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How to Remove Paint From Countertops: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you accidentally spill or splatter paint on your countertops, don’t panic.

In most cases, restoring your countertops to their original condition is simple and easy.

However, you need to be careful not to cause further damage during the process.

In this guide, I explain how to remove paint from granite, marble, quartz, wood, and laminate countertops.

I walk you through each step, explaining what tools and materials you need and how to avoid causing further damage during the cleaning process.

Let’s get started.


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How to Remove Paint From Countertops: The Short Answer

In this guide, I explain, in detail, how to remove paint from granite, marble, quartz, wood, and laminate countertops. 

But if you only have a minute, here’s the short answer.

If the paint is still wet, blot it with a damp paper towel or rag to avoid spreading the mess. After you absorb most of the paint, spray the area with warm water and wipe with a soft sponge. 

For dry paint, wet the countertop with a mix of warm water and dish soap and scrub with a soft sponge. If paint remains, hold a razor blade or putty knife at slightly less than a 45-degree angle and gently scrape the remaining bits.

Scrubbing and scraping should remove most of the paint. If stains linger, the best approach varies by countertop material.

For stubborn stains on marble, granite, or quartz countertops, apply a 50/50 mix of water and isopropyl alcohol to loosen the paint, let it absorb for a few minutes, then wipe with a rag. 

If you have wood countertops, apply a small amount of olive oil to the paint, let it rest for 5 minutes, then scrape the area with a putty knife. I recommend wrapping a rag around the putty knife to avoid scratches. 

For laminate countertops, mix three parts baking soda to one part water to create a paste. Use a rag to apply the paste to the paint in a circular motion. 

The paste should loosen the paint, making it easy to remove the remaining bits with a putty knife. Wrap the putty knife in a rag to avoid damaging the laminate. 

How to Remove Paint From Granite and Marble Countertops

Granite and marble countertops are gorgeous and resilient, but they’re also porous. That means cleaning them with the wrong solution or applying too much could cause permanent damage.

how to remove paint from granite and marble countertops

The good news is that properly sealed countertops prevent paint and other splits from seeping into the stone. And, when the paint can’t enter the microscopic pores, it’s fairly easy to remove. 

If you have granite or marble countertops and you accidentally spilled paint on them, here’s how to clean up the mess.

Materials and Tools

To remove paint from granite or marble countertops, you will need:

  • New razor blade
  • Soft rag
  • Warm water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Paint scraper

Instructions

  1. Use the razor blade to gently scrape away as much paint as possible. Don’t press too hard because you can leave marks on the stone. Don’t worry about paint left in pores or small ridges; we will get that out in the following steps.
  2. Make sure you only use a new razor blade and hold it at a 45-degree angle. Also, be sure nothing is in the path of the blade, especially your hand. The blade can get caught on a tiny burr on the granite or marble, causing it to fly forward quickly.
  3. For the paint you couldn’t remove with a razor blade, use a solution on a rag.
  4. To make the solution, mix equal parts warm water and isopropyl alcohol. Dip your rag in the mixture, and apply it liberally to the affected area on your countertop.
  5. Allow the mixture to rest on the affected area for 5-10 minutes. Then clean up the excess liquid using the rag.
  6. Use a paint scraper to remove the excess paint. Hold the scraper at slightly less than a 45-degree angle. You don’t need to apply too much pressure, just enough to keep the scraper’s blade against the surface of the counter.
  7. Repeat steps 2-4 as needed until there is no paint on the surface of your countertop. If you run your fingers across the area, you should feel smooth stone.
  8. Wipe the area clean with warm water. If paint has permeated the surface of your countertop, use a soft sponge or scrubber with the alcohol mixture to lift it.

Tips and Considerations

Don’t use old razor blades. Older blades may have small knicks that you cannot see, but they can snag on imperfections in your countertop. That can damage the stone and create a potentially dangerous situation.

Also, don’t use too much pressure with razor blades or paint scrapers. You can gouge your countertops and create a more expensive issue. You only need enough pressure to keep the blade against the surface of the stone.

Give the solution time to work. It can take a while for the alcohol to break down the bonds in the paint. Also, if your solution is drying too quickly, cover it in plastic wrap. That will trap the moisture so the solution can continue to work.

If the alcohol solution isn’t working, try increasing the ratio of alcohol to water to 2:1. Before applying a more potent mixture to the affected area, test it on a less visible area of your countertop.

Don’t use household cleaners, like bleach or vinegar. Granite and marble are porous, so acidic substances and harsh chemicals can dull the stone and ruin your countertops.

How to Remove Paint From Quartz Countertops

Quartz is similar to granite and marble, but it’s non-porous, increasing its durability.

You can be a bit more aggressive with chemical solutions and tools when removing paint from quartz countertops, but you still need to use caution.

how to remove paint from quartz countertops

Here’s the best approach to removing paint from quartz countertops.

Materials and Tools

To remove paint from quartz countertops, you will need:

  • Soft rag
  • Warm water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Putty knife or paint scraper

Instructions

  1. Mix a solution of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. Because quartz is non-porous and resilient, you can be a bit more aggressive with the alcohol ratio.
  2. Liberally apply the solution to the affected area and let it soak for a few minutes. If the alcohol is drying too quickly, cover the solution with plastic wrap.
  3. Use a putty knife or paint scraper to remove the paint gently. Hold the putty knife at a 45-degree angle, and scrape with just enough pressure to keep the knife against the surface of the countertop.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed until all the paint is gone. Because quartz is non-porous, you should be able to get all the paint off of the surface of the countertop.
  5. Thoroughly clean the area with warm water.

