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How To Clean Paint Spills from Concrete

Concrete floors in the garage, basement or rec room can get stained by paint from redecorating, art projects, and storage mishaps. Removing the paint while fresh and wet is the best option, but there are methods that can alleviate dried stains as well. This recommendations are geared towards standard concrete floors. For glazed and decorative floors refer to the specific articles in this section. Materials can vary, so remember to test techniques and cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous spot before using on a wider area.

Wet Paint Spills

If there's been a large spill, such as a full paint can tipping over, quickly place newspaper around the perimeter of the stain, and throw kitty litter over the stain itself. These materials will need to be gathered and removed before beginning the stain removal process, but are helpful in preventing the stain from spreading and buys you time to gather your cleaning supplies. In this case, get paper towels, a bucket, mild dish liquid, sponges and garbage bags for easy disposal.

Work a section at a time, from the perimeter of the stain towards the center - paint stains tend to be thicker at the center, so if you start from the middle you will tend to force the stain outwards. Use paper towels to absorb as much paint as possible, and then discard. Avoid scrubbing, using a blotting motion instead to avoid spreading and forcing the stain further into the concrete.

Once the bulk of the paint has been removed, mix a lightly sudsy solution of mild dish liquid and water in the bucket. Sponge the residue away gently, rinsing the sponge regularly and refreshing the cleaning solution as necessary. At this stage, if there's concern that the paint will dry before the remainder can be wiped up, the paint can be lubricated with a small amount of glycerin, dabbed on with a paper towel or cotton ball.

After paint removal is complete, wipe away with a clean sponge wet with water to remove any remaining residue. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly.

Dried Paint Spills

Sweep away and remove any loose debris. Use a putty knife or scraper to remove excess paint. If there is residue left, dampen a rag with a non-flammable commercial paint remover and place over the stain. For commercial paint removers as well as household substitutes such as acetone, test in an inconspicuous area and observe the safety and handling instructions recommended by the manufacturer. Allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the rag and work on the softened stain with a clean sponge and lightly sudsy solution of water and mild dish liquid. If necessary, use paper towels to remove excess moisture and repeat the application of paint remover or acetone. After paint removal is complete, wipe away with a clean sponge wet with water to remove any remaining residue. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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