How To Remove Spray Paint From Walls (5-Step Guide)

Wondering how to remove spray paint from the walls? Don't worry, we've got you covered!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, you'll learn:

  • What you need to know about removing spray paint from walls
  • Supplies you'll need to remove spray paint from walls
  • The steps required to remove spray paint from walls

And much more!

How to Remove Spray Paint from a Wall

Spray paint can be a useful tool for some DIY projects, like refinishing simple pieces or applying a quick coat of color to an object.  

However, it can become a nuisance pretty quickly, either from your own use or leftover from someone else.  

If you purchased a foreclosed home or an abandoned property, you no doubt encountered spray paint on the walls.  

If you worked on a DIY project inside your house, you have no doubt encountered the same, but for different reasons.  

The question becomes, then, how do we remove this spray paint from the walls?  

Drywall is sensitive material, and you want to avoid damaging it at all costs if you can.  But you don’t want to have spray paint on the wall.  So, let’s take a look at what actions you can take to get this frustrating paint off the wall.

What You Need to Know About Removing Spray Paint from Walls

Spray Paint is fairly impressive in terms of adhesive properties.  That makes it great for staying adhered to surfaces upon which it should be, but it makes it extremely frustrating when it has been applied somewhere it was not intended to be.  

At the same time, drywall and interior surfaces are not very forgiving as they can be easily damaged, and the spray paint is typically applied over paint - paint which you’d like to keep.  

Most solvents will remove any and all paints from the surface, scrubbing it bare of the paint you want to keep.  So, removing spray paint from walls can be very challenging.  There are several different options for this removal process.  

We'll try our best to avoid using a pressure washer, but if you feel like you need one after you've used paint thinner or graffiti remover, you can.

Did you know: Spray paint is actually some of the most durable paint on the market.  It's even more adhesive than latex-paints and it dries much faster.

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Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Supplies You’ll Need To Remove Spray Paint From Walls

Depending on how well the removal process goes initially, you’ll need to have several different options for removing the spray paint from the walls.  The further down this list you go, the more damaging your work will be, so be forewarned.

  • A paint remover or graffiti remover - If you can manage to get the paint off of the porous surfaces with a simple solvent, your job will be done.  However, this is unlikely to be the case.  Mineral spirits are another potential solution for graffiti removal.
  • Sponge/magic eraser - A sponge or magic eraser, or even just a rag, can be used to scrub the spray paint once you’ve applied the paint remover.  You can also try and use a toothbrush to give you a soft scrub.  The bristles will be less damaging to the porous surfaces than a paint scraper would be.
  • WD-40 - A surprisingly effective paint remover, WD-40 can be used in a pinch to remove spray paint.  However, it is more damaging to the wall than other solvents.
  • Paint scraper - if you get to the point where the solvent is working some, but the paint is not coming off, you’ll probably have to get a paint scraper to remove the layer of paint.  
  • Putty - You may well damage the wall in the process.  If that’s the case, you’ll need to have putty on hand to patch it up and fix the damage you’ve caused.
  • Spare paint - Hopefully you have the original paint from the wall on hand.  If so, bring it out to paint over the damage.  It may be worth it to just go over the spray paint with a few coats instead of trying to remove it.

Read More >> How to Remove Spray Paint From Any Surface

How To Remove Spray Paint From Walls (5-Step Guide)

  1. Test your paint remover
  2. Apply the solvent and scrub
  3. Scrape if you can’t scrub
  4. Fix the damage
  5. Paint your wall

Step 1 - Test your paint remover 

The first step in any project involving removing paint should be to test out the paint remover on a secluded area.  

Many solvents and paint removers will damage the paint on your wall, so it is very important that you take a minute to test it out somewhere out of sight.  Check it after 15-20 minutes to see if it has caused damage.  

If it hasn’t done anything, then feel free to proceed.  If it has, then you’ll probably need to change tacks and try something else, or prepare for the eventuality that you’ll damage your wall.  

If you don't have lacquer remover or stripper, you can test out using a combination of warm water and baking soda to get the paint off your brick wall or other surface. 

Step 2 - Apply the solvent and scrub

The next step is to get scrubbing.  If you’ve settled on a paint remover, you can use paint thinner and apply it to the spray paint and begin scrubbing to see if you can safely remove it.  

Your magic eraser, rag, paper towels, or sponge will come in very handy here, because you’ll need to apply some strong scrubbing to get it off.  Some people even use steel wool.  

