Cleaning Paint Off of Vinyl

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated June 1, 2020)

Vinyl is one of the more popular choices among homeowners as both a flooring option and as a siding. As such, you can pretty much expect to find yourself having to clean up paint from this material at one point in time or another. If you are faced with such a situation, don't worry. There are a few simple steps that you will have to follow to ensure that you get all the paint off of your vinyl. Keep in mind that while the steps may be simple, you may still be required to put a bit of elbow grease into the effort.

  1. Identify the paint. The first thing that you will need to do is identify the type of paint that was spilled on the linoleum. If you are lucky, you have the can that the paint came in, and it will tell you whether it was oil or water based. If not, then you will need to just work your way through all the steps listed here to ensure that you get the paint completely removed.
  2. Begin immediately. If you were lucky enough to be at the spill when it happened, don't wait to start cleaning it up. When the paint dries, it makes it much more difficult to remove. Instead, start cleaning it up right away. If you happened to spill the paint on something like a countertop, or on a vinyl floor, then use some shredded paper or kitty litter to help clump up the paint, and then use a dirt pan to pick it up.
  3. Wipe it up. If the paint is still wet, then use a damp rag to clean up as much of the paint as possible. If it has dried, then once again, use a damp rag to wipe off the paint as much as possible. You may need to do a bit of scrubbing to get some of the really old paint stains off though. A useful tool that you can also use is one of those magic eraser cleaning pads, just get it damp and then scrub away.
  4. Scrape it off. Once you have removed as much of the paint as possible with a rag and some water, you may need to do a bit of scraping to get rid of the really stubborn bits. To avoid causing any damage to the vinyl though, you will want to use something like a plastic scraper or spatula. Even with using one of these softer items you wills till want to be careful though.
  5. Apply some alcohol. As you are scraping away you may want to also try wiping away at the stains with some rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. Apply a bit of the alcohol to a clean rag, and then wipe away every so often when you are scraping away at the paint. The combination of the two will be very effective in removing any stubborn paint stains.
  6. Oil based paint needs extra help. Oil based paint can also be a bit difficult to remove, and oftentimes will need a little extra help in removing it from vinyl. In this case, you will want to obtain some superfine steel wool, and then dip it into some liquid wax (you may want to wear some gloves for this part). Scrub the coated steel wool lightly over the stain, and you should be able to remove it.
  7. Turpentine or nail polish remover. For particularly persistent stains you will want to use some turpentine or acetone based nail polish remover. Simply apply some of the chemical to a sponge, clean rag, or even a magic eraser. Scrub way at the paint stain until it comes away. You may want to rinse out the rag periodically, and reapply some of the chemicals to ensure that it is as effective as possible.
  8. Wash and inspect. When you think that you are done simply wash the dirty area with some warm soapy water. Rinse the area clean, and then inspect. If you still see any remaining stain, then repeat the entire process as necessary until the stain has been removed.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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