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How To Remove Paint From All Types Of Surfaces

I tend to be a messy painter. The job looks nice when I get done but for some reason some of the paint always gets where it doesn’t belong. I thought I would share some of the tricks I have learned over the years for cleaning up paint. Including the most important point.
The number one thing to remember about cleaning up spilled or splattered paint is that it is much easier to do it before the paint dries. If you can get it while it is in the liquid form you will almost always have great luck at cleaning it up so no one knows you even made a mess. Just remember, not all surfaces are cleaned the same way.
No matter how cut and dried we would like it to be, the method you use to remove paint from something is going to vary based on the surface the paint has spilled on and also on the type of paint you are using. Of all types of paint available, oil based paints are one of the hardest to remove, while washable children’s paint is the easiest. Also, remember to act quickly when you have a spill because dried paint is harder to remove than wet paint. The good news is that no matter what type of paint is spilled, no matter what surface is involved, it is possible to learn how to remove paint.
The other reason you may want to remove paint is for a remodel project. This is more involved that wiping up a little spill, but you can still learn the tricks of the trade to make a surface paint free. Often times, you can find real treasures by removing the paint from wooden floors, furniture, and cabinets.

Removing Paint From Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are beautiful to look at, but getting them into that condition can take a lot of work. One thing that often catches homeowners off guard when they rip up their old carpet to expose the hardwood underneath is how dirty and stained it can be. One of the most common things homeowners find is speckles of paint from old projects, but every once in awhile they discover whole floorboards painted. Removing paint from the floor is going to be based on how fresh the paint is and how much paint is on the floor.
Removing Old Paint Speckles
Old paint speckles are not the easiest to remove, but they are also not the hardest because of how little paint there often is. When removing old paint speckles you will want to avoid using any type of abrasive chemicals because they can end up damaging the hardwood floor surface. Also, sanding the paint off will cause scratches and you don’t want to do that. Something else to keep in mind is that too much water can be very damaging, especially if you allow it to soak into the floor. Here are some great methods you can use to remove paint specks from hardwood floors:

  • Hot Soapy Water – As long as the floor has a good finish, fresh latex speckles will come off with hot soapy water and a little elbow grease. A plastic scrapper can also be used to help get rid of those stubborn flecks. This would also be applicable if you spill or splatter some paint while repainting the walls or ceiling and it dries before you get a chance to clean it up.
  • Putty Knife – When using a putty knife on newer paint speckles you need to be careful to not damage the hardwood floor. Using the putty knife requires gentle scrapping motions to rid the floor of speckles. Keep the knife at a very shallow angle so you don’t dig into the surface, you want the knife to peel the specks off while it slides over the floor.
  • Heat Gun – High heat can damage floors, so you must be careful and never use the highest setting no matter how tempting it might be. Using a heat gun is a great way to remove paint from larger areas, such as entire floorboards that have been painted. The heat gun works to soften the paint so it can be taken off with a putty knife.
  • Sanders – In some cases, sanding is the only way to remove paint from hardwood floors, but the good news is it works on all types of paint. When using a sander you will need to be careful due to its power, if you are not paying attention you can end up sanding down further than you intended. If you use a sander then you can expect that you will need to refinish at least that portion of the floor. This can turn into a bigger job than you want.
  • Cleaning Agent – TSP mixed in warm water is a great tool for removing paint speckles. Use a Scotch-Brite pad or something similar to scrub the speckles. While this might take a few scrubbings, it is worth the effort.
  • Specific Paint Remover Products – Products like Goo Gone Painter’s Pal, Oxalic acid, and Krud Kutter are all designed to specifically remove paint from hardwood floors. Like any other products, though, you want to carefully read and follow the instructions to ensure you do not damage your hardwood floors. All products should be used in a well-ventilated area.
  • Paint Thinner – This should only be used if the TSP is not working to remove the paint speckles. Use more elbow grease than paint thinner to help protect your floor. Depending on the finish, paint thinner can dull the shine or even remove it which means you will need to refinish.
  • Lacquer Thinner/Acetone – Only use as a last resort as it is more likely to dull your hardwood floors. Before using this method be sure to test it in a small unnoticeable area of the floor, this allows you to see if you can live with the results it leaves behind.


Removing Paint From Plastic
Learning how to remove paint from plastic is important for homeowners because you never know when you will need it. General upkeep on a home can be rather messy, paint is very easy to spill, and it happens often. Learning how to remove paint from plastic can help clean up those unexpected spills, but can also be useful when you want to repaint a plastic item.

Step One: Remove Paint With A Razor
Using a razor or a putty knife scrape off as much paint as you can. To ensure no damage occurs hold the razor or putty knife at a very flat angle. Don’t apply too much pressure so the blade digs into the surface.
Step Two: Using Rubbing Alcohol
Scraping will not remove all of the paint; you are still going to be left with trace amounts. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub the cotton ball directly on the paint.
Step Three: Remove Excess Paint
Allow five minutes for the rubbing alcohol to go to work. After the five minutes is up wipe with clean paper towels to remove the paint.
Step Four: Apply More Alcohol
If any paint is still left on the plastic apply more rubbing alcohol, wait five minutes, and then wipe off. Continue this process until all paint has been removed.

