Unwanted spray paint markings, spills, and even wall arts such as graffiti are typical issues home and building owners encounter from time to time. And while lifting spray paint and other types of paint off concrete is doable, these problems are often time-consuming and laborious, especially graffiti and other wall arts. 

On a good note, applying the right method and using appropriate paint removing solutions can make the job easier. And this guide covers all the basics, as well as techniques, that you need to know about lifting spray paint off the concrete. 

Let’s dive in.

Different Ways to Remove Spray Paint Off Concrete Surfaces

Removing spray paint from concrete can be done in various ways. Professionals, however, do not just use them mindlessly. Rather they employ each method according to what the situation requires—like if the spill is small only or large wall art such as graffiti. 

That being said, I enumerated below the four different ways to get spray paint off concrete and which situation it is best to use them. 

Method 1: Using Soap and Water

First on the list is the simplest and most accessible method: using soap and water. 

Yes, you read that right. A mixture of soap and water is an effective solution to scrub off spray paint off the concrete. And if you compare it to others, it is the safest, non-toxic, and most economical way. 

However, do take note that such a method is often effective only when applied on fresh spray paint. It is because aside from it dish soaps are a mild and non-corrosive agent, concrete is naturally porous too. It means it absorbs any type of liquid—including paint—quickly and deeply. And once the paint dries up, it settles within the grooves of concrete, making it more complicated to lift it off by just using water and mild dish soap.

Having said that, you will need the following materials:

  • Hot water
  • Dish soap
  • Brush with hard bristles
  • Paper towel
  • Two buckets

Step 1: The first step is to prep the area by removing dirt and dust. 

Step 2: Once done, fill the two buckets with warm water. Then in one of the buckets, pour a few amounts of dishwashing soap. Make sure the soap is enough to create a foamy mixture. 

Step 3: After that, soak the affected surface with warm water. Simultaneously, dip the brush into the solution you made from the second step and then scrub to the area where the unwanted spray paint spill is. Do it in a circular motion. 

Step 4: After a few minutes of scrubbing, dry up the surface using a paper towel. Then rinse it using warm water. 

Step 5: Repeat the process until the paint is lifted. 

Note: You may have to reapply this method many times to achieve the best result.

Method 2: Using Paint Stripper and Thinner

The second method is through the use of paint thinner. It is one of the most widely used paint removing methods since thinner—which is naturally a solvent—can break down a variety of substances, including paint. 

Paint stripper, on the other hand, is developed with the same purpose as paint thinner. The only difference is that it is formulated to suit even everyday use.

It comes, for instance, in the non-caustic gel. One good example is Prosoco’s SafStrip, a low-odor gel-based paint stripper that can dissolve even high-strength paints. Paint stripper also comes in caustic formulas or those that are solvent-based such as Prosoco’s Safety Peel 1

That said, you will need the following materials:

  • Paint stripper or thinner of your choice
  • Disposable cloth
  • Protective gear and clothing

Step 1: The first step is to prep the surface and the area. Wipe or sweep off all dirt and dust. Make sure that the area is well-ventilated too, as both paint stripper and thinner are flammable. 

Step 2: Next, gently apply a small amount (or more, if needed) of paint thinner or paint stripper to the spray-painted surface. Consider checking the instructions indicated in the product’s label too. 

Step 3: Once done, let it sit for a few minutes. Then wipe it off using a clean cloth.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 until the spray paint is completely lifted.

Method 3: Using Graffiti Remover

For large and pronounced spray painting such as graffiti, a mixture of soap and water or paint stripper may not be enough. It is why graffiti remover solutions were formulated for a more convenient and efficient spray paint removing process.

Graffiti removing solutions come in varying forms. You can buy it in aerosol cans, pastes, wipes, sponges, liquid solutions, and even trigger sprayers. Prosoco’s Graffiti Remover, for example, is a multi-surface paint remover liquid solution that contains no methylene chloride, methanol, and other halogenated agents. 

Moreover, graffiti removers are cheap too despite their effectiveness. In fact, you may not need to use a scrub to completely remove the paint. But use a wiping cloth or paper towels instead.

That said, here’s what you will need to get graffiti off concrete:

  • Your preferred graffiti removing solution
  • Warm water
  • Scrub with hard bristles
  • Disposable cloths or heavy-duty paper towels
  • Mop
  • One bucket

Step 1: Prep the spray-painted surface by wiping down the area using a clean cloth. After that, fill a bucket with warm water. Make sure you are wearing protective clothing and gear too.

Step 2: Next, gently apply the graffiti remover solution based on the instruction written on its label. If needed, let it sit for a few minutes.

Step 3: Once done, scrub the affected area gently. Do it in a circular motion. 

Step 4: After that, blot or wipe the area using cloth or paper towels to further help the solution break the paint down. 

Step 5: Finally, rinse the wall or the area using the warm water you prepared before. You can also use a garden hose, if possible. Repeat the process until the spray paint is completely gone.

Note: When dealing with large paints on walls, keep in mind that the dissolved paint has a 100% chance to drip down the unaffected area, especially if the paint is on a vertical surface and you are using trigger sprayers. Try to avoid it by not oversaturating the area. Or, if you can get one, simply place a tape on the surface under the spray-painted area using a painter’s tape.

Method 4: Using TSP

If you prefer something strong that could dissolve spray paint in just one or two applications, using Trisodium Phosphate could be the right method for you. It comes in either powder or liquid form and works like a paint thinner. 

However, TSP is an extremely toxic solution that some local governments even ban or limit its use. Not only does it pose a risk to people’s health, but also the environment.

That being said, below are the things you will need when removing paint using TSP:

  • ½ cup of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
  • Brush with stiff bristles
  • Warm water
  • Scrub and mop
  • Two buckets
  • Garden hose
  • Protective gear and clothing

Step 1: Prep the area by sweeping or wiping off dirt and dust. Then set one bucket of clean warm water on the side. Don’t forget to wear complete protective gear and clothing too.

Step 2: Next, dilute the TSP in warm water. The amount must be based on the instruction indicated on the product’s label. 

Step 3: After that, dip the brush into the solution and use it to scrub the affected surface. You can also apply an ample amount of solution in the spray-painted area and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before scrubbing it.

Step 4: Once done, rinse the surface using the warm water you set aside earlier. Repeat the process until the paint is completely gone.

Protect Your Concrete

Removing spray paint on concrete is a meticulous, time-consuming, and laborious process. It also requires a good amount of knowledge on how to do it properly. Otherwise, you might just cause damage to your wall or floor. 

As such, it is crucial to use a suitable method and the right spray paint removing solution to avoid harsh results on concrete. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

Learn More