How to Remove Spray Paint From Trees

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Airless spray rigs offer speed and convenience that simple rollers and paintbrushes do not. Thanks to these modern machines, most exterior paint jobs can be accomplished in half the time they used to take. However, anyone who has ever used an airless sprayer knows that it is virtually impossible to avoid getting a little overspray on at least a few unintended areas. And when the wind begins to howl, paint overspray can carry surprising distances, often even ending up on trees and other vegetation. It's not very difficult to remove paint from organic materials, however, as long as you know what you're doing. If you need to remove spray paint from trees, there are a few simple techniques you can use.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Olive oil
  • Rags
  • Metal putty knife
  • Pull scraper
  • Wire brush
  • Water hose
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Razor blade

Apply olive oil to a rag. Use the rag to loosen the paint from the tree's bark. Rub in a circular, counterclockwise motion. Rinse the tree with a water hose.

Use a metal putty knife to scrape the spray paint from the bark of the tree. Rinse the tree with the hose.

Use the pull scraper to scrape the spray paint from the bark of the tree. Pull toward your body in a downward motion. Rinse the tree with the hose.

Apply olive oil to a rag. Use the rag to loosen the paint from the tree's bark. Use the wire brush to further loosen the paint. Rinse the tree with the hose.

Use a razor blade to delicately chip away any remaining spray paint from the tree. Rinse the tree with the hose once again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unfortunately, you can't remove paint from the leaves of trees without killing them. If you have spray paint on the leaves of your trees, your best bet is to trim the affected leaves away and make room for new growth.
  • Never use mineral spirits, paint thinner or harsh chemical cleaners to remove spray paint from trees--this may poison them.
  • If you need to use a ladder to reach certain portions of the tree, always be sure someone is holding it steady while you work. Ladders placed on soft, bumpy, uneven soil are prone to shift and fall. Make sure you have a helper holding your ladder steady.

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