Home » How To Remove Spray Paint From Concrete? (7 Best Methods)

How To Remove Spray Paint From Concrete? (7 Best Methods)

Are you looking for effective ways to remove graffiti from your sidewalk or unwanted spray paint on your driveway?

Well, removing spray paint from concrete surfaces can prove tricky. But with the right approach and the use of appropriate tools, you can get spray paint off concrete walls, walkways, or floors hassle-free.

In this guide, we will discuss the best methods to remove spray paint from concrete surfaces. From using a commercial graffiti remover to scrubbing the area with Trisodium phosphate (TSP), we equip you with all the knowledge you need to restore any concrete surface to its original condition.

By the end of this piece, you will have all the information you need to tackle any spray paint removal project.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Concrete?

Is It Difficult to Remove Spray Paint from Concrete Surfaces?

Yes, removing spray paint from concrete surfaces is not easy. The reason is, spray paints dry more quickly than other types of paints and adhere well to various surfaces since they are aerosolized.

In addition, concrete features tiny holes/pores, which allow the paint to sink into the surface, making it hard to remove. The type of spray paint and its duration on the concrete surface can also influence the difficulty of removing it.

While spray paint removal might seem hard, it’s not impossible. In fact, there are several methods you can use to remove even the most stubborn paints, including using a paint stripper, pressure washer, and other tools.

But before using a cleaning method, test it on a small area to ensure it does not discolor or damage the concrete.

Best Methods to Clean Spray Paint off Concrete Surfaces

1. Pressure Washer

As the name suggests, a pressure washer or power washer works by shooting a concentrated stream of water at high pressure. It’s a great tool for removing stubborn spray paint stains from concrete surfaces.  

Before using a power washer, ensure you lay plastic sheets or waterproof drop clothes over nearby areas to shield them from damage. Also, wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a respirator.

Whether you are using a gas or electric-powered pressure washer (2,000 to 3,000 psi), set it in a low-pressure setting to protect the concrete surface. Increase the washer’s pressure slowly to remove bulk stains.

When using the washer, keep a distance of 3 -4 feet away from the stained surface. Sweep gradually from one side of the concrete to the other to make sure you’ve reached every stain.

If the paint proves stubborn, adjust the washer’s pressure setting and move the nozzle closer. At an angle of 15 degrees, spray the paint until it softens and comes off. Adjust your distance from the concrete surface to avoid splashing water on yourself and other areas.

2. Bristle Brush and Soapy Water

Although the first method is highly effective, it’s expensive because you have to buy or hire a pressure washer. Furthermore, you might need the training to operate this machine.  

If you’re trying to save money, this second method is for you. It allows you to remove spray paint off the concrete with items found in every household: wire brush, soap, and water. However, it’s labor intensive.

Begin by mixing warm water with a few squirts of dish soap in a bucket. Apply the water to the affected area. Next, dip the stiff scrub brush in the mixture and brush the spray-painted area in circular motions.

After scrubbing, blot the concrete surface with a paper towel to soak the loose paint stain.
Spray water to the surface using a garden hose to rinse off the remaining paint. Repeat the process until you clean all the spray paint.

This safe method is the least expensive. We recommend using it if you are cleaning small patches of spray paint. But remember to wear gloves and safety goggles for eye protection.

3. Paint Striper or Paint Thinner

Paint Striper or Paint Thinner
Image Credit: leniglatzel

Paint strippers consist of two or more solvents. One soaks into the surface, while the other acts on the topmost layer of the spray paint.

On the other hand, paint thinners refer to several chemicals or solvents designed to thin paint. Examples of paint thinners include acetone, xylene, toluene, turpentine, etc.

These solvents do a great job of breaking down oil-based paints, stains, and primers. By doing so, they allow you to strip paint off a surface with ease.

Before using these chemicals, wipe or sweep the surface to remove dust and dirt. Also, ensure the room is well-ventilated.

Put on protective gear and apply the paint thinner or stripper to a small area to test if it will damage the surface.

If it does not affect the area, apply the chemical to an area covered by the spray paint and let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

After the time lapses, wipe the paint using a cloth. Alternatively, you can use a putty knife or paint scrapper to loosen the paint, then clean the surface with a mixture of water and detergent. Repeat the process until you clear all the residue.

4. Graffiti Remover

If the paint thinners or strippers fail, consider using a graffiti remover. This product features proprietary ingredients that seep into the paint layers and break them down. As a result, the product loosens the spray paint grip on the concrete surface.

Whether in an aerosol can, a liquid solution, or trigger spray, a graffiti remover offers you an inexpensive way of dealing with spray paints. Just find a graffiti remover formulated for concrete and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Use a cloth, spray bottle, or brush to apply the remover to the spray-painted concrete. But try not to over-saturate the surface.

Let it sit for the recommended duration, then scrub the area with a stiff bristle brush. You can also use a pressure washer to remove the stains. Lastly, rinse the surface with water to get rid of any residue.

Be sure to follow all the safety precautions before and when using the graffiti remover.

5. Trisodium Phosphate

Trisodium Phosphate
Image Credit: mrrandomphotography

Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a heavy-duty, all-purpose cleaner that removes paint from concrete. To use TSP, you will need the materials below:

  • Protective gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Protective clothing
  • Water
  • ½ Cup of TSP powder

Steps to remove spray paint from concrete using TSP

  • Dissolve TSP powder in warm water according to the instructions on the package
  • Put on protective clothing and apply the solution to the affected area using a scrub brush
  • Leave the product to seep into the spray paint layers for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Scrub the area thoroughly and rinse off the residue with water from a garden hose or pressure washer
  • Use a mop for final cleaning and to clear the water around the area
  • Repeat the process to remove all the paint

TSP makes the best solution for removing paints, as it’s readily available, affordable, and easy to use. However, the powder can damage plants and other surfaces, so be careful when using it.

6. Sandblaster

Another method worth considering is sandblasting. It’s your go-to solution if the mentioned methods have failed. Sandblasting is an aggressive method of removing paint and requires some training.

The method involves blasting fine sand into the affected area at high pressure. As such, you can remove the spray paint stains without affecting the concrete’s structure. But too much blasting can damage the concrete.

Like most solutions, you will need to wear protective gear like sandblasting suits, gloves, masks, and others.  

To use a sandblaster to clean off spray paint, stand 2 to 3 feet away from the concrete surface and turn on the blaster. Move towards the affected areas and begin blasting–back and forth.

Using a dry or wet vacuum cleaner, clean the concrete dust. If you are cleaning a driveway, use a power washer.

7. Angle Grinder

Angle Grinder
Image Credit: mari.uxi

The angle grinder is your last option if everything else fails. Like the sandblaster, an angel grinder strips the top layer of the concrete surface as the paint.

To use a grinder, wear heavy gloves and eye protection. Next, advance towards the affected region, turn on the grinder, and position it so the flat part of the wheel touches the surface. Strip off the concrete surface slowly and carefully. If the grinder damages the concrete, turn it off.

If you don’t know how to use an angle grinder, consider hiring a professional. Otherwise, you might hurt yourself and damage the concrete surface.

This is one of the best methods of removing spray paint from concrete since you don’t have to deal with toxic chemicals.

Final Thoughts

While removing spray paint on concrete surfaces might seem like a daunting task, it can be an easy and fun project. Just use these methods and tools to get rid of the pesky spray paint stains on your concrete surfaces, whether indoors or outdoors.

No matter the method, ensure you are careful and gentle not to damage the concrete. Also be patient, as spray paint removal can be time-consuming. Plus, follow the proper safety precautions when working with cleaning chemicals and machines like a pressure washer, sandblaster, and angle grinder.

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