Acrylic Paint Removal From Ceramics

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Acrylic paints are water-based, but they dry quickly and become hard to remove.

Acrylic paint's quick-drying nature is good for fast art projects, bad for nearby ceramics. Because acrylic paint dries so quickly, a spill onto ceramic tile or other ceramics must be attended to immediately. However, acrylic paint is water-based, so stains are not impossible to remove once the paint is dried. Careful cleaning of acrylic paint on ceramics is important. Aggressive cleaning may damage the ceramic underneath, as acrylic paints cannot be removed with traditional paint cleaning methods.

Mild Cleaning

Wash acrylic paint off ceramics immediately to prevent staining. Ordinary soap and water is enough to remove wet acrylic paint. Even dried acrylic paint should be pretreated with soap and water. Use a soft cloth to apply the soapy water to the ceramic object, then rinse with clean, warm water and pat dry.


Acrylic paint can be peeled or scratched away from hard, slick surfaces, which could include some ceramics. However, hard scratching may damage the ceramic underneath the acrylic paint, so use caution and do not be excessively aggressive. Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub gently at dried acrylic paint. In many cases, the paint will flake off when you apply a little pressure with the brush.

Home Remedies

Spray a small amount of hairspray on the acrylic paint. Rub gently at the area with a soft, clean cloth immediately after you apply the spray. The sticky hairspray helps to pull the acrylic paint away from the ceramic surface without creating damage. Rinse the ceramic several times with warm water to remove the sticky hairspray residue.

What Not to Do

Painted ceramics may be beyond saving once acrylic paint has been introduced into the mix. Treatments used to remove the acrylic could easily remove the paint underneath as well. Traditional paint-removing techniques will not work with acrylic paints. Turpentine and other paint thinners will not work to remove acrylic, and may damage the ceramic surface underneath.

references & resources

KC Morgan has been a professional freelance writer since 2006. Over the last decade, KC has published thousands of articles and blog posts that have been read by millions. A DIYer in her free time, KC has written hundreds of how-tos, guides and tutorials for different DIY and improvement projects around the house, all while turning her words into reality inside her own home. KC shares her DIY passion by creating original articles so others can pursue their own home improvement goals and ideas.

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