How To Remove Latex Paint Overspray

Latex paint is made up of polymer resins, pigment and water. It is easy to clean when it is fresh. However, when it is hardened, it is a bit tricky to remove as you have to consider the surface where the paint has landed. Latex paint can be sprayed on most surfaces and can provide gloss and strength to the surface it is painted on. Latex paint in cans is very popular with modelers, crafters and artists.

When latex paint spatters you have to move fast to remove it as it will take only a few seconds for it to cure and set. Most of the time this can be challenging, as you cannot control spatters when you are spraying paint due to wind direction. However, there are some steps you can take to remove latex overspray, listed below.

  1. If the spatter is really fresh and has not had time to cure and the overspray is on non-latex and non-porous surface, you can use warm water and mild pH-balanced detergent to remove it. Soak the rag in water and detergent and squeeze the excess liquid. Blot off the overspray. Do not rub it off as you may scatter more paint than what you can actually remove. Sponge the area with clean water and dry it. The glossier the surface the overspray landed on, the easier it will be for you to remove it.
  2. When the latex overspray is still fresh but has already cured you can use ammonia. It is mild and non-flammable and can be used for most surfaces without damaging the surface underneath. To be sure, use solution on an inconspicuous surface first. You have to apply some pressure to rub off the latex paint overspray.
  3. Rubbing and denatured alcohol are quite mild solvents and can be used to remove latex overspray that had already set. Care should be taken though as alcohol can damage the surface under the overspray. Check the reaction of the surface to alcohol by applying it on a hidden area.
  4. Latex overspray can be removed on cement, brick, concrete, glass, ceramic tiles and porcelain and other surfaces that are not painted with the use of lacquer thinner. This is a strong solvent and can effectively remove latex overspray, provided the surface underneath will not be harmed by the lacquer thinner. It will remove the gloss from paints and clear coats therefore care should be observed when using lacquer thinner. Check the substrate first before using it.
  5. There are some commercial solvents that you can use to remove latex overspray. They come in water-based formulation and the standard solvent, which are stronger. The popular ones are Goof Off and Goof Off 2 and Oops and Motsenbocker’s Lift Off #5. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to remove latex paint overspray and splatters.

When working with latex paint, whether you are spraying a model or working on larger surfaces, always make sure that you put some protective covering on the surrounding areas where you will be working, such as sheets on newspaper of tables and thick plastic sheets on floors, carpeting and walls. It will be a good idea too if you remove most of the furniture or cover them before you spray latex paint.


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