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How to Remove Paint From Edges

Matt Goetz

During an interior house painting project, paint occasionally ends up on the edges of cabinets and trim. Most people apply painter's tape to baseboards and trim before painting, but moisture or cold temperatures can cause the tape to come loose, and the paint leaks through onto the edge.

Scrape carefully when removing paint from the edges of trim and countertops.

Most modern interior paints come off fairly easily, depending on how long the paint has been on the edge.

Remove Paint from the Edges of Cabinets

  1. Dampen a clean rag with hot water. Wipe the painted edge with the rag. Allow the moisture to penetrate and loosen the paint for a few minutes.

  2. Dip the rag in hot water again. Squeeze out the excess water from the rag and wrap the rag around the end of a putty knife. Make sure the head of the putty knife is completely covered by the rag.

  3. Hold the putty knife flat against the painted cabinet edge. Carefully move the putty knife up and down in a vertical motion. Check to see if the paint still remains. If hot water does not work, try denatured alcohol. Denatured alcohol will not harm the finish on cabinets.

Remove Paint from the Edges of Baseboards

  1. Tear off a small piece of blue painter's tape. Apply the tape to the wall directly where the wall meets the painted baseboard edge. Taping the wall prevents wall damage while scraping.

  2. Dampen the top of the baseboard with a rag and hot water. Wait a few minutes before continuing.

  3. Wrap a rag around a putty knife and lightly scrape off the paint in a horizontal motion, using Goof Off. Goof Off easily removes dried paint.