What Household Items Can Remove Paint?

Paint splatters and spills can be extremely frustrating to remove, especially without damaging the surface. But before you start scouring the web for harsh artificial paint removers, there may be some items you already have in your cupboards that could do the job.

These won’t all work for every type of paint spill or surface, but they may work for you.

Let’s take a look…

What Household Items Can Remove Paint

Olive oil and a dry rag

This method is best suited to removing paint drips from countertops. Apply caution though, as countertops are difficult to remove paint from without causing damage. Simply apply a thin coat of olive oil to paint drips, and use a dry rag to rub the oil in a circular motion.

For stubborn spots, wrap a rag around a plastic putty knife and use this to lightly scrape the paint away. If this doesn’t work, you can try a tiny amount of mineral spirits and a dry rag to get rid of the paint.

Glycerin, nail polish remover, or white vinegar

There’s nothing quite like a paint spill on the carpet to get your pulse racing. It is easiest to remove paint from carpet while it’s wet. Use dry paper towels or old terry cloth rags to blot the spill, but avoid rubbing as this will simply make it worse.

Adding a bit of glycerin to the towels may help loosen the paint, but if it’s a stubborn spill, you can try blotting the area with white vinegar or nail polish remover. Bear in mind that older paint drips that have dried may need a commercial cleaning agent instead.

Dish soap and a safety razor

This combination is great for removing old, dried-on paint on windowsills. All you need to do is mix dish soap with warm water until suds appear, then thoroughly wet the window with a sponge or rag.

Hold your razor blade at a 45-degree angle, and begin to carefully scrape the paint away. Keep the glass damp to avoid any accidental scratches occurring.

Steel wool and liquid floor wax

If you’ve got a spill on linoleum or vinyl flooring, try dish soap and warm water first of all. You can also try removing stuck-on residue with a plastic scraper.

However, tough spills will require the use of something stronger such as rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits, but these can dull the floor’s finish, so apply with caution. You can also try tackling stubborn drips with liquid floor wax and superfine steel wool.

Vegetable oil

If you’ve got a spill on plastic, avoid commercial paint removers as these can actually melt the plastic. Instead, try gently scraping away drips with a plastic putty knife, and use vegetable oil to soften the paint.

For tougher spots, you can apply a small amount of nail polish remover or denatured alcohol – but do a patch test first to check that the solvent isn’t going to damage the plastic. If you use a solvent, be sure to clean off all traces of it with dish soap and warm water.

What household items can remove paint from wood?

If you’re dealing with a paint stain on wood, try denatured alcohol and a clean rag to gently rub and remove latex paint without causing damage to the wood. Oil-based paint splatters will require mineral spirits, but again, you’ll need to be gentle, as soaking the wood with mineral spirits could cause damage.

Once you’ve removed the paint, wipe the area with clean water and dry thoroughly. If the cleaning causes the wood to become discolored, you can use a wood finish repair pen to remedy this.

How do you make homemade paint remover?

Washing soda paint remover

  • Pour 1 cup cold water into a dish and slowly stir in 4 spoonfuls of washing soda (this can be found alongside the laundry detergents in any supermarket).
  • Add one spoonful of flour to the mixture, and mix thoroughly. Keep adding spoonfuls of flour and mixing it in until the mixture reaches a thick, creamy consistency.
  • To remove the paint, brush this cream over the area and allow it to soak in for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse off the mixture and use a firm brush to scrape off the paint.

Borax and Ammonia paint remover

This age-old method is best for removing older paints but will work on many different types of paint.

  • Pour 2 cups of room temperature water into a dish and add 1 cup borax, 1 cup ammonia, and 1 cup washing soda.
  • Mix the ingredients thoroughly until they form a consistent, creamy paste.
  • Brush over the paint with the mixture and leave it to penetrate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water while using steel wool to scrub the paint away.

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