Properly sealed and cared for, granite will last for generations without scratches or stains. But there are a few things you can spill on your countertop that are very, very difficult to clean off. Paint is one of them.
We’re not talking about harmless watercolours or even your plastic-y peel-away craft paints. House paint is one of the single most difficult to remove substances in the world, which is why we’re so careful with drop cloths and painter’s tape. If you have spilled paint, wet or dry, your granite or marble countertops, don’t worry. We have the answers on how to safely remove paint drips from sealed stone.
Carefully Wipe Away Wet Paint
If the paint is still wet, there’s still time. You can remove all or most of the paint by very carefully wiping it up off the counter and scrubbing thoroughly afterward. Start with a paper towel or a disposable cloth and wipe inward. Always dab inward toward the center of the spill to avoid spreading paint to new areas of stone.
Soak up the paint as best you can, absorbing most of the spill into disposable or immediately rinsed material. Then, with a warm and damp cloth, you can begin carefully wiping the last of the spot with short strokes inward toward the center -again, to avoid spreading the spot more than necessary for the cleaning task.
Scrub Away Wet Paint Residue with Borax
If there is only a thin residue left from wiping a wet spot, or just an accidental smear of paint on the counter, use a scrubby sponge approach. Create a light paste with borax powder or counter-safe scrubbing powder with a warm, wet sponge and scrub the paint-smeared area. Use short, firm circles to avoid spreading the spot while also scrubbing as thoroughly as you can with the gritty paste.
The scrubbing grit will help you to remove the last little paint particles left on the countertop. As you know, when a liquid smears thin, it can become almost invisible until your hand brushes the not-quite-clean rough spot on the counter. With this scrubbing method, you can remove that last layer of texture from your stone – if the paint was wet.
If the paint was oil-based, consider applying a cornstarch poltice to remove the oil first.
Apply Solvent Sparingly to Remove Dried Paint from Countertops
What about a drip of paint that wasn’t noticed until dry? Dry paint is tough to remove from just about anything. One of your best options is to make it not-dry with a little paint solvent. The type of paint you’re using may suggest a few household solvents for cleanup, but you can also try several household solvents to see what works.
Acetone is the most common household item used as a paint thinner because it is used as nail polish remover. Little drops of acetone on the paint can help to re-wet and thin it so it can be washed away. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and vodka (clear alcohol) may also be effective in thinning the paint so it can be washed away.
However, watch out. These strong solvents can also dissolve your countertop sealant. So use in very small quantities and watch for signs that your sealant is also being thinned.
Gently Scrape Paint Off Your Countertop with a Razor
What if a solvent doesn’t work and the paint is dry? If you don’t have a working solvent or the ability to wipe up the paint, you’ll have to scrape it off. A sealed countertop should be almost perfectly smooth, which means you can use a (fresh, un-nicked) craft razor blade to scrape it up. It’s best if you have a razor blade scraper tool that holds your blade at a safe angle, and a safe distance form your fingers.
At a 45 degree angle, gently scrape paint off your countertop by aiming to lift off the layer like peeling off a sticker. You may need to scrape in rounds, clearing one swivel of paint at a time fi the entire drip does not lift up at once.
Make sure you are using a fresh craft razor with no nicks in the blade to avoid unnecessary scratches to the countertop seal.
Natural stone countertops can last a lifetime. Sealed stone is durable, smooth, and easy to clean. With these techniques, you can keep your natural stone countertops beautiful for many more years – even if you do a little DIY repainting in between.