lifted off of the plastic surface.

After the paint has been removed, we then recommend immediately washing the plastic with warm water, to remove any excess paint thinner from the surface.

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