If you have ever painted, you know staining your hands is inevitable no matter how careful you are. The use of spray paint leaves less mess than a paintbrush does, but you might be clueless about getting its stains off your hands while spray painting.

Are you in this situation? Then, you are in the right place. It is easy to get spray paint off your hands as common household materials you have lying around get the job done!  Keep reading to find out more about how do you get spray paint off your hands.

How Do You Get Spray Paint Off Your Hands?

Scrub your hands using an old toothbrush, dish soap, and warm water for at least 2 minutes if you want to get spray paint off your hands. In case you don’t have dish soap, use citrus degreaser as an alternative. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get all the paint off.

What is Spray Paint, and is it Toxic?

Spray paint, also known as aerosol paint, is liquid paint contained in a pressurized can. It comes with a button at its top that dispenses the paint when held down, just like a regular bottle of your body spray.

It has slowly become a better alternative to the old-fashioned use of a paintbrush and paint bucket to change or enhance the color of any kind of wood.

Aside from the poisonous fumes that could be inhaled while spray painting, it is also toxic when it comes in contact with the skin and should not be left on it for too long.

Its active ingredients mainly include some heavy metals that could penetrate the skin and harm the body. One might even be allergic to some of its ingredients, triggering a reaction. 

This is why gloves, a face mask, and eye protection are advised to be worn while using spray paint. But if it ends up on your hands, here is what you can do.

How to Get Spray Paint off Hands in 11 Ways

The solution to getting rid of any stains most times is the conventional use of soap and water, and that is probably the first thing that comes to your mind once you have spray paint on your hands.

However, there are several other methods to erase it from your hands. They are described below.

How Do You Get Spray Paint Off Your Hands Image

1. Water and dish soap 

This method is best effective immediately after the spray paint gets on your hand or skin as it might be difficult to get rid of dried stains.

Tools and materials for removing spray paint from skin

  • A liquid dish soap formulated to wash off grease and oil.
  • Running water

How to get spray paint off skin

  • Step 1: Start by scooping a small amount of dish soap on your hands.
  • Step 2: Add a bit of water to lather
  • Step 3: Rub your hands or skin together thoroughly as you would when washing your hands/skin.
  • Step 4: This should go on till the stains come off.
  • Step 5: Then rinse your hands with running water.

Note: You should do this even when the spray paint leaves no stains on your hands before proceeding to any other activity after spray painting. However, you could use a handwashing soap preferably.

2. Use of Nail Polish Remover

Washing your hands with soap and water might not be enough, especially when you have some spray paint on your fingernails.

In a situation like this, using a nail polish remover containing acetone comes in handy. It effectively removes spray paint off the fingernails as it would a regular nail polish.

Supplies for getting spray paint off hands

  • Nail polish remover that contains acetone
  • Cotton balls or pads

How to get spray paint off your hands:

  • Step 1: Take a cotton ball or pad, depending on which you have available, but a ball absorbs better, so preferably use a cotton ball.
  • Step 2: Dampen the ball with the remover till it is soaked.
  • Step 3: Press the cotton ball or pad on the parts of your hand you want to get spray paint off.
  • Step 4: Leave it pressed for a few minutes on the spot.
  • Step 5: Then, use the cotton pad to wipe the paint away. 
  • Step 6: Repeat steps 1-5 over again if you need to get spray paint off a large area or the remover does not get all the stains in one wipe.
  • Step 7: Wash your hands after getting all the paint off with mild soap and hot water.

However, this method might be stressful and less preferred, especially if a lot of spray paint residue is on your hands.

3. Use of Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol, also called surgical spirit, is one thing we all have in our first aid boxes to clean cuts or minor wounds. Some also use it to disinfect surfaces and household items.

The use of rubbing alcohol to get rid of spray paint also comes in handy to replace a nail polish remover; after all, not everyone uses a nail polish remover.

Supplies for removing spray paint from hands

  • A bottle of rubbing alcohol containing at least 70% concentration of isopropyl alcohol 
  • Cotton balls 

How to remove spray paint from hands

  • Step 1: Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol
  • Step 2: Apply directly to parts of your hands with spray paint by dabbing it repeatedly.
  • Step 3: Once the paint is covered with an adequate amount of rubbing alcohol, rinse the paint away with water until it comes off.
  • Step 4: Moisturise your hands immediately after rinsing as the rubbing alcohol dries out the skin.

Note: A hand sanitizer is not an alternative to rubbing alcohol, so it might not remove the paint.

4. Use Natural Oils – Vegetable Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive oil

You have a bottle of one of these in your kitchen. Natural oils effectively remove oil-based spray paint that soap and water cannot get off. It is also suitable for use when the paint has dried on your hands; remember, “like dissolves like.” 

