How to Remove Oil-Based Paint From Plastic?

Learn how to clean oil paint off of plastic and keep the surface damage-free

If you are into frequent home DIY or renovation projects, you know how frustrating and irritating it could be when you find paint splatters on different plastic surfaces in your home!

Especially if they are oil paint marks on the plastic. It doesn’t only look untidy, oil paint becomes rather hard to get rid of once it dries!

This is why people want to know how to remove oil paint marks and splatters from plastic without damaging the surface.

In this article, you will finally find all the answers! We are going to tell you how to keep your plastic switchers and other objects and surfaces clean and paint-free. You will learn how you should clean off wet and dry oil paint.

Also, you are going to find out what removes oil-based paint easily and in addition, you will get a few handy tips on how you could protect your plastic surfaces from unexpected paint splashes when you are getting creative next time.

How to Remove Oil Paint From Plastic?

There are several different methods that can be used for washing oil paint off of your plastic surfaces and items at home or anywhere else. The method you choose will depend on the condition of your paint since dry and wet paint should be removed slightly differently.

If you need to know how to get oil paint off of plastic, your biggest concern is probably the possible damage that you may cause to the surface.

If the paint is already dry and you try to scrape it off with a knife or another sharp object, chances are that you will leave scratches on the plastic item. Definitely, this is not what you are looking for!

How to remove spray paint from plasticHow to remove spray paint from plastic

But even if the paint mark is still wet, you might feel uncertain regarding what product it is best to use to not harm plastic.

So in general, in order to get rid of

  1. Was it off
  2. Rub it off
  3. Scrape it off
  4. Scrub it off

Below, we have described each of these methods in more detail, and also, as you can see, we divided them all in two sections depending on whether the paint is still wet or it has started to dry already.

How to Remove Oil Paint From Plastic
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How to Remove Dried Oil-Based Paint Off Of Plastic?

If the paint splatter you are going to remove from the plastic has already dried, you will have to spend a bit more time and effort dealing with it. Nevertheless, it is still possible to do. Depending on how hard the paint blot, you can opt for one of the alternative solutions.

How to Remove Dried Oil-Based Paint Off Of Plastic
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Scrape It Off

To remove any unwanted dried paint from a flat plastic surface, your weapon of choice will be a paint scraper! The sequence of actions is going to be the following:

  • Start at any corner or edge of the paint spill
  • Apply the scraper, sliding it underneath
  • Gently “lift” off the paint blot
  • Now very patiently and constantly, apply steady pressure

Remember that, if you attack the paint splatter too vigorously, you could damage the plastic! So no hurry, you will remove it anyway.

In case you need to remove oil paint that was spilled or splattered onto a contoured plastic surface (for example, a chair), you will have to use a razor blade. Just work it in the same manner as described above.

The only difference between these tools is that you should keep the blade at an angle to avoid damaging the plastic piece, and remember safety at all times! You don’t want to accidentally cut yourself!

Scrape It Off
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Scrub It Off

Should the paint splatter be completely dry (or if it is an old paint blot), you will have to opt for a method that fits truly stubborn paint spills on plastic. Turn to isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)! Luckily, you can buy this liquid pretty much anywhere.

Rubbing alcohol is the best option in this situation since it helps remove paint without melting the plastic, which would be simply impossible should you make use of any harsh paint thinners.

Nonetheless, make sure that you wear a face mask when working with this product since you need to protect your face and nose against inhaling fumes. Also, you should remember to wear work gloves to protect your hands.

As for the method of paint removal, you just need to follow the printed instructions. In general, you will have to do the following:

  • Pour the alcohol over the area covered with paint
  • Scrub firmly with a rag
  • Keep working on the blot until the paint begins to disappear

With these simple tips, cleaning oil paint off of any plastic surface will never be a headache for you again. Luckily, dealing with wet paint splatters is much easier!

Scrub It Off
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How to Clean Off Oil-Based Paint If It Is Still Wet?

Since wet paint is always easier to clean off (no matter what type of paint it is, oil, acrylic, or others), it is recommended that you treat the unwanted paint splatters from all the surfaces the second you set them there. This is why you should inspect all the corners and items in the room where you were painting!

Should you find any paint splashes, you will be able to quickly deal with them. For example, oil paint can be washed off with the help of the following methods.

