How to Remove Paint From Vinyl Floors? (Dried or Wet Paint)

While painting another surface, you can spill it on your vinyl floors. So, how to remove paint from vinyl flooring?

To remove fresh paint stain from a vinyl floor, sprinkle baking powder over the surface and leave it for a few minutes. The baking soda will absorb the paint stain, and you can wipe the spot to remove the baking soda and paint together.

To strip dry paint, dissolve the it with acetone or rubbing alcohol and then wipe the surface with a clean rag. You shouldn’t use bleach or other products that can discolor the planks.

Finding The Paint Type

How To Know What Type Of Paint You Have On Your Vinyl Floor?

Before removing paint from vinyl, you must know the paint type you are dealing with. That’s because you must use different products/methods to remove oil-based and water-based paints.

Use a solvent-based paint remover to remove oil-based paint, and use soapy water (or rubbing alcohol) to remove water-based paint.

To know the type of paint on your floor, damp a clean rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe the surface. If rubbing alcohol removes the paint, the paint is water-based. If rubbing alcohol doesn’t remove it, the finish is oil-based or sealed.

Rubbing alcohol is a natural paint remover that removes water-based paint from surfaces. However, rubbing alcohol isn’t strong enough to dissolve and strip oil-based paint.

Another way to know the type is to use the flashing test. Direct a flashlight over the painted surface; if the surface has a glossy finish, the paint is oil-based. If the surface has a dry textured finish, the finish is water-based.

Removing Water-based Paint From Vinyl Floors

Removing water-based paint stains from vinyl flooring is easy because water-based finishes are water-soluble. You can it by using soapy water or rubbing alcohol.

1. Wash The Paint Off

Wash The Paint Off

To strip fresh water-based paint from the vinyl floor, wipe the surface with a dampened rag (with soapy water).

Here are the tools you need:

  • Rags
  • Dish soap
  • A bucket of water
  • A foam sponge
  • A mop

Here is the guide for this:

  1. Wipe as much wet paint as you can off the floor with a rag.
  2. Mix dish soap with warm water.
  3. Damp a foam sponge with soapy water.
  4. Use the dampened sponge to scrub the affected spot (scrub gently).
  5. Once the finish is removed, clean the floor with a dry rag.
  6. Allow the vinyl planks to dry.

2. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Use Rubbing Alcohol To Dissolve The Paint

If the water-based paint has dried on your vinyl floor, use rubbing alcohol to dissolve (or liquefy) it and wipe it off. You can use mineral spirits or acetone instead of rubbing alcohol.

The paint-removing solvent will penetrate the water-based paint, dissolve its particles and liquefy it. Once the coating is liquefied, you can wipe it off.

Here are the tools you need:

  • A bottle of rubbing alcohol
  • Clean rags
  • A plastic paint scraper
  • A mop

Here is the guide for that:

  1. Damp a clean rag with rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, or acetone.
  2. Use the dampened rag to wipe the dried paint.
  3. Wait 5-10 minutes for the finish to bubble.
  4. Use a plastic paint scraper to scrape the finish off the floor.
  5. Re-apply rubbing alcohol to the leftover paint and wipe again.
  6. Clean the rubbing alcohol residue using a clean rag.
  7. Use a mop to clean the floor and leave it to dry.

Removing Oil-based Paint From Vinyl Floors

Removing oil-based paint from vinyl planks is harder because oil-based paints are thicker, have a glossy finish, and dry harder. However, this guide will show two methods you can use:

1. Use Baking Soda

Absorb The Paint With Baking Soda – For Wet Oil-Based Paint

To remove wet oil-based paint, use baking soda. Baking soda will absorb the paint, and once it does you can use a rag to wipe it off.

Here are the tools you need:

  • A clean rag
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A vacuum or broom

Here is the guide for that:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the surface– since the paint is fresh/wet, the baking soda powder will absorb it.
  2. After a few minutes, vacuum or sweep the baking soda off – doing so will remove the absorbed paint too.
  3. Mix baking soda with water in a ratio of 3:1 (3 part water, 1 part baking soda).
  4. Damp a rag with the mixed baking soda.
  5. Use the damp rag to wipe and clean the floor – this will remove leftover paint.
  6. After a few minutes, wipe the floor with a soft microfiber mop and leave it to dry.

2. Use Solvent-Based Paint Remover

Use Acetone To Dissolve The Paint

To remove dried oil-based paint, apply a solvent-based paint remover, wait a few minutes, scrape it off, and wipe the floor. The solvent-based paint remover will penetrate the oil-based paint, dissolve the particles and liquefy it. Once the paint is liquefied, you can wipe it off.

You can use acetone, turpentine, or mineral spirits as an alternative to solvent-based paint remover.

Here are the tools you need:

  • A bottle of acetone
  • A paint scraper knife
  • Clean rags
  • Dish soap
  • A bucket of water
  • A foam sponge

Here is the guide for that:

  1. Damp a rag with a solvent-based paint remover (acetone, turpentine, or mineral spirits).
  2. Use the dampened rag to wipe the surface.
  3. Wait 10-15 minutes for the paint remover to penetrate the coating. This takes longer because oil-based paint has a glossy finish that repels liquid.
  4. After 15 minutes, the finish will start to bubble.
  5. Use a plastic scraper to scrape the soft paint.
  6. Apply acetone over the leftover paint.
  7. Remove the residue of the solvent-based paint remover using soapy water.
  8. Mop the vinyl floor with a floor cleaner and allow it to dry.

You must remove the residue of the paint remover as it can discolor the planks.

Other Methods:

Here are other methods that you can or can’t use to strip paint from vinyl.


You can use vinegar powder to strip wet paint stains from the vinyl floor. You can also mix vinegar with water and use the mixture to dissolve dried paint stains.

However, you can fade a vinyl floor with vinegar if you use it carelessly.

Goo Gone

Goo Gone can remove small and fresh water-based paints from vinyl flooring. However, Goo Gone can’t strip dried water-based or oil-based paint.

Goo Gone is a cleaning agent and is paint-friendly (it can be used to clean painted surfaces without removing them). This means Goo Gone isn’t strong enough to penetrate or dissolve dried paints.

Magic Eraser

Magic erasers can’t strip multiple coats of paint but can stip small stains. For example, if you notice small stains on your floor after painting an item, you can remove these stains with a magic eraser.

Paint Thinner

You can use paint thinner to get paint off the floor, but you shouldn’t because paint thinner can fade the surface.

Final Words

You can strip paint from vinyl floors, but you must use the right products. Also, water-based and oil-based paint are removed differently, so you must know the type of paint you are dealing with.

To remove water-based paint, use rubbing alcohol or soapy water. To remove oil-based paint, use solvent-based paint remover (acetone, mineral spirits, or turpentine). Avoid using harsh products, such as bleach, as it can discolor the floor.

Also, you shouldn’t scrape or scratch dried paint off of a floor to prevent scratch marks and dents. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions while working with solvents.

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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