How to Remove Spilled Paint on a Driveway

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If you have a pristine white driveway or even an asphalt one you’ve just recently installed, this will probably be the time when you or a family member will spill a can of paint on it or have a spray painting accident. Instead of panicking or tearing your hair out, you need to act immediately. Get that paint up as soon as possible. Fresher spots are much easier to deal with than those that have set for days, or even hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels or old bath towels
  • Two gallon bucket
  • Warm water
  • Garden hose
  • Mixing spoon or dowel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rough scrub brush or steel wool pads
  • Paint stripper or driveway sealant
  • Squeegee (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)
  • Cordless drill with wire brush attachment (optional)
  • Protective goggles (optional)

Absorb as much of the paint as you can while it is still wet. Sop it up with either paper towels or old bath towels you no longer use. Keep a trash can handy so you can dispose of the towels right away and promptly grab new ones. Always dab at the stain to pick up the paint. Rubbing will just cause it to spread or seep in further.

Check to make sure you’ve sopped up all the paint you can. Then fill a two gallon bucket with hot water (make it so hot that you can see steam rising). Add two tablespoons of dish detergent and stir with a large mixing spoon or dowel. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands. Then dip a rough scrub brush or steel wool pad into the water. Vigorously scour the driveway stain until the paint comes out, rinsing with the garden hose whenever the area gets too soapy.

Check the driveway again once it’s dry to see if all of the paint is gone. If not, for concrete driveways, brush on one cup of paint thinner for every square foot of the stain. If you have an asphalt driveway, cover the remaining stain with black driveway sealer or use this as the perfect opportunity to seal your whole driveway at once. Use your squeegee to apply a thin layer of the liquid and let it dry overnight.

Tips & Warnings

  • To save yourself some elbow grease while performing Step 1, attach a wire brush to your cordless drill. Then all you have to do is run it over the driveway instead of scrubbing with the manual brush. If your stain is very small, it may come off with coarsely grained sandpaper.
  • Wear protective gloves and goggles when working with paint stripper and only open the can in a well ventilated area. Test the paint stripper in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it won't damage your driveway.
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