Skip to Content

How To Remove Paint From Tiles [4 EASY ways]

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Sometimes, while you're painting your bathroom walls, it's inevitable that you'll end up with a bit of paint on your tile or grout-- even if you use masking tape. There are quite a few different methods, however, that you can use to remove paint from your tiles and grout. We've done the research to bring you the best methods. 

Here are a few of the best methods to remove paint from tiles:

  • Use a heat gun
  • Wipe it up while it's wet
  • Use a scraper
  • Apply paint remover

In this guide, we'll discuss (in detail) the steps involved with each paint removal method. We'll also cover how to remove paint from your grout, whether or not you can paint over already painted tiles, and more. So stick around and keep reading.

Construction worker wiping off dirt from newly installed tiles, How To Remove Paint From Tiles [4 EASY ways]

Methods To Remove Paint From Porcelain, Ceramic, and Glass Tiles

Bathroom with earth colored tiles and wooden accents

Before applying any type of abrasive cleanser or paint stripper to your tiles, it's always best to test a patch in a small corner of the tile to ensure that that the material or solution does not damage the tile or cause any discoloration.

Method 1. Use a heat gun (Method for glazed and unglazed tiles)

A heat gun provides an easier way to help loosen up paint that has cured and dried or paint that is old (30 plus years).

Things you'll need:

  • Heat gun
  • Dust mask
  • Utility knife
  • Plastic scraper
  • Damp cloth
  • Rubber gloves

Step 1. Clean area and turn and apply a heat gun

Wipe off any dirt or dust from the tiles. Next, turn on your heat gun, and while working on small areas at a time (about one square foot), hold the gun over the tiles, constantly moving back and forth (to avoid scorching the tiles). Do this until the paint softens.

Check out this heat gun on Amazon.

Step 2. Apply a plastic scraper or utility knife

Next, take your scraper. While holding it at a 45-degree angle, gently scrape the paint from the tile, starting from the outer edge and working your way to the middle. Be especially careful when working on the corners of a tile, as it is easy to chip the tile if you were using a utility knife. You don't want to scrape the glaze off glazed tiles.

Check out this utility knife on Amazon.

Step 3. Wipe the area down with a sponge or cloth

Every few minutes, wipe down the surface of the area that you previously scraped with your damp rag to ensure that all of the paint has been effectively removed.

Method 2.Wipe it up while it's wet (Method for glazed and unglazed tiles)

If you happen to notice that paint has draped or splattered on the tile, it's best to remove it quickly before it hardens, here's how.

Things you'll need:

  • Damp cloth or sponge
  • Solvent (any mineral spirit/thinner/alcohol/vinegar)
  • Dish soap

Step 1. Wet a microfiber cloth or sponge

Use the damp cloth or sponge to wipe up the patch of paint and rinse it off once the cloth becomes saturated.

Step 2. Apply a solvent

Next, based on the type of paint used, apply a solvent to help completely remove it from the tile. If you are using a water-based or latex paint, soapy water (made with dish soap) will do. If you are using oil-based paint, you can use any mineral spirit, thinner, alcohol, or vinegar. To apply these solvents, you only need to dab a small amount on your cloth and rub it into the tile until the paint has lifted.

Check out this vinegar on Amazon.

Step 3. Rinse the tile

After you have effectively removed the paint with the dish soap or solvent, be sure to rinse off your cloth and remove the solution from the tile with warm water.

Quick notes: You want to avoid using abrasive materials to clean your tile, as they can easily scratch its surface. This includes wool pads, steel scouring cloths, and/or products containing ammonia.

Method 3. Use a scraper (Method for glazed and unglazed tiles)

Applying a scraper to the tile is probably one of the easiest and fastest ways to remove paint that has hardened.

Things you'll need:

  • Plastic scraper
  • Utility knife
  • Dust mask
  • Damp cloth

Step 1. Do a quick patch test

When applying a scraper to glazed tiles, you'll want to do a quick test on a small area to ensure that you do not accidentally scrape off the glaze. While you can use a utility knife, it's better to use a plastic scraper as it will be safer on the surface of the tile.

Start by applying a gentle scrape to a small piece of one of the tiles (it's best to start in a corner). If you notice that the glaze begins to flake or crack after you scraped it, you'll want to use an alternate method to remove the paint (a solvent will work best).

Check out this dust mask on Amazon.

Step 2. Proceed if the glaze is still intact

If the paint comes off and the glaze remains untouched, you can continue to scrape the tile until all of the paint has been removed.

Step 3. Wipe it off

After you have scraped all of the paint from the tiles, use a damp rag to wipe them clean.

Check out this microfiber cloth on Amazon.

Method 4. Apply Paint Thinner (Method for glazed and unglazed tiles)

If there is a considerable amount of paint on the tiles or the paint is proving especially difficult to remove, it may be easier to simply apply a paint thinner to remove it.

If you have glazed tiles, you'll definitely want to try the Citristrip first, as it will be less likely to damage the surface of the tiles. This method can be applied when using Citrstrip, alcohol, turpentine, or general paint thinner.

