How To Get Dry Acrylic Paint Off Driveway?

Acrylic paint adheres strongly to surfaces and it’s very durable. So it can be a bit challenging to get it off the driveway. Because acrylic paint is also waterproof, you simply cannot wash it off. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of other solutions for removing acrylic paint from a concrete, paved, or asphalt driveway. 

Can You Wash Off Dry Acrylic Paint?

Can You Wash Off Dry Acrylic Paint

If you are quick to get to the acrylic paint before it dries, you can wash it off with water. That’s because acrylic paint is water-soluble, but only when it’s wet. 

Once it dries, you cannot wash off acrylic paint. It becomes water resistant. 

That’s why pure acrylic or acrylic latex paints are often used for exterior projects like painting the outside walls, outdoor furniture, the patio or the driveway. They don’t get washed off when it rains. 

To get dry acrylic paint off the driveway, you’ll have to use another method. 

5 Ways To Get Dry Acrylic Paint Off The Driveway

Here are 5 ways to deal with acrylic paint spills, stains, spray paint, or graffiti on a driveway. These solutions will work on all kinds of solid driveways including asphalt, concrete and pavers. 

1. Paint thinner 

To remove acrylic paint, you need a solvent that can dissolve the acrylic resin. Water won’t do. Instead, use paint thinner. 

Paint thinner is often added to acrylic paint to reduce its viscosity and make it easier to spread. It can also help remove acrylic paint off the driveway. 

Start by removing as much of the paint as you can using a paint scraper or putty knife. Then, soak a rag in paint thinner and dab it on the paint stain. 

Leave the wet rag over the spot and give the paint thinner and hour or two to work its magic. When you come back you should be able to scrub off all the paint using a stiff brush and soapy water. 

Note: Wear a respirator or mask when handling paint thinner. The fumes are not safe to breathe in. 

2. Paint stripper 

Similar to paint thinner, a paint stripper also works by dissolving the acrylic resin. Paint strippers contain a solvent called dichloromethane.  

Dichloromethane is hazardous, so you should be extremely careful when using a paint stripper. Wear protective clothing and strictly follow the application directions on the label. 

Start by cleaning the spot with the paint with water. Once it dries, apply the paint stripper over the paint and then leave it to sit for the recommended amount of time. 

Finish by scrubbing the area with a brush and soapy water. If there’s still some paint remaining, repeat the process. 

Alternatively, you can start by removing as much paint as possible using a scraper. Then get rid of the remaining patches with a paint stripper.    

3. Vinegar  

If you want to avoid using harsh chemicals, white vinegar is a milder chemical that you likely already have in your kitchen. 

Vinegar is most effective on latex paint. But it can also work on small spots of acrylic paint. 

To make it more effective, heat the vinegar in a saucepan until it’s hot but not boiling. Then pour it over the acrylic paint and let it sit for half an hour. 

Then come in with a stiff brush and warm soapy water. That should get rid of the paint. If there are some spots remaining, repeat the treatment or see if you can remove them with a scrapper or knife. 

4. Pressure washer 

A pressure washer uses pure mechanical force to dislodge acrylic paint off the driveway. You need a powerful pressure washer; at least 3000 PSI.

Use the turbo nozzle to maximize water pressure then aim at the paint. Keep the nozzle at a slight angle so that you are not digging into the concrete or asphalt. 

Slowly strip away the paint while being careful not to stay at one spot too long to avoid damaging the driveway. 

For larger or more stubborn paint spills, you can rent a power washer. A power washer produces pressurized steam, which is more effective at removing paint. 

How To Get Dry Acrylic Paint Off The Entire Driveway?

If the driveway is painted with acrylic paint and you want to remove it, that’s going to be more challenging. 

Things like vinegar and paint thinner are great for small spots, not so much for stripping paint off the entire driveway. 

But you can use a paint stripper. You’ll have to buy a large quantity, enough to cover the entire driveway. 

Start by cleaning the driveway. Wait for it to dry then apply the paint stripper as directed. Wait several hours then clean it off along with the loose paint using a pressure washer or a stiff brush and soapy water. 

If you want to avoid chemicals, there are a few mechanical ways to remove acrylic paint from a driveway. Most of these work best on concrete driveways

They include diamond grinding, shot blasting (if you plan to apply an epoxy coating), sand blasting, or soda blasting (if you want a more gentle method). 

These tools work by mechanically removing the layer of paint off the driveway. You can rent any of these equipment at a local rental or hire contractors to come and do the work. 

Here’s a video showing how to use a grinder (and paint stripper) to remove paint off a concrete driveway.

Does Nail Polish Remover (Acetone) Remove Acrylic Paint?

Yes, nail polish remover or acetone can remove acrylic paint. It’s a great way for removing small acrylic paint spots and stains on the driveway. 

Acetone works like paint thinner. It dissolves the acrylic resin, making it easy to wash off the paint. 

To use acetone, pour it onto a cloth and dab onto the paint spot. Then try rubbing the paint away. 

For stubborn acrylic paint stains, pour acetone over the area and then cover with an acetone-soaked rag to keep the spot wet. 

Let the acetone sit for a few minutes then scrub the stain away with a brush and soapy water. 

Note: Be careful using acetone if you have an epoxy coating on your driveway. Acetone can eat away the epoxy. Don’t pour the acetone directly on the driveway. Instead, apply it on a cloth and use the cloth to wipe away the paint stain. 

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From A Gravel Driveway?

If you happen to get an acrylic paint stain on a gravel driveway, neither of the above methods will work. 

Because gravel is loose, you can’t scrub it, pour paint thinner on it or sandblast it.

The best solution is to carefully remove all the gravel that has paint on it. Use a spade to do this. 

Put the gravel in a bucket and cover it with paint thinner or vinegar. Let the gravel sit in the solution for a couple of hours or so. 

By that time, the paint should be loose enough that you can rinse it off with water. You can also rub the gravel together between your palms to remove any remaining bits of paint. 

Return the gravel to its spot on the driveway and spread it evenly. 

2 thoughts on “How To Get Dry Acrylic Paint Off Driveway?”

  1. Can paint removers damage the concrete of my driveway? I want to remove a coating of acrylic paint quickly, but not at the expense of my concrete.

  2. If you are worried about using harsh chemicals (which can, if not used properly, degrade your concrete) then your best bet is to use one of the mechanical methods of removal – we’re thinking jet washing, scrubbing or sand blasting.


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