Tools and materials needed: 

  • Any natural or cooking oil you have, such as coconut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, or soybean oil 
  • Cooking spray 

How to get spray paint off of hands

  • Step 1: Cover your hands in any natural oils or apply the cooking spray directly on the area with spray paint.
  • Step 2: Let the oil sit for a few minutes to dissolve the paint particles.
  • Step 3: Rub the oil into your skin with your hands repeatedly until the paint comes off. 
  • Step 4: Rinse your hand with warm water and mild soap after.
  • Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 if the oil did not get all the paint off your hands initially.

5. Use of Baby oil

If there is no natural oil available to use, baby oil does an excellent job of removing oil-based spray paints. It might be preferred to use cooking oil as it is formulated for use on the skin. In case you have sensitive skin too, it is a better alternative.

Tools and materials :

  • Cotton ball
  • Baby oil 
  • Hand soap 

How to take spray paint off hands

  • Step 1: Soak a cotton ball in the baby oil of your choice 
  • Step 2: Pat the soaked cotton ball onto the part of your hand stained with spray paint.
  • Step 3: Wash your hands after the oil has taken off the paint with hand soap and running water 
  • Step 4: Dry your hands 

You might want to use a small cotton handkerchief instead of a cotton ball, if the area of your hands covered with spray paint is large.

6. Using Coconut Oil and Baking Soda

A mixture of coconut oil and baking soda is a DIY hack you should have on standby before spray painting. Baking soda is commonly used to remove tough stains, and you might have used it to do some form of deep cleaning before.

It is very effective, especially when the spray paint has dried and stained a large part of your hands. 

Tools and materials 

  • A small container 
  • Measuring cups
  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda

How to remove spray paint from your hands

  • Step 1: Measure half a cup of coconut oil
  • Step 2: Measure half a cup of baking soda
  • Step 3: In the small container, mix both till a paste is formed. 
  • Step 4: Spread the mixture over the stained parts of your hands 
  • Step 5: Work it through your hands like you would while washing your hands with soap or a body scrub till the paint comes off
  • Step 6: Once the paint comes off, rinse your hand with water, and you have clean, spotless hands.

Note: Vegetable oil or olive oil would also work if coconut oil is unavailable.

7. Using Coffee Grounds

When dish soap and water do not take off the paint, you can add coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are used as abrasive cleaners for sinks, cookware, and other stuff in the house.

Due to their antioxidant properties, too, they can be used on the skin as a scrub.

Tools and materials for getting spray paint off skin

  • Coffee grounds 
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water 

How to get spray paint off of skin

  • Step 1: Scoop some amount of dish soap on your hands 
  • Step 2: Work the soap into a good lather 
  • Step 3: Get some coffee grounds and add them to your hands
  • Step 4: Scrub your hands thoroughly till you get all the paint off
  • Step 5: Rinse your hands with hot water  (be careful not to burn your hands)

Fun fact: Did you know you can also use coffee grounds to get rid the smell of stain and paint fumes after spray painting? You need coffee grounds on standby then.

8. A Toothbrush

Toothbrushes are not only used for cleaning the teeth. Their soft bristles make them good tools for getting stains off parts that soap or other substances can’t reach, such as the fingertips, palmar creases, and even around the nails.

You might want to have one or two extra, especially if you are spray painting.

Tools and materials to wash off spray paint

  • A Toothbrush
  • Warm water

How to get spray paint off your skin

  • Step 1: After washing your hands with soap or using any of the above items, take a clean toothbrush.
  • Step 2: Immerse the toothbrush in warm water for a while, so its bristles become softer.
  • Step 3: Gently use the brush to scrub the areas with stubborn stains.
  • Step 4: Keep doing this till all the spray paint stains come off.

This method requires a lot of patience and might need to be repeated to get all the stains off. Be careful not to be too harsh with the brushing, though, so you do not hurt yourself.

9. Paint Thinners – Mineral spirits, e.g., Acetone

If your hands get covered in stubborn oil spray paint stains, using paint thinners is the easiest way to get rid of oil stains.

They are also called mineral spirits, and examples of them are turpentine, acetone, etc., which are all specifically designed to dissolve oil-based paints.

Tools and materials

  • Paint thinner 
  • Running water

How to take off spray paint from skin

  • Step 1: Run the paint thinner across areas of your hands or skin with spray paint stains.
  • Step 2: Then rinse off immediately and thoroughly with water, and the paint stains will come off easily. 
  • Step 3: Dry your hands with a clean towel

You want to take extra care when applying this because, just like regular paint, it also has fumes that are not safe for inhaling. Also, using it regularly is not advised, so try alternative methods before resorting to paint thinners.

(Here’s what to do if you inhale spray paint fumes).

10. Use of Mayonnaise 

 Mayonnaise might just be a spread to you, but surprisingly it is also a quick home remedy for getting rid of spray paint stains. It is effective for oil-based spray paint also.

