Paint can be a powerful tool for transforming the look and feel of a room. But even with the best precautions, giving your walls a new lease of life can sometimes cost your floor its aesthetics. 

While fresh paint can be removed quickly and easily, dried paint is more stubborn. 

Here is our simple guide on protecting your vinyl flooring from painting mishaps.

The Anatomy of Vinyl Floors

To effectively get rid of paint spills from vinyl floors, you need first to understand the structure of the flooring. 

Standard vinyl floors are made of four layers and can go up to eight layers. 

  • The top wear layer is a UV-special surface that inhibits bacteria, resists dirt, prevents discoloration, and generally makes the flooring easier to clean. 
  • The second is the actual design layer with a high-resolution printed image of a realistic material texture in a natural style. 
  • The third is the inner core stability layer, which maintains the size stability of the flooring. 
  • The fourth and last is the underlayer backing that attaches to the top of the subfloor and gives the flooring its durability, strength, and sound-absorbing quality.

What Makes Vinyl Floors Unique

Vinyl floors are a synthetic flooring solution made of materials such as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride Resin), fiberglass, and plasticizers sandwiched to form a highly durable, practical, and affordable floor covering. And since they are primarily composed of PVC, they are waterproof. However, the quality of installation can affect the level of water resistance. 

In addition, they are comfortable and quiet underfoot and are easy to install and maintain. They also offer excellent design flexibility and can be installed throughout the house.

Why Is Paint a Problem for Vinyl Floors?

Paint spills can take away the appearance of your vinyl floor treatment. The different chemicals used to make paint can also interfere with the integrity of vinyl floors. Moreover, if you use the wrong products or techniques to try and get rid of the spills, there is the risk of ruining your flooring. 

Knowing how to get paint off vinyl floors correctly will save you time and frustration anytime a spill or drip occurs.

Types Of Paint Spills

Before learning how to get paint off vinyl floors, it helps to know the type of paint you are dealing with. This will help you choose the most suitable and effective cleaning methods.

Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints are generally used for home applications because they are safe, easy to clean up, and have fewer environmental concerns. Instead of using chemical solvents as the liquifying agents, water-based paints use water, thus emitting fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints use an organic solvent in their formulation, typically turpentine. They contain a high level of VOCs, which makes their odor very conspicuous. Cleaning up oil-based paint spills is also challenging and requires the aid of chemical agents.

Spray Paints

Spray paint is almost always oil-based. The only difference is that it’s contained in an aerosol can designed to dispense fine mist. 

How to Get Paint off Vinyl Floors

Precautions Before Starting

In addition to knowing the type of paint you are dealing with, you must also observe some safety precautions when cleaning paint spills. This is because, in addition to some paints containing harmful ingredients, you may also have to use some chemical solvents to assist with the clean-up.

Safety Gear

You may need to wear a respiratory mask and gloves, depending on the type of paint you are dealing with and the cleaning agents you use. This is to protect yourself from the toxicity of the compounds you may be in contact with, or that may dissipate in the air.


When working with high-fume paints or cleaning agents, ventilate the room to allow unrestricted airflow. VOCs from paint evaporate into the air as the paint dries, and keeping the space unventilated traps the dangerous particles in the room and accumulates them, posing a risk to your health.

Test A Small Area

Your ultimate goal is completely removing the paint without damaging your vinyl floors. Observe caution by spot-testing a small, less visible area to see if the technique is safe and effective.

Step-By-Step Guide to Removing Paint

The best way to get paint spills off vinyl flooring is to clean them immediately after they happen—saving you the trouble of buying solvents and repeatedly scrubbing your floor. 

However, if you notice the spills after they have dried, here are the steps to take depending on the type of paint:

Gather Your Supplies

You must ensure you have all the tools needed to clean the spill. These are the standard tools you will need with most paint cleaning methods.

List Of Supplies

  • Gloves
  • A respirator mask
  • Plastic paint scraper
  • Paper or cloth towels
  • Mild soap
  • Suitable cleaning agent

For Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints like latex and acrylics are easy to remove from vinyl flooring because they are soluble in water. The steps below explain how to get water-based paint off the vinyl floor using soapy water or rubbing alcohol.

Steps To Remove

Wet Paint

  1. If the paint is still wet, use a cloth damped in soapy water to remove as much paint as possible from the surface.
  2. Next, damp a sponge in soapy water and use it to scrub the area gently. Once finished, dry the floor with a rag or paper towel.