Things you'll need:

  • Plastic scraper
  • 2 dry cloths
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paint thinner
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Dish soap
  • Citristrip

Step 1. Clean the tiles

First, clean the tiles with any mild all-purpose or household cleaner to remove any dirt. Use a wet sponge or a damp rag to remove any remnants of the cleaner from the surface of the tile.

Step 2. Test the paint thinner

Throw on safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a dust mask. Next, test a small portion of the paint thinner on the tile by applying it with your dry cloth (be sure to apply it liberally). Depending on the type of thinner that you use, you may need to let it sit for a few minutes. If using a commercial thinner, check the label for the recommended "dwell" time.

Step 3. Apply a scraper

Next, use your plastic scraper or utility knife to gently scrape the paint off the surface of the tile. If the tile is glazed, you want to do a test scrape first.

Check out this plastic scraper on Amazon.

Step 4. Rinse and wipe clean

As you scrape the paint off the tiles, use a damp cloth to wipe them off. Once you've removed all of the paint, clean the tiles using soapy water and a clean damp cloth. Then rinse and dry them off.

How to remove paint from grout?

Removing paint from tile grout can be a bit of a challenge, especially if the grout is unsealed (meaning that it's porous).

Removing paint from unsealed grout

Wipe it up

If the paint on the unsealed grout is fairly fresh, you can simply wipe it up with a soapy cloth or paint thinner. If the paint is oil-based, you'll need to work quickly. The porous surface of the grout will quickly soak up the paint, causing permanent damage. In this case, you will need to scrape and re-grout the area.

If the paint is water-based, you can also use the same method to remove the paint (i.e. soapy cloth and/or paint thinner).

Apply Epoxy

If you'd rather not have to re-grout the area, you can also consider applying a colored epoxy to the grout. This will not only restore the color to your grout, but it will also seal the surface. The colorant can be applied using a toothbrush. It will only take about an hour to dry. The result will be new, fresh-looking grout that's free of paint stains.

Quick tip: If the paint is proving difficult to remove, you can try applying a toothbrush to gently scrub the grout. This will work better on sealed grout, however.

Removing paint from sealed grout

Removing paint from sealed tile grout is easier since the paint merely sits on the surface of the grout. Here are the best ways to get it out.

Wipe it up

If you notice any paint spillage on the crowd, it's best to remove it immediately before it becomes hardened. The easiest way to do this is to simply wipe it up using a damp cloth. If needed, you can use warm soapy water to help break up the paint (especially if it's oil-based). It's best to use short quick motions so that the paint doesn't spread to other areas of the grout or tile.

Apply rubbing alcohol

You can also use rubbing alcohol to blot out the paint. To do this, dip your rag into the alcohol and dab the stained grout until it lifts the paint.

Use commercial solvents

Several commercial solvents are designed to remove any latex-based paints. They can typically be used on sealed grout. However, it's best to test a small area, to ensure that the solution is not too harsh for the grout (or the surrounding tile).

For most solvents, you'll simply need to apply them to the grout using a rag (and a toothbrush may be used for stubborn paint stains).

Check out this paint thinner on Amazon.

How do you remove paint from terracotta tiles?

Hands with yellow rubber gloves cleaning tile grout with toothbrush

Terracotta tiles have a significantly higher absorption rate than porcelain or ceramic tiles (though they are technically ceramic themselves). This means that water-based paints and additives will quickly be absorbed into the tile's surface, making removal a bit more cumbersome, if the tiles are not glazed.

To remove paint from these tiles, you will follow the same process as porcelain and ceramic tiles. However, it may require just a bit more elbow grease.

If you are unable to remove the paint using soapy water, a toothbrush, and/or natural or commercial solvents, you can simply sand down the tiles using fine-grit sandpaper (220-grit). You'll want to lightly sand the stained area and then use a brush to help remove the paint. After, rinse off the tile with soapy water. Repeat as needed until the pain is completely removed.

Check out this sandpaper set on Amazon.

How can you remove paint from tiles naturally?

Instead of applying commercial solvents to the tile, you can also use a mixture of equal amounts of vinegar and water. You can apply the solution using a clean cloth or soft brush and work it into the paint until it lifts from the tile. Afterward, clean the tile with water soapy water. Rinse it with warm water to neutralize the surface.

Will turpentine remove paint from tiles?

Yes, turpentine can be applied as an effective paint thinner to remove it from tiles. Only a small amount is needed, and the tile will need to be immediately washed with warm soapy water. Note: Turpentine contains harmful chemicals, so be sure to wear a ventilation mask and gloves when working with it.

Check out this turpentine on Amazon.

Can you paint over already painted tiles?

Yes, but it can be a bit tricky. The painted tile surface will need to be prepped really well with primer (the new paint will need something to bond to), or the paint will just peel off the tile within a matter of days or weeks.

In Closing

We hope that this post has helped you learn about the various ways that you can remove paint from tiles and grout. Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

The 6 Best Non-Slip Tiles For Your Home

Should A Shower Drain Match The Tiles?