How to Get Paint Off Concrete

Whether you paint your concrete driveway, patio, or home’s interior, paint spots and drips will happen. They can be caused by anything from kids fingerpainting to an accidental spill while working on a DIY spray paint project.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get paint off the concrete. Some are chemical-free, while others use standard household supplies and tools.

1. Hot Vinegar

Hot vinegar is an excellent choice to get paint off concrete without hazardous chemicals. It will break down and dissolve many different kinds of paint stains.

To start, heat a cup of white vinegar in the microwave or stove until it is about to boil. Be careful with hot liquids, as they can quickly burn.

Apply the vinegar to the affected areas and let it soak for at least 15 minutes. You should see bubbles forming as the paint loosens.

Once it’s soaking in, use a sponge or paintbrush to work the vinegar into the stain. Repeat the process until all of the paint has been loosened.

The next step is to scrape the remaining paint from the surface. This may take a few attempts, depending on the stain’s stubbornness.

2. Paint Thinner

Paint thinner is a liquid chemical that contains a wide range of solvents. It is a common ingredient in many paints, stains, and varnishes and can also be used to strip concrete and brick.

This liquid is a powerful and often hazardous substance that can be toxic to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system if not used safely. It is best used in a well-ventilated area with the proper safety equipment.

If you need to thin paint, it is essential to use a ratio appropriate for your paint type. Too much thinner can ruin the paint and cause a run or sag in the finish. Always follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions to thin the color correctly.

3. Acetone

You probably use acetone to wipe away nail polish, but this versatile chemical also works well as a cleaning agent for various other things. This solvent effectively removes paint, scuff marks, and de-sticking superglue from wood, metal, and glass surfaces.

Acetone is a colorless, flammable liquid with a fruity odor. It can occur naturally or be synthetically created to make a variety of chemicals, including solvents for paints and plastics.

It is widely used in manufacturing, chemistry, health, and beauty products. It also enters the air, water, and soil following natural processes such as forest fires but to a greater extent from human activities such as vehicle exhausts and tobacco smoke.

When applying acetone to a stain or paint drip, you can either pour it directly on top or use a small amount on a rag and allow it to sit for a few minutes before scraping off the residue. Wearing gloves, eye protection, and a respirator mask is best, as it can irritate skin, eyes, and airways.

4. Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is a powerful tool to help you get paint off the concrete. However, using it with caution and proper protective gear is essential.

There are many different types of grinding discs and wheels that an angle grinder can be used with, including abrasive discs, diamond wheels, flap discs, metal brush cups, and more. The best choice for your needs depends on the surface finish you want.

Another excellent use for an angle grinder is to remove paint or rust from metal surfaces. These tools usually have wire brush cup attachments or a plastic/nylon stripping disc that can remove the old coating without damaging the metal.

These grinding cups produce a lot of dust, so it is essential to wear a mask in addition to the proper PPE. This can include safety goggles and a pair of leather work gloves.