How to Remove Paint from a Utility Sink


Donna asked: How do I remove paint from my utility sink? I have several different colors of paint splatter at the bottom of my utility sink ranging from flat to semi-gloss paint. I was hoping there was a way to remove it.

Old or new, paint splatters can be tricky to remove completely. Fortunately, it takes just one simple product to remove a variety of paint types from a utility sink surface. Here’s how to get the job done.

You Will Need:

  • WD-40
  • Plastic ice scraper
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Cloth scouring sponge

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by spraying the paint splatter with WD-40.
  2. Wait a few moments for the WD-40 to work. Usually 10-15 minutes will be enough, but effective penetration time depends on the type of paint, the thickness of the splatter, and the age of the stain.
  3. Once the paint begins to soften, use the plastic ice scraper to try to remove the splatter. You may be able to scrape off the top layer or a portion of the paint stain. If so, repeat the WD-40 application process on the remaining paint.
  4. If the paint is flush with the surface and cannot be removed with a scraper, spray it well with WD-40. Scrub the surface gently with a cloth scouring pad. A nylon pad also works well if you are concerned about scratching the surface. Avoid any scrubbing pads that are too abrasive or they may add more grooves to the surface. These grooves will trap dirt and cause the surface to appear dirty sooner.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until the paint is gone.
  6. Finally, wash the sink out with dish soap and water to remove WD-40 residue. Use the cloth scouring pad to remove trace amounts of paint/color left on the sink. Rinse well.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Though older paints may take a little more time, the method above will remove those as well.
  • WD-40 will not dry out, so for really stubborn paint splatter you can apply a heavy coat of WD-40 and allow it to soak overnight.  This should soften the paint, making it easier to remove.
  • If the WD-40 does not remove the paint, it may require an actual paint stripper. Check the labels carefully or ask an associate at the hardware store to help find one that will safely clean the plastic surface.
  • Soft scrub and Bar Keeper’s Friend are other cleaning products that have been effective in removing a variety of stains and marks from utility sinks. They are both mildly abrasive and safe to use on a wide variety of surfaces.
  • If the paint won’t budge, consider it a sign of character and use. Utility sinks are made for all the grungy messes we would never let touch our good house sinks. For many, the only clean utility sink they’ve seen is a new one.
  • For latex paint, rub the area with a cotton ball or soft cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol. It will cut through the paint and allow it to be removed.

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