How to Remove Latex Paint From a Linoleum Floor

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Scraper, screwdriver with a flat tip, or chisel
Mild detergent
Paper towels
Scrub brush

Linoleum doesn’t always respond well to cleaning chemicals, so removing latex-paint spills from a linoleum floor can be tricky. However, with the right set of steps and about 30 minutes, any novice do-it-yourselfer can clean it up without a professional.

Removing New Paint

Step 1 – Scoop up the Paint Spill

If you’ve only recently spilled the latex paint, you’re in luck. Remove it easily by picking it up with your paintbrush. Scoop it up or scrape the paint off back on the inside of the paint can it came from if there is enough that has spilled.

Step 2 – Use Paper Towels and a Dishcloth

Use paper towels to scoop up the last parts of the latex paint, and then wipe up anything left with a damp dishcloth. Try not to spread the paint around on the floor.

Removing Older Paint

Step 1 – Scrape the Paint Off

If the paint is older and dried, use a blade to scrape it off. You can use a window scraper, the flat tip of a screwdriver, or even a small chisel. Put a small amount of liquid hand soap on the edge of the stain, and then scrub lightly using the scraper to remove it. Be careful not to scratch the linoleum. Unlike removing latex paint from concrete, you should not use any paint removers or harsh chemicals.

Step 2 – Use Damp Paper Towels

Clean up any remaining stains by using paper towels or a lightly dampened dishcloth. Try to contain any stains and not spread them.

Cleaning the Floor

Once you’ve removed your wet or dry latex paint using the above steps, you can clean any remaining residue with dish or laundry soap and a scrub brush. Do not use anything else, as nearly all linoleum today has a “no wax” finish with a special factory coating. Alcohol, paint thinners, and other chemicals will remove this coating and make the spot look different from the rest of the floor.

Test a small area of the floor with your cleaning solution before washing the rest of it to ensure your chosen cleaner won’t hurt the surface of the floor. If you get any more latex paint on other surfaces during the cleanup process, there are plenty of other ways to remove it from different places.

Edward Kimble, professional painter and author of Interior House Painting Blog, contributed to this article.