How to Remove Paint from Porcelain Sink

For those of us who like every inch of the house spotless, one nasty blotch of paint on our porcelain sink can be a big deal. So when someone accidentally spills some paint over the sink and forgets to clean it up immediately, it really freaks you out, doesn’t it?

Good for you that I’m not here just to point out the problems but to also tell you solutions. Getting a porcelain sink rid of any kind of paint is no rocket science.

You will just need the right combination of a few products that might be already lying around in your kitchen or easily available in that hardware store down the road.

Also, read our complete guide about how to make the hole wider in a porcelain sink.

Methods to Remove Paint from Porcelain Sink:

First things first,

Know Your Enemy

The first step to effectively deal with spilled paint on your sink is to know what kind of paint you’re dealing with, so you can plan your approach accordingly. Here’s what you need to do find out if the paint is oil or water-based:

Step 1: Take any damp cloth or cotton ball, dip it in denatured alcohol or plain rubbing alcohol, whatever is easy.

Step 2: Gather all your energy and rub the paint hard with the cotton or cloth for a few seconds.

Step 3: Take a look at the cloth now. If it’s clean, the paint is oil-based, and if smeared with paint, it’s water-based.

Latex paints are water-based and are a very common cause of sink stains. Paint splatters are unavoidable if we don’t cover the sink well while painting the walls or ceilings.

Latex paints are less durable than oil-based paints and are pretty easy to remove when still wet. So that’s a good news. However, the longer you let them sit, the trickier they become to remove, so chop chop!

Now that you have (assumably) found out what kind of paint you are dealing with, let’s get down to the business.

Method 1: Damp Cloth and Denatured Alcohol

If it’s a water-based paint, you continue to rub the paint spill with denatured alcohol-soaked cloth or cotton ball till your sink is spotless again. You can even use a nail polish remover with a cotton ball if denatured or rubbing alcohol isn’t immediately available.

Tried it and still not working? Check out the next method:

Method 2: Opt for a Paint Stripper

Paint strippers are quite an affordable and effective solution for both water and oil-based paints. Here’s how to shoot the paint right off your sink with a paint stripper:

Step 1: Use a brush to make a thicker layer of paint stripper on the target area.

Step 2: Wait for 10-15 minutes. If you notice the solution drying out before it makes any difference to the paint, put some more stripper and wait for another 5 minutes.

Step 3: Once the paint softens up, scoop the whole thing out with any scraping tool, preferably a plastic paint scraper or ice scraper. Finish off by cleaning and rising the scraped area with soapy water and Soft Scrub. This will not only eliminate the residue but also neutralize the stripper.

Important note: Don’t forget to wear gloves, respirator, and goggles before applying paint stripper as it contains highly toxic chemicals.

Method 3: Off-the-Shelf Extra Strong Cleaners

Sometimes store-bought all-purpose cleaners can pleasantly surprise you. The combination of Bon Ami cleanser powder and a damp washcloth can get very old water-based paints easily off the porcelain sinks.

WD-40 lubricant spray works pretty well on both wet and dried out oil-based paints. It also helps to remove rust stains from both porcelain and ceramic sinks.

For the paint-removal purpose, besides the spray, you will need a rag, a plastic scraping tool, dish soap, and a rag or non-scratch cloth scouring pad for this method. Once you gather up all the ingredients, here’s what you’ll have to do;

Step 1: Apply the spray generous on the pain and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Step 2: Once the paint begins to blister, use the scraping tool to scoop the paint out. You might have to re-apply the spray and wait for 10 more minutes if the paint is too thick and hard. If the scraping tool isn’t working, try rubbing the paint off with the scouring pad.

Step 3: After scraping all the paint off, rinse the area with soapy water and a soft sponge to get rid of the residue.

Method 4: Using Solvent for Removing Oil-based Paint

First, try rubbing the paint off with turpentine. It works in most cases. But the paint is extra stubborn, you might have to opt for something stronger such as lacquer thinner or acetone.

Don’t worry, it won’t harm your sink as porcelain has excellent chemical resistance. Make sure to wear a respirator and keep all the windows open while applying either of these highly flammable and toxic solvents.

Method 5: Scrubbing the Paint off the Old-fashioned Way

If you have used all the above methods and it didn’t make much of a difference, try scrubbing it with a pumice stick. Don’t use steel wool as it can chip off the protective glaze coating of your sink.

Another alternative that has worked for some people involves a rag or moderately abrasive scrub pad and liquid fabric softener. If you are dealing with dried latex paint splotches, the following method might be really useful:

Step 1: Pour some liquid fabric softener in a bowl. Microwave it for just a couple of seconds.

Step 2: Pour the warm solution on the splotches and let it sit for a while. This will soften up the paint a little.

Step 3: Scrub the paint off with a cloth or nylon scrub pad. Now that it has softened up, it should come off easily.

Method 6: Scraping off the Paint- The Last Resort

If it’s flat or semi-gloss latex paint or spray paint, you can use a wire brush, a plastic putty knife, or any scraping tool you have to scrape that gunk right off the surface. Since porcelain sinks are designed for easy cleaning, the paint might come off right away.

While it’s the most aggressive method and can potentially scratch the living daylight out of your sink, sometimes scraping is the only way to remove very old paint from porcelain sinks and tubs.

For this, find yourself a metal putty knife or razor blade, a hammer, and some lubricating spray to soften up the paint deposit. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Generously spritz the lubricating spray on the target area.

Step 2: Place the knife right on the thickened paint rather than trying to work the blade between the paint and the surface. It will minimize the risk of damage.

Step 3: Bang the hammer on the handle repeatedly until the paint comes off.

Step 4: If the aggressive scraping causes noticeable damage to the porcelain, you can simply caulk it off.

Just to recap, this method should be your last alternative, especially if you have a glazed porcelain kitchen. These sinks are extremely prone to scratching, so scraping it hard with an object as sharp as a putty knife or razor blade could cause irreparable damage to the sink material.

Also read our popular guide about how to fix a hole in a porcelain sink.

Closing Thoughts

What if none of the above methods work? Well, that’ll be very unfortunate but if push comes to shove, you can call the manufacturer of the paint if at all possible and ask them for help. There’s a good chance that they will know about the Achilles heel of their own product.

But that’s a rare case scenario. I can speak from my personal experience that at least one of the above-mentioned methods would work like a charm. You might just have to go through a bit of trial and error before you crack the code.

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