If you forgot to lay a plastic tarp/sheet on your cement floor before painting your walls, you might have landed with some nasty paint spills that have defaced your cement floor. Whether oil-based or latex paint spills on a cemented floor, they can be removed though they might seem difficult.
How to Clean Cement Floor after Painting?
There are quite a few methods to remove paint stains from your cement floors. Some require only house cleaning tools while others use commercial materials. Let’s look at these methods!
Cleaning Wet Paint Spills off Cement Floor!
The “first-aid” for your cement floor after being injured by a paint spill is simply removing the surface paint and then the residual one.
STEP 1- Take a few tablespoons of dish soap in a bowl of water and keep it aside to be used in a while.
STEP 2- Get a wet rag or paper towel or old newspapers to blot the wet liquid paint. Let the paper absorb as much paint as it can.
STEP 3- When you cannot take any more paint off the cement surface, apply Isopropyl alcohol (by spraying from a spray bottle) to the stains and let it sit for a while.
Alternatively, you may use Methylated spirits by pouring it directly over the paint stains. If you use Methylated spirits, quickly start scrubbing with the soapy solution (already made).
STEP 4- Dip a nylon brush in the soapy solution and use it to scrub the stained spot with this solution.
STEP 5- Using a dry rag or paper towel, soak the soapy scrubbed paint stains and again take the soapy water and scrub. Keep repeating this scrubbing and blotting until the stains are gone.
STEP 6- Finally, rinse the area with water and let it air dry.
Cleaning Dry Paint off Cement Floor!
If it has been a few days since you finished your paint job, then the paint might have dried on the surface. Dried paint can be removed using the following methods.
#1- Using Grill Sandpaper & Water
Using a harsher means (sandpaper) for stubborn stains is perfectly fine for a cement surface.
STEP 1- Spread water all over the floor and leave it for 10 minutes. This will moisten and loosen the paint up for easy removal.
STEP 2- Take your grill sandpaper and scrub through the affected stained spots. Scrub in circular motions to remove the stain.
STEP 3- When the paint is stripped off the cement surface, the dislodged stains or flakes of paint need to be rinsed away with a hose (if you are in an outside environment) or soaking everything up with a sponge.
STEP 4- Let the cement surface air dry.
#2- Use a Power Washer
This method should be used when the paint stains are quite extensively spread over a large cement area.
You can get paint off by using a power washer. Opt for a washer with a pressure rating of 2000-4000 psi for easy peeling of paint. If you don’t already own a pressure/power washer, you may rent one from hardware stores.
STEP 1- Brush away the surface dirt and debris from the cement surface.
STEP 2- Take your pressure/power washer and hold it to maintain a distance of about 15 inches from the cement surface. Fire up your pressure washer directly over the surface. It is important to go section by section and don’t let the water pressure be “still” in any given section. Keep moving the nozzle in a sweeping motion.
The chipped-off paint will be removed to the sides.
STEP 3- After you are done with washing, collect all the paint chips on a dustpan, using a putty knife or something similar.
STEP 4- If there are paint stains still lurking around, manually remove them using a scraper.
#3- Using Nail Polish Remover
This method is best suited for small stains over cement surfaces and not an extensive area covered with paint spills because you will need gallons of nail polish remover to do that.
A nail polish remover has acetone in it which breaks down molecular bonds.
So, whether oil paints, latex-based paints, or other types (such as spray paints), acetone will be able to remove such stains.
STEP 1- With a scraper, scrape off as much surface paint as you can.
STEP 2- Pour nail polish remover directly over the paint stains and let it stay for 15 seconds.
STEP 3- Start to scrub with a hard bristled brush. Avoid using a metal-wired brush as it can leave metal particles on the cement surface which will later oxidize and rust.
STEP 4- When the paint stains are removed from the surface, rinse the cement surface.
#4- Using Sodium Bicarbonate
This is a method used by professionals actually, but if you’ve got the skills, and can rent the soda blasting equipment from hardware stores, it can remove multiple layers of paint from cement surfaces.
STEP 1- Wear a respirator to prevent inhaling large amounts of soda blasting as that can cause sneezing and coughing. (Source)
STEP 2- Cover the adjoining vegetation with plastic sheets/tarp as soda blasting can damage it due to high pH levels. If there are plants in flower pots, simply remove the pots from the area.
STEP 3- Sweep the cement floor to remove any surface dust and debris.
STEP 4- Prepare your blaster (after carefully going through the manufacturer’s instructions) using industrial-grade sodium bicarbonate.
STEP 5- Use (Spray) the blaster from a distance in order to keep the cement surface intact. You will be able to manually regulate the soda blaster pressure.
#5- Using Heated Vinegar
Vinegar usually only softens paint but does not remove it fully. This method may be used only for small stains. We can intensify the action by heating the vinegar.
STEP 1- Scrape off the dried paint with a blunt metal and remove residues.
STEP 2- Heat half a cup of vinegar in a pan/pot for about 5 minutes (not boiling hot).
STEP 3- Pour this hot vinegar over the paint spill and scrub it with a hard non-metallic brush.
STEP 4- If the paint comes right away after scrubbing, Congratulations! Otherwise, let the cement surface be saturated with vinegar for 10-15 minutes.
STEP 5- Again, scrub using the same brush and wipe the surface using a wet rag or rinse away the cement surface.
STEP 6- Finally, let the surface dry naturally.
Caution: Hydrochloric (muriatic) or phosphoric acid is a common acid used by people to clean cement surfaces. But it should be used with care as it can cause severe pains and permanent damage the skin.