• Cleaning: 1 – 12 Hours
  • Drying: 2 – 3 Hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: Low

Acrylic paint is a type of paint that is made with pigments that are dispersed in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It is a popular choice for painting ceramics, fabrics, and canvas since they are incredibly versatile and vibrant.

Compared to oil paints, acrylic paints are a better choice since they are water-soluble, making them easier to remove. Concrete is a strong and durable material that can withstand a significant amount of wear and tear without getting damaged by harsh cleaning methods.

However, concrete is not impervious to stains and can be stained by acrylic paints, especially if you’re painting in an art studio with concrete flooring. Luckily, it is easy to remove acrylic paint stains from concrete, especially if the paint is still wet. 

In this article, we will detail ways you can remove acrylic paint from concrete, for both wet and dried stains. We also included a section where we answer some of the questions our readers had on this topic. Let’s jump right in!

Removing Wet Acrylic Paint from Concrete 

Wet acrylic paint is the easiest to remove from concrete because it hasn’t set and dried on the surface yet. If you notice any wet acrylic paint on the concrete, you should work quickly to remove the paint before it dries. 

This method does not damage concrete, and for this process, you will need the following:

  • Newspapers, rags, towels, or a cloth
  • Warm or hot water
  • Soap or detergent
  • Bucket
  • Scrubbing Brush

1. Wipe Off as Much Wet Paint as Possible 

You can use several materials to wipe off wet paint from the concrete, depending on how much paint there is to remove. You can use a newspaper, cloth, rag, or towel to blot up the excess wet paint as much as possible.

We recommend using any material that you would be happy to throw away after blotting the paint. Remember to blot the paint carefully and ensure the stain does not spread out. Place the rag or newspaper directly on top of the stain and let it soak up the paint.

Lift it up without smearing the paint and repeat the process with a fresh side of the rag or newspaper. Remove as much paint as possible before moving onto the next step for more rigorous cleaning.

2. Scrub Leftover Paint Using a Soapy Solution 

Scrubbing with a soapy solution helps to clean acrylic paint stains from concrete, as it’s designed to emulsify, making the paint easier to remove. For this step, you will need to make a simple soapy solution with soap or detergent and hot or warm water in a bucket.

The ratio of soap to water doesn’t need to be exact since you can use as much soap as needed to remove the acrylic paint. Dip the scrubbing brush in this solution and start scrubbing the wet paint stains.

If the stains are tough to remove, you can pour some of the soapy solution directly onto the stain to dilute it and break it down. This step will make the stain-removal process even easier. 

After you are done, inspect the concrete surface for remaining spots or stains that you might not have scrubbed off. If the paint has dried up, you should refer to the method below that focuses on removing dried acrylic paint.

3. Rinse & Allow the Concrete to Dry 

After you have scrubbed the wet paint from the concrete, the next step is to rinse the surface with water. The water will rinse away the residue and clear the concrete, this will also allow you to inspect for any remaining paint. 

If you leave the concrete to dry without rinsing, the residue will dry and leave soapy paint stains. After rinsing thoroughly, allow the concrete to dry completely. Depending on the environment you’re in this can take between 1 to 2 hours.

Removing Dried Acrylic Paint from Concrete 

Dried acrylic paint is trickier to remove since it has set on the concrete surface. There are several ways to remove dried acrylic paint from concrete; however, we have listed the simplest ones below. For this method, you will need the following: 

  • Paint scraper, a blunt knife, or a razor
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Bucket
  • Warm or hot water
  • Paint thinner or paint remover

1. Scrape Off as Much Paint as Possible

The first step is to remove as much dried paint from the concrete as possible. You can use a paint scraper to remove dried paint, which works well on even concrete surfaces. If you don’t have a paint scraper, you can use a blunt knife or a razor to get rid of the dried paint. 

Don’t be too forceful with the scraping to avoid causing damage to the concrete. It isn’t necessary to scrape everything off, you’re just trying to lift as much paint as possible from the concrete surface.

2. Apply Paint Thinner or Paint Remover to the Remaining Dried Acrylic Paint 

A paint thinner is a solvent that is commonly used to thin oil-based paint, it works well in breaking down and removing dried acrylic paint. Paint removers are also solvent-based and are designed to break the bond between the acrylic paint and the concrete surface.

