What Removes Spray Paint Off Brick Walls?

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Remove spray paint off brick walls with solvents.
Remove spray paint off brick walls with solvents. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Spray paint might look permanent on brick walls, but you can remove it safely with solvents. Solvents work to dissolve the spray paint off the brick. When you spot the spray paint, you must remove it quickly. The longer spray paint is on the brick, the harder it will be for you to remove later. Before you use solvents, read the manufacturer directions carefully.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits, sometimes referred to as white spirits, effectively removes spray paint from brick walls without leaving behind a strong odor. The chemical often is used to clean and degrease tools and equipment parts, but it also dissolves fresh paint. If you do not have mineral spirits on hand, you can use turpentine to remove the paint. Wear gloves before you work with mineral spirits and soak an old washcloth in the solution. Apply the mineral spirits to the brick wall and scrub to dissolve the paint.

Lacquer Thinner

A commercial lacquer thinner is stronger and more effective at removing spray paint than mineral spirits. The chemical dissolves hardened paint, but it can cause damage to many plastic and vinyl surfaces. When you use lacquer thinner to remove the spray paint, cover vinyl windows to protect them. Wear gloves when working with lacquer thinner to protect your health. Soak an old washcloth in the lacquer thinner and scrub on the spray paint until it dissolves.

Methylene Chloride

Methylene chloride strips paint and cleans brushes. You can find the ingredient in most paint removers and in graffiti removal products. The chemical can harm your health, so always wear gloves and a mask when working with it. Methylene chloride also will dissolve plastics, so protect all exterior plastics on your home before you apply the chemical to the brick wall. Apply methylene chloride with an old washcloth and scrub on the spray paint until you dissolve it.

Tips and Warnings

When you scrub on the spray paint with a washcloth, use one that does not have a lot of nap. Nap refers to the visible threads on the surface of the washcloth. Use a clean section of the rag each time you scrub on the spray paint. You might need to use several washcloths to remove the paint completely. Lacquer thinners are highly toxic and flammable so work in a well-ventilated area. Never use nylon brushes to remove the paint because the solvents will dissolve the bristles. If you have difficulty removing the spray paint, contact a professional to help you.

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