Affordable, durable, and stain-resistant, laminate floors only continue to grow more popular even as decor trends come and go.
One notable downside, however, is that removing dried paint from laminate can be challenging. Like removing paint from a hardwood floor, you want to use caution so you don’t damage the flooring.
In this guide, learn how to get dried paint off laminate flooring, including which products and methods to use for both latex and oil-based paints without damaging your floors.
Laminate flooring is exceptionally strong, so you have quite a few options when it comes to cleaning products that will effectively remove paint without damaging the floor itself.
Although the following products are widely considered safe for laminate, always test products on an inconspicuous area first. Also, be sure to thoroughly vacuum so particles won’t scratch the laminate while you’re scrubbing the paint away.
Paint Removers/Floor Degreaser
If homemade solutions don’t cut it, try a paint remover: apply, wait, and clean per package instructions, then clean the floor with some degreaser. Repeat as needed until the dried paint is completely gone, then clean the area with warm water.
Ammonia-Based Window Cleaner
Ammonia—in the right amounts and formulas—can safely and effectively clean laminate flooring.
Spray window cleaner onto the paint until it’s thoroughly saturated, let it sit a while, then scrub. Repeat as needed. Follow up with nail polish remover if needed, then wash with warm water.
It’s understandable if the idea of applying heat to your laminate makes you nervous, but most floors can handle it just fine. While a hairdryer might also work, a high-quality heat gun will give you better control over surface area and temperature.
Keep the setting on low and aim the heat gun at the paint stains, sweeping back and forth in a steady, even motion. Gradually, the paint will soften, so you can peel or scrape it up with a paint scraper, tweezers, or other appropriate tools.
How To Get Water-Based Paint (Latex) Off Laminate Flooring
Water-based paints like latex are easy to clean up when wet: rather than solvent, the main liquid component in the formula is water.
This means you’ll need much milder products (if any) to clean it than when tackling oil-based or glossy formulas.
- 1Gather your materials
If the paint is wet, you may only need warm water and a rag or sponge to scrub and wipe up the spill. If the paint has dried, you’ll need the aforementioned DIY cleaner (vinegar, rubbing alcohol, water, and dish soap) or a latex paint remover, clean water for rinsing, rags, or sponges for scrubbing, a paint scraper, and a dry cloth.
- 2Apply your cleaning solution
Allow it to sit for a few minutes, or per package instructions (if applicable).
- 3Scrub the paint
Use firm pressure and a back-and-forth motion until the paint begins to come up.
- 4Reapply the solution, if needed
You can also use acetone nail polish remover at this stage, instead.
- 5Scrub some more
Repeat steps 2-4 until the paint is gone, or the remainder is soft enough to be peeled or scraped up.
- 6Rinse the area with clean water
Dry with the cloth, or allow it to air dry.
How To Get Oil-Based (Gloss) Paint Off Laminate Flooring: DIY Guide
Oil-based paints and primers don't contain the high water content of latex.
You need something strong enough to break down the oil in the paint but which won't damage the laminate in the process.
If the paint is wet, some appropriate paint remover on a rag, followed by water to rinse the area, is often all you need.
Dried drips and spills are where the real work comes in because the advantage of oil-based or gloss paints is their durability: how strong they are once dry.
The longer the paint has sat there, the harder you might have to work.
Before you begin, gather your materials. These include turpentine or paint thinner, rags, gloves, and water.
If the paint has sat for a long time, it’s cured—hardened to its maximum durability—and might require scraping or a heat gun, as well.
Remember that turpentine and other paint removers give off strong fumes; keep the room well-ventilated during and after the paint removal process.
- 1Vacuum the area
This will keep debris from scraping your floor as you work.
- 2Apply turpentine or paint thinner, also known as white spirits
Dab directly onto the dried oil-based paint per the container instructions. Scrub with a rag until the paint is gone, then rinse with water.
- 3If some paint remains, try acetone
Nail polish is a lacquer, so anything that breaks it down will also work on many oil-based formulas. Dab the paint with acetone on a cotton ball or cotton swab, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse.
- 4For stubborn dried paint, soften with a heat gun and scrape
Use caution when handling the heat gun, and keep it on a low setting while you work.
- 5If all else fails, try sanding the paint off
This should be a last resort, when absolutely nothing else will remove the paint from your laminate flooring. Work slowly and check your progress often to ensure you're only sanding the paint off—not accidentally scraping the top wear layer of the floor.
Can Dried Paint Damage Laminate Flooring?
Spilled or dripped paint usually won’t cause any damage or stains to laminate, even if it’s left to dry for a while. The risk really comes from improper removal, which can damage the gloss or protective coating on the top of your laminate.
Some staining can occur when paint sits on laminate for a while, and is all the more noticeable if it’s a bright or dark color and the floor is light.
Fortunately, this stain is sitting on the surface of the laminate. While getting it out will be frustrating, very rarely is it impossible.
Removing Paint From Laminate Flooring FAQs
Will paint thinner ruin laminate flooring?
Usually, paint thinner and similar products will not harm laminate flooring if used sparingly and for a short amount of time.
Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly after use, however, since thinner can cause discoloration or dulling of the topmost laminate layer when it’s left to sit.
And to be on the safe side, only use thinner for dried oil-based or gloss paint that milder cleansers can’t get up.
Can you strip laminate furniture?
Yes, most laminate furniture can be stripped. In fact, a homemade cleaner (vinegar, water, dish soap, and rubbing alcohol) can act as an effective but safe paint stripper for most laminate pieces.
If that doesn’t work, commercial paint strippers meant for laminate furniture can also be used; just be sure to follow the package directions.
How do you get latex paint off a linoleum floor?
Linoleum is made from natural materials like cork powder, linseed oil, and resin (among others), although synthetic versions also exist.
It usually has a coating on top to protect the design and resist stains, but products like paint thinner or rubbing alcohol can remove this and lead to damage.
To remove dried latex/water-based paint from linoleum, try mild cleansers and gradually increase their strength—for example, warm water alone, then warm water and dish soap, then a water-based cleanser, etc.—until you find what works best.
You can also scrape the paint up gently with a scraper.
How do you get oil-based paint off a linoleum floor?
Oil-based paints will prove more challenging since you can't safely use thinners or turpentine on the linoleum.
Soften the paint with a very small amount of rubbing alcohol, taking care not to get it on the floor itself, then scrub gently with steel wool and liquid wax until the paint is gone. Rinse the area and allow it to dry.
How do you get paint stains off laminate floors?
Sometimes, all the solids from dried paint come up easily—but you’ll still notice faint pigment left behind.
Don’t worry: even though it looks like a stain that has “soaked into” the floor, the discoloration is sitting on top of your laminate’s outermost protective layer, also called the wear layer.
Giving the area another good scrub with cleanser or nail polish remover can usually remove it, though it might require repeating the process a few times to get up all the pigment.
Laminate can hold up to a lot of damage and wear, including paint spills. While it’s always best to clean paint off laminate when it’s still wet, it is possible to remove dried paint without harming the floor itself.
Gentle but effective cleansers, heat guns, and scrapers are just a few methods you can try to quickly and safely get paint off your laminate flooring.