How to Remove Paint From Concrete

Removing dried paint from concrete surfaces can be cumbersome, especially when the wrong procedure is followed. Perhaps you need to restore your concrete with new paint and wonder how you can remove old paint. Can washing with soap clean all paint? How to Remove Paint From Concrete

Summary: Here’s how to remove paint from concrete – using a paint stripper, absorbent stripper method, trisodium phosphate, or soda blasting method such as on the driveway. In each of the following methods, you need to adhere to the correct steps and precautions to attain the best quality finish.

The decision of which paint removal method to use should be determined by the type of paint under a removal (is it acrylic or latex paint?). Besides, surface cleaning should be done sufficiently before any paint removal process begins to eliminate dust and debris.

Notably, the extent of surface area under paint removal is a factor that you shouldn’t overlook as critical to cost implication. To acquire a more in-depth insight, let us get into the details. 

See Also: How to Concrete Sealer with Muriatic Acid

Details: How to Remove Paint from Concrete

a. Paint Stripper Method

This method is used in the removal of both oil-based and water-based paints.

The paint strippers are also manufactured in various forms (for either oil-based paint removal or water-based paint removal).

You should therefore be keen when placing your order – check the type of concrete paint first.

Items Required

  • Paint striper and soap
  • Deck brush and scrapper
  • Eye goggles and overall
  • Waterpoint and power wash
  • Face mask and gloves
  • Respirator

Steps to Follow

  1. Wear the protective gear – painting goggles, face mask, respirator, gloves, and overall
  2. Clean the concrete surface with a steel brush – scrub gently to remove debris
  3. Prepare the paint stripper according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Using a paintbrush or a roller, apply the paint stripper.
  5. Allow the paint stripper to cure for about 10 minutes.
  6. Using a scraper, scrub the surface gently to remove the paint debris
  7. Connect the power wash or hosepipe to the water point and clean the scrubbed area entirely.
  8. Reapply paint stripper until the paint is entirely removed
  9. Finally, clean the surface with soapy water and a concrete deck brush to remove traces of paint stripper from the surface.
  10. Leave the concrete surface to dry naturally.

NB: Paint stripper contains methylene chlorine (a toxic chemical), which is burns skin or irritates the respiratory system when inhaled. 

See Also: How to Paint Concrete

b. Absorbent Paint Stripper

This particular method is suitable for cleaning thick paint layers from concrete (either acrylic or latex paint).

You will need to consider the concrete paint before purchasing the absorbent paint stripper.

Items Required

  • Absorbent paint striper and scrapper
  • Respirator and Deck brush
  • Dust coat and eye goggles
  • Waterpoint and power washer
  • Gloves and Face mask
  • Thinner or turpentine
  • Wire brush

Steps to Follow

  • Put on the protective gear and clean the concrete surface with a wire brush to remove surface dirt or debris.
  • Prepare the absorbent paint striper paste – follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Gently apply the paint stripper paste over the painted concrete – ensure your seal all the points, including the basement.
  • Add thinner or turpentine over the surface, where necessary to boost cure action, and leave the paste to act on the paint for 30 minutes.
  • Scour the surface with a paint scraper gently to remove paint debris
  • Clean the concrete surface with a power washer to remove paint remnants
  • Rinse the surface with clean water and leave it to dry.

You can repeat the procedure in case the first paste didn’t remove the paint sufficiently.

Always ensure the absorbent paint striper sticks sufficiently on the concrete surface to improve paint bond breaking and cure action.

Avoid thinning the surface before applying the absorbent paint striper.

c. Soda Blasting Method

The soda blasting method is suitable for commercial paint removal from concrete surfaces – just like using concrete grinders.

The technique guarantees excellent paint removal and protects the concrete surface from destruction.

However, this method is slightly expensive as compared to other alternatives. The soda Blasting method can be used to remove both oil-based and water-based paint.

Items Required

  • Blasting unit/machine – pot blast
  • Industrial sodium bicarbonate – baking soda
  • Water source and respirator
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Power source and brush

Steps to Follow

  • Wear protective gear – protects you from debris and blasting chemicals.
  • Clean the surface with a wire brush – scrub gently
  • Prepare the sodium bicarbonate in a pot blast – follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Connect the basting unit to the power source and switch on – ensure the valves are airtight before you witch on
  • Position yourself one foot away from the painted concrete and gently direct the soda gust over the painted surface.
  • Run the soda gust over the painted concrete until the paint is completely removed
  • Rinse the surface with clean water to wash away sodium bicarbonate remains.
  • Repeat the process until the paint is completely removed – it also removes rust.

Sodium bicarbonate is environmentally friendly – it won’t cause any pollution. However, the high pH of sodium bicarbonate damages flowers, trees, and bushes. Avoid close application near vegetation.

Notably, sodium bicarbonate irritates the nasal cavity when inhaled. See Also: Degreaser for Concrete.

  1. Trisodium phosphate

TSP is an instant action method of removing spray paint (acrylic or latex paint) from a concrete surface. The chemical works by breaking the paint compound into liquid form that more comfortable to wife off.