Tools and materials

  • A jar of mayonnaise
  • A small spoon 
  • Soap and water

How do I get spray paint off my hands

  • Step 1: Scoop a generous amount of mayonnaise from the jar onto the parts of your hands covered in spray paint.
  • Step 2: Rub your hands together to spread it out evenly, and it works into the skin
  • Step 3: Leave it on your skin for about two minutes
  • Step 4: Use soap and water to rinse it off your hands.

You could use cotton balls could be used as well to spread the mayonnaise, especially if only a small area of your skin has stains.

11. Use of Pumice Soap

When oil does not remove all the spray paint stains, you can use a pumice soap to wash your hands. Either the liquid or bar soap kind would effectively get rid of the paint stains

Tools and materials

  • A bar or bottle of pumice soap
  • Water

How to get rid of spray paint on hands

  • Step 1: Work the soap into a lather by rubbing your hands together
  • Step 2: Wash your hands thoroughly till stains come off
  • Step 3: Rinse off with water 

In short, use the pumice soap just as you would use any other soap to wash your hands 

If your skin is sensitive, be careful with using this soap, as it has harsh constituents.

Note: Check out our guide on how to clean polyurethane off hands.

More Tips and Tricks to Get Rid of Spray Paints

It is always a better option to prevent something from happening rather than seeking a solution to fix it. So there are several other things you can do that will not require you to use any of the methods above. Here are a few tips that would help:

  1. Apply the right amount of pressure on the spray paint while spray painting as this will prevent over spraying, which could lead to staining your hands.
  2. Use spray paints in a well-ventilated area and be careful to spray in the direction of the wind.
  3. Do not wait a minute longer after getting spray paint on your hands to wash it off with soap and water; the longer it stays, the more difficult it is easy to take off.
  4. Use very thick gloves while spraying; they will protect your hands from being exposed.
  5. Know the kind of spray paint you’re using; it would help you know the best solvent to get rid of it.

What about wood stains? Can you remove them off your skin easily? Here is a guide on how to remove wood stain from skin.


Does spray paint come off skin?

Spray paint comes off the skin. Although it could be pretty stubborn to get rid of it, it eventually comes off if the right materials are used. It is advised not to let it stay for too long on the skin, though, as it is toxic.

What gets spray paint off skin?

Just water at times could remove spray paint from your skin; however, other items found in the house can be used. They include: baking soda, rubbing alcohol, baby oil, natural oils such as olive oil, paint thinners such as acetone, mayonnaise, dish soap, and even a toothbrush can remove spray paint off the skin.

How to clean spray paint off hands?

Scrubbing your hands with dish soap and water would clean spray paint if it is water-based. If the spray paint is not water-based, you can use oils, acetone, and pumice soap as they get rid of the spray paint easier.

Also see: How to get chalk paint off wood.

What is the best way to get spray paint off your hands?

The best way is to pour a paint remover such as acetone on your hands as it is formulated to remove spray paint. Great care must be taken while using these chemicals, though.

What is the best way to remove spray paint from skin?

The best way to remove spray paint from your skin is to use baby oil formulated for skin use. Rubbing it on the parts of the skin with spray paint will remove the stain, especially if it is oil-based.

Will nail polish remover remove spray paint?

Nail polish remover will remove spray paint as it contains a certain amount of acetone, a paint thinner used for paint removal.

How to get Rustoleum spray paint off your hands?

The best way to remove Rustoleum spray paint from your hands is using a nail polish remover.  Pour some nail polish remover onto a cotton ball and rub it over the paint. The paint should come right off.  You can also try using non-stick cooking spray. Just spray the cooking spray onto the paint and rub it off with a paper towel.

How to get Rustoleum paint off skin?

If you have Rustoleum paint on your hands, the best way to remove it is to pour a small amount of paint thinner or acetone onto a rag and rub it over the affected part of your hand. Use clean water to rinse immediately to avoid skin irritation. You may need to do this repeatedly until all the paint is off.

Read also: How to remove paint from hair

Does spray paint wash off?

Most spray paints wash off with water only if the paint is still wet. However, it is unlikely that spray paint will come out by just washing it if the stain is dry because it bonds pretty well with the surfaces especially when it is dry. Once the binding agents in a water-based paint fuse together, they harden and become resistant to water.

Final thoughts on removing spray paint from hands

So, how do you get spray paint off your hands? mild soap and water would get spray paint off your hands. Now you can use other items such as baking soda, rubbing alcohol, mayonnaise, paint thinners, and different kinds of oil to get rid of these stains.

It all depends on how stubborn the stains are and the nature of the spray paint. Most importantly, protect your hands while spray painting too.

Next, learn how to remove spray paint from wood.