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How to Remove Paint From Linoleum

If you’re renovating and accidentally get paint on linoleum flooring, or discover an area of linoleum flooring that has some dried paint on it and want to remove it, it’s important to do it in a way to not damage the linoleum. In this article I will cover exactly how to remove paint from linoleum if it is possible for your particular type of linoleum and the type of paint it is.

As a general rule, use isopropyl alcohol for oil based, acrylic and latex paints, and warm soapy water for water based paints. For oil based paints turpentine, acetone, and WD-40 work well. Generally, you need to rub a lot and do multiple applications of the cleaner you’re using.

Floor in the living room

Some people recommend using plastic razor blades or a plastic scraper but each brand and type of lino responds differently. And people have reported that this can damage the lino by causing scrape marks. Below, I will explain in depth exactly how to do it, and how to test a small area first to see how well it’s working and if it’s damaging the finish.

How to Remove Paint from Linoleum

There are many different types of paint, and the exact type of linoleum you have will determine what will work. Here’s a broad overview of what’s involved and exactly what to use to get wet or dry paint off linoleum.

Paint is removed from linoleum by using warm soapy water or an alcohol based liquid such as acetone, or turpentine. Steam cleaning can also work but the high temperatures can melt the linoleum so you should try it on an area that won’t be visible first.

In general, it’s MUCH easier to remove paint when it’s wet compared to after it has dried. But, the method to remove it is the same regardless of whether the paint is still wet or has dried. The main difference is that with wet paint you should try to remove as much of the wet paint as possible before cleaning it off.

Cleaning wet oil based paint of linoleum

Scoop up any excess paint you can with your hands and put it into a waste bucket. Be sure to wear latex gloves to protect your hands. You can also use a disposable spoon or something similar to scoop up the excess paint.

But, be careful not to scratch the linoleum with a lot of force as it will leave a permanent scratch on the linoleum. After you’ve removed as much of it as possible, use an old rag or cloth dipped in acetone, turpentine or another alcohol based liquid to wipe the area. As you do so you’ll need to soak the cloths in the same solution to completely clean them.

Therefore, you generally need a lot of rags/cloths. A roll of disposable kitchen cloths can be good as you can just throw them away after you’ve wiped up as much of the paint as possible.

Cleaning wet water based paint off linoleum

Wet water based paint is extremely easy to remove. It can be removed like you would any other spill you would have in the kitchen such as wine, or coffee. It will come off with just plain water.

Removing it will just take a bit of time, as you’ll need to wash off the cloth each time and then use it again. Use a bucket of water next to you to wash out the cloth each time. And change the water when it gets very discolored.

Cleaning dried paint off linoleum (unknown paint type)

Sometimes you won’t know whether dry paint is oil based paint or water based paint. So, as a first check try hot soapy water to soften the paint. If it’s water based paint, leaving some hot soapy water on the paint for 15 minutes will begin to soften it.

After leaving some water on it for 15 minutes or so, rub the paint with your finger or a soft plastic brush to see if it had any effect. If it didn’t soften the paint at all then it’s guaranteed to be an oil/acrylic based paint. Often this type of paint is extremely difficult to remove and takes a lot of elbow grease.

In extreme circumstances they can be impossible to remove. There are a range of few different methods for this type of paint and it’s always best to try an area of the lino that’s inconspicuous.

The options are:

  • Steam cleaning
  • Acetone, turpentine, or another alcohol based liquid
  • Cutting out the area and replacing it with a new piece of linoleum

Steam cleaning is only safe for certain types of linoleum. The very hot temperatures can melt the linoleum. Where possible check with the linoleum manufacturer to see if the linoleum you have can withstand steam cleaning.

If this isn’t possible, test a steam cleaner on an area that won’t be visible such as one that will be underneath the oven. If neither of these options are possible then use acetone, turpentine, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), or another mostly alcohol liquid. Where it’s completely hardened and set it can be impossible to remove.

But, try leaving the alcohol product you’re using on it for 30 mins or so to soak the pain. Then scrub it with a medium plastic brush such as a nail brush or hard toothbrush. Don’t use a wire/metal brush as it will scratch the linoleum.

