How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic? (9 Methods)

Plastic is a non-porous material meaning that it doesn’t absorb paint. However, spray paint is applied at increased pressure and multiple quick-drying coats are sprayed in minutes. This makes spray paints adhere well to plastic and become very tricky to remove.

However, with the right method, steps, tools, and supplies, you can remove spray paint from plastic easily. This post reveals 6 effective methods to remove spray paint from plastic. Along the way, you’ll learn:

  • How to remove wet spray paint from plastic
  • How to remove dry spray paint from plastic
  • Household products that remove spray paint from plastic easily

Let’s dive in.

Can You Remove Spray Paint From Plastic Without Scratching It?

You can remove spray paint from plastic without scratching it. To prevent scratches on your plastic surface while removing spray paint, you should avoid methods that involve scrapping and sanding and stay away from harsh chemicals. Instead, you can dissolve the spray paint and wipe it off of the plastic surface with a rag.

When most DIYers and homeowners see spray paint stains on their plastic surfaces, the first thought is to scrape the paint off of the plastic with a paint scraper. While this method might work to remove the spray paint, it will surely disfigure and scar the plastic after.

This is because paint scrapers are sharp and plastic is a light material that is prone to scratches. Sanding is another method that can scratch the plastic especially if you use coarse-grit sandpaper. To prevent scratches on the plastic, stay away from these methods.

The best way to remove spray paint from plastic without scratching the plastic surface is to dissolve the paint first. You can use solvents to dissolve the paint and when the paint gets soft and wet, you can wipe it off with a rag. This way, you get rid of the spray paint and the plastic remains scratch-free.

Next, let’s check out how to remove wet spray paint from plastic.

How To Remove Wet Spray Paint from Plastic?

The technique of spray paint application allows the paint to have improved adhesion and when the paint adheres to the surface, it becomes difficult to remove it.

So, your best bet to remove spray paint from plastic is to do so when the spray paint is still wet. Here are 3 effective methods to remove wet spray paint from plastic:

  1. Use Dish Soap To Remove The Wet Spray Paint
  2. Use Vinegar To Remove The Wet Spray Paint
  3. Use WD-40 To Remove The Wet Spray Paint

Let’s check out each of these methods in detail.

1. Use Dish Soap To Remove The Wet Spray Paint

Use Dish Soap To Remove The Wet Spray Paint

When you notice wet spray paint stains on your plastic surface, the best method to remove the paint is to wash it off with dish soap.

Since the spray paint is still wet, it would be water-soluble so you can dissolve and wash it off with a soap mixture. You should only use this method to remove wet spray paint stains. This method will not work to remove an existing spray paint finish even if it’s wet.

For this method, you’ll need these tools and supplies:

  • Dish soap or detergent
  • A bucket of warm water
  • Rags
  • A sponge
  • Baking soda

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda powder on the wet spray paint – The baking soda power is an absorbent that will absorb the wet spray paint.
  2. Mix some detergent with a bucket of warm water.
  3. Use the soap mixture and a sponge to scrub off the wet spray paint.
  4. Keep scrubbing until all the spray paint has been washed off.
  5. Rinse the plastic surface with warm water.
  6. Wipe off the water and leave the plastic to dry.

Tip: You should only use a mild detergent or dish soap on plastic. Stay away from bleach and other acid-based products as these can etch and discolor the plastic.

2. Use Vinegar

Use Vinegar

The next method to remove wet spray paint from plastic is vinegar. The idea here is to mix some vinegar powder with warm water and use the mixture to wash off the vinegar from the plastic surface.

You can also mix the vinegar with cold water and put the mix in a microwave for a minute to get heated. Vinegar is a mild acid that will surely remove wet spray paint.

For this method, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Powder vinegar
  • A bowl of warm water
  • A soft scrubbing brush
  • Rags

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Use a rag to wipe off as much of the wet paint as you can
  2. Mix some vinegar powder with warm water (half a teaspoon of vinegar in a gallon of water)
  3. Sprinkle the vinegar mix on the wet spray paint
  4. Use a scrubbing brush to remove leftover wet spray paint
  5. Wipe down the plastic with a damp rag
  6. Leave the plastic to dry.

Tip: Don’t use more than a teaspoon of vinegar on plastic because the vinegar in high concentration will gradually eat away at the plastic.

3. Use WD-40

Use WD-40

The final method on our list to remove wet spray paint is to use WD-40. WD-40 is a solvent-based cleaner and lubricant that can be used to remove wet spray paint.

All you need for this method is a can of WD-40 and a microfiber rag. Spray and apply WD-4O directly on the spray paint and use a microfiber cloth to massage the area. This will remove the wet spray paint.

Next, let’s check out how to remove dried spray paint from plastic,

How to Remove Dried Spray Paint from Plastic?

When spray paint has dried on plastic, it becomes more difficult to remove it and this is because the dried spray paint would have hardened on the plastic.

