Removing Paint from Fiberglass

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated November 18, 2013)

There are a few options for removing paint from fiberglass. As is the case with any stain or any other blemish removal method on any surface you care about, always do a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the fiberglass. There are three options that you can use for removing paint from fiberglass. They may require a little elbow grease, but with these methods your task is possible.

  • Cleansers. The first option that you can try is to try to scrape the paint off. Go slowly and gently, inasmuch as that is possible; you do not want to scratch the surface of your fiberglass. Use a plastic scraper for this job. Bar Keeper's Friend cleaner and polish can be applied once you have finished your scraping, and you can then begin gently scrubbing at the surface, trying to remove the paint. You may wish to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which is good at removing all sorts of stains.
  • Baking soda. Another choice is to use a wet sponge to rub baking soda onto the surface, a great way of avoiding making your surrounding air smell like chemicals. Try a paint spot remover (like Oops) or thinner (take care it does not damage your fiberglass finish), or you can make an attempt by using a nonabrasive household cleanser. Dirtex spray is also a useful option for latex paint.
  • Paint thinner. You can try applying paint stripper and letting it sit, scrubbing with a Scotch Brite pad or using the aforementioned scraper, and then wiping the paint stripper off with a rag dipped in denatured alcohol until the surface is all clear (if you do this, wait two hours before coating with new paint, if that is your plan). Another idea is to use spray oven cleaner or aircraft paint remover.

In the end, what you use will depend on how much paint there is to remove and what the end of result you want (large area, small area, etc.) is. For example, spray paint can be removed pretty well from a lot of surfaces with hairspray, but it is hard to get a can big enough to cover an entire side of a large boat. You would do better in that case to try something that is available in larger quantities and can be applied in larger areas at a time.

Author Bio

Cassandra Merkling

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