How to Get Paint Off of an Electrical Outlet

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Things You'll Need

  • Current reader

  • Screwdriver

  • Putty knife

  • Work gloves

  • Respirator mask

  • Work rags

  • Paint thinner

  • Old toothbrush

Remove paint from outlets to make them look new again.

If painters are not careful when painting and ignore proper prep work, paint can get onto electrical outlets. Some people paint over the outlets to make the room a uniform color or to change the color of the outlets to give them a new look. However, too much paint build up over electrical outlets will cause the outlets to stop working. Several layers of peeling or chipping paint can also cause a room to look unsightly. Removing the paint will get them working again and give them a clean look.


Step 1

Turn off the electricity leading to that room and specific outlet. Use a current reader to test if electricity is still running through the outlet before proceeding.

Step 2

Remove the screws holding the outlet plate in place using a flathead or Phillips screwdriver, depending on the kind of screw keeping the cover in place. Turn the screws counter-clockwise to remove.

Step 3

Loosen the plate from the wall with a putty knife if it is stuck to the wall. Place the plates in a bucket of paint thinner to soak.


Step 4

Wear work gloves to protect your hands, and use a respirator mask in a well-ventilated area for safety.

Step 5

Dip a rag into paint thinner. Wipe the wet rag over the electrical outlets to remove the paint from their surface. Since paint thinner dries quickly, it could take several attempts before the paint is completely removed.

Step 6

Scrub the plates with an old toothbrush to remove any further paint residue from their surface. Rinse the plates and the outlet with clean water and dry thoroughly before replacing the cover plate and turning the electricity back on.



Brenda Priddy

Brenda Priddy has more than 10 years of crafting and design experience, as well as more than six years of professional writing experience. Her work appears in online publications such as Donna Rae at Home, Five Minutes for Going Green and Daily Mayo. Priddy also writes for Archstone Business Solutions and holds an Associate of Arts in English from McLennan Community College.