Dried Paint

  1. For dried paint, damp a clean cloth in rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, or acetone and use it to soak the dried paint.
  2. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, and then use a plastic paint scraper to get the paint off.
  3. Reapply rubbing alcohol to any remaining paint as needed and wipe again.
  4. After all the paint is up, clean any rubbing alcohol residues with a soapy rag and dry the floor with paper or cloth towels.

For Oil-Based Paints

Removing oil-based paint from vinyl floors is challenging because oil-based paints are thicker and dry harder. This guide includes two methods to remove latex paint from vinyl flooring.

Steps To Remove

Wet Paint

  1. To remove wet oil-based paint, you will need baking soda and essential paint-removing tools. Sprinkle the baking soda on the spill and leave it to absorb the paint.
  2. Wait a few minutes, then vacuum or sweep the baking soda off.
  3. Mix baking soda and water in a ratio of 3:1(3-part water and 1 part baking soda) and damp a rag in the solution.
  4. Use the damp rag to wipe clean the floor to remove leftover paint.
  5. Wipe the floor with a cloth damped in soapy water and then dry.

Dried Paint

  1. To remove dried oil-based paint, damp cloth in a solvent-based paint remover (acetone, turpentine, or mineral spirits) and use it to soak the paint.
  2. Wait about 15 minutes before gently scraping off the paint. The solvent remover penetrates the oil-based paint and dissolves the particles, turning them into liquid and easy to wipe off. 
  3. Reapply the solvent remover as needed and then clean the surface using soapy water to remove any residue of the paint remover.

For Spray Paints

Spray paint dries quickly, so cleaning it up is more complex than wiping it before it sets. The method to remove spray paint from the vinyl floor will depend on whether the paint is water or oil-based. 

Steps To Remove

  1. Water-based spray paint can be removed with soap and water but is less common. The steps taken will be similar to those used in cleaning water-based paints.
  2. To clean oil-based spray paints from vinyl floors, the process is similar to that of removing oil-based paints.

Post-Cleaning Care

Cleaning paint spills tends to be aggressive, and doing some post-cleaning maintenance is essential for preserving the integrity of your vinyl floors.

How To Clean the Area

After removing paint from your vinyl floors, it is vital to ensure that all the paint and cleaning solution residue has been thoroughly removed. Use soapy water and a clean cloth or mop. Dip the cloth or mop into the soapy water and squeeze out excess water before gently wiping the area where the paint was removed. 

Repeat the process if necessary while changing the water before rinsing the floor and drying it using a dry towel. You should also avoid using an aggressive chemical on the floor area to avoid putting further stress on it.

After the area is dry, apply a vinyl floor polish to restore its sheen and protection.

Preventive Measures for Future Spills

To ensure your vinyl floors don’t get paint on them in the future, take precautions every time you paint. 

For example, you can use drop cloths to cover the floors during improvement projects and observe extra care while working with paint.

How to Get Paint off Vinyl Floors

When To Call a Professional

Some paint is stubborn and hard to remove, no matter the techniques used. To save your sweat and your floors, you are better off getting a professional to help.

Signs You Need Professional Help

Get an expert to help remove paint from your vinyl floors if:

  • The floor already shows signs of damage, such as bubbling or peeling.
  • Nothing seems to get the paint off despite several attempts.
  • The spillage is covering a large surface area.
  • You want quick and satisfactory results that preserve your vinyl flooring.

Benefits Of Professional Cleaning

Removing paint spills yourself isn’t impossible, but one wrong step can easily ruin your flooring for good. Getting a local expert makes the necessary tools and expertise available for quality results. Only attempt to remove paint spills from vinyl floors if you know what to do.

How Yates Flooring VA Can Help

At Yates Flooring in Chesapeake, VA, we know how important it is for you to maintain the appearance and longevity of your vinyl flooring. Our team of committed experts offers a range of flooring solutions to meet your needs.

Expert Consultation

Get expert advice on removing paint from vinyl floors while preserving the integrity of your floors. Having worked with several clients on different issues, we have acquired industry knowledge to care for your floors in the best way possible.

Quality Flooring Solutions

We are dedicated to providing our clients with exclusive flooring solutions to meet both domestic and commercial needs.

Tailored Services for Hampton Roads Area

We understand the needs of our local clients and cater to all of the Hampton Roads Area, which consists of Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Franklin, Hampton, Poquoson, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Williamsburg.

Why Choose Us

Did you spill paint on your vinyl flooring? Do not panic! Yates Flooring will rescue you and get your floors looking great again. Contact us today for a free quote.