Have you ever been in the middle of a DIY project, looked down, and realized you have spray paint all over? It has covered your hands, between your fingers, and even the creases of your knuckles. Sometimes it even pops up on other parts of your skin. Even if you’re neat and tidy you’re not safe from overspray, it’s unavoidable.
Knowing how to get spray paint off skin without irritating your skin or worse, damaging it, is part of the DIY process.
Spray paint is a fantastic option to quickly work on a DIY project, but unless you continuously keep gloves on hand and cover your entire body you will be faced with the aftermath of paint on your skin.
Here are some helpful solutions to remove spray paint off your skin so you can rest easy and go on with your day…or on to your next project!
Solutions Using Items from Home
Here are a few methods of how to get spray paint off skin you can try with items you already have at home!
Nail Polish Remover Without Acetone
A trusted brand, such as Cultex, makes a nail polish remover without acetone that is generally used to remove fingernail paint. Use a cotton ball or paper towel to lightly rub the spray paint areas. I recommend using a cotton ball or paper towel to apply the remover for easy disposal.
Please remember that with nail polish remover a little will go a long way. After your spray paint has melted off, wash the area with warm water and soap. This is a very tried and true method in my personal experience.
Nonstick Cooking Spray
Here is another method to try with items you already have at home. Head over to the kitchen and grab some nonstick cooking spray. You’re going to need to apply the cooking spray generously and use a soft cloth to rub it lightly into the areas.
If your spray paint is dried on I would recommend leaving the nonstick cooking spray on for about 10-15 seconds. Follow by washing the area with warm water and soap. Repeat if necessary.
Olive Oil and Dawn Dish Soap
Another option is the use of olive oil and Dawn dish soap. You can use the traditional olive oil you would use for cooking. You will need to apply 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil along with a few squirts of blue Dawn dish soap.
Dawn dish soap is known for achieving the deepest clean and is highly recommended, however, you can also try any other dish soap you have on hand. You’ll then need to rub it on your skin for 20-30 seconds making sure the spray-painted area is fully coated. Always follow washing the area with warm water and soap.
Check out our post on How To Remove Paint From Nearly Any Surface for more.
Natural Chemical-Free Options
If natural remedies are more your style here are some DIY recipes to try. Natural solutions are a great option without the worries of chemicals found in generic household products. If this sounds like more your speed, give these DIY natural recipes a try.
“Paint Be Gone”
This DIY “Paint Be Gone” recipe is a secret of mine using only 1/2 of a cup of coconut oil and 1/2 of a cup of baking soda. Combine to make a paste and apply this to the troubled areas. For paint stuck in hard-to-reach spots and crevices lightly scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush or q-tip and the paint should come right off!
Soybean Oil or Mineral Oil
Another natural remedy you can use is Soybean Oil or Mineral Oil. These oils can generally be found at your local health food store. To use, apply generously to the dried spray paint areas and let sit for 30 seconds or so. Follow by washing the treated area with soap and warm water.
Fractioned Coconut Oil with Lemon Essential Oil
One last natural option to try, which will also leave a pleasant scent behind, is the combined use of fractioned coconut oil with lemon essential oil. You’ll want to use a few squirts of fractioned coconut oil mixed with 2-3 drops of your favorite lemon essential oil. If there are areas that need a little more scrubbing you can use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Once the spray paint has melted off wash the area with soap and warm water.
Need Something Stronger?
If you want to have quicker solutions on hand in preparation for your spray paint projects, or you find you need something stronger to remove the paint you can try these home improvement and drug store options.
Nail Polish Remover With Acetone
The use of nail polish remover with acetone is a stronger form of nail polish remover that is used for the removal of gel and acrylic nails.
If the spray paint area on your skin is extreme and you have tried a more basic nail polish remover that isn’t quite doing the trick, you can then go ahead and try this. Please be careful as overusing this product could cause skin irritation and always avoid eye contact.
Gently apply the nail polish remover with a paper towel or q-tip for easy disposal. After your spray paint residue has finally melted off, you should follow by washing the area well with warm water and soap. This does work well for the toughest spray paint removal jobs.
You can find a few different types of wipes at your local hardware store that are great for removing spray paint. These wipes, generally located in the paint section of your store, are convenient to keep on hand and are super helpful with the solution already applied to the wipes.
Goo Gone Wipes
Goo Gone wipes are magical and can also be used to not only remove tough spray paint messes on your skin but additionally paint on wood furniture, floors, cabinets, etc.
When I was building a house, this piece of advice was passed on to me by one of our builders. You can generally find and purchase these wipes on Amazon and I’ve included the link below for your convenience. If you do choose to use these on your skin, please test a spot first to avoid skin irritation.
In the use of spray paint removal on your floor, cabinets, and wood furniture you will also want to find a hidden test spot first to make sure this solution is compatible and then proceed. Always immediately follow using warm water and soap to remove the solution from your skin and the treated areas of your home.
Spray Paint Removal Solutions To Avoid
It can sometimes be tempting as the use of these materials seem helpful but these solutions can be harmful to your skin and cause serious skin irritations.
Using paint thinner, even watered down, is not a recommended solution as it will cause serious skin irritation and harm to your skin. While this solution works well for most DIYers to remove dried-on paint on brushes and painting tools, I would not recommend testing out this method to remove spray paint from your skin.
Other Chemical Solvents
There are other various chemical solvents available out there that claim to help remove different types of paint but if possible please avoid these selections if they will be used on your skin. They too can cause severe skin irritation and can be harmful to your skin.
If you only have these types of solutions and solvents on hand and nothing else listed above to try first, I would then recommend only using a very small amount of these solvents and washing them off immediately after use.
How To Get Spray Paint Off Skin
Now that I’ve shared these secrets for how to get spray paint off skin, I hope you’ll find these to be very useful in removing spray paint off your skin after your next DIY project!
For more safety information about spray paint, you can check out Rustoelum’s MSDS here.
Feedback is also welcome, so leave a comment below and tell us what method was your favorite for spray paint removal from your skin.
I’ve been a professional painter since 2001 and spent the last 12 years specializing in kitchen cabinet refinishing. I started the DIY Painting Tips blog in 2015 to start sharing everything I’ve learned over the years and help all the people who’d rather tackle their painting projects themselves. In 2019 I started the DIY Painting Tips Youtube channel where I publish in depth videos all about kitchen cabinet painting, painting gear reviews, and interior/exterior tutorials.