You will probably cause some surface damage to the wall if you do this, but this can be fixed later.

Step 3 - Scrape if you can’t scrub 

If the scrubbing doesn’t work, you’re likely past the point of avoiding damage to your wall.  Take a paint scraper and begin scraping off the layer of paint.  

This will take off the layer of regular paint beneath the spray paint, so you will be stripping the wall.  

However, you will hopefully be able to remove all the spray paint with this action, and your wall will be clean, albeit a bit damaged.

Step 4 - Fix the damage

Repairing what you’ve messed up is just as important as getting the spray paint off, because if your wall is damaged and scraped up, it will look just as bad as if it had the spray paint still on it.  

Most likely, you’ll need to use the putty to repair any gouges or scrapes you’ve put into the wall.  

Putty is not difficult to apply, but you’ll need to make sure you do it right and get it smoothed out properly to look seamless with the rest of the wall.  If you can do that, your wall should look brand new - although missing some paint.

Step 5 - Paint your wall 

Honestly, it’s unlikely that you avoided painting the wall in the end.  

The problem with trying to paint it initially is that the spray paint is typically a darker color that will show through, which would require several coats of paint.  

When you apply several coats of paint like that, it can look uneven, being thicker or darker than the rest of the paint around it.  

After you’ve fixed your wall, though, the paint can blend a lot more smoothly with the surrounding area, making it seem more natural.  

Paint your wall and do any touch ups to the surrounding area, and you should be finished with your project.

Read More >> How to Remove Spray Paint From Bricks

Want To Just Skip All This Research And Hire A Decent Professional For Your Paint Job?

Click here to check out our pro painter search tool where we instantly send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) painters in your local area.

Process Takes About 30 Seconds

Other Valuable Resources for Removing Spray Paint from Your Wall

The best way to remove spray paint from your wall is to avoid getting it on there altogether.  

If you’re working on a DIY project at home, make sure to put down drop cloths or plastic sheeting keep the spray paint off your walls.  

The preventative measures will be much more effective at taking care of your paint than the scraping and scrubbing will.  If you don't overspray, you won't have to worry about putting in all the elbow grease to get it off in the end.

If you need more help removing spray paint, you can check out the video below that will walk you through the process in more detail, step by step.  

Final Thoughts on How to Remove Spray Paint from a Wall

Whatever the cause, spray paint is not permanent.  You may feel a bit of trepidation trying to remove it from your walls in your house, but it is an easy solution in the end.  

If you’re working on a house flip or renovation project, it may not be as daunting simply because you’re already planning on fixing up the walls and repainting them.  

Either way, don’t stress too much about this project, because people have perfected the art of removing spray paint from walls, even if it requires fixing some damage to the wall in the process.  

Most paint projects are forgiving, in that you can fix any mistakes, and this is no exception.  

Take care of your walls today and begin removing that spray paint,  Solvents and paint removers will help you, and extra paint and putty can act as your do-over button in case you make a dire error.

Read More >> How to Get Ride of Spray Paint Smell

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Matthew Cain

Matthew Cain

Painting has always been more than just a hobby in my life. Since I first started small painting jobs on the side in high school and early college, I loved the chance to test out new tools and refine my painting skills. In fact, it became much more than a hobby - I used it to pay my way through college and then some while I was looking for jobs after I graduated. I may not be the most seasoned professional on the block, but painting is in my blood - and on most of my shirts. I earned my Master Painter Certification right after college, and I believe the lessons I learned can be useful to others. Hopefully I can help you learn how to not accidentally stain the side of a house while painting a pergola or avoid ruining your brand new table with some off color paint as I teach you how to navigate the world of painting with ProPaintCorner.

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Matthew Cain

Matthew Cain

Painting has always been more than just a hobby in my life. Since I first started small painting jobs on the side in high school and early college, I loved the chance to test out new tools and refine my painting skills. In fact, it became much more than a hobby - I used it to pay my way through college and then some while I was looking for jobs after I graduated. I may not be the most seasoned professional on the block, but painting is in my blood - and on most of my shirts. I earned my Master Painter Certification right after college, and I believe the lessons I learned can be useful to others. Hopefully I can help you learn how to not accidentally stain the side of a house while painting a pergola or avoid ruining your brand new table with some off color paint as I teach you how to navigate the world of painting with ProPaintCorner.

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