February 28, 2012 11:20 AM   Subscribe

What's your quick-and-dirty technique for removing joint compound and latex paint from concrete?

Despite my best efforts to be OCD with the placement of my dropcloth, a recent mud-and-paint project (boring details here) has left splotches of mud, latex primer, and latex topcoat on my concrete garage floor. I'm assuming that since everything is basically water soluble, clean-up shouldn't be a gruesome task. But I'd like to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In your experience, what tools and liquid cleaning agents are best suited to this task?
posted by Gordion Knott to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
I'd use a wire bristle wheel on a drill for the joint compound. It might also work on the paint to some degree.

I'd also add that stains are what garage floors are for.
posted by bondcliff at 11:35 AM on February 28, 2012

May not be practical for inside the garage, but when I was painting our back patio, the pressure washer made short work of any spills on the concrete.
posted by xedrik at 11:36 AM on February 28, 2012

Sadly, the idea that you can clean up latex paint with water is only good until the paint dries.

On smooth concrete a razor blade is where you want to start. Hardware stores will sell extra wide ones. If that doesn't do it, paint remover. A wire wheel will take it off, but might rough up the floor a bit -- use a copper one if you can get it, or a copper wire brush.
posted by yohko at 3:10 PM on February 28, 2012

Denatured alcohol will remove dried latex paint.
posted by ShooBoo at 4:32 PM on February 28, 2012

I've used Painter's Pal - it worked well, though my surface was glass, not concrete.
posted by analog at 7:06 PM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

A very sharp chisel will work well (although it won't stay sharp for long) or a blade for a 'utility' or 'boxcutter' knife will work if the lumps aren't too thick. This method will leave a film of paint etc, though so not so good it you want to absolutely clean every last trace off. Unless the concrete is very smooth or sealed in some way, you probably won't be able to get it all off without damaging the surface anyway.
posted by dg at 8:33 PM on February 28, 2012

You're completely wrong about water removing dried latex, as you've probably learned by now...

Solvents for latex paint are sold in paint stores. Some are even "green".

Joint compound is relatively soft; nylon bristle wheels on a drill may take them up, and pre-soaking several minutes (to an hour) ahead of time will further soften them. Wire may mar the concrete finish, if you care about that.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:28 PM on February 29, 2012

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