How To Remove Spray Paint Without Damaging Paint Underneath

Whether you want to remove graffiti from your house, car, or other places, removing spray paint without damaging the paint underneath can be tricky. However, since spray paint is widely available and many people would like to remove it, there are many separate tips that you can use to accomplish this. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you remove spray paint without damaging the paint underneath.

If you want to get rid of spray paint from your car without damaging the color, you can use a clay kit, nail polish remover, petrol, or even soap and water. If you want to get rid of spray paint from a wall in or around your house, use a soft sponge with dishwashing liquid or white vinegar.

Since there are different painted surfaces that you might need to remove spray paint from, there are also different methods to do so. You might need various tools or cleaning agents as other spray paints or wall paints do not react the same way to all substances. The steps below should help you remove spray paint without damaging the color under it. However, if you are unsure, you can also ask a professional.

How To Remove Spray Paint From A Vehicle

Cars, bikes, buses, and vans are prime targets for spray paint graffiti. However, vandalism isn’t the only reason there might be spray paint on your vehicle, and the steps below will help you remove it no matter the reason. It is also essential to remember that fresh paint is easier to remove than older or hardened paint, so try getting it off as soon as possible.

  1. Fill a bucket with lukewarm and soapy water – The first and preferred method we need to try is to remove the spray paint without any harsh chemicals. If the color is still drying, this should do the job nicely.
  • Use a smooth sponge or cloth to wipe off the paint – If the spray paint was done as a minor hoax or is still drying, you should attempt to wash it off using a soft sponge or cloth that won’t scratch the vehicle’s paint. Don’t apply too much pressure as pressure might cause dents or scratching.
  • Use nail polish remover or petrol – If the spray paint is stubborn and can’t remove with soap and water, you need to try something a bit harsher. It is essential that you first try this on only a small area to avoid significant damage if any occurs. Use a microfiber material and dab a small amount of petrol or non-acetone nail polish remover on it.

You should rub the area softly, applying slight pressure to the surface. This method should help you remove most types of spray paint.

  • Use a clay kit – Smooth surface clay kits help you remove things like spray paint from vehicles without damaging the original color. If the steps above fail, you should try buying such a kit, like the one manufactured by Meguiar.

If none of these steps have proven successful, you should request the help of a professional.

How To Remove Spray Paint From Some Walls

There are two main types of paint used to paint the walls of a building, latex-based and oil-based paints. The steps for removing spray paint from walls are the same, but what you use to do this may differ depending on the paint used. I also recommend consulting a professional if you are unsure what paint your walls use. The steps below will help you if you know the original paint base.

  1. Fill a bucket with warm soapy water – No matter the base of the original paint, your first option and least damaging method is to use soap and water to remove the spray paint.
  • Use a soft sponge or cloth to remove spray paint – Once your bucket and water are ready, you should use a soft sponge or cloth to remove the spray paint from the wall. You mustn’t apply too much pressure as the pressure can leave a damaged wall even if all the spray paint is off.
  • Make a water and vinegar mixture – If the soap and water method is not working for you, you can try using a harsher mixture of vinegar and water. You don’t need a full bucket and enough water to dilute the vinegar slightly and avoid significant paint damage.
  • Use a soft sponge or tablecloth to apply the vinegar mixture – Again, you should use a soft sponge or microfiber cloth to avoid damaging the paint under the spray paint. I also recommend not applying too much pressure as the added pressure can cause damage to the bottom coat of paint or leave dirty or undesirable marks on the wall.
  • Use Acetone or paint remover as a last resort – If the spray paint is still not coming off your wall, you can use some acetone or paint remover to remove the spray paint. This method is the most likely to cause damage to your wall’s previous coat, so be sure that you have no other options.

If you need to use this method, you can make a mixture or simply put a few drops of acetone on a cloth. I recommend not rubbing the affected area too much, as that can start damaging the bottom layers. Instead, gently and with minimal pressure, wipe over the spray paint to see if you can remove it.

  • It might be time to repaint – If you have tried everything and had no success, it might be time to recoat your walls. This option is the most expensive, so it is the last step on the list. However, if you cannot get the spray paint off and do not want a professional’s help, this might be your safest or only option.

Calling A Professional To Remove Spray Paint

For the most part, we don’t enjoy needing help from others. However, it is good to know when help is needed, and this can also save you some time or extra money.

If you have tried all the possibilities to remove spray paint from a surface and have no success, it is probably time to call a professional for help. There is a chance that a professional painter might be able to help you remove the paint instead of needing to repaint it, which is why it is always best to ask.


With different surfaces, there are various methods for removing unwanted spray paint. You must take care and be delicate with this work, as any harsh chemicals or too much pressure can damage the paint below the undesirable spray paint. If you have no other options, calling or consulting a professional might be the best route to avoid severe damage or unneeded expenses.

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