Removing Overspray From Wood

Kent Page McGroarty

One of the potential pitfalls of using spray paint is the possibility of overspray on wood flooring, other wood products as well as other surfaces. Overspray is defined as splatters of paint that end up on flooring and other items from insufficient covering.

Keep paint on your walls and not the floor.

When spray painting, use old sheets, newspaper or tarp material to cover all surfaces. If you manage to get overspray on wood surfaces despite your best efforts, you can use certain paint removers that won't damage the oversprayed surfaces.


Water and more vigorous scrubbing with a steel wool or buffing pad are other possibilities for removing latex paint stains.


Wear long sleeves and pants in addition to protective gloves and mask when handling chemicals. Use a dust mask or respirator to limit dust inhalation; if a respirator is used it should be designed specifically for chemical solvent use. The gloves should be chemical-resistant as well. Follow directions carefully as many solvents are highly flammable; put out any fire sources before beginning your work. Never mix cleaning agents and solvents.

  1. Apply a scraper tool to the overspray. Use even pressure as you scrape with a tool that is newly sharpened for optimal performance. A triangle-shaped scraper works for removing overspray from corners, while oval-shaped scrapers are effective on rounded wood items.

  2. Pour rubbing alcohol over the affected areas so the product covers each area of overspray fully. Before using a brush to remove latex paint overspray from hardwood flooring, allow the rubbing alcohol to sit for about five minutes. Rub the rag gently into the any stains to dissolve and remove the paint. For large spills, dump a gallon bottle over the affected areas and cover the flooring with plastic. Wait 10 minutes, then use a damp mop to remove the overspray. Leave the plastic over areas you are not working on to avoid the rubbing alcohol evaporating before you get to mop.

  3. Use a solvent-based remover to clean the overspray. Clear the room of any items that can potentially catch fire as well as all children and pets. Solvents work for removing latex and oil-based paints as well as primers, varnishes and stains. Apply a thick coat of the product to an area that is about 2 or 3 square feet, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for how long. Remove the solvent with a putty knife or wooden blade and dispose of the product in a cardboard container. Reapply more solvent if needed, then clean the area with wadded up paper towels before moving on to the next section of flooring.