How to Clean Off Oil-Based Paint If It Is Still Wet
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Wash It Off

If you spot a fresh oil paint spill on any plastic surface, fill a bucket with warm water, add a squirt or two of dish soap, swirl it to create foam, then grab a clean rag or paper towels, and wash it off.

Once the paint splatter is gone, hose down the item or use a clean, damp rag to rinse.

Wash It Off
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Rub It Off

It may happen sometimes that soap and water are ineffective for removing oil paint marks. It mostly happens when the paint has been splattered some time ago but is still wet. However, in this case, chances are high the paint has begun to dry! This is why you should act quickly!

Go to your pantry and bring some vegetable oil. Why vegetable oil? See, unlike harsh chemical paint removers from a store, this natural product is considered to be a skin-safe substance. Plus, it can also help soften and lift paint! An ideal two-in-one solution!

  • Take a clean rag
  • Put some oil on it (but don’t soak it with the oil!)
  • Rub the paint spill
  • Once the paint begins to lift, you can use a paint scraper and proceed to the next option (scraping)

What if even vegetable oil fails, some of you may ask now?

Well, in this case, put on a pair of work gloves and try nail polish remover, the one that contains acetone!

Pour on enough of it to cover the area affected with paint, then rub and wipe with a clean rag or paper towels. You can repeat this process as many times as necessary until all the paint is gone.

So, now you know how to deal with oil paint on plastic surfaces if the paint mark is still wet or if it has already dried and become stone-hard!

Naturally, at this point, some of you can start wondering what to do with chemical paint removers and which of them are more efficient than others. Well, let’s try to figure this out.

Rub It Off
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What Oil-Base Paint Remover to Use to Wash the Paint Off Of Plastic?

For sure, chemical paint strippers are best for dealing with paint marks of all kinds since these products make such a boring process as oil-based paint removal much quicker. However, even among the wide variety of paint removers, there are products that are typically considered somewhat better than others.

When you use chemical paint strippers on plastic, you need to keep in mind that the process of paint removal will be slightly different.

See, unlike removing oil paint from metal, wood, and ceramics is pretty straightforward, cleaning it off of plastic is another matter. It’s because the solvents that dissolve paint on wood and other durable materials can also…dissolve the plastic itself!

How to remove paint from plasticHow to remove paint from plastic

This is why you should choose the products very carefully. Below, we have prepared a few safe options for you to consider.

What Oil-Base Paint Remover to Use to Wash the Paint Off Of Plastic
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Use Paint Thinner to Remove Paint On Plastic

You probably know that it is not recommended to store paint thinners in plastic vessels, however, this product can be safely sued for removing oil paint from plastic surfaces and objects!

So if your plastic object is not made of soft plastics and materials like styrofoam, feel free to apply paint thinner to remove the unwanted paint marks from it. Just apply some of the product to a clean cloth and wipe the paint away.

Use Paint Thinner to Remove Paint On Plastic
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Opt For Some Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is stronger than oil and soapy water when it comes to removing oil paint from plastic surfaces. Plus, this product is still safe for this type of surface material (unlike some other alternatives, e.g. denatured alcohol).

If you use rubbing alcohol on plastic to remove oil paint, your actions should be the following:

  • Dip a rag into the alcohol
  • Apply directly to the paint mark
  • Wait a bit to give the product enough time to affect the paint
  • When you notice the paint is lifted, you can then scrape it off

To finish the cleaning session, you can wipe the surface with a cloth dipped in some warm soapy water and then leave it to dry.

Like this, today you learned how to remove oil-based paint from plastic and what to do exactly if the paint is still wet or if it has already dried.

We shared a few useful life hacks with you on this paint-removal issue and told you about some chemical products that can be used as substitutes for safer but maybe slower natural options.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐How much time does it take to remove oil paint from plastic?

It depends on the size of the surface that’s been damaged and how old the paint blot is. In general, it will take just a few minutes.

⭐Will paint stripper remove paint from my plastic surface?

If the plastic is painted, then the stripper can remove the paint of course. In this case, opt for safer alternatives.

⭐Is it possible to remove really old paint marks from plastic with scraping?

It’s hardly possible. You will most likely have to use paint stripper or something like that.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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