As both of these solvents are corrosive, we highly recommend wearing safety equipment such as gloves, a pair of safety goggles, and a respirator. 

WARNING: Prolonged exposure to paint thinner or paint remover fumes is harmful. Doing so can cause adverse effects on your health; including dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, and irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. 

Both paint thinners and paint removers evaporate quite quickly in the air. Therefore, we recommend working in small sections at a time to remove the dried acrylic paint stains effectively. 

For this process, soak a rag in paint thinner or paint remover and cover the dried paint stains for an hour or two to allow the solvents to break down and weaken the adhesives in the paint. If you are working on a large area with a heavy layer of dried acrylic paint, this process could take a few hours. 

After having tested several options, we prefer to use the Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover, as it’s non-toxic, eco-friendly, water-based, and designed to remove acrylic paint. You can use this solution to remove up to 15 layers of paint from concrete and a variety of other surfaces. 

You simply have to apply a thick layer of the Smart Strip Advanced Paint Remover or any similar product and cover it with cellophane or plastic wrap to keep it wet for a few hours – sometimes overnight, before scraping and rinsing it off. 

3. Remove Softened Paint from Concrete 

After the paint thinner or remover has been sitting on the dried paint for some time, take a paint scraper or scrubbing brush, depending on the amount of paint to be removed, and begin clearing it from the concrete. 

The scrubber works best if there are only a few paint stains or you’re working on rough concrete, while a scraper or razor is more useful when there’s a large pool of dried acrylic paint or when the concrete surface is smooth.

The solvents should have softened the paint for removal. Practice caution when scraping to avoid damaging the concrete. Using the paint thinner or remover makes the removal process much more manageable.

However, if there is any remaining stubborn dried paint on the concrete surface, pour some more paint thinner or remover and repeat the process.

4. Rinse & Allow the Concrete to Dry 

When you have cleared all paint stains from the concrete, rinse away the residue. Although the paint thinner or remover might have evaporated from the concrete, there still might be pigments or paint scraps left on the concrete. After rinsing the surface well, allow the concrete to dry.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by readers regarding removing acrylic paint from concrete. If you’d like to have your questions added, simply get in touch with us through our contact form.

What Should I Do if There Is Too Much Acrylic Paint to Remove? 

If there is too much acrylic paint that needs to be removed, you could rent or borrow a pressure washer (also known as a power washer). Pressure washers are generally available for rent at any hardware store, and you can easily purchase an affordable one for the job. 

Pressure wash the concrete and use paint thinner or remover for stubborn spots. Once you have cleaned the concrete with paint thinner or remover, use a pressure washer for a final cleanse.

What Else Can I Use to Dissolve and Remove Acrylic Paint? 

Isopropyl alcohol (commonly known as rubbing alcohol) is a great product that can be used to remove acrylic paint from concrete. You can even use acetone or nail polish remover to clean tough spots of paint. 

Vinegar can also work as a remover for acrylic paint in a pinch, and it’s a non-chemical alternative. However, using vinegar for removing dried acrylic paint might not be as effective as using off-the-shelf solvents like paint thinners or removers.  

To use vinegar to remove paint, warm up the vinegar until it’s hot but not boiling. Use a sponge or paintbrush to apply the hot vinegar to the affected areas, allowing it to soak for 15 minutes. You’ll notice the paint bubbling as it detaches from the concrete. 

Simply scrape away the loose paint with a scraper and wash the surface with warm soapy water. Rinse the concrete afterward and let it dry.

For all these methods, we recommend doing a patch test on a small inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage and to check that it works well. 

Does Acrylic Paint Stick to Concrete?

Acrylic paint can penetrate into the concrete with time, leaving a semi-transparent finish. Acrylic paint takes only about 20 to 30 minutes to dry and does stick to concrete. Moreover, it doesn’t tend to peel and flake. 

Therefore, it’s best to try and remove spilled acrylic paint from concrete as soon as possible, so that you don’t allow it enough time to bond with the concrete surface.