How To Remove Graffiti From Brick (DIY For Spray Paint)

If you’ve ever faced the task of scrubbing someone’s idea of street art off of the side of a building, you understand how frustrating the task can be.  

Not only are you cleaning up someone else’s mess, but you’re also toiling away with a cornucopia of solvents, removers, and detergents that just don’t quite get the job done.  

Instead of spending your day sweating and scrubbing, learn how to remove graffiti spray paint from brick with easy-to-find products that will leave your masonry looking sharp and sans your friendly neighborhood artist’s latest piece de resistance 

You can remove graffiti paint from brick surfaces without damaging the pavers beneath, so long as you are mindful that the products you choose to cut through the components of the paint without eating away at the stone.  

Spray paint is sticky paint that adheres to brick very well and can drench the porous material. The small aerosol droplets are masters of sinking into the tiny divots and rustic imperfections of the brick face. 

It’s also an oil-based paint which means that it’s hydrophobic, or resistant to water, but not completely waterproof. That means your trusty power washer will need a little extra help from a solvent to get the job done.  

It may be a challenge to eliminate graffiti from the structure, but with a bit of elbow grease, some perseverance, and my tips for how to remove graffiti spray paint from brick, you can certainly master this chore.  

How To Remove Graffiti Spray Paint From Brick

What You'll Need For Cleaning & Removal (Tools & Supplies) 

There are some supplies needed to remove spray paint from brick:  

  • Safety goggles
    Safety goggles are imperative for this job to protect eyes from chemicals and water splash-back.
  • Gloves
    Harsh chemicals can cause chemical burns or absorb through the skin and cause damage. It's best to cover up those hands and wear clothes covering the skin before starting paint removal.
  • Face mask
    Covering the face will save you from having to get spray paint fumes out of your lungs later on. 
  • Wire bristle brush
    This will be needed to scrub out the paint trapped in the porous parts of the brick.
  • Scouring pad
    A pad will give a more focused scrubbing power to the surface of the bricks.
  • A bucket of water
    Having a bucket on hand will allow convenience in rinsing the scouring pad and wire brush.
  • Graffiti Paint Remover
    A paint stripper specifically used for graffiti to target the bases used in spray paints.
  • Power washer with a green 25-degree nozzle tip
    This fan tip will provide the proper pressure to remove the loosened paint without damaging the brick's integrity.

What To Use For Getting Graffiti Off Brick?

The best way to remove spray paint from bricks or pavers is to use a paint stripper to break down the pigment without hurting the surface. 

Remember: Do not mix chemicals as they can cause a bad reaction that could cause serious injury. 

Acids 

Citric acid can help break down the spray paint, but it takes about a day to penetrate enough to loosen the paint before you can even start scrubbing off the color. 

Adipic acid or glutamic acid are acids in paint strippers that work on breaking down graffiti. Products with glutamic acid tend to work faster than adipic acid, but it's best to read the label first to ensure that it's safe for the surface. 

It's not recommended to use hydrochloric acid to remove graffiti from brick. Although it can work on breaking down the paint, it can also compromise the integrity of the mortar that holds the brick together.

When using hydrochloric acid, it's crucial to have baking soda on hand to neutralize the acid in case of any splashes on you.  

Vinegar 

Vinegar can remove spray paint from brick. However, it is not considered the best way to remove graffiti from brick because the pH is not acidic enough to work efficiently. Instead, use vinegar after power washing to remove any leftover film. 

vinegar and lemon

GoofOff 

GoofOff is an effective way to remove spray paint off brick since it can penetrate porous areas and break down the stain without damaging the brick itself. 

Nitromors

For UK and European readers, Nitromors, an all-purpose paint remover, can work on removing graffiti from brick, although the reviews suggest other products might work better and faster.

Nitromors are applied with a gel that will blister off the paint, but you may need to repeat the process multiple times.  

Unfortunately, Nitromors has been discontinued since the European Union’s ban on methylene chloride 

SmartStrip 

Paint strippers like SmartStrip can work on removing graffiti from brick because it comes as a thick paste, which easily adheres to the graffiti.

Be aware that it strips up to fifteen layers of paint, so if you’re terribly attached to the color of your painted pavers, you likely won’t want to use this powerful product.  


Best Ways For Removing Graffiti Paint From Brick (How-To Guide) 

The best way to remove graffiti from brick is to choose a paint stripper and follow these steps: 

  1. 1
    Wear clothing that covers the skin. Also, use gloves, masks, and goggles for complete protection.
  2. 2
    Have all supplies handy and ready to go.
  3. 3
    Carefully apply the stripper according to the package instructions. Typically, you’ll use a spray bottle for professional liquids or a clean spray bottle for vinegar. Use a brush or roller for gel strippers. For acids, a plastic flower watering can might be a great tool to use.
  4. 4
    Let the stripper sit for a period of time. Some will take only 10 minutes, while others might take a substantial time longer to set.
  5. 5
    Once time has lapsed, scrub the graffiti with brushes and scouring pads to loosen the remaining paint.
  6. 6
    Rinse with water and repeat the process if necessary.
  7. 7
    After the paint loosens, use a power washer with the proper nozzle and spray down the wall to remove the remaining stain.
  8. 8
    If any paint remains, repeat the entire process.  

Will Removing Graffiti Paint From A Wall Damage The Brick? 

It depends. Removing graffiti can be an abrasive process, and it will take time to remove all traces of the paint, but the process should not damage the stone itself. 

Removing graffiti from a painted brick wall might result in damaging the underlying layers of paint, depending on the spray paint removal process you choose. Paint removers, specifically, will almost certainly remove the original paint layer or change the color. 

What Type Of Paint Is Used For Graffiti? 

Spray paint contained within an aerosol can is used. The aerosol pressure releases the color in a burst that can give ease in covering an ample space in a less time-consuming way or allow the painter to have greater control in spreading and shading. 

Quick Tip

Giving a quick wash to the brick to remove any surface dirt and letting it dry before applying a paint stripper can produce better results in loosening the graffiti. 

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Common Graffiti Spray Paint Questions 

How long does graffiti paint last? 

Graffiti can last around eight years, depending on how harsh the natural environment is. 


Does WD-40 remove graffiti? 

WD-40 is a penetrating oil, which means that they sink into the layers of spray paint, forming a lubricated surface between the wall and the paint.


Once you spray it on, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrub with steel wool. Be sure to rinse thoroughly once the wall is acceptably unadorned again.  


How do you remove graffiti from stone and concrete walls? 

Using acetone and a pressure washer can loosen and remove graffiti spray paint from concrete and stone. 

What pressure washer PSI do you need to remove graffiti? 

The best PSI pressure to remove graffiti from a brick wall is 500-2000 psi using a 25-degree green nozzle fan so as not to damage the brick. 


Conclusion

Nobody appreciates their property being vandalized. It feels like a personal violation, but it also takes a lot of time and energy to resolve the issue.  

Unfortunately, it can happen, but now you know the best options and procedures for removing graffiti from brick walls and pavers.