Removing Paint From Bricks
Learning how to remove paint from brick is useful for restoring bricks rather than having to replace them. Paint often spills or drips when repainting a room or even the outside of the house, no matter how much care you take to cover the area. Leaving the spilled paint on the bricks is an easy way out, especially if the paint blends in with the brick. However, if you want the bricks looking as good as the rest of the area you will need to take the time and energy required to remove the unsightly paint.
Step One: Peeling Paint
Any peeling paint can be removed with a putty knife or a scraper.
Step Two: Cleaning The Brick
Grab a wire brush to clean the surface of the brick, this rids the brick of any excess paint, dust, and dirt. Make sure to get into the cracks of each brick with the brush or a putty knife. You can use a wire brush mounted on an electric drill if you have a large area. When using a wire brush you will most likely make that portion of the bricks a lighter color so you may need to apply this technique to the entire surface. You can also use a power washer on all the bricks which will make the color more uniform.
Step Three: Washing The Bricks
Use a mixture of three parts water to one part bleach to wash the bricks, this will remove any mildew as well. Once the bricks have been washed rinse thoroughly with plain water.

Removing All Types Of Paint From Concrete
The question of how to remove paint from concrete is really quite simple to answer, as long as you have the right tools and know how. Many people think that removing paint from concrete is useless, who cares what the concrete outside looks like. The problem is that not all concrete is outside; many people have concrete floors and walls inside their basement that have been painted to give them a better look. Removing the old paint from the concrete is important if you plan to repaint the concrete or give it a new urethane finish.
Step One: Cleaning The Concrete
All traces of any kind of substance must be removed from the concrete, including dust and grease. Before doing anything else the concrete needs to be swept, mopped, and dried.
Step Two: Removing The Paint
Removing the paint can be done one of two ways; you simply choose which one works best for you. The first option is using a scraping tool and scraping the paint away. The other option is to use a solvent or a stripping agent. The problem with the second option is that not all solvents or stripping agents will work for all types of paints, so make sure you read the labels carefully. Also, these are usually hazardous materials so read and follow all warning labels also. The good news is that scraping with a scraping tool is safe and effective for all types of paints.
If the paint was applied before 1980 there is a good chance it contains lead which is a very nasty substance. In this case, removing the paint will require abatement procedures which can get costly. You may be better off to just paint over the existing coating.
Step Three: Disposing Of Old Paint
After stripping the paint off the concrete you will need to dispose of it. The best way to do this is to place it inside a plastic bucket, but depending on the amount of paint removed, you might need more than one bucket. Disposing of paint is not as simple as throwing it in the garbage can for your weekly pick up, you must contact your local hazardous waste facility to find out the proper steps for safely disposing of the paint. In many cases, it simply involves dropping the paint off at a hazardous waste facility.
Step Four: Wet Paint
If wet paint spills onto concrete the good news is it is rather simply to clean up. Grab some paper towels or a white absorbent cloth and mop up as much paint as possible. Wash the area with some warm soapy water and rinse with clean water. If any residue is left use the proper solvent or stripping agent to remove it once it has dried.

Removing Paint From Your Skin
No matter how hard you try, while painting chances are you are going to end up with paint on your skin. Even when wearing gloves paint specks often end up on arms or faces, especially when using a roller. How you go about removing paint from your skin is going to depend on whether it is latex based paint or oil based paint. Another factor is whether the paint is wet or dry.
Removing Latex Paint From Skin
How to remove latex paint from skin is simple, you simply need a bar of soap and some water. With latex paint the sooner you wash it off the easier, it will be to remove, but no matter how long you wait, you will never have to use toxic chemicals to clean the paint off your skin. If the paint does not wash off with a bar of soap and water, you can try using powdered laundry detergent or a scrub brush.
Removing Oil Based Paint From Skin
Simply washing off oil-based paint from skin is not going to be enough to remove the paint, even using a scrub brush and some powdered laundry detergent will not do the trick. Solvent hand cleaners are a great way to remove oil-based paint from skin, but the problem is they are hard on the skin. These types of cleaners often dry out the skin, but other people develop a sensitivity to the cleaners. Citrus-based hand cleaners will work to remove paint from the skin, but many people find they are allergic to something in the cleaner.
What many people have found to be helpful is applying oil to the skin that is affected by paint. Many people end up using baby oil to remove the oil based paint, but vegetable, corn, or canola oil will works just as well. When using oil to remove the paint you want to rub the oil into the paint so the paint starts to dissolve. Rinse the hands well with warm water. Continue applying oil and rinsing until all paint has been removed. Best part is the oil will not leave your skin dry or irritated.
I hope these tips help you whether you have made just a little mess while doing a painting project or you need to remove old paint during a remodel project.

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