How to Clean Paint Overspray

| | Updated:

This is what the outside of our house currently looks like, as we're STILL in the middle of painting it with BEHR Marquee and we've been cleaning up a ton of paint overspray.

Paint overspray in the middle of a painting project #TryZep

This is one project that feels like it will never end. Mama may have gone a little overboard with the sledgehammer, knocking out an obnoxious-looking arch in the entryway. I also yanked out our dysfunctional doorbell. When I get into renovations, guys, I go ALL out.

Close-up of paint overspray #TryZep

The rubble is easy enough to sweep away, but the paint overspray is a big problem. I made the unfortunate choice to use a canvas drop cloth for the entryway instead of taping off the uneven Spanish tile. Nate, the master painter around here, was given specific instructions to carefully spray the paint as far down as he could get without hitting the surrounding areas, and leave the rest to me to follow up with a cut-in brush.

You can see how well THAT worked out. A strong gust of wind, a moment of distraction, and we're left with paint overspray everywhere. Next time I'll spend the extra ten minutes to properly cover our stuff.

Clean Up Paint Overspray in Just a Few Minutes

How to clean paint overspray. Good solution to know for those times when you get a little overzealous with household projects! #TryZep

There was paint overspray EVERYWHERE. Around the entire edge of our entryway, on the door, in every crevice. Nate was like, “Uhhhh, we were planning to replace that tile sooner or later anyway…right?”

Yeah, in about five years when we have the funds to do the inside and the outside at once.

What a nightmare.

If you've ever tried to clean paint overspray off of something, you know how difficult it is. I've tried every cleaning product in the book, and acrylic paint is no joke. Compound that with the fact that this was an extra-hectic time for us and I let the mess sit for almost a month before properly dealing with it! I was starting to think I'd have to just roll with the “paint overspray chic” look. Rustic, no?

ZEP cleaner #TryZep

A housekeeper friend recommended Zep Commercial, which she uses to scrub away stubborn mildew in showers. “That @%!# will clean anything,” she exclaimed, handing me the All-Around Oxy Cleaner and Degreaser. She also suggested the Quick Clean Disinfectant for killing viruses during cold season. We had to disinfect the whole house after Bjorne's parvo incident, and I learned the hard way that most disinfectants have to stay on a surface for as much as ten minutes to kill germs. Zep kills viruses in as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes, a strong testament to its cleaning abilities.

cleaning up paint overspray #TryZep

I gave the oxy version a spin on our tile, since it promised to be safe on delicate materials. Our patio has clearly been through it, and you can see the tile eroding away in spots due to the previous owners not properly sealing or cleaning it. Clay tile is always a little tricky to clean and while I needed something strong enough to power away the paint overspray, I also didn't want to further damage the area.

cleaning up paint overspray with ZEP and a rag #TryZep

I sprayed, let it sit for a minute, scrubbed and then used a microfiber towel to wipe away the excess.

using a wire brush for in-depth cleaning of paint overspray #TryZep

A wire brush can be used for any really stubborn spots, although you'll want to be careful since overzealous scrubbing can damage your surface. I tested in an inconspicuous area first to make sure I wouldn't be leaving scratch marks behind.

Before and after cleaning paint overspray #TryZep

Rinse and repeat! It only took me a couple rounds of scrubbing with Zep to remove our stubborn paint overspray. That's an impressive feat. I've been around the block a time or two in home renovations, and paint overspray is known for being epically difficult to handle. I'm sure Nate is breathing a big sigh of relief.

Have you ever had to deal with a gnarly home improvement mess? Was it as bad as our paint overspray issue?


7 TTC Tips for Eager Couples

Outdoor Weddings and Ambience Inspiration