Items Required

  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Steel brush and scrapper
  • Warm water and roller
  • Soapy detergent and cloth
  • Waterpoint and respirator
  • Eye goggles and dust coat

Steps to Follow

  • Put on the protective gear and clean the painted concrete surface with a steel brush to remove dust and debris.
  • Dilute TSP with warm water appropriately – follow manufacturer’s instruction
  • Using a roller, apply the TSP solution gently over the painted surface.
  • Leave the surface to cure for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Scrap the paint layer using scrapper softly until the paint is full removed
  • Repeat the process; if the paint is not entirely removed.
  • Clean the surface with soapy detergent and water to remove traces of TSP
  • Rinse the concrete with water and leave it to dry naturally

NB: TSP is poisonous and should be handled with care – inhaling TSP will irritate your nasal cavity and cause skin irritation. More so, TSP is outlawed in some countries. 

See Also: Removing Spray Paint from Concrete

What are Homemade Methods of Paint Removal from Concrete

Apart from the commercial method of paint removal from concrete, you can prepare your homemade paint cleaning strategy. Some of these include:

1. Using Ammonia

Ammonia solution mainly removes latex paint (water-based sufficiently) without affecting the primary concrete material. Though the ammonium solution still works for oil-based paints, the paint removal effectiveness is a bit low.

To begin with, dilute the ammonia solution appropriately before applying it over the painted surface. Then, carry out a drop experiment to ascertain the effectiveness of paint removal over a given surface before the actual application.

Leave ammonium coated concrete surface for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing gently with a steel brush (to remove paint).

Then, wash the concrete surface with soap and water before rinsing with clean water to remove ammonia traces and paint debris.

Ammonium solution emits poisonous fumes, which irritates the respiratory system when inhaled – you should use a respirator during paint removal.

See Also: Quality Penetrating Concrete Sealer

2. Using Soapy Detergent and Brush

Soap detergents have a chemical formulation that breaks latex paint (water-based paint) instantly upon contact. Dilute soapy detergent sufficiently and apply over the painted concrete surface.

Leave the surface to cure for about 20 minutes before scrubbing with a brush to remove paint debris. Further, wash the surface with a cloth soaked in soap to achieve an excellent finish before rinsing with clean water.

Soapy detergent is the best method to remove wet paint over the concrete surface in painting error. However, dried acrylic paint can’t be removed by soapy detergent.

Wear hand gloves during paint removal since soap irritates skin upon contact.

3. Use of Alcohol

Alcohol is suitable for the removal of latex paint over the concrete surface. Apply alcohol over painted concrete and leave it for 10 minutes to cure. Using a scraper, remove that quenched paint gently.

You can also scrub the paint/stain using a steel brush – this is more suitable since it penetrates the concrete grain nicely without damaging the structure.

Wash the concrete surface with soap and water (remove alcohol traces) and rinse with clean water to wash out paint debris. Leave the surface to dry naturally.

Though alcohol is not poisonous to human health, inhaling may irritate non-user nasal cavity (wear a respirator during application).

NB: Highly concentrated alcohol may damage concrete during paint removal.

4. Heat Gun

The heat gun method is the best method for removing small paint section from concrete. Connect the heat gun to the power source and gently pass the heated air over the painted surface.

The heat breaks down the chemical bonds into a simple liquid state that can be scraped more comfortably. Scrub the paint off and wash the surface with water and soap before rinsing to dry.

Though heat gun works for latex paint, it should be used best for removing acrylic paint (oil-based paint) from concrete.

Heat gun requires a power supply; thus, it is an unsuitable method for remote areas. More so, this method is slightly expensive and requires a specialized heat gun user.

Precautions to take When Removing Paint from Concrete

To attain excellent paint removal from concrete, you will have to follow the precautions highlighted below:

  1. Always clean the painted concrete surface before starting the paint removal process – it improves and eases paint removal.
  2. Never smell paint striper of any commercial chemical meant for removing paint from concrete. Most of these compounds contain components that irritate the respiratory system when inhaled.
  3. Always wear protective gears when removing paint from concrete, i.e., gloves, overalls, gloves, respirator, and goggles. They protect you from harmful chemicals, fumes, and particles dislodge during paint removal.
  4. Always identify the type of concrete paint before you purchase a paint stripper. Each chemical is manufactured for a particular kind of stain.
  5. Thin acrylic painted concrete surface appropriately before implementing the paint removal process.
  6. Never use excessive force (scrubbing) during paint removal – you may damage the concrete primary layer structure.
  7. Consider homemade paint removal methods for small paint patches.
  8. If you get into skin contact with paint stripper chemical, wash the point with plenty of clean water.
  9. Always carry out a drop rest experiment when removing paint from concrete with chemicals or homemade solvents to ascertain the removal efficiency.
  10. If you are not conversant with a particular paint removal method, it’s advisable to consult an expert to do it for you.


Having read this article on how to remove paint from concrete, I hope you have acquired in-depth insight for your DIY projects too. Methods like paint stripper, soda blasting, TSP, and absorbent stripper guarantee excellent removal performance if proper procedure is followed.

Alternatively, you can opt for homemade options highlighted in this article for small paint patches to save cost and time.

Precautions are vital and should be adhered to since human health is paramount. Always wear protective gear during the paint removal process.

Notably, know the paint under removal before choosing a method to use on a particular concrete surface.

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