How to get paint off your patio – the best ways to remove accidental splats or correct a DIY project

Want a spotless patio? These are the expert-approved methods to get rid of paint

A patio with a garden furniture set
(Image credit: Future PLC/Jeremy Phillips)

As we’re starting to have warmer and sunnier days, we turn to cleaning up our patios, as well as DIY jobs around the house and the garden, both of which can lead to unwanted paint spills. And if you’re in that boat, whether it’s a splatter or a major spill, you’re probably wondering how to get paint off the patio asap.

Whether you’ve got unwanted paint spills or previously painted slabs from patio ideas that you now want to reverse, there are several ways in which you can remove paint from your patio.

The best way will largely depend on the type of paint you’re dealing with – is it oil or water-based paint? But also the material your patio is made of will play a part. But our experts give us a low down of most of the possible scenarios and how to tackle them successfully.

A patio with a hanging egg chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

How to get paint off patio

Figuring out how to clean a patio if you’ve spilled paint all over it is not an easy feat. But luckily there are methods and products that can help you out.

‘Whether you’ve been doing some DIY painting in the garden and spilt some on the patio or bored of your previously painted patio floor, removing stubborn paint stains can be tricky,’ starts Nick Ee, product and training manager at home improvement specialist, Black+Decker.

Tom Allen, owner of TGA Concrete Pumping, continues, ‘Something that most people don’t take into consideration when it comes to removing paint from their patios is how long it's been there. The approach to getting your patio back looking as good as new should differ slightly depending on whether you’re dealing with a recent spillage or a stain that has been there for months or even years.’

So with that in mind, this is what you might possibly need for the task at hand.

Tom Allen
Tom Allen

As the director of TGA Concrete Pumping, Tom brings nine years of invaluable expertise in concrete work, spanning both industrial and residential projects, and has priceless knowledge and experience with outdoor living and landscaping.

A ladder with paint tins

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

What you’ll need

How to get paint off a previously painted patio

A patio with a garden furniture set

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If your patio has previously been painted or stained with a water-based paint, then your best pressure washer is your best bet.

‘I always recommend using a pressure washer as one of the most effective tools, but this will depend on the type of paint, the surface material of the patio, and how long the paint has been sat there,’ Nick says. ‘It’s always a good idea to test the pressure washer on a small inconspicuous area of the patio to ensure the pressure won’t damage the surface. It’s advisable to start with a lower setting on the pressure washer, be cautious not to use a high setting as this could cause damage. 

A tray with painting brushes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

‘If you find that the paint stains are too stubborn, you can apply a detergent or paint remover specifically designed for use with pressure washers but make sure to wear goggles when working with chemicals that could splash into your eyes. Your pressure washer will come with different attachments, when targeting specific stains opt for the narrow nozzle as this will help to concentrate the water stream for more effective cleaning.’

But if this method isn’t working for you, then a chemical paint stripper can make the best patio cleaner at this point.

‘Using a chemical paint stripper can be very effective when it comes to removing a complete coat of water-based paint. All you need to do is apply the stripper according to the manufacturer's instructions and be sure to wear gloves and eye protection,’ Tom recommends.

A patio with a garden furniture set

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to get spilled water-based paint off patio

The consensus is that water-based paint is a little bit easier to get off. Especially when you don’t wait around too long to remove it.

‘Like with most stains and spillages, it’s extremely beneficial to act fast if you spill paint. The quicker you address a spill, the easier it is to remove. Begin by blotting up as much paint as possible with a clean, absorbent cloth or rag, and avoid spreading the paint further,’ Tom says, which goes for any type of paint or stain really. 

But what’s more specific to water-based paints is the soapy water method. ‘A simple yet effective solution for fresh spills is warm, soapy water. The soap helps lift the paint, while the warm water aids in the process,’ Tom says.

But if that doesn’t work, you can bring out the big guns which in this case is methylated spirit. ‘For stubborn water-based paint stains, a small amount of methylated spirits on a cloth can help dissolve the paint. You can buy this from most hardware shops, but it’s important to remember that methylated spirits are flammable, so you need to keep them away from heat sources and ensure good ventilation while using them,’ Tom explains.

A patio with a garden furniture set

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to get oil-based paint off patio

While methylated spirit is the thing to tackle water-based paint with, white spirit is the same thing to oil-based paints.

‘White spirit is used by a lot of people to help clean up oil-based paint spills, and there’s a very good reason why it’s so popular. This solvent is very effective and you don’t need to use much of it. Simply apply it sparingly with a cloth while remembering to be mindful, as white spirit can also remove some surface treatments from slabs,’ Tom warns.

FAQs

How do you remove old paint from a concrete patio?

As previously mentioned, the best method for removing paint off a patio partly depends on the surface material. And pretty much all of the methods listed above can be used to clean a concrete patio if a paint spillage has occurred.

‘Concrete slabs are the most popular material for patios to be made out of. Most of the methods discussed are suitable for concrete,’ Tom says.

But if you’re working with something more sensitive and delicate such as Indian sandstone or flagstone, then a gentler approach is needed. ‘Indian sandstone is a beautiful yet delicate material. Therefore, it’s important that you avoid harsh chemicals and opt for gentler methods like warm, soapy water or a scraper for minor paint spills. For stubborn paint, consider professional cleaning, as you don’t want to cause irreparable damage,’ Tom explains.

A patio with a garden furniture set

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Will vinegar remove paint from concrete patio?

Vinegar is a great natural cleaning hack for many things. But sadly removing paint from a patio is not one of them.

‘Vinegar is a great cleaning solution for most household tasks, but it's not very effective for removing paint. It might help with minor water-based paint splatters, but for anything more substantial, stronger solutions are needed,’ Tom explains.

As you can see, getting rid of paint stains is no fun or easy task. So always be careful when doing your DIY.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.