How to Get Paint Off of a Vinyl Floor

Don’t despair! Getting paint off of vinyl floors is easier than you think and you can do it without damaging your floor.

Of course, the sooner you are able to clean up paint spills or splatters from your vinyl floors the easier the cleanup will be. 

how to remove spilled paint on vinyl floor

But even if the paint has been on the floor for a while, you can still get rid of it using the right tools and a bit of elbow grease.  

In this article you’ll learn: 

  • The best ways to remove water-based, oil-based and latex paint from vinyl floors
  • Tips for removing paint from vinyl floors and protecting your floors from paint

What is the best way to remove water-based paint from a vinyl floor?

Water-based paint spills on vinyl floors can often be cleaned up very easily if you act quickly and clean it up before it dries. That said, even if it’s dried, there are easy ways to remove it.

If the water-based paint is still wet: Start by blotting up as much of the wet paint as possible with a dry cloth or paper towel. Avoid scrubbing, which can push the paint deeper into the vinyl. 

Once you’ve removed any excess paint, dampen a soft cloth with warm water and gently wipe the remaining stain. 

But what if the paint is already dry? For stubborn, dry spots, use a solvent like rubbing alcohol (you can also substitute hand sanitizer as well because of the similar alcohol makeup of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer) or mineral spirits applied to a cloth first. 

(It’s also a best practice to test solvents first on an inconspicuous area to ensure they won’t damage the flooring.) 

Depending on the difficulty of removing the paint, you can use a cloth, a hard-bristled brush or a metal scrubber

After the paint is removed, use a damp cloth to wipe down the area with a mild detergent. Then wipe off the detergent with a clean, damp cloth. And finally wipe it dry with a dry cloth.  Allow the spot to fully dry before walking on it.

Here is a great demonstration of removing paint from a vinyl floor using a metal scrubber, but be careful if you are too forceful you could scratch up the floor, so try cleaning the spots first with a cloth that you’ve applied rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or mineral spirits to:

Here’s an example of removing paint with hand sanitizer: 

How can oil-based paint be removed from a vinyl floor?

Removing oil-based paint requires solvents that can break down the tough, glossy finish, so you’ll need a bit of a different approach. 

First, find any one of these: 

  • nail polish remover
  • Turpentine
  • Krud Kutter
  • Mineral spirits  

Apply any one of the above to the spot and rub it in. 

Let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the solvent can penetrate the coating and start to soften it. 

Use a plastic scraper or bristled brush to gently pry up the bubbled paint. 

Residual solvent and paint residue can then be washed away with warm, soapy water. 

(As always: be sure to test removers first on an inconspicuous spot and check that they won’t damage the vinyl.)

Oil-based paint puts up a fight, but the right solvent makes its removal from vinyl floors possible.

Here’s an example of these options in action (though the sound is terrible!): 

What is the process for removing latex paint from vinyl floors?

Latex paint has a rubbery texture when wet that often peels up in sheets as it dries. 

If the latex paint is still wet: start by blotting up any wet paint with a clean, dry cloth. Avoid aggressive scrubbing. 

For dried latex paint, dampen a cloth with warm water and gently rub the stain. For stubborn spots, apply a solvent like rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits to a cloth and blot the area. 

The paint should soften and wipe away after a few minutes. Follow up by washing the area with a mild detergent and water. 

What tips help make paint removal from vinyl floors more effective?

Some key things to remember when tackling paint on vinyl floors: 

  • Always test products on a small, inconspicuous area first to prevent damage. 
  • Use the right tools – a plastic scraper can remove dried paint without scratching. 
  • Take your time and don’t rush through removal. 
  • Wear gloves and make sure you’ve got plenty of good ventilation when working with solvents. 
  • After applying the remover, let it sit before gently wiping away softened paint with a clean cloth. 
  • Thoroughly wash off any leftover remover or solvent residue.

What aftercare is needed for vinyl floors after paint removal?

It’s important to properly clean and restore vinyl floors after removing paint. 

Start by vacuuming up any dirt or debris, then mop using warm water to get rid of any remaining surface coating. 

For a deeper clean, use an ammonia solution or repeat mopping. 

Once thoroughly cleaned, apply a vinyl floor polish to renew the shine. DIY options include vinegar and baking soda. 

Prevent future stains by quickly cleaning spills, using furniture pads, and avoiding harsh scrubbing.

What preventative measures will keep vinyl floors protected from paint in the future?

You can avoid paint mishaps on vinyl floors by taking a few simple precautions. 

  • Always cover the floor with a plastic sheet or cloth when painting nearby. 
  • Clean up spills immediately to prevent stains. 
  • In high-traffic areas, use protective pads under furniture legs and other heavy objects that could scratch the surface over time. 
  • Avoid using overly abrasive brushes or cleaners on vinyl floors whenever possible. 
  • And implement a regular maintenance routine of sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping to keep the floors looking their best.
Picture of Tom Powell

Tom Powell

Over the last 7 years, I’ve done a bit of everything when it comes to maintaining and repairing my 110-year-old house. Installed vinyl plank and vinyl peel and stick flooring, resurfaced and stained wooden porch, leveled and installed tiling on a concrete floor, resurfaced our kitchen cabinets… It never ends, but it feels great when you finish a project yourself and end up with a beautiful new (or repaired) floor.

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Picture of Tom Powell

Tom Powell

Over the last 7 years, I’ve done a bit of everything when it comes to maintaining and repairing my 110-year-old house. Installed vinyl plank and vinyl peel and stick flooring, resurfaced and stained wooden porch, leveled and installed tiling on a concrete floor, resurfaced our kitchen cabinets… It never ends, but it feels great when you finish a project yourself and end up with a beautiful new (or repaired) floor.

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