How to Remove Paint from Concrete: 6 Best Ways

How to Remove Paint from Concrete: 6 Best Ways

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If you have a bunch of paint on your concrete, because maybe you got a bit too messy when painting around a concrete surface, you probably want to remove it. After all, that paint is not going to look very good at all.

That said, there are actually a few different methods for going about this, and today we want to take a look at all of them. Let’s figure out how to remove paint from concrete using a variety of proven and effective methods.

How to Remove Paint from Concrete: 6 Best Ways

Seeing as there are many ways to remove paint from concrete, right now we want to take a look at all of the easiest and most effective ways of doing so.

1. Using a Sandblaster

Sand Blaster One of the most effective methods for removing paint from concrete is by sandblasting it. A sandblaster, as the name implies, is a special type of tool designed to spray sand at surfaces with very high velocities. This is a great way to get paint off of concrete without having to use some sort of chemical.

Of course, sandblasters are not cheap, so it is quite an investment to make, although a good investment if you have use for it down the road. Just be careful when sandblasting concrete, because if you do too much of it, you may damage the concrete or remove the surface layer. That said, if you have a lot of paint that needs removing, this is going to be one of the fastest methods.

Before you start this method, you do want to put on ear protection, gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator to protect your lungs. Sandblasting can be toxic, and those materials should not be inhaled.

First, turn on your sandblaster and open the nozzle to let out a fine mist of sand. You then want to move up and down the concrete in straight lines. Just don’t point the sand spray at the concrete and leave it in one place, or it may damage the concrete.

2. Using a Pressure Washer

Pressure Washer Another effective method for removing paint from concrete, especially if you are outdoors or in a garage, is by using a pressure washer. Now, in order for a pressure washer to be able to remove dried paint from concrete, it’s going to have to be quite powerful, with a pressure rating of at least 3,000 pounds per square inch, combined with a flow rate of at least 4 gallons every minute.

You do also need to use the right kind of nozzle, one that has roughly a 20-degree spray, as this will produce enough power to remove the paint from the concrete. To perform this task, you want to hold the wand of the pressure washer at a relatively steep downward angle, and you want to keep it about a foot away from the concrete.

Move the wand in a sweeping motion across the affected area until the paint has been removed. Now, this method is not quite as fast and effective as sandblasting, although there is much less risk of damaging the concrete, plus water is not toxic either, therefore making it much safer than sandblasting.

3. Using a Soda Blaster

Soda Blaster Although the name might sound like it, no, here we are not talking about using Pepsi or Coca-Cola to blast away paint from your concrete. A soda blaster is a special type of tool that uses granular sodium bicarbonate instead of sand to remove things like stubborn paint stains from concrete and various other surfaces.

Now, this method is not quite as effective as using a sandblaster, because the material used here is not quite as aggressive or abrasive, but it therefore also comes with a much lower risk of damaging the concrete below.

With that being said, granular sodium bicarbonate is not healthy to inhale, so you definitely want to wear a respirator, and you also want to keep the spray away from plants, because that substance’s relatively high pH level can kill plants.

Keep in mind that this method can also remove epoxy, not just paint. The method here is going to be more or less the same as using a sandblaster.

4. Using Hot Vinegar

If you don’t want to invest in any of those expensive tools that we talked about above, and you just want to use a safe, natural, and cost-effective home method, then using hot vinegar to remove paint from concrete might work. Now, this is kind of hit-or-miss, as it won’t always work, especially if there is a very thick layer of paint.

With that being said, if you already have vinegar laying around, then this method won’t cost you anything to try, so you may as well give it a shot. To use vinegar, you first want to heat it up on the stove or in the microwave until it is very hot, just short of boiling.

You then want to apply it to the affected area and let it soak for about 15 minutes. You can also use a paintbrush to really work it into the area. You will see the paint starting to bubble after about 15 minutes, at which point you can use some kind of wire brush or scraper to remove it from the concrete surface.

5. Using Paint Thinner

If using a natural home remedy such as vinegar does not work, then you will need to resort to something a bit more powerful, by which we mean paint thinner. This is especially the case if you are working with hard-to-remove types of paint such as oil-based or spray paints.

You can buy any kind of commercial paint thinner to remove paint from concrete, and it won’t cost you very much either. In order to remove paint from concrete using this method, apply a generous amount of it to the affected area and then let it soak for at least eight hours.

Once you have let the paint thinner soak for a long time, you can then use something like a paint scraper or a scrub brush to remove any paint. You then want to wash and rinse the area to remove any residue or remaining paint flakes. Remember, if you are using paint thinner, always wear a respirator mask, rubber gloves, and safety glasses, as this substance is quite toxic and corrosive.

6. Using a Floor Grinder

The other method at your disposal for removing paint from concrete is by using a floor grinder. This is like a combination between a large drum sander and a floor polishing machine. It uses light abrasion to remove small layers from the surface of the concrete.

All you have to do is to attach the right type of sanding disc, turn the machine on, and then slowly move it over the affected area. This is a good method to use for heavy paint spills and for large areas. It’s a good method to go with because it involves minimal physical labor, as the machine does most of the work for you.

With that being said, you do of course need to have a floor grinder, but luckily for you, this is something that you can usually rent from home improvement and hardware stores. Just remember that you do want to wear a respirator and safety glasses, as these grinders will produce dust particles that you definitely don’t want to inhale or get in your eyes.

What Is the Best Way to Get Paint Off Concrete?

If you have a heavy paint spill that covers a large area, and you need to remove it quickly and easily, using a floor grinder is probably your best bet.

If the spill is relatively light and not too thick, using a pressure washer could do the trick.

If you just have very small amounts of paint that need removing, and you don’t want to use any special kind of machine, you can try vinegar, and if that doesn’t work, your next best option is to use paint thinner.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Let’s quickly go over some tips and tricks to help make this process as easy and fast as possible:

  • If using a chemical, always do a spot test first
  • If using a pressure washer or sandblaster, never hold the wand too close to the concrete or you may damage it
  • Remember that inhaling both paint and concrete can be toxic, so always wear the proper protective gear for your lungs


You should now know what all of the best ways to remove paint from concrete are, so you can now choose the one that works best for you.

If you need to remove spray paint in particular, check this article.