How can I clean off latex paint from vinyl tub/shower?

9 Replies

Hi All!

I'm re-habbing a two-family. The first floor is done and rented. The second floor has been a hassle. The previous owner used latex paint to paint the border of the standard vinyl tub/shower insert. It's peeling and looking gross, but is resisting my attempts to get all of it off. I really don't want to throw more money at this apartment by getting a whole new shower/tub which would involve ripping up the new flooring, and dealing with what may be underneath the current shower/tub. The rest seems okay and just needs a good scrubbing and shower/faucet package.

Any suggestions? I've heard mineral spirits to soften the latex, but needing to be careful that it doesn't damage the vinyl. I was also wondering if one of those refinishing paints work, and would they also work over the latex part.

Thanks for any advice!


I used to paint horse fences in college and would get black oil based fence paint overspray all over my white truck I used to tow the sprayer with. The 'goof off' spray from HD took it right off no issue on my underlying vehicle paint....I think you want 'goof off 2' which is water based vs the original which is a hydrocarbon based more like mineral spirits. I've used that on water based paints as well and it works. I'd just use that with a magic eraser type pad to scrub and it shouldn't damage the vinyl finish.

The other option would be like you mentioned a resurfacing. Mine have run $300-$500 and yes it would take care of the issue. They wet sand the entire refinishing area and then acid etch it as well which would remove the paint build up, and then they spray it with an epoxy type paint which sticks to just about everything except silicone caulking.

Try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I've used it on old dry paint in the past and it tends to (but not always) work on old paint. 

Might not be able to without making the surface worse. If the plastic has some give, the paint might just peel off after you work the give. Otherwise, I've used a razor blade, with success, but it's treacherous territory as it is very easy, almost impossible not to, scratch the plastic. I'd be careful of solvents and rough scour pads. 

I would also verify the unit is a 1-piece. If the tub and surround are separate pieces, I would probably replace the surround.

Not fun. Good luck.

The hottest water you can get without burning yourself it should come off, heat gun also works great but you have to be super careful with vinly so it doesn't melt. 

Good old fashion elbow grease works also

You can try Goo Gone Latex Paint remover and that should do the trick; just be careful not to overuse it. They sell it on Amazon for about $7 or $8 -- it is also available at most hardware stores (Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Walmart, etc). I hope everything works out! It sounds like an exciting time (I love rehabbing success stories and DIY projects). @Christina Bates

I have used cheap plastic drywall knives as scrapers before; I feel like they have a lower chance of messing up the surface than a razor blade or metal putty knife, and when they're new, they have a decent edge on them.  Home Depot, Lowe's, etc, sell them for about $2 each, or a 3-pack of different widths for about $5.  Usually they're at one end of the aisle with all the drywall.

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