How To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic: A Do-It-Yourself Guide

By Tom Pelly | Home Painting

Mar 27

When spray painting, accidents can happen that can get paint in places it's not supposed to be like plastic. This is when you often wonder how to remove spray paint from plastic?

Spray painting is proven to be a lot easier and faster compared to painting using a brush or roller.

Many also use spray paint for various purposes. Unfortunately, getting paint on plastic is burdensome. Meanwhile, removing spray paint from plastic is all the more a nuisance.

It may seem like an arduous task, but with the ideal tools and easy to follow guide, you can confidently complete this project. Not to mention succeeding in this task can be fulfilling in a way.

In this article, I will guide you through the steps on how to remove spray paint from plastic and also share with you essential tips that you can work to your advantage along the way.

What You Will Need

Before I discuss the steps on how to remove spray paint from plastic, there are essential things that you will need for this project. With that said, these are the following materials you will need.

  • Vegetable Oil

This is a substance known to be effective for removing paint, especially those that are oil-based. Many DIYers use this since it does not cause any damage to the plastic surface.

  • Nail Polish Remover

Consist of acetone, nail polish remover is typically used to get rid or dissolve petroleum-based substances that came from refined oil.

  • Denatured Alcohol

A tougher solvent than that of nail polish remover and vegetable oil, but is still considered safer than those available commercially.

  • Putty Knife (plastic)

a tool or a type of spatula that is used to scrape flat surfaces. For this specific job, it is ideal to utilize a putty knife which is plastic instead of a metallic one to make sure that the plastic surface will not be damaged.

  • Sponge

The sponge is perfect for cleaning the surface of the plastic because of its softness that can prevent any damage.

  • Paper Towel or Rag

You can use this as a possible substitute for the sponge.

  • Warm Water

This is effective to loosen the coats of paint on the plastic surface to make it easier to remove.

  • Detergent

This can help with removing spray paint from the plastic surface when combined with warm water.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Plastic: The Step-by-step Procedure

Once you have gathered all the vital materials for this project, you may now proceed to follow the simple guide as follows. Now, here are the steps on how to remove spray paint from plastic.

Step 1: Using A Paint Scraper

The initial step you are require to take is to assess how stuck the paint is on the surface of the plastic. To do this, you will need the plastic putty knife.

Carefully scrape the paint off of the plastic surface using your plastic putty knife. Do this slowly and gently to make sure you will not damage the plastic surface.

If in case some of the paint does not come off, you can leave it be for the meantime and move on to the succeeding steps.

Step 2: Using Vegetable Oil

If there are still spray paint stuck on the plastic surface even after scraping it off, you can proceed to use vegetable oil.

Using a rag, apply a small amount of vegetable oil then rub it carefully on the plastic surface that was sprayed on with paint. Vegetable oil can aid in loosening the paint.

Once the paint loosens, try scraping it off again using the plastic putty knife. If this step still does not work, proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Using A Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is made from acetone which is a solvent known to help remove or dissolve nail polish as well as petroleum-based components.

Using a rag or a paper towel, pour a small amount of nail polish remover on it and carefully rub it against the plastic surface which has spray paint on it.

Let it sit for five to ten minutes and then proceed to rub it again. Slowly, the spray paint should start to dissolve and fade. If nothing happens, you can try using denatured alcohol.

Step 4: Using Denatured Alcohol

The next option you can use is denatured alcohol. This substance is considered tougher than vegetable oil and nail polish remover.

However, it is also advisable to be extra careful when working with this substance. Before going all out in using denatured alcohol, it is best that you test it out first on a small portion of the painted surface.

Pour a small amount of denatured alcohol on a rag or a paper towel and rub it on the surface of the spray painted plastic. Leave it for around five to ten minutes and observe if the paint is slowly dissolving.

If you noticed that the paint is starting to wrinkle, use your plastic putty knife to carefully scrape it off.

(Tip: Avoid applying denatured alcohol to the plastic surface more than once since it can easily damage it.)

Step 5: Using Warm Water And Detergent

After you have tried all the previous steps and there are still residual paint remaining, at this point you can try to use warm water and detergent.

Mix the detergent and warm water and rub it against the traces of spray paint on the plastic surface. This will loosen the layer of paint on the surface and help to easily remove it.

Continue rubbing the mixture on the surface until any residual spray paint comes off.

Step 6: Dry 

Finally, after you have removed the spray paint from the plastic surface, you can now dry it off.

You can use a sponge to soak up all residual water or a clean rag to make sure the surface is dry. You can also let it sit to air dry.

(Tip: The steps that were discussed made use of easy to find materials that can be available inside your home.

However, you can also opt to use other solvents or substances that are commercially available to help remove spray paint from the plastic surface.

Just keep in mind to always be extra careful when working with these types of substances.)


Spray paint may be an easier and faster process to paint surfaces. Be that as it may, it is also possible that you can easily get paint on the surface that it is not supposed to be on like plastic.

If in case you encounter this, you now know the steps on how to remove spray paint from plastic. These steps were made easy for you so much so you can do it yourself. You can follow these steps if need be in the future. 

Was this article helpful? Were you able to learn and understand the steps on how to remove spray paint from plastic? Do you have any other suggestions regarding this topic?

I would like to hear your thoughts about this article. Send your feedback and suggestions by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Pelly. I'm a home designer and founder of TidyTheHome. While doing my job, I found that choosing a right tool to repair home is an essential factor. As a result, my blog is designed to provide you with important information of latest tools to help you complete job faster and more professional. Explore my blog to get all information you need in home improvement.

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: