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how to get paint off laminate floors

Many homeowners adore their laminate flooring, and with good reason. It’s a durable option that’s reasonably easy to maintain. Plus, high-quality versions can resemble genuine hardwood. That’s why, if you spill paint on it while working on a project, the first thought that crosses your mind is how to get paint off laminate flooring.

Getting paint off laminate flooring isn’t as challenging as you’d expect. Start by using a vacuum to pick up any dirt and debris. Next, you can try a white vinegar solution to scrub the paint off. If that doesn’t work, you can try stronger chemicals, such as acetone.

However, there are other approaches. Additionally, you might need to switch up your strategy depending on whether the paint is wet or dry or the type of paint involved. If you need to figure out how to get paint off laminate flooring, here’s what you need to know.

Does Paint Damage Laminate Flooring?

In most cases, paint either won’t harm laminate flooring, or any damage will be reasonably minor. This is typically true when the paint is still wet, as well as if it’s dried and left in place for some time.

Typically, if paint causes any harm to your laminate flooring, it mainly impacts the finish. If your floor is glossy, removing the paint spill may lead to a dull spot. Fortunately, you may be able to use laminate floor polish to restore the shine.

In rare cases, it may damage the protective coating on the surface of your laminate. In that case, you may need to reseal your laminate floor.

However, if you have replacement boards available, you could also install them in the spot where the damage occurred. While that can be a significant undertaking, it does solve the problem.

Will Paint Stain Laminate Flooring?

Typically, paint won’t stain laminate flooring if it’s cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time. If it’s left to sit, whether the paint stains the laminate may depend on the type and hue.

In most cases, stains are more likely if your laminate flooring is lighter and the paint is darker or bright. Additionally, highly pigmented paints may increase the odds of staining.

The condition of the protective top layer can also play a role. When the protective coating is damaged, it’s easier for the paint to penetrate into the lower layers. As a result, any color paint can then leave some discoloration behind.

If your floors are newer or incredibly well-maintained and sealed, any staining may be limited to the top layer. In that situation, you can often remove the stain with the right cleaners and some elbow grease, though you may have to apply polish or reseal the floor to restore shine.

How to Get Wet Paint off Laminate Flooring

1. Dab Up Excess Paint with a Damp Rag

If you have wet paint on your laminate flooring, the first step you’ll want to take is dabbing up as much as possible. Use a damp rag to make it more effective.

Ideally, you want to avoid wiping motions, especially if there is a large amount of paint puddled up. Wiping can spread the paint across your floor, increasing the odds that it’ll end up in the crevices between the boards, which are harder to clean.

If you get the bulk of the paint up, you can transition to wiping with a clean, damp rag instead. Just make sure to rub along the length of the plank, stopping before you get to any crevices between the boards.

2. Use a Vinegar Solution

If a damp rag isn’t enough to remove all of the paint, transition to a vinegar solution. Take a spray bottle and combine equal parts distilled water, distilled white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Next, add in a few drops of gentle, ammonia- and bleach-free liquid dish soap.

Once all of the components are in the spray bottle, put the lid on and gently shake it to combine. Adjust the nozzle to a mist-like setting (versus a forceful, jet-like spray), and lightly spritz the paint. Use a clean rag to gently rub the paint in a small, circular motion, ensuring you don’t wipe it across the plank as you work.

Continue spritzing and rubbing, transitioning to clean parts of the rag as you work. Once you’re done, consider rinsing by using a clean damp rag before drying the spot off with a dry cloth.

How to Get Dried Paint off Laminate Flooring

1. Vacuum to Remove Debris

If you’re dealing with dry paint on your laminate flooring, the first step you need to take is to vacuum. That will remove surface dirt and dust, allowing more of any cleaners or paint removers to come into direct contact with the paint.

2. Use a Vinegar Solution

After vacuuming, it’s time for a vinegar solution. Generally, this is one of the gentlest options available, but it can still be very effective.

Begin by making the solution using the process in the section above. If you’re using a spray bottle, gently mist the paint. Then, take a clean, soft cloth and use a steady, moderate pressure rubbing motion to wipe the paint, ensuring you go with the grain.

If you aren’t using a spray bottle, you can take a clean, soft rag and dampen it slightly with the vinegar solution. After that, use the same rubbing process as described above.

As you work, make sure to rinse the rag frequently. Additionally, apply more vinegar solution – either by using a spray bottle or dipping the rag and wringing it out – and continue scrubbing.

Ideally, you want to continue this step until paint is no longer coming off your floor. In some cases, this may be all you need to do to remove the paint altogether. If not, move on to the next step once the paint is no longer coming up in this way, ensuring you rinse the floor with clean water before proceeding.

3. Try Window Cleaner

If the vinegar doesn’t work, you can try using a window cleaner. You’ll need a version with ammonia, as it’s actually the ammonia that will break down the paint.

Ultimately, the process is similar to the one for the vinegar solution. Take the window cleaner and spritz the paint. Then, rub the paint with a dry, soft cloth.

As you work, you want to make sure that the window cleaner does sit too long on your flooring, so make sure to wipe it away with a clean rag. Otherwise, continue misting and rubbing until the paint is gone or you’re no longer removing paint using this process. Then, rinse the spot with a clean, damp rag before proceeding to the next step.

4. Use Denatured Alcohol

While the vinegar solution contains alcohol, if you’re dealing with particularly stubborn paint, you may want to try denatured alcohol to clean up the spot. Again, the process is similar to the ones above.

Begin by taking a clean cloth and applying a small amount of denatured alcohol. Apply moderate pressure as you rub at the paint spot, reapplying the denatures alcohol as needed. Continue that process until the paint is gone or you’re no longer removing paint. After that, rinse before letting the floor dry or moving on to the next step.

5. Move on to Chemical Paint Removers

If the vinegar solution isn’t doing the trick, it’s time consider using more potent paint removers. If you’re dealing with water-based paint, acetone or nail polish remover containing acetone is the simplest place to start.

Acetone essentially breaks down the bonds in water-based paint, allowing you to wipe it up. Take a clean, soft rag and apply a small amount of acetone or nail polish remover. Gently rub it across the paint, working carefully to ensure the acetone doesn’t contact your flooring directly.

Let the acetone sit on the paint for a moment, allowing the chemical to break it down. Then, add a bit more acetone to the cloth and carefully scrub the paint. As you work, make sure to transition to clean spots on the cloth regularly and reapply the acetone as needed, continuing until the paint is gone.

If you have oil-based paint on your laminate flooring, you’ll want to use another solvent. Both turpentine and white spirit are worth considering. You can use the same approach as the acetone method above, simply using the turpentine or white spirit instead of acetone as you work.

Once you’re done removing the water- or oil-based paint, make sure to rinse your floor with a clean, damp rag. That allows you to wipe away any remaining chemicals, reducing the chances that they’ll damage your flooring.

How to Get Water-Based Paint off Laminate Floor

If you need to get water-based paint off laminate flooring, the steps listed above can work well. If the paint is wet, dab up as much as possible with a damp rag, moving onto the vinegar solution if needed. Usually, that will handle the issue without any further steps.

If the paint is dry, vacuum first. After that, use the vinegar solution to clean up as much of the paint as possible. At times, that step may be enough to solve your paint problem.

However, if you still have remaining paint, continue through the process. Move on to window cleaner before trying denatured alcohol. Finally, give a chemical paint remover a try. Just make sure you rinse between each step, as that reduces the risk of chemicals mixing that can lead to harmful reactions.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Laminate Flooring

In most cases, the process for removing acrylic paint from laminate flooring is the same one you’d use for water-based paint. Most acrylic paint is water-based, so they’re easy to clean up, particularly when wet.

However, thanks to certain chemicals, acrylic paint can become water-resistant once it dries. Even with that, the process outlined above works well, so use the instructions for removing water-based paint from your laminate flooring, and you’ll likely see positive results overall.

Will Paint Thinner Damage Laminate Flooring?

Paint thinner is a popular option for cleaning up paint spills. However, if you’re using them on laminate flooring, you do want to exercise caution along the way.

Generally, paint thinners like turpentine and white spirit are reasonable options if you’re trying to remove dry oil-based paint from a surface, including laminate. However, it’s usually best to view them as last-resort options.

Paint thinners are far harsher than many alternative approaches. As a result, the odds that they’ll damage the finish of your laminate flooring are higher. By only turning to paint thinners after exhausting all other approaches, you remove as much paint as possible using gentler strategies first, ensuring you can limit your use of paint thinner.

Can You Use Magic Eraser on Laminate Flooring?

You can use a Magic Eraser on laminate floors. In fact, it can be particularly effective at removing dried-on gunk and grime, as the material involved is abrasive.

However, since a Magic Eraser is abrasive, it can make your flooring look dull. Essentially, it will leave tiny scratches as you clean, altering how light bounces off of the finish. In turn, your laminate flooring won’t seem as glossy, though you may be able to fix the issue with laminate floor polish.

Overuse of a Magic Eraser could potentially damage the protective layer on the surface of your laminate. As an abrasive material, it can slowly scratch away the coating. If you scrub your laminate floors with a Magic Eraser frequently, it could eventually wear through the protective layer.

Will Goo Gone Take Paint off Laminate Flooring?

Many people turn to Goo Gone to remove paint from laminate flooring. Goo Gone Latex Paint Clean Up is particularly effective for many water-based paint spills. However, it’s crucial to follow the directions carefully, as Goo Gone isn’t ideal for all materials.

The type of Goo Gone you use matters, each version may have precautions relating to different materials. You’ll need to read the warnings carefully to determine if it’s safe for your laminate flooring.

Additionally, allowing Goo Gone to sit for longer than recommended could increase the odds of accidental damage. As a result, you want to work quickly, ensuring it doesn’t remain in contact with your flooring any longer than absolutely necessary.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Damage Laminate Flooring?

In most cases, rubbing alcohol won’t damage laminate flooring when it’s properly applied. In some cases – such as the vinegar cleaning solution outlined above – diluting the rubbing alcohol reduces the risk. Additionally, using only small amounts, working quickly, and ensuring that errant drops don’t sit on the surface can make harm less likely.

When used at full strength and left to sit, rubbing alcohol could lead to mild surface discoloration. Usually, this involves the top protective clear coat looking cloudy. In some cases, you can correct the discoloration by cleaning the area and applying a new layer of laminate floor polish. However, whether that will work depends on the severity of the damage.

Can You Use Acetone on Laminate Flooring?

Technically, you can use acetone – including nail polish remover with acetone – to clean up messes on your laminate floor. However, exercising caution is essential.

Acetone can break down a wide range of materials, including some floor polishes and finishes. As a result, you want to proceed carefully if you’re using acetone on your laminate flooring.

For example, applying a small amount to a clean rag and gently dabbing or wiping the mess can limit direct contact with your flooring. As a result, you may see less damage.

Similarly, working quickly and wiping up the excess acetone immediately can make a difference. This gives the acetone less time to break down any surface protections on your laminate, making discoloration or damage less likely.

Safety Tips for Removing Paint from Laminate Flooring

Before you start removing paint from your laminate flooring, you’ll want to take some safety precautions. First, it’s wise to don an array of personal protective equipment (PPE). Options like safety goggles, gloves, and breathing masks reduce your direct exposure to cleaners and chemicals, reducing your odds of harm.

Second, ensure the area is well-ventilated. Specific cleaners and chemicals are harmful to breathe, particularly if they build up in the air. With proper ventilation, air flow improves, making it less risky.

Third, it’s usually best to start with the gentlest available option first. It’s far less risky to try white vinegar solutions than it is to work with acetone or paint thinner. By beginning with the safer option, you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary danger.

How to Protect Laminate Floors When Painting

If you want to ensure you don’t have to worry about how to get paint off laminate flooring, your best bet is to protect your floor when painting. By doing so, drips, splatters, and spills may not end up contacting your flooring.

Several options can be incredibly effective. Newspaper is highly absorbent. Plus, it’s cost-effective if you already receive a daily paper or mail flyers made of newspaper-like material.

Cardboard is another cost-effective approach. You can save boxes from any incoming deliveries, lay them out flat, and use them as a protective cover.

If you’re willing to invest a bit, plastic sheeting or canvas drop cloths are both options. Plastic sheeting is usually cheaper, but it can be slippery. Canvas drop cloths provide more tractions, but they come with higher price tags. Still, either approach is effective, making them worth considering.

When it comes to securing your chosen protective material, painter’s tape is a reasonable choice. It’s relatively strong while remaining easy to remove. Plus, it doesn’t typically leave behind any residue.

If possible, you can slide the protective material under your baseboards. If you’re not painting the baseboards, use painter’s tape to keep the material in place. When your project involves painting the baseboards, you could use loops of painter’s tape on the underside of the covering to attach it to the floor. Just make sure you avoid walking on the tape spots as much as possible, reducing the odds of residue.

The Best Way to Get Paint off Laminate Flooring

When you’re trying to figure out how to get paint off laminate flooring, the best way usually involves starting with the gentlest approach. The vinegar solution outlined above is a simple starting point. Not only is it practical and effective, but it only requires everyday household items. If that doesn’t work, slowly work through the other choices, leaving the harshest chemicals for last.

Did you find out everything you wanted to know about how to get paint off laminate flooring? If so, let us know in the comments section below. Additionally, if you know someone who needs to get paint off of their laminate floors, make sure to share the article.