How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Plastic In Two Easy Ways

Acrylic paint is one of the easiest tools to work with in any painting job. It’s versatile, flexible, and durable. Plus, it’s fun to use especially when you are decorating your house or you’re working on different types of artwork.

In case you accidentally spilled acrylic paint all over your plastic surface, don’t panic. Your mistake can still be undone. There are simple and easy ways to clean your mess.

In some instances, your old paint job looks bad or the paint is already chipping off. Whatever reason it may be, chances are, you may need to remove the old paint and update it with a new and fresh coat of paint.

Acrylic paint is generally easy to clean and remove. In this tutorial, we’ll tell you how to remove acrylic paint from plastic without any hassle.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Method One:

  • Old toothbrush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plastic bag
  • Soap and warm water

Method Two:

  • Bullet Point 1
  • Vegetable oil or nail polish remover
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Rag
  • Sponge
  • Detergent soap and warm water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint scraper or putty knife

Step-by-Step Guide:



There are two ways to eliminate acrylic paint from plastic items. The simpler way is to follow the first method. However, if this technique doesn’t work, you can proceed to the second method.

Method One:

  1. Put the plastic painted item inside the plastic bag and pour a ½ cup of rubbing alcohol into the plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag and shake it for at least one minute. This will allow the rubbing alcohol to be absorbed by the plastic painted item. Let the rubbing alcohol sit for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Take out the plastic painted item from the plastic bag and use a toothbrush to rub the old paint. Do this repeatedly until the paint comes off entirely.
  3. Place the plastic painted item in a basin of warm water and soap. Let the plastic dry. If there are still some paint left in the plastic item, proceed to method number two.

Method Two:

  1. Use a paint scraper or a putty knife to remove the existing paint from the plastic item. In some cases, a razor blade can be an appropriate tool for dried and thick acrylic paint. Scrape off the paint gently and avoid putting too much pressure on it. This is to avoid scratching or damaging the surface while you are trying to remove the paint.
  2. Apply vegetable oil on the plastic surface to loosen the paint left on the plastic item. Use a rag and rub the vegetable oil into the affected area until the paint comes off. In case the paint doesn’t come off after several attempts, you can switch to stronger solvents.
  3. In this case, you can use a nail polish remover to eliminate the remaining paint. Dab the plastic surface with nail polish and use a paper towel to rub the paint until it comes off. You can leave the nail polish for at least 10 minutes before rubbing the paint surface.

  4. In any case, if the paint still doesn’t come off entirely even after using vegetable and nail polish remover, you can try using denatured alcohol. However, it is only suitable for latex-based paint.
  5. Using denatured alcohol requires more preparation. First, you need to wear rubber gloves for protection. Pick an area with good ventilation or use a fan to help circulate air in the room. It’s better if you can set up a workspace outside your house if possible.

    Before you start applying denatured alcohol to the plastic surface, test it first in a small area to make sure it doesn’t damage the plastic material. Then place an ample amount of solvent on the paint until it dissolves. Use a putty knife to scrape the paint off and a rag to scrub off the paint residue.

  6. Once you’ve successfully removed the paint on the plastic surface, submerge a sponge in warm water and detergent. Use the sponge to scrub the remaining paint on the plastic surface.

Different Types Of Liquid Solvents That Can Remove Acrylic Paint



If you’re having difficulties with using certain ingredients to help remove paint, there are other options you can use. Here are some liquid solvents you can use to help eliminate acrylic paint.

1. Ammonia Solution

This type of solvent is suitable for non-porous surfaces including plastic, metal, and glass materials. However, it produces intense fumes, therefore, should not be applied on wooden materials. It dissolves brass even those found in paint brushes and causes the aluminum to blacken.

2. Acetone

This is more suitable for glass and metals. It also produces intense fumes and therefore, should be applied in a well-ventilated room or area. This ingredient is very strong which means you won’t have to rub too much to get rid of the paint. On the other hand, this ingredient doesn’t work well with synthetic fabrics or plastic.

3. Denatured Alcohol

This is more appropriate for plastics and unvarnished or unpainted wooden surfaces. Be careful when using this ingredient because it contains methanol which is harmful and poisonous to our health.

4. Lacquer Thinner

This solvent is intended for glass, metals, unvarnished and unpainted wooden surfaces. This substance also contains toxic materials such as toluene and methanol. It is a known fact that toluene can cause long-term effects. If you decide on using this ingredient, make sure you opt for thinners that have ethyl acetate instead of toluene. This is also not appropriate for plastic materials.

5. Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol

You can use this ingredient on plastics, clothing, and unvarnished or unpainted wood. It has no side effects but may cause some irritation on the skin.

When using any of these liquid ingredients, always make sure you follow safety precautions, avoid any direct contact with your skin, operate in a well-ventilated area, and avoid any complications that can cause a fire. Your safety and health should always be your number one priority especially when you are working with certain chemicals.

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