How to Remove Spray Paint from Plastic

How to Remove Spray Paint from Plastic


Given how non-porous and smooth plastic can be, it is hard for paint to create a permanent bond, meaning it should be easier to remove it than on many other surfaces. However, it is still vital to know how to do it correctly.

While you can still scrape off paint from plastic even when it dries, it is always better to remove it as soon as possible. But, regardless of your situation, the job should be easy if you have the right supplies.

Things You Will Need

  • Paint thinner
  • Clean towels/rags
  • Paint scraper
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Acetone, vegetable oil or rubbing alcohol (optional)

Step-by-step Guide

1. Clean the Surface

Before you start working on the plastic surfaces’ paint, you should always clean them to remove debris and dirt. Sometimes even using warm water can be enough to remove paint from the plastic surface when it is still wet.

Hence, just cleaning the surface with warm water might be enough in some cases. After cleaning, make sure you dry the surface with some clean rags.

2. Soften Paint with Thinner

The next step is to soften the paint with a paint thinner. Here you should mix at least 20% of paint thinner with water because making it more potent can easily damage the plastic.

Furthermore, make sure you test a small area of the plastic surface before applying it to the entire piece to ensure it is safe.

You can then rub or brush the paint thinner onto the plastic surface and make sure you do not leave it for too long. Besides paint thinner, you can use vegetable oil to soften the paint.

3. Wipe the Paint Thinner

After leaving the paint thinner for a few minutes, you should start seeing the paint peeling off or bubbling.

When this happens, you can rub it off with a clean towel. But, if there is still a lot of paint remaining on the surface, add thinner and repeat the process.

Moreover, you can try something different like acetone or rubbing alcohol as they might be effective at softening the specific paint type you have. Remember to wipe off the excess product after a few minutes and then rinse the surface with water to remove all the residue.

4. Scrape Off the Remaining Paint

 Even if you do everything mentioned above, you might still end up with some paint residue. In such instances, a scraper can be very helpful.

Ensure the scraper has a soft material and the tips are not too sharp to ensure you do not damage the surface when scrapping. Also, make sure you only scrape the paint and not the plastic surface.

5. Rinse with Moist Towel

The last step is to wipe the surface with a damp towel. Doing this allows you to remove any paint residue still clinging on the surface and get rid of products like acetone or paint thinner that can damage the plastic.

Depending on the surface you are dealing with, you can also clean it with warm water and dish soap. If you like the results after cleaning, the job should be over. But if not, you can repeat the process starting with step 2 above.


While removing spray paint from non-porous materials like plastic is not the most hectic job, it can still be quite tedious if you do not know what you are doing.

But, with a few minutes to spare for the job, a scraper, paint thinner, warm water and some clean rags, you should remove paint from plastic with ease. That said, you should always cover plastic parts well when spray painting to avoid costly and time-consuming repairs.