How to Remove Paint from a Concrete Driveway

What You'll Need
Garden hose
Cleaning brush or scouring pad
Detergent
Rubbing alcohol
Dry rag
Sandblaster

Homeowners frequently make the mistake of painting furniture or other projects on their concrete driveway because it has a flat, smooth surface and is easy to access. What they sometimes fail to foresee is the problem of removing paint that is left on the driveway. Even those who quickly attempt to remove wet paint from a concrete driveway will find, much to their surprise, that the paint has penetrated the concrete's pores and is difficult to remove. Dried paint is even more stubborn. If you find yourself needing to remove paint from your driveway, you will find these five tips below quite helpful.

Tip 1 - Remove Uncured Latex Paint by Scrubbing

Latex paint typically takes about two weeks to cure completely, depending on ambient temperature and humidity. If you're attempting to remove a small latex paint spot from your driveway during this two-week curing period, use a garden hose to wet the area of your driveway that has the paint, then scrub the paint spot with a stiff brush or scouring pad and some liquid detergent.

Tip 2 - Remove Wet Oil Based Paint

pouring turpentine into a jar

Paint spills of oil-based paints will need a different treatment than those of latex paint. Solvents such as turpentine, paint solvent, or acetone applied with a rag will often work best in cleaning up these spills. If this leaves a residue in the concrete pores, try using muriatic acid.

Tip 3 - Remove Cured Latex Paint with Alcohol

Use a dry rag with rubbing alcohol on it and loosen the paint spot by rubbing it with the rag, then rinse off the loosened paint with water from your garden hose.

Tip 4 - Use a Sandblaster

A sandblaster will usually work more effectively with cured paint, whether latex or oil based. You will likely need to rent a sandblaster. The disadvantage of using these machines, however, is that you will likely need to rent this equipment which includes an air compressor. This equipment can be expensive to rent, and setting up, dismantling equipment, and cleaning up residual sand can take an entire afternoon.

Tip 5 - Use a Paint Stripper

If you plan to use a paint stripper but don't like strong odors, you can use a soy-based stripper which is less hazardous than many chemical strippers. For paint that has cured and may be more stubborn to remove, use muriatic (hydrochloric) acid. But keep in mind this chemical is highly toxic and usually creates white bleach spots on concrete.

Tip 6 - Use Air Pressure

red air compressor

Air pressure blasting will require you to rent an air compressor. This method can be effective and usually will not damage new, cured concrete. But if your concrete is pitted, flaking, or cracked, or uncured the intense pressure could loosen or tear out some of this concrete.

Tip 7 - Use Short Blasters

Machines, called short blasters, are especially effective in removing paint from hard surfaces such as cured concrete. They shoot metal beads onto the concrete surface, which blasts away the paint. These machines may be hard to find and may require an experienced or paid professional to operate them.