Many people report that these products work but you need to scrub a lot. And it takes a considerable amount of effort to remove all of the paint. An easier option can be to cut out the area and replace it with a new piece of linoleum.

How to Remove Dried Paint from Linoleum

Worker man confused

Dried paint is harder to remove than wet paint or paint that is only partially dry. But, it can still be done provided you use the right thing on it. This is how to remove dried paint from linoleum.

Dried water based paint can be removed fairly easily with warm water and soap. Oil based/acrylic and other non-water based paints can be removed with isopropyl alcohol (IPA), turpentine or a similar mostly alcohol liquid. Non-water based paints take a lot of work to remove.

With non-water based paints you need to apply the alcohol liquid, scrub them, wipe off the residue using a cloth, then reapply the more alcohol liquid. In most cases you will need to do this 3 or 4 times to completely remove it. But, with certain types of paints once they’re completely dry and hardened they can be impossible to remove.

Therefore, it’s best to see if you make any progress removing it after 1 to 2 applications of the alcohol based liquid you’re using. And if nothing is coming off them it’s safe to say that it won’t even come off. In that case, your best option is to cut out the region and replace it with a new piece of linoleum.

How to Remove Old Dried Paint from Linoleum Floor

Worker man confused

Fully dried paint is generally permanent unless it’s a water based paint. With that said it’s still possible to remove some types of non-water based paints but on average it takes longer. Here’s how to remove old dried paint from linoleum floor.

Use warm soapy water for old dried water based paint, and rubbing alcohol also called isopropyl alcohol or liquid that is a high percentage alcohol such as acetone for old dried non-water based paint. The type of paint can be indeterminable, in which case use water first to see if it works.

Leave the water on the paint for about 15 minutes, then take a look and see if the paint is starting to run into the water. If there is no visible change to the paint, rub it with a cloth and see if any of the paint comes off. If none of the paint comes off then it’s not a water based paint.

In that case, use an alcohol based liquid such as acetone. Apply it using a cloth or sponge and let it sit on the paint for 15 minutes or so. Try and wipe the paint with a cloth and see if it comes off easily.

If not then apply more acetone or the alcohol based liquid you’re using. Let it sit but this time scrub it very well using a plastic bristled brush. After that, wipe it to see if any of the paint comes off.

In rare cases if none of the paint comes off at all, then to remove it you’ll need to cut out the section of linoleum that has the paint on it. And replace it with a new piece of linoleum. I’ve put a really good video in the heading above this one that shows the process for how to do that.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Linoleum

paint for the linoleum floor

Acrylic paint is very versatile and is used for art as well as for home decor. If some accidentally gets on the lino floor it’s possible to remove using the following method.

As a general rule, apply isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to the acrylic paint and let it soak for 5 to 15 minutes. If the acrylic paint is very dry let the alcohol sit for longer. Wet acrylic paint will wipe right off with a sponge. Dry acrylic paint scrub it with a plastic brush first.

Then wipe the area with a cloth you don’t mind needing to throw out. It’s more effective for the cloth to be damp with isopropyl alcohol but isn’t necessary. It’s easiest to have a few cloths in a bucket with enough isopropyl alcohol in it to cover the cloths.

Once the cloth is completely filled with paint let it soak in the bucket to make it easy to clean out. For hardened acrylic paint it generally takes a lot of scrubbing to remove some of it. And with some acrylic paints it’s impossible to remove.

If you find it too much work to scrub the acrylic paint and the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’ as they say, then cut out the area, and replace it with a new piece of linoleum. There’s a video for how to replace an area of linoleum flooring above under the heading ‘How to Remove Dried Paint from Linoleum’. It shows step by step how to do it.

How to Remove Dried Water Based/Latex Paint from Linoleum Floor

Worker man confused

Dried water based paint is far easier to remove than non-water based paints such as latex. Depending on how dried it is and exactly what kind of latex paint it is, for the most part both of these types of paint can be removed. To remove dried water based or latex paint from linoleum here’s what to do:

Warm soapy water can remove water based paint very easily but for dried latex paint use isopropyl alcohol or something similar like methylated spirits or mineral turpentine. Water based paint will return to liquid again if you leave some water on it to soak.

