When I use spray paint to paint something, my hands usually get really messy.

How can I easily remove the paint from them?

Simply washing them with water isn't the best solution.

  • Other than using paint-thinner?
    – J. Musser
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 21:43
  • I don't know the composition of your paint, but some paints I use don't go below the surface of my skin. If I wait a few minutes until it dries, I can just peel it right off. Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 16:37
  • Use Baby oil-works well..
    – user13723
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 6:17
  • I'll try with toothpaste. ;)
    – se0D2
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 9:20
  • Also, start wearing gloves. But you probably knew that as soon as the paint got on your hands. :)
    – pboss3010
    Commented Sep 28, 2018 at 13:55

15 Answers 15


Since water doesn't work, then it's not a water-based paint.

If it is an oil-based paint, start by rubbing cooking oil over your hands, then rub hand dish-washing detergent over the oil, then scrub.

If it is a solvent-based paint, first try washing and scrubbing with rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol. If that doesn't work then try washing and scrubbing with nail polish remover (acetone).

  • Another solvent you can try is white spirit. Wash your hands (with water and soap) afterwards.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 9:55
  • After all of this I recommend have a good lotion at the ready!
    – Sidney
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 14:13

The great secret to removing paint (and other nasty's like pine tar, stains, glues etc.) Is to not let the substance contact your skin. (not a SA reply read on please)

While a latex glove is the simplest way of doing this, it is not always the most practical. And even if you do use a glove like this you are still more likely than not going to get paint on your skin. Before painting use an oily hand lotion or something of that nature. I used to use a product I would get at an industrial supplier, I forget the exact brand named but it was called 'liquid glove'. With this stuff I used to stain furniture with a rag, putting my whole bare hand in the pale, and soap and water was all I needed.

However any hand lotion or safe oily stuff you can apply to your hands will make the job of cleaning up your hands afterwards easier.

  • 3
    I always use latex gloves when spraypainting. As long as the glove doesn't rip, I never get paint on my skin.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 9:58

If I am outside with grimy hands (I used to be a landscaper and I would lay stone and would get lime/mortar or soil/sod dirt on my hands before lunch) I have often used a little bit of water and some fine grit sand (from the side of the road, a sandbox etc.). The water and sand acted as a small abrasive pad and it quickly works to exfoliate the skin removing the grime while doing so.

Perhaps this would work with your paint issue as well?


Hand washing paste might do the trick here. It is both soapy as well as abrasive, and helps clean your hands deeper than conventional soap. Here is a video showing the paste in action on what seems to be a combination of grease and dirt. You might even find a branded version that is specific for paint. All in all this is a cheap product so you can purchase a tub and try. Moreover it is very long-lasting so you technically won't be wasting your money too much in case it doesn't work.


Gold spray paint can leaked (and dried) all over my hand. Sprayed on goo gone spray gel and the paint literally melted right off. Scrubbed nails with A mr clean white sponge! All clean


I have add problems with pine sap from firewood too. I have used white-spirits, WD-40, and massage oil to shift oil based paint before. Adding salt as an abrasive agent helps too.

  • 2
    To remove pine sap, use butter. No joke. Then to remove the butter, use dish soap.
    – user17389
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 14:47

So I work in landscaping and floral design, I was spray painting flowers and covered my hand in spray paint. I tried all of the previously listed solutions and rubbing achohol works the best, it will take some rubbing but it comes of painlessly and if the paint is on your nails it will get that off too.

  • What exactly would you spray paint flowers for? Commented May 26, 2018 at 4:08

Just got black Rust-o-Leum all over my left hand so I googled for this same question. I tried the cooking oil, nope. I tried the rubbing alcohol, nope. I tried the WD-40, nope. So i picked up an abrasive pad, stuck my hand under warm water, and went to town. Paint was gone in a couple of minutes.

  • Ditto with a pumice stone.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 11:44

I had spray paint stuck on my hands and purell hand sanitizer took it right off!


Just use coconut oil and baking soda to clean spray paint from your skin. Simple and natural!

I use a cup and put 1/2 of coconut oil with a spoon and the other half is baking soda (a bit less than that if you see the mix very liquid) then mix it and use it as soap :)

  • Is there a specific mixture you should use? Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 21:33
  • Wash your hands with that
    – Wha2wear
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 21:35
  • How much of each of the ingredients would an average size person need to remove the paint? And does thicker paint require more ingredients? Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 21:37
  • I edited my answer :)
    – Wha2wear
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 21:43

I found Goo Gone works nicely. Continue rubbing the areas that have paint on them and it eventually comes off. Finish up with soapy water and some good hand lotion.

  • That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 7:58

next time you do it, wipe you hands first with a generous amount of hand lotion, then do the spray job. the hand lotion will prevent the paint from sticking to your hands.


I had Krylon spray paint on my hands from a defective spray button. It seems to be different from most solvent-based paint. Soap and water, even Lava or GoJo did nothing. Oil did not work even with baking soda. The oil did seem to soften it a little, but I ended up scraping it off with my fingernails and a stiff brush. I used nail polish remover for my nails and a few stubborn spots. Next time I will wear gloves. But latex gloves will dissolve in some solvents. Get Nitrile gloves. They are resistant to almost any solvent. If you use a solvent to remove paint from your skin, heed any warnings on the container about skin contact! Naptha and some others are very bad for you.


Acetone in nail polish remover or WD-40

  • 5
    if you could add a bit more detail, it would probably make you answer a lot more helpful
    – Dragonrage
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 20:13

I got a brown stain on my finger. No idea where I got it and no idea what it was. I started with plain soap and water. Nothing. So I tried nail polish remover, Goo Gone, rubbing alcohol, cooking oil with salt, gasoline, WD-40,baking soda along with vinegar, baby oil and CLOROX. Nothing would remove what ever I had gotten on my finger. Lastly, I used a soap pad. It worked great removing what ever type of stain I had on my finger.

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