How to remove spray paint overspray

Updated February 21, 2017

Removing paint drips and splatters can be a tedious, difficult endeavour. Because spray paint over-spray tends to go on light and wispy, the adhesives usually do not soak into the surface and bond. If you need to remove spray paint over-spray, appropriate removal techniques are necessary to avoid causing damage to the underlying surface.

Lay the fabric flat on top of a wood board.

Apply a few drops of olive oil to the over-spray.

Allow the olive oil to soak into the over-spray for four minutes. Scrape away the over-spray with a plastic putty knife.

Wipe the olive oil from the fabric with a rag dampened with turpentine.

Wash the fabric with dish-washing detergent.

Remove as much of the over-spray as possible with a pressure washer.

Apply lacquer thinner to the over-spray.

Scrape away the over-spray with a wire brush.

Rinse the surface with the pressure washer.

Apply a few drops of olive oil to a rag.

Apply olive oil to the over-spray with the rag.

Wrap the wide scraping-end of the plastic putty knife with a rag.

Scrape the over-spray free using the plastic putty knife buffered with the rag.


Do not use a metal putty knife in place of a plastic one as this may scratch and scar the underlying surface. Do not mistake turpentine for lacquer thinner, a much harsher solvent. Do not use an unbuffered plastic putty knife to scrape over-spray away from wood, plastic, fibreglass, or vinyl or you may scratch and scar the underlying surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood board
  • Clean rags
  • Olive oil
  • Turpentine
  • Detergent
  • Terry cloths
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Pressure washer
  • Wire brush
  • Lacquer thinner
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.