Does Degreaser Remove Paint? (Explained!)

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

A degreaser removes tough stains, dust, and splatters. But, does it remove paint?

Degreaser will remove wet paint stains from a surface but it won’t remove dry paint. That’s because it isn’t strong enough to penetrate and dissolve paint particles. 

However, you can use it to remove dust from a painted surface before applying the paint-removing solvent. But, this cleaner alone won’t remove paint. 

Removing Wet Paints

A degreaser can remove wet paint spills. That’s because wet paint isn’t bonded to the surface yet and its paint particles haven’t hardened yet. So, a degreaser will penetrate a wet paint coating, liquefy it, and you can wipe it off with a clean rag. 

The paint solvent (water or oil) must evaporate and the paint particles must harden (and compact) for the paint to be moisture-resistant. It takes a few hours for the solvent to evaporate (depending on the paint), and 1-2 days for the paint particles to harden. 

If the paint is still wet, the solvent hasn’t evaporated and the paint particles aren’t hard yet. At this stage, the paint isn’t durable and can be removed with a cleaner. 

Removing Dried Paint

Degreaser won’t remove dried paint the product is designed to clean the dust and dirt over the painted surface, and not penetrate the paint and dissolve it. 

To remove paint, you must use an alcohol-based solvent. Alcohol penetrates the paint coating, dissolves the particles and polymer, and liquefies the paint.

However, a degreaser is made of soap ash (or sodium carbonate) and none of these remove paint. So, it has no chance of removing oil-based or sealed paints. That’s because oil-based paints (or sealers) have a glossy finish that repels any liquid. So, if you apply it over oil-based paint it will slide off the finish and not penetrate it. 

However, it can remove peeling water-based paints. That’s because water-based peeling paint is already weak and not bonded to the surface, and water-based paints don’t have a glossy finish. So, if you apply it over peeling water-based paint, you will soften the paint coating and then you can scrape the paint off. 

Cleaning Paint Surfaces

You can clean dried paint surfaces with a degreaser. If the painted surface is riddled with dirt, dust, or stains, you can use it to clean the surface. So, it will remove the dirt but won’t remove (or affect) the painted surface. 

You also must clean the painted surface with a degreaser before painting over it. That’s because a new paint coating won’t stick to a dirty surface, so you must clean it. Also, A degreaser will make a glossy finish shine again.

Final Words

A degreaser won’t remove a dried paint coating because it isn’t strong enough to penetrate or dissolve the paint particles of the paint. However, it can remove wet paint spills (that haven’t dried yet) or peeling water-based paints. 

Overall, it isn’t a paint-removing product and must be used to only clean the painted surface, and not remove it. 

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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