Tips and Considerations

Not all quartz slabs are the same, so you need to use caution with different cleaners. For example, glass cleaners work with some slabs but not with others. Check with your manufacturer to get a recommendation for the right cleaners for your countertop.

Don’t apply too much pressure with your putty knife. Quartz is durable, but it won’t hold up to abuse with a steel blade. Use just enough pressure to keep the blade against the surface of the countertop, and carefully work your way beneath the paint.

Allow the alcohol solution to do its job. It might take several applications for the alcohol to break the bonds in the paint. Keep applying the solution and scraping layers of paint until it is all gone.

Be careful with aggressive cleaning products. While quartz is non-porous, quartz countertops are made of a mix of quartz, resins, and dye. Harsh chemicals or aggressive scrubbing can damage the resins and cause lasting damage.

How to Remove Paint From Wood Countertops

Wood countertops are the most susceptible to damage. Therefore, you need to be careful and pay close attention when removing paint from wood countertops.

how to remove paint from wood countertops

Below is the best method for removing paint from wood countertops.

Materials and Tools

To remove paint from wood countertops, you will need:

  • Olive oil
  • Soft rag
  • Putty knife
  • Warm water
  • Blow dryer

Instructions

  1. Use your rag to apply olive oil to the paint liberally. Olive oil is safe for wood and even strengthens it, but it’s just acidic enough to penetrate and soften the paint. It can also help to force extra moisture from the paint, which weakens it.
  2. Allow the olive oil to rest on the paint for several minutes. The paint will start to leach color into the olive oil. That’s when you will know it’s ready to be scraped.
  3. Gently wipe away the excess oil with the rag. With a clean part of the rag, gently scrub in tight circles.
  4. Wrap the edge of the putty knife with the rag, and use the covered blade to scrape away the paint. Be careful with the amount of pressure you use, and pay attention to how your countertop reacts to the process. The last thing you want to do is gouge the wood.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 as needed. If you follow this process immediately following a spill, you should be able to get all the paint off before it penetrates the wood. 
  6. If the paint refuses to release from the countertop, use a blow dryer on the high setting to loosen it. Hold it 6-inches above the spill, performing a sweeping motion in fifteen-second bursts. After a few passes, repeat steps 1-4 again.
  7. Clean the area with warm water and dry thoroughly. 

Tips and Considerations

When using the blow dryer, be very careful. If you have a polyurethane coating on your countertop, the heat can cause it to bubble and warp. Use heat only in short bursts.

Don’t oversaturate your countertop with oil. Even though olive oil isn’t corrosive, it can eat through some finishes or stain your countertop.

When using the putty knife, scrape in the direction of the wood grain to minimize the risk of scratching.  

As a last resort, try a small amount of mineral spirits on a rag to clean the area. Keep in mind; if you do this, mineral spirits can eat through the finish or sealant on your countertop, and you’ll likely need to sand and refinish the area when you are done.

How to Remove Paint From Laminate Countertops

Laminate countertops are the least durable, so you need to take extra care when cleaning paint spills. Corrosive or harsh chemicals will likely leave an ugly mark on your countertop that you won’t be able to fix.

how to remove paint from laminate countertops_2

If you splatter paint on your laminate countertops, here’s what to do.

Materials and Tools

To remove paint from laminate countertops, you will need:

  • Soft rag
  • Putty knife
  • Warm water
  • Baking soda

Instructions

  1. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part of water. That creates a thick and scrubbable paste to break down stains.
  2. Use a rag to apply the paint spill with the baking soda paste. Apply the paste liberally, and scrub gently in a tight circular motion. Do not scrub back and forth, as you will just spread the paint more.
  3. Gently use your putty knife to scrape the paint off. Start by wrapping the blade of the putty knife with the rag so you can use the edge gently. If needed, use the bare blade, but be very gentle. Laminate is not a durable material and can easily scratch. Unlike wood, you can’t sand down and refinish laminate if you make a mistake.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed until the paint is gone.
  5. Clean the area with warm water.

Tips and Considerations

Don’t use sharp tools on laminate countertops. A razor blade will scratch your countertop and may even puncture the top layer. Only use a putty knife with rounded edges.

Don’t use harsh chemicals. The laminate finish is sensitive, and harsh cleaners can permanently discolor it. Certain chemicals can eat through the finish, too.

Only use paint or lacquer thinner as a last resort. Before you try this, apply a small amount to a hidden area or your countertop to see how it reacts. Apply a small amount to the paint spill with cotton swabs or a rag, and use a putty knife to scrape the paint off.

Paint thinner emits harmful fumes, so be sure to don protective equipment and ventilate the room.

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to remove paint from your countertops, no matter the material.

Although the steps vary slightly, the basic process is the same: weaken the paint, scrape it, wash the area, and repeat.

Remember that wet paint is much easier to clean off countertops than dry paint, so clean paint spills as fast as you can. When cleaning wet paint, blot the area, so you pick the paint straight up off the counter. If you scrub, you’ll just spread it around.

Finally, when cleaning paint from your countertops, start with the least aggressive techniques and escalate accordingly. The gentler methods will take more time, but they significantly reduce the risk of damaging your countertops.

Discovering a paint spill or splatter on your expensive countertops can be stressful., But don’t panic; you now have the knowledge required to fix the situation.

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for over a decade and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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