Latex paint can be a bit more difficult to remove especially once it’s completely dried. For water based paint leave a good amount of water on it to soak for 30 mins or so. This will soften it and you can wipe it off with a cloth.

The water can not soak all the way into the paint depending on how thick it is. In that case you should leave water to soak on it a few times until all of the water based paint is removed.

Copyright protected content owner: ReadyToDIY.com and was initially posted on March 4, 2022.

Fully dried latex paint

The same is true with latex paint. Water doesn’t work to remove it, and you need to use a liquid that has a high alcohol percentage. With fully dried latex paint you need to scrub it with a hard plastic brush.

But first try rubbing it with a cloth to see if any of it is coming off easily. If not, use a hard plastic brush like a nail brush (fingernail), then wipe the area using a cloth that you don’t mind getting ruined. If you’re making progress and some of the latex paint is coming off then repeat the process until all of it is removed.

Certain types of latex paint can be impossible to remove, and you’ll need to replace this area of the linoleum floor with a new one.

How to Remove Gloss Paint from Linoleum

Worker man confused

Gloss paints are easier to clean than other paints used in homes or offices, and are generally used in areas that are touched a lot such as cabinets and doors. If some is spilled onto a linoleum floor it can be cleaned off in the following way.

Gloss paint can be removed with water but if that doesn’t work use acetone, or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Modern gloss paints are water based and can be removed by soaking them in water. Some gloss pants and typically older gloss pants aren’t and require rubbing to remove them.

Older gloss paints aren’t as long lasting as newer ones that are water based. But it’s possible the specific gloss paint you have isn’t water based. For that reason, if water doesn’t work it means it is not a water based gloss paint.

If this is the case use an alcohol based liquid like acetone. Isopropyl alcohol also called rubbing alcohol or methylated spirits is generally sold in larger amounts. So depending on how much gloss paint is spilled isopropyl alcohol can be a better option.

How to Remove Oil Based Paint from Linoleum

paint for the linoleum floor

Oil based paints are very different to water based paints. When still wet or fully dried they don’t come off with water. Linoleum has a finish which means you can use a wide range of liquids on them, here’s what to use to remove oil based paint from linoleum.

Apply a liquid that is a high percentage of alcohol such as acetone, methylated spirits, or isopropyl alcohol. Then scrub the area using a plastic brush such as a nail brush, and then wipe off the oil based paint that is removed. Use a cloth and repeat the process as many times as necessary.

Depending on how dry or wet the paint is will determine how many times you need to repeat the process. When you apply the acetone or alcohol based liquid it won’t penetrate into all of the oil based paint. This only happens when you remove some of it with the first pass.

Copyright article owner is ReadyToDiy.com for this article. This post was first published on March 4, 2022.

After you remove some of the paint the paint below will be exposed and can react with the alcohol based liquid you’re using. Which will soften it and make it runny. Making it soft enough to be removed with a brush and/or a cloth.

How to Remove Spray Paint from Linoleum

paint for the linoleum floor

Spray paint is generally not recommended to be used inside. However, you may have only learned that after the fact, or some overspray got onto some linoleum that you weren’t expecting. This is exactly how to remove spray paint from linoleum.

Use the lubricant named WD-40 or an alcohol based liquid such as nail polish remover (acetone) or isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Apply some to a cloth and wipe it onto the spray paint. Let it sit for around 5 minutes then rub the area with the cloth or a plastic brush.

In most cases it will take repeating this method a few times until all of the spray paint is removed. If it’s only a fine layer of spray paint it won’t require as many times compared to if it’s a thick layer of solid spray paint.

Overall, first try applying water to it and letting it soak for 5 minutes. Then scrub it with a plastic bristled brush, and then wipe it with a cloth. This will work for water based paints. If this doesn’t remove any of the paint use acetone or rubbing alcohol instead of water.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on March 4, 2022.

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