How to Remove Paint from Vinyl Flooring


Linda asked: How do I get paint off my vinyl floor?

Paint can make beautiful transformations to the entire look of a room. Even with the best precautions, it can still splatter and spill and end up on the floor. Quick removal is key to keep the paint because the longer it is allowed to dry, the more permanently it adheres to the surface. The first step is to determine if you have water-based or oil-based paint as each requires different removal techniques. This can easily be found by reading the label on the paint can. Once you’ve determined the type of paint, follow the instructions below to remove it.

Removing Wet Water-Based Paints


You Will Need:

  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Shredded paper or cat litter (for larger spills)

The Removal Process:

  1. Start by wiping up as much of the spilled paint as possible. If the spill is large, contain it first by covering it with cat litter or shredded paper.
  2. Next wipe the area with damp paper towels. Most of the wet paint will be easily removed from vinyl flooring with just water-moistened paper towels.
  3. After most of the paint has been wiped up, mix mild soap with water in a bucket.
  4. Moisten clean cloths with soap and water mixture and wipe off the remaining paint.
  5. If there is still paint on the floor, wet a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and rub it on the paint area. If the stain is persistent, it will be helpful to moisten the rag and lay it on top of the stained area for a couple of minutes before trying to remove.
  6. Repeat the above steps until all of the paint is removed.

Removing Wet Oil-Based Paints

Oil based paints can be very difficult to remove.

You Will Need:

  • Soft cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid wax
  • Superfine steel wool pad
  • Water
  • Mild soap
  • Bucket

The Removal Process:

  1. Begin by wiping up as much of the paint as possible with a damp clean cloth.
  2. Moisten a cloth with rubbing alcohol and place it on top of the stain for several minutes.
  3. Wipe with the moistened cloth to remove the remaining paint.
  4. If paint still remains, dip the superfine steel wool pad into the liquid wax.
  5. Gently scrub the area to remove the remaining paint.
  6. When all of the paint is removed, mix water with mild soap in a bucket.
  7. Use the soft cloths to wipe down the entire area and remove all of the cleaning products.
  8. Allow the floor to dry. When it completely dry, apply a coat of wax for protection.

Removing Dried Paints

You Will Need:

  • Razor blade or spoon
  • Mineral spirits or turpentine
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Soft cloths
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Mild soap

The Removal Process:

  1. Begin by carefully scraping away as much of the paint as possible from the surface using the spoon or razor. Only use the razor if the spoon will not remove it as the razor poses a large risk of cutting the flooring.
  2. When a majority of the paint is removed, moisten a soft cloth with mineral spirits or turpentine and rub it over the affected area.
  3. Repeat as necessary with a clean cloth each time.
  4. If the paint still remains, apply a small amount of acetone nail polish remover to a clean cloth and gently wipe the area until the remaining paint is removed.
  5. When all of the paint is removed, fill a bucket with warm water and mild soap.
  6. Clean the entire area to remove any remaining product that may be left on the floor.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Murphy Oil Soap has been found effective in removing paint from vinyl floors as well. It is readily available at most department and home improvement stores.
  • When cleaning your floor, avoid using abrasive scrubbers and cleaners as they can damage the surface leaving a dull area.
  • For paint that won’t budge, try Armstrong New Beginning┬« Floor Stripper and Cleaner to remove the paint. Apply and scrub with a sponge to remove any remaining paint.
  • Goof Off is a cleaner that is available at most home improvement stores and is excellent at removing dried paint. However, it can strip the surface of the color and finish so be sure to test it on a small hidden area first.
  • If all else fails, apply a paint stripper to remove the paint. Check with your manufacturer or a professional to find a stripper that will remove the paint without damaging the flooring.
  • Do NOT use ammonia on vinyl flooring as it will damage the surface.



  1. Julia says:

    I’ve cleaned up many apartments after the painters are done. My favorite is a strong solution of TSP in Hot water. Wear gloves.

  2. Joe in Indiana says:

    I’ve had far more success with the product called “Oops!” versus “Goof Off” in removing paint from floors. I’ve tried both- sometimes Goof Off just wouldn’t make the paint budge. Oops! worked with only minimal effort.

  3. The Painter says:

    I’ve been a professional painter for 25 years and always recommend the least drastic first. If the paint is recent and light, buff with dry towel, then damp, then rubbing alcohol if needed. Or, my favorite product is Krud Kutter – available at Walmart, Home Depot and many other stores.

  4. Patricia says:

    I work as a cleaner in a school. My job is to clean the arts and crafts department. The problem is that they have paint all over the floors. The floor covering is of a rough texture which is difficult to brush as any cotton or material sticks to the floor, could you tell me what I would use to remove the paint, as it’s a school I cannot use dangerous materials such as turpentine or white spirit.


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