How to Get Paint off of Laminate Floors

How to Get Paint off of Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring first appeared on the market back in 1977 and the US market was estimated at $5.3 billion in 2021. Many busy families appreciate its hardwearing qualities and affordable credentials.

But whether you're repainting your walls or just painting pictures with the kids, sometimes accidents will happen. Don't panic - whether it's fresh or dried on, it is possible to remove paint from this versatile flooring.

Read on to find out how to get paint off of laminate floors.

Understanding Laminate Floors

First, it helps to answer the question, what are laminate floors?

Laminate floors are a completely manufactured product that starts with a base layer of particleboard. On top of that, there's an image layer. The final layer of lamination is the transparent wear layer.

They can look like tile and marble but more commonly look like wood. The top layer can be textured to be more realistic, but basically, you are looking at a photo of wood, not real wood. The transparent wear layer is what we're focusing on today because that's the part that will get hit with the paint spill

This top layer is usually made from aluminum oxide. Its main purpose is to protect the layers below from everyday wear and tear and to keep moisture out. This waterproof quality is your ally when you try to get paint off of laminate floors.

Also, aluminum oxide is very hardwearing and resistant to chemical attacks. It can stand up to both acids and alkalines. This means that it's usually easier to remove paint off of a laminate floor than it would be off of a hardwood floor.

Paint Removal Starting Point: Think Fast

The best-case scenario is that you notice the paint land on the laminate the moment it happens. Then you've got a critical 10-second period in which it can be removed without leaving a trace.

You need to hurl yourself, Amazing Race style across the kitchen. Grab a damp rag and quickly wipe it up. A moistened paper towel will be just as effective.

Leave it any longer than this and you run the risk of it starting to leave a stain on the laminate floors. But don't worry. Even if it dries on, it's still possible to remove it if you don't get there fast enough.

Identify the Culprit

We're not looking to assign blame here. There's no need to interrogate the dog if you find a trail of paw prints leading away from a knocked-over paint can. But you do need to identify the type of paint you're dealing with because that's the key to getting paint off of laminate floors successfully.

Latex-based paints are water-based and usually wash off quite easily without leaving a stain. But if you spill acrylic paints, they can be more difficult to remove. You may need to use paint thinner or paint remover to get it off.

In either case, start with a simple homemade solution that gets the job done most of the time. Don't bring out the big guns (caustic chemicals like paint thinner) until you absolutely have to.

Before trying any of these solutions, make sure that the area is clean. So vacuum up any debris, sweep the area, and wipe it with a clean, damp cloth.

The All-Purpose Solution

If you find dried-on paint of any description, this solution is going to be your first port of call. You'll need equal parts of:

  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Vinegar

When you've prepared this concoction, add a couple of dashes of dish soap. Take an old rag and rub it onto the dried-on paint. Most of the time, this will get to work, dissolving the paint and allowing you to completely remove it.

The science behind this is simple. The vinegar and water work together to tackle water-based stains. The rubbing alcohol and dish soap team up to work on oil-based stains.

If this doesn't work or doesn't completely remove the stain, it's time to bring out the slightly larger guns.

Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)

Technically, this is a form of paint remover and that's why it works.

Take a cotton pad and apply a thin layer to the paint stain. Allow it to work for a couple of minutes and then try to wipe it away. It might not all come off the first time - just repeat until it does.

Window Cleaner

Regular household window cleaner contains some pretty powerful stuff. A key ingredient in many of them is ammonia, which is very effective at removing acrylic paint. 

Again, after cleaning the area, give it a light spritz with window cleaner and then give it a good rub. It might take a few applications, but you should see the stain start to lift.

The Last Resort

If all else fails, then it's time to turn to paint thinner. This can be nasty stuff, so it's a good idea to do a patch test on an inconspicuous section of your laminate flooring first. 

Make sure that the area is very well ventilated. Wear some gloves and a mask. Follow the manufacturer's instructions if the patch test reveals it's not going to damage your laminate floor.

The Bottom Line: How to Get Paint off of Laminate Floors

This guide on how to get paint off of laminate floors should give you a lot of hope. Act fast and it'll be like it was never there. But even if you leave it until it's dried on, it's usually pretty easy to remove with the right solvent.

If you're in the market for laminate floors or installation, you're in the right place. At National Floors Direct, we cut out the middle man and supply high-quality flooring directly to you. We stock an extensive range of laminate, hardwood, and luxury vinyl flooring to suit every taste and budget.

Why not schedule a free in-home estimate today?