6 Tips for Limiting Overspray While Spray Painting

Spray Paint Nozzles

A lot of people overspray while spray painting, which wastes paint and causes damage to other objects and surrounding materials. Overspraying does not only happen indoors; it can also happen outdoors, too. Here are some pointers to minimize the effects of overspray.

Size of Nozzle

If you are using a large nozzle or needle, more spray will come out of the can, and other surfaces may get spray paint on them. In order to use the right size nozzle, analyze the size of your project. If you are spraying your room, then you don't need a large nozzle; a medium one would do fine. However, if you are painting a wall outside, then you would require a large nozzle, but try not to get paint on other surfaces.

man spray painting in a booth


Too much pressure would lead to over spraying because more spray will come out of the can. This can be a huge problem if you are spray painting an object, because the area above, below, or beside your target can get paint on them. To avoid too much pressure, don't push the nozzle too much. If you are spraying a wall outside, then you can apply a lot of pressure, but again make sure that no other surfaces get paint on them.

Distance from Surface

The distance from the surface can also lead to over-spraying problems. The closer you are to the surface, the more spray will appear, and that might make your surface have too much paint on it. However, if you get too far, then the surrounding surfaces will get paint on them too, and the surface which you intended to paint will only get a little spray. The ideal distance is 6 to 10 inches.

Use Adhesive Tape or Cloth to Protect Other Surfaces

painting a piece of metal

If you are spray painting in crowded surroundings, such as your room, then it would be better if you move everything outside. Another thing you can do is wrap other surfaces with adhesive tape or cloth.

TIP: Ed Kimble, our painting expert, points out: "Never use newspaper to protect anything while spraying. Use a roll of plastic and wrap it around the furniture, then secure the bottom with masking tape."

Create Your Own Spray Booth

You can use cardboard boxes and make your own spray booth so other surfaces don't get paint on them. This would be a wise idea if you are spraying an object such as a race car.

If Overspray Does Appear on Other Surfaces

If you take all precautions and overspray still appears on other surfaces, then you need to remove it quickly because spray paints dry faster than oil paints. Use a wet cloth and rub it against the surface. If the paint is dry, mix the water with a laundry detergent to get the spray paint out. You can also use sandpaper if the surface which has paint on it is made up of wood. Try not to rub the surface too hard though, because if the wood already has a color on it, sandpaper will ruin it. If the surface is made up of glass, such as a window, use a professional window or glass cleaner to get the paint off. Windows can also be cleaned off with single-edge razor blades. Using other methods will scratch the glass.

TIP: Ed also shares: "There really is no good way to remove overspray from surfaces. The fix is at the beginning. Mask and cover every area that may get overspray on it--be proactive, not reactive."