How to Easily Remove Overspray from Wood, Glass, and Metal

One of the potential pitfalls of using spray paint is the possibility of paint splattering on surfaces you didn’t intend to paint—otherwise known as overspray. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, paint ends up somewhere that we don’t want it. As experts in electrostatic spray painting, we wanted to share several techniques for removing overspray from wood, glass, and metal.

Removing Overspray from Wood

Whether you accidentally get paint overspray on your hardwood floors or wooden furniture, there are a few methods remove it:

  1. Use rubbing alcohol. Pour rubbing alcohol over the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Then, wipe with a clean rag and the paint should come off easily. If there are any areas that are particularly stubborn, you can pour alcohol directly onto the rag and rub the area until the paint dissolves completely.
  2. Use a solvent-based paint remover. Solvents work well for removing latex and oil-based paints as well as primers, varnishes, and stains. Apply a thick coat of the product to the affected area and let it sit according to the label instructions. Then, remove the solvent with a putty knife or wooden blade. A word of caution: Solvents are flammable, so be sure you’re not working near flames or heat sources.
  3. Use a chemical paint remover: Chemical paint removers are effective, but also highly toxic so read all directions and warnings before using. To use, pour the paint remover into a plastic paint tray. Then, dip a clean paintbrush into the paint remover and brush the paint remover onto the overspray. Allow it to sit for as long as the label instructions indicate. Then, gently scrape the paint and paint remover away with a plastic paint scraper.

Removing Overspray from Glass

The method for removing paint overspray from glass varies depending on the type of glass you’re dealing with:

  • Clear glass: In most cases, you can remove overspray from clear glass by scraping it off with a razor blade, especially if the overspray is light. Just be sure the spray is completely dry before you attempt scrape it.
  • Opaque glass: Typically, you can remove paint splatters from opaque glass with the same scraping technique that you would use to remove overspray on clear glass. Just know that opaque glass holds onto paint a bit more than clear glass, so you may have to return to already-scraped areas to remove residue.
  • Frosty or pitted glass: Razor blades will scratch this type of glass, so use a plastic paint scraper instead. Also, it’s better to scrape the overspray off of frosty or pitted glass if the paint is first softened with soapy water, vinegar, or isopropyl alcohol. No matter what solvent you use, remember to wipe down the glass with a clean rag after scraping.

Removing Overspray from Metal

Because metal is non-porous, it’s not too difficult to remove overspray: There are a few different methods depending on what you’re trying to remove the paint from:

  • Paint thinner is ideal for small metal objects like hardware and brass knobs. Soak these items in paint thinner until the paint softens. Then, use a stiff natural-bristle brush to scrub off the loosened paint.
  • Spray-on paint removers are great for getting into tight corners and around rounded surfaces on items like patio furniture and bikes. Just spray it on, let it sit, and then wipe the paint away.
  • Brush-on paint removers are a good option for cutting through any piece of metal covered in multiple coats of spray paint. The thick gel doesn’t evaporate as quickly as liquid remover, so you can leave it on longer without reapplying.
  • Carnauba waxis perfect for removing spray paint from cars because it dissolves the unwanted spray paint without damaging the clear coat finish beneath.

Reducing Overspray

To reduce overspray, be sure to protect surfaces with newspaper, tarps, and old sheets. You may also want to consider electrostatic spray painting for metal surfaces. Unlike conventional spray processes, the paint is statically drawn to the metal from all directions so there is typically minimal overspray, spatters, drips, or mess. Check out all the other reasons you should consider electrostatic spray paint.

Spray Finishes, a division of Stone Services, has been in the electrostatic spray painting business since 1938. They specialize in on-site painting for both residential and commercial properties, and also have a 10,000 square foot shop for large off-site jobs. Spray Finishes’ friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to serve you at any of their five tristate area locations. Contact Spray Finishes today for an estimate on your next painting project.

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