Home » How to Remove Paint from Vinyl Siding? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

How to Remove Paint from Vinyl Siding? (Step-by-Step Tutorial)

Do you want to change the color of your vinyl sidings? Perhaps you want to clean out some paint splashed on the panels? Removing paint from vinyl is relatively stress-free, using basic cleaning solutions you already have in the pantry.

Paint does not form a strong bond with vinyl, which is a good thing, as it makes it easy to clean painted or paint-stained vinyl. The other upside is that vinyl is hardwearing and will stand up well to washing and scrubbing to remove unwanted material.

The removal method you use will largely depend on the type of paint on the vinyl. Some paints are generally harder to remove, while others might require a stronger cleaning solution. In this article, I will show you how to remove paint from vinyl using different methods.

 Tools needed for removing paint from vinyl siding

  • Laundry detergent
  • Isopropyl detergent
  • Paint thinner
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean rugs
  • Extra fine sandpaper
  • Plastic scraper
  • Latex gloves
  • Putty knife

Step-by-Step Guide To Remove Water-Based Paint From Vinyl Siding

Follow these steps to remove wet and dry water-based paint from vinyl.

How To Remove Dry Paint From Vinyl

Step 1:  Scrape off dry paint

Scrape off dry paint

Paint does not adhere too well to vinyl even months or years after application, making it easy to remove dry paint using a simple plastic scraper.

Hold the scraper at a low-laying angle. Apply a bit of force as you scrape the vinyl surface with sweeping motions. I prefer a plastic scraper as it can get the job done without damaging the vinyl surface. Ensure that the edge of the scraper is sharp enough to remove the paint efficiently.

Step 2: Weaken the paint with a power wash

Weaken the paint with a power wash

Power-wash any remaining paint to achieve a clean, paint-free surface. Use a broad spray nozzle to clean the vinyl surface and stand at least 2 feet away to avoid breaking the vinyl with the strong water pressure.

Aim the spray at a ninety-degree angle when cleaning vinyl siding to avoid forcing water under the panels. If this is your first-time power-washing vinyl siding, I recommend watching this video for great tips on cleaning vinyl the right way.

Step 3: Sand away traces of paint

Sand away traces of paint

Even after scraping and power-washing, there might be some specks of paint on the siding. Remove this residue using extra-fine sandpaper (220-320 grit). Sand lightly to avoid leaving scratches on the vinyl surface. The upside of sanding is it can brighten light-colored vinyl panels.


How To Remove Wet Paint from Vinyl Siding

Whether a blob of paint has stained your vinyl or you want to correct a paint job, follow these steps to remove the wet paint from your panels.

Step 1: Wipe off the fresh paint

Wipe off the fresh paint

Fresh, wet paint can be messy, so you must be careful when cleaning it off the vinyl surface. Start by wiping the paint with a clean, dry rug. Ideally, you should wipe in one direction to avoid spreading the paint and creating a bigger mess.

Step 2: Clean with a gentle detergent

Clean with a gentle detergent

Use detergent to clean the residue paint before the surface dries. Vinyl can take a lot of use and abuse, but it is best to stick to gentle cleaning solutions to get the most life from your vinyl sidings.

To prepare the solution, mix your usual laundry soap with warm water in a container. Dip a soft-bristled brush in the detergent mixture and use it to scrub the vinyl surface.

Step 3: Remove specks of paint with alcohol

Remove specks of paint with alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a strong but safe cleaner for stubborn stains. If some speckles of paint remain in the sidings, pour a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on a clean rag and wipe the surface clean.

Pro Tip:Wear protective gloves when handling cleaning chemicals.


Step-by-Step Guide To Remove Oil-Based Paint From Vinyl Siding

Next, I will show you how to remove wet and dry paint from your vinyl siding.

How To Remove Dry Oil-Based Paint From Vinyl Siding

Oil-based paint is harder to remove than water-based paint. Follow these proven steps to remove stubborn paint from your vinyl sidings.

Step 1: Scrape off dried paint

Scrape off dried paint

Use a plastic scraper to loosen and break the surface paint on the vinyl. You might have to apply some pressure and use a sharp scraper to lift the dried-on paint.

Opt for a putty knife if the plastic scraper isn’t effective at removing the paint. Moderate the force you use when scrapping with a putty knife to protect the vinyl surface from deep, unsightly scratches.

Pro tip: Hold the putty knife flat to the siding to avoid engorging deep cuts into the surface of the siding.

Step 2: Apply acetone

Apply acetone

Acetone is a powerful cleaner; it quickly weakens the bond between the paint and surface, making cleaning easier.

Use acetone in moderation to avoid damaging your siding; too much of it can ‘eat’ up the vinyl leaving behind a rough and dull surface.

Add a few drops of acetone to a clean towel and wipe off the surface to remove any remaining paint. Wipe in one direction and in broad sweeps to avoid spreading the paint residue and creating a stubborn mess.

Step 3: Rinse the vinyl

Rinse the vinyl

After scrapping the paint and cleaning with acetone, give the vinyl a nice rinse. Use a kitchen scrubber and warm soapy water to clean the siding.

If cleaning an entire wall, use a hose to rinse any remaining residue with clean, room-temperature water.


How To Remove Wet Oil-Based Paint From Vinyl Siding

Cleaning wet paint requires less elbow grease than removing dried-in paint. Here is how to do it:

Step 1: Wipe the paint with thinner

Wipe the paint with thinner

Pour some paint thinner on a clean towel and wipe the wet paint immediately. Never use water, whether warm or cold, to clean oil-based paint. Oil and water do not mix.

Wipe the wet paint in a circular motion or in single broad sweeps in one direction to avoid spreading the paint all over, making getting rid of it harder.

Step 2: Clean with alcohol

Clean with alcohol

Wait for the surface to dry after using paint thinner. Then, use a clean towel and a few drops of isopropyl alcohol to wipe down the vinyl siding. The alcohol helps to remove stubborn paint residue.

Step 3: Scrub with a detergent

Scrub with a detergent

Wiping the wet paint with thinner and alcohol may not be enough to clean the vinyl surface. If your vinyl panels are light-colored, paint can easily discolor them. Soap water and a bit of scrubbing can help.

Mix laundry detergent with warm water. Then, use the soapy mixture and a hard-bristled brush or kitchen scrubber to clean the vinyl surface, remove any discoloration, and restore your siding panels to their original color. Rinse off with cool, clean water.

That’s all there is to removing paint from vinyl. Check out these extra tips to help you along.


Extended Tips

  • Opt for a nylon-bristled brush when cleaning vinyl. It gets the job done without scratching or dulling the surface.
  • You might have to put in more work cleaning lighter-colored vinyl. White or cream panels will show paint residue more than grey panels would. Be patient as you clean these panels; the effort is well worth it.
  • You can make your own vinyl cleaning solution. But, be very careful what you put in there. Strong chemicals can engorge vinyl and strip away the surface shine, leaving you with dull, unattractive siding.
  • Laundry detergent is often enough to get the job done but if you opt to make your own cleaning liquid, be sure to use only gentle ingredients.
  • Practice extra care when pressure washing vinyl siding. Unless the sidings are extremely dirty, it is best to use a broad, low-pressure spray, as it is gentler to the siding and safer for you.

Summary: How To Remove Paint From Vinyl

Whether you are tired of touching up an old paint job or you want to clean a random blob of paint on your siding, removing paint from vinyl is pretty straightforward. Sometimes, it is not clear the type of paint used on the vinyl. In this case, You might have to try the methods I recommend here to see what works for you. Happy cleaning!

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