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How to Get Paint Off Floors

Ooops! If you’ve just spilled paint on your floor, ‘ooops’ might not be your choice of words exactly, but the meaning remains the same. You have really messed up. But before you panic, read on because you’re about to learn how to clean up the mess and have your floor looking as good as new without any damage to the area.

First things first though. What type of flooring and what kind of paint your spilled will determine the best course of action. The length of time that has lapsed is another contributing factor.

Type of Flooring Matters

The type of flooring paint is spilled on makes a huge difference. While paint comes right off most vinyl & linoleum flooring, hardwood flooring is a different story. The kind of paint matters too.

For Latex Paint

Latex paint is fairly easy to clean because it is water based. It tends to dry quickly so get to the spill as soon as possible for the easiest clean up.

Vinyl and Tile Flooring

If the paint is still up as much as you can and soak up the remainder. Mix a teaspoon of wet, simple soap detergent with a cup or two of warm water and soak a clean cloth in it. Then work on the area to remove all traces of the paint, going in circular motions, especially in any grooves, until it has disappeared. Once the area has dried, sweep and mop it.

If the spill happened long enough ago that the paint has dried, use a butter knife or painter’s putty tool to pull the paint off and then use the method above to clean the remaining paint up.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring is a little trickier than vinyl flooring because it tends to soak paint up. If the paint has not dried, remove as much as you can with a clean, damp rag – scooping it into a container. Blot up the rest with a fresh slightly damp cloth. Then working from the outside in, Mix a teaspoon of gentle dishwashing detergent to two cups or more of water. Dip a cloth in the soapy water and work in circular motions to remove the rest of the paint, being careful not to scrub the wood too hard.

Hardened latex paint can be more difficult when on wood flooring. Scrape it off with a butter knife or putty tool and then clean the area with a soapy cloth. Allow to dry. Sometimes, the area will be dull, especially if there was a sealer on it. You may need to lightly stain and seal the wood but at least you have saved your floor and won’t have to replace the entire thing.

For Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints contain additives that help it adhere to surfaces better than latex paints do which serves a good purpose except for when you accidentally spill it. Removing it is not as easy as removing latex paint. When a solvent is used, it is typically paint thinner, kerosene, acetone, or turpentine.

Vinyl and Tile Flooring

After removing as much of the paint as possible by scooping and soaking it up, dip a cloth is a mix of one teaspoon of dish detergent to a cup of warm, almost hot, water. Work in a circular motion from the outside in to get all the paint and residue off. If that doesn’t work, resort to a solvent cleaner versus the dish detergent cleaner.

If the oil-based paint is dry, pry it off with a scraping device such as a butter knife or paint scraping tool. What doesn’t come off will need to be removed using the method above.

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring and oil based paint are a great mix unless you are intentionally painting your floor. If you’re not, it will require some effort to remove the paint but it is possible with little or no damage to your wood floor.

If the paint has not dried, use a very warm soapy rag of one part dish detergent to three parts water to to remove it, working in a gentle circular motion until it is no longer on the surface. In the event that soap doesn’t cut it, try solvent but be careful to use a minimal amount on the smallest area possible because it will also take the stain and any floor finish off most likely.

If the paint is dry, use a butter knife or paint scraping tool to peel it up and then attempt to get the remainder up with a very warm, soapy cloth. If the soapy cloth doesn’t remove it all, resort to solvent. Please not that you may have to restain and/or refinish the area back to its original color but worse could happen. You could be out the expense of your entire flooring.

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