How to Get Old Paint Off Concrete

Updated February 21, 2017

Concrete is used to make a variety of items, including driveways, sidewalks, garage floors and retaining walls. When painting near or on the concrete, sometimes accidental paint spills will occur and the paint can go unseen for quite a while. Old paint that has remained on the concrete surface can take a bit of time and work to remove. Whether you are removing oil- or water-based paint from the concrete surface, the project will require some simple tools and techniques.

Protect surrounding furniture or woodwork by placing plastic dust sheets over the items and securing them with painter's tape.

Wear gloves, a filter mask and goggles.

Spray the dried paint with water. Allow the water to sit on the paint until it begins to dissolve.

Dip a wire brush into a solution of warm water and two to three drops of dish soap. Brush the dissolved paint with the wire brush.

Wipe any remaining dissolved paint off the concrete surface with a water-dampened sponge. Allow the concrete time to dry before using.

Open nearby windows or doors to ventilate the area and remove harsh fumes. Wear gloves, a filter mask and goggles.

Apply a liberal amount of chemical paint stripper to the oil-based paint. Allow the stripper to soak and penetrate the oil-based paint for at least 30 minutes.

Scrape as much of the oil-based paint from the concrete as possible with a razor blade. Sweep the loosened pieces of paint away from the concrete with a broom and dustpan.

Soak the oil-based paint with chemical paint stripper a second time if any paint remains on the concrete surface. Allow the stripper to sit for 30 minutes.

Brush the remaining oil-based paint from the concrete with a wire brush. Sweep any loose pieces of paint from the concrete with the broom and dustpan.

Dip a clean sponge into soapy water, and wash the concrete free of any lingering stripper residue. Allow the concrete time to dry before using.


Use a power washer to remove paint from the surface of exterior concrete. Always follow the directions given with chemical paint strippers.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic dust sheets
  • Painter's tape
  • Gloves
  • Filter mask
  • Goggles
  • Wire brush
  • Dish soap
  • 2 clean sponges
  • Chemical paint stripper
  • Razor blade
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Power washer
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About the Author

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on gardening and home improvement topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.