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How To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

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Using spray paint for renovation projects, upcycling old furniture, or simply painting something is a popular way to decorate or change the appearance of an object. It is also a really fun activity for people with kids since it can be done indoors.

The trouble arises when spray paint ends up anywhere it shouldn’t, like on plastic surfaces. Removing spray paint from plastic may seem tricky, but it’s not that tough. That said, it is crucial to follow the proper steps while doing so.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

This article will take you through the process of removing spray paint from plastic, step by step. Let’s start by learning what kind of products are good to use for removing spray paint from plastic items.

Household Items Are Great Spray Paint Removals

If you’re considering using the same items to clean plastic that you may use to clean wood or some other metal, then let us stop you here. Spray paint is an oil-based material, and oil can damage or weaken the plastic. For this reason, it’s best to use a cleaner especially made for plastics.

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There are two primary varieties of spray paint, including acrylic and latex paint. While the latter is easier to tackle, both of these can be cleaned using some household items like rubbing alcohol or dishwashing liquid.

Thanks to their no-chemical feature, they are considered safe to use on plastics. However, that’s not all; you need to pay equal consideration to the kind of tools you use on plastic since it is not as durable as metal or wood.

How To Pick The Right Tools To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

Plastic is more delicate than metal or wood; therefore, it requires special equipment. Plastic putty knives or razor blades are preferred compared to a paint scraper for removing paint. We’re not saying that you should not use scrapers at all. In fact, scrapers are excellent tools when removing spray paint from plastic items that are in good condition.

But you must be cautious while using one because one common mistake that people make while removing spray paint is to scrape too much at once. Think about it – if you’re scraping a large area with too much force or sharp edges, obviously you’ll remove paint in large quantities, but you would also damage the surface, which means that you’ll end up weakening the plastic in the process.

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Now that we’ve discussed the right choice of tools and what kind of products you can use, let’s find out what are the best ways to remove spray paint from plastic at home!

1. Using Nail Polish Remover

Who knew nail polish remover could come in handy to remove spray paint? Well, we did, and now you do too! This cleaning approach is simple to do, cheap, and does not take long. All you need to do is ensure that your nail paint remover contains acetone as it thins paints, and follow the given steps:

Step 1: Use a cotton ball/cotton swab, or a paper towel and soak it in nail polish remover. Scrub the affected area with gentle circular motions.

Step 2: When utilizing nail polish remover, don’t be afraid to use a little elbow grease to dissolve the solvent into the plastic.

Step 3: Once you see that the spray paint has started lifting, use warm water to wipe it off. Finish cleaning with a clean, dry rag.

Pro Tip: Be careful not use to excessive nail polish remover as it can melt off plastic.

2. Using Vegetable Oil

When we said that household items are great products that can be used to clean off paint from plastic, we weren’t kidding. Vegetable oil is an excellent choice for removing spray paint without harming the surface. Just keep in mind that this option does not work for all types of plastics.

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Pro Tip: Cover a small area that you wish to test by pouring oil on it and applying very little pressure. If there are no signs of discoloration or other types of damage, then proceed to clean the whole surface.

Step 1: Pour vegetable oil on a clean cloth and apply it to the area. After the entire stain is covered in oil, let it sit for around 5 minutes.

Step 2: If the paint is starting to loosen, take an old, soft-bristled toothbrush and rub it on the stain.

Step 3: Once the paint is removed, use warm water to rinse off the oil. Finish up with a clean, dry rag.

3. Using Dish Soap

Chemical solvents that are created to treat paint stains are no doubt a great way to clean, but when there is a large spray paint stain, you may be a bit hesitant to reach for that bottle.

Luckily there is a brilliant alternative – soap! Yes, dish or hand soap will dissolve the paint. So grab your cleaning supplies and follow these steps.

Step 1: Apply dish or hand soap (not both) to the afflicted area and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

Step 2: Once the paint dissolves, scrub with a toothbrush and rinse with warm water.

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Step 3: You can then use a clean, dry rag and wipe the surface clean to finish up!

You can add essential oils to this mixture if you want. They’re not a requirement, but they do work as a disinfecting agent and also add a pleasant smell.

4. Using Rubbing Alcohol

One of the best qualities of rubbing alcohol is that it can liquefy any spray paint stain, no matter how old. So, if you’ve just discovered a hidden stain and are afraid it’s too late, it’s time to take out either the 91% or the 99% rubbing alcohol and get started by following these directions.

Step 1: Either dab a cloth with rubbing alcohol or pour the solvent directly on the area and use an old toothbrush to ensure every part of the paint stain is covered.

Step 2: Use plastic wrap to cover the affected area so that it doesn’t dry up.

Step 3: Let the rubbing alcohol do its magic for around 10 minutes, and then remove the plastic wrap. If you see that the paint has started to dissolve, use a razor blade to scrub away the rest!

Pro Tip: If you’re working in indoor spaces, ensure that the room is well-ventilated. The fumes that come from rubbing alcohol can be pretty harsh on your eyes and throat.

5. Using Denatured Alcohol

Unlike rubbing alcohol, which is all-natural and does not contain components that can harm the skin, denatured alcohol is quite potent. However, this is why it can be an excellent method to remove spray paint from plastic. It works by dissolving the bonds of the paint so that they evaporate.

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Step 1: Use Q-tips or cotton balls to apply denatured alcohol to the affected area. Ensure that every part of the stain is completely covered.

Step 2: Let the denatured alcohol work its magic for a few hours, or let it rest overnight.

Step 3: Remove the cotton balls and wipe away any remaining paint with a clean, dry rag or a paper towel. Use water to rinse off any hint of the alcohol.

Pro Tip: The use of denatured alcohol has health risks. When employing it, be sure to take precautions. Never touch the liquid directly; wear rubber gloves to safeguard your hands. To avoid breathing in denatured alcohol, wear a respirator.

6. Using WD-40

WD-40 is one of the most popular household items for reasons that are clear – it can be used to fix almost anything!

Please note that because WD-40 is a petroleum-based product, it may harm certain types of plastic. To ensure that your cleaning project goes as planned, test a small area with WD-40 to verify. If your plastic surfaces are damaged by WD-40, use acetone instead.

Step 1: Apply the WD-40 directly onto the afflicted area and make sure that it is covering every part of the paint stain.

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Step 2: Let it remain wet for at least 5 minutes.

Step 3: Take a dry paper towel, cloth, or Q-tip and clean the area. If any paint remains on the surface, reapply WD-40 and repeat Step 3.

Pro Tip: If your paint stain is deep beneath the plastic surface, you can apply some acetone on top of the WD-40 to ensure that it works its way deep into the affected area.

Products You Should Not Use On Plastic

Like any good guide, we’re here to not only let you know about the things you should use to remove spray paint from plastic, but also the things you should avoid.

When used to remove spray paint, paint thinners fracture and deform the plastic. Turpentine is one of the most popular paint thinners for plastics; however, it has hazardous chemicals that harm a variety of materials. There are some other paint thinners like lacquer thinner, ethyl alcohol, and linseed oil which should be primarily neglected when it comes to plastic items.

Many of these products frequently cause plastic surfaces to melt because they are very combustible. To remove spray paint from plastic, you’ll need tools that can thin the paint while also preserving the material – just like the ones mentioned above!

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This guide on how to remove spray paint from plastic gives you an idea about everything you will need to know while undergoing the cleaning process. From what items to use, to what not to use, we’ve listed out everything in detail so that you can remove spray paint efficiently and easily! Happy cleaning!

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