How To Remove Paint With White Spirits? (4 Steps)

While painting, you can get unwanted splatters and stains on the surface. Since white spirit is effective in removing stains, can it remove paint? 

White spirit can remove fresh paint stains from different surfaces, including concrete, wood, and tiles. However, if the paint has cured, you can’t remove it. 

White spirit only contains 30% alcohol, meaning it isn’t strong enough to penetrate and dissolve dried coatings, especially oil-based finishes. 

Can You Remove Dried Paint With White Spirits?

You can remove dried water-based paint with white spirits. Water-based paint doesn’t have a glossy finish and will get removed if exposed to white spirits.

You can’t remove dried oil-based paint with white spirits as it’s a mild solvent and contains 30% alcohol and petroleum distillates. White spirits is designed to thin paint before applying it and not remove it from surfaces.

White spirits with 30% alcohol and a large volume of petroleum distillates isn’t strong enough to penetrate and dissolve a dried paint. Cured oil-based paints or sealers are immune to it and won’t get removed from it.

You can use white spirits to start the paint removal process. The solvent will soften (or weaken) a dried paint coating, making scraping easier.

Related Read: Can Mineral Spirits Remove Paint?

How To Remove Paint With White Spirits?

To remove paint with white spirits, do the following things.

  1. Clean the Paint Finish.
  2. Scrape the Paint Finish.
  3. Apply White Spirits.
  4. Wash the Surface.

The tools you need for this project are listed below.

  • A bottle or keg of white spirit
  • Paint scraper or putty knife
  • Dish Soap
  • Warm Water
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Clean rags

Note: You can only remove water-based paints with white spirits, and not oil-based paints. If the water-based paint is sealed, you can’t remove it with white spirits.

1. Clean the Paint Finish

Wipe The Affected Spot

Clean the paint finish to remove dust, dirt, or debris that can prevent the white spirit from penetrating and dissolving the paint. To clean the paint finish, wipe the surface with a wet clean rag.

2. Scrape the Paint Finish

Scrape The Paint Off The Surface

Scrape the paint finish to remove paint from the surface so white spirits can penetrate it better. You will remove most of the paint and create pores (holes) that the white spirits can penetrate and remove the water-based paint.

To scrape the paint, put the paint scraper under the paint coating and lift it repeatedly until the paint finish is either cracked or removed.

If the paint finish is too hard (or rigid), apply white spirits and wait 10 minutes before scraping it. White spirits will soften the paint finish, making scraping easier.

3. Apply White Spirits

Apply The White Spirit

Apply white spirits directly over the paint finish and wait 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, use a paint scraper or a scrubbing brush to remove the paint from the surface.

To remove small water-based paint stains or splatters, damp a rag with white spirits and use the dampened rag to wipe the paint stains.

For leftover paint, re-apply the white spirits and wait 10 minutes before scraping it.

4. Wash the Surface

Wash The Affected Spot

After you remove the paint clean the white spirits residue from the surface. If you leave white spirits over porous surfaces for too long, it will discolor and damage the surface.

To remove the white spirits residue, use warm soapy water and a clean rag. Pour the warm soapy water and use a clean rag to wipe the surface repeatedly.

If you can’t remove paint with white spirits, use a stronger solvent-based paint remover such as acetone or a paint-stripping compound.

Can You Remove Paint From Different Surfaces With White Spirits?


You can remove water-based paint from concrete surfaces with white spirits. However, concrete surfaces are porous, so don’t use too much white spirits as it can discolor them.

Related Read: Does Goo Gone Remove Dried Paint?


You can remove wet or dry water-based paint from wooden surfaces with white spirits. But, you can’t remove dry oil-based paints.


You can remove paint from brick surfaces with white spirits. However, you shouldn’t pour white spirits directly over brick surfaces as bricks are porous and will absorb it.


You can strip paint off metal surfaces with white spirits. Since metal surfaces are non-porous, you can pour the paint remover directly over it.


To remove paint from brushes with white spirits, do the following things.

  1. Pour white spirits into a clean bucket.
  2. Put the paintbrush into the bucket.
  3. Wait 10 minutes.
  4. Use a soft brush to remove paint from the paintbrush.
  5. Clean the brush with water.
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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