Whether you need to clean up an accidental splatter or spill, fix a mistake made during a painting project or get rid of unwanted artwork, it is nearly always possible to remove acrylic paint from glass. Glass is nonporous, so acrylic paint only sits on the surface rather than soaking in, making it relatively easy to remove paint from glass. Sometimes, it is as simple as scraping off the paint or wiping it away. If the glass surface was primed before painting and sealed afterward, the job can be trickier and can call for harsh solvents. Take a trial-and-error approach, starting with one of the gentler options and moving on to chemical cleaners if needed.
Removing Wet Paint and Minor Mistakes
If you need to fix a mistake while painting glass or have accidentally spilled or splattered acrylic paint onto glass, work as quickly as possible while the paint is still wet. Plain water might be sufficient to get still-wet acrylic paint off glass, so try wiping the paint off with a damp cloth, paper towel or cotton bud. If any paint traces remain, wipe again with rubbing alcohol or window cleaner. If you want to paint over the surface again, first let the glass dry completely.
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Start With Nonsolvent Methods
Before turning to harsh chemicals to remove acrylic paint from glass, start with the gentler options of scraping off the paint or scrubbing it off with hot, soapy water. Use a plastic paint scraper, putty knife or the edge of a credit card or gift card to scrape dried acrylic paint off glass. If you're lucky, the paint will simply slide off the surface.
If scraping alone doesn't remove all the paint, switch to scrubbing with soapy water. Mix some hot water and dish soap in a sink or bowl, saturate a nonabrasive scourer or scrubber with the hot, soapy water and scrub the paint off the glass. If the glass item is small enough, try soaking it in the hot, soapy water for about 15 minutes to loosen the paint before scrubbing it away.
Try Various Household Solvents
A number of common household solvents will effectively remove acrylic paint from glass without damaging the glass. The less harsh options recommended by paint experts are denatured alcohol and rubbing alcohol along with window cleaner, hair spray and fabric softener. Apply these products to a cloth or scrubber and wipe or scrub away the paint. If the paint is still difficult to remove, coat the surface of the paint with your chosen solvent, let it sit for 15 minutes and then wipe or scrub away the paint.
Harsher household chemicals certain to get acrylic paint off glass include acetone, ammonia solution and lacquer thinner. These products all give off noxious fumes, so work in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside, and wear protective gloves. Apply the product to a cloth or scrubber or directly onto the painted surface. Wipe or scrub the paint and if needed, use a scraper as well until the paint is gone. Finally, wash the glass item with hot, soapy water.