So, to remove it, you need a solvent-based product to dissolve the dried spray paint and remove it. Here are 3 effective methods to remove dried spray paint from plastic:

  1. Use Acetone To Dissolve The Spray Paint
  2. Use Denatured Alcohol To Remove The Spray Paint
  3. Use Paint Stripper

Let’s check out these methods in detail.

1. Use Acetone To Dissolve The Spray Paint

Use Acetone To Dissolve The Spray Paint

The first method to remove dried spray paint from plastic is to use acetone. Acetone is an alcohol-based solvent and alcohol is a natural paint remover so acetone can dissolve dried spray paint.

For best results, it’s better to use this method to remove dried spray paint stains and not spray paint finishes.

For this method, you’ll need these tools and supplies:

  • A bottle of acetone
  • Rags
  • A soft sponge
  • A bowl of water

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Pour some acetone into a clean container.
  2. Wipe the dried spray paint to remove dust and filth.
  3. Soak a rag in the acetone for a few minutes.
  4. Take out the damp acetone-soaked rag and use it to dab the dried spray paint repeatedly.
  5. Leave the paint for 30 minutes – this gives enough time for the acetone to soak into and dissolve the dry spray paint.
  6. Use a soft sponge to scrub the plastic lightly.
  7. Rinse the plastic and leave it to dry.

Tip: Put on a face mask when using acetone because spray paints usually have solvents that can react with the acetone and cause fumes.

2. Use Denatured Alcohol

Use Denatured Alcohol

You can also use denatured alcohol to remove dried spray paint. Like acetone, denatured alcohol is an alcohol-based solvent and it will dissolve and remove spray paint from plastic. Denatured alcohol is also safe to use on plastic and will not cause corrosion or scars.

For this method, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • A bottle of denatured alcohol
  • Rags
  • Warm water
  • A plastic putty knife
  • A toothbrush

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Pour some denatured directly on the affected spots.
  2. Wait 20-30 minutes for the alcohol to dissolve the spray paint.
  3. Use a plastic putty knife to scrape the loose spray paint off of the plastic surface – don’t use a metallic putty knife because it will scratch the plastic.
  4. Use a toothbrush to scrub off leftover spray paint from the plastic.
  5. When all the spray paint has been removed, rinse the plastic with warm water.
  6. Wipe down the plastic surface with a damp rag or mop.
  7. Leave the plastic to dry.

Tip: You shouldn’t use denatured alcohol to remove spray paint finishes because it will turn messy. Only use this method for spray paint stains and splatters.

3. Use Paint Stripper

Use Paint Stripper

The final method on our list to remove dried spray paint is to use a paint stripper. Paint strippers are solvent or chemical-based paint removers that can be used to dissolve and remove dried spray paint from plastic.

Paint thinner is very effective at removing spray paint and you can use it to remove multiple coats of spray paint. If you want to remove a spray paint finish from plastic, this is the method to go for.

For this method, you’ll need these tools and supplies:

  • A paint stripper
  • A plastic putty knife
  • A paintbrush
  • A pair of gloves
  • A face mask
  • Mineral spirits

Here is a guide for this method:

  1. Put on your safety gear (gloves, face mask, and goggles).
  2. Wipe the spray paint to remove dust – if you don’t remove dust, the paint stripper will not work properly.
  3. Apply a thick coat of paint stripper on the spray paint and leave for 15 minutes so it dries.
  4. When the paint stripper is dry, scrape it off of the plastic with a plastic putty knife.
  5. Repeat the steps above for leftover spray paint on the plastic.
  6. When the paint has been fully removed, wipe the plastic with mineral spirits or natural oil to neutralize the leftover stripper.
  7. Wipe down the plastic and leave it to dry.

Tip: You should only use a water-based paint stripper on plastic because water-based strippers are safer on light materials like plastic than chemical-based paint strippers.

Other Products You Can Use:

Next, let’s check out common household products that can remove spray paint from plastic.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove wet spray paint from plastic. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer that will separate the spray paint particles on the plastic and make the paint loose.

When the paint is loose, you can wipe it off. It’s advised to mix the hydrogen peroxide with water before using it on plastic. This prevents the over-concentration of the chemical on plastic.

Paint Remover

You can use paint remover to remove spray paint from plastic. But, you should only use alcohol-based paint removers and paint removers recommended for plastic materials.

If the paint remover is acid-based, don’t use it on plastic. As an expert tip, always check the manufacturer’s guide on the paint remover packaging to see if it can be used on plastic.

White Spirits

White spirits can be used to remove wet spray paint on plastic. You shouldn’t use this solvent on spray paint finishes because it is not powerful enough to remove an existing finish. Instead, use white spirits to remove small spray paint stains on the plastic.

Final Words

In summary, it’s easy to remove spray paint from plastic as long as you know the right method and steps to follow. For wet spray paint stains, you can wash the spray paint off of the wood. If it’s a large paint stain, you can use vinegar mix or WD-40 to wash it off.

When the spray paint has dried on the plastic, you’ll need a solvent like acetone to dissolve and soften it before you can remove it. Finally, stay away from metal scrappers and power sanders as these objects can scar and scratch the plastic material easily.

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