If you plan to DIY spray foam installation, there’s a chance of mishaps since it requires a bit of skill to get right. If you’ve accidentally sprayed some foam on the paint, don’t worry — it can be removed without ruining your paint job.

However, it’s important to remember that open spray foam expands to several times its size. Thus, it overlaps surrounding surfaces, which can be a serious concern if you’re dealing with delicate materials or valuable items.

To ensure the underlying surface, it’s imperative to use products that can effectively remove spray foam but don’t damage the surface it’s on. Keep reading this guide to learn how you can do this successfully.

Can You Remove Spray Foam From Any Painted Surface?

In theory, you can remove spray foam from any painted surface, but it depends on the type of paint you’ve used. Latex-based paints tend to be more resilient and resist spray foam’s effects. Conversely, oil-based paints are more likely to be affected by spray foam and may discolor or warp the surface.

Now, you may apply spray foam on a wide range of painted surfaces. These can range from walls and sidings to wood, metal, and glass. While removing spray foam from all these surfaces is possible, the toil is much greater when dealing with delicate items.


The most common spray foam application is on walls, and it’s not too difficult to get rid of. In most cases, you can use a putty knife or a scraper to remove the foam. If that doesn’t work, you can use a solvent such as acetone or Simple Green whole concentrate to dissolve it.


Removing spray foam from metal surfaces is a bit more complicated. Painted metal tends to oxidize when exposed to chemical solvents, so it’s best to use a manual tool such as a plastic scraper. Avoid using metal brushes if you don’t want to repaint the surface again to conceal scratches.

You may also use warm water and mild detergent to soften the foam before scraping it off.


Removing spray foam from glass can be tricky since the solvent may cause it to crack. The safest way is to wait for the foam to dry before scraping it off with a blade or a spatula. If that doesn’t work, you can use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol. You can also apply petroleum jelly (vaseline) to the glass. Because it is oily, the foam won’t stick and can be easily wiped off.


When removing spray foam from painted wood, you have to be extra careful because there’s a risk of scratching the surface. However, if you’re careful, a paint scraper could work to remove any spray foam off the surface. Or, you can opt for chemical solvents but remember to test it on a small area first.


If you’ve sprayed foam on the exterior of your home, you must be careful when removing it. The best method is to use a solvent to soften the foam. Then, you can scrape off the material you want.

Regardless of the surface, the older the spray foam, the more difficult it is to remove. Therefore, it’s best to tackle the foam as soon as you make a mistake, which will minimize the hassle of removal and make it much easier.

Plus, if you’ve applied a thick layer of foam, it’s best to use a combination of scraping and solvents to remove it. A thinner layer is typically easier to remove with tools and solvents.

There’s little difference between the removal of open or closed-cell foam since the expansion depends on the chemical makeup, not the volume. Both will be hard to remove when they dry. But if they’re still wet, closed-cell foam might be easier to scrape off since it doesn’t expand as quickly. 

How To Remove Spray Foam From Painted Surfaces

The approach you take will depend on the surface and the thickness of the spray foam. But you can use the following tools for most surfaces.

  • Utility knife
  • Acetone
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Warm water and liquid detergent
  • Soft clothes or paper towels

You can find most of these tools at your local hardware store. Acetone is usually available at hardware stores and home improvement retailers.

Step 1: Scrape Off The Foam

If the foam is still wet, it’s easiest to use a utility knife or paint scraper to remove it. Start at one edge and slowly move the blade along the foam, slicing off as much as you can.

Hold the scraper at a shallow angle and work your way around the edges of the foam. Make sure to use caution, as you don’t want to damage the surface.

Step 2: Use Acetone

If you’re working on dried foam, you may need to use acetone or rubbing alcohol. Start by pouring a small amount of the solvent onto a soft cloth. Gently rub the cloth over the foam, taking care not to apply too much pressure.

You may need to repeat this process several times until all of the foam has been removed. Don’t apply too much acetone as it can dissolve some paints. It may also affect the outer coating of metal items.

Step 3: Remove the Remaining Foam

Once acetone dissolves the foam, you can go in with warm water and a mild detergent mixture. Use a soft cloth or paper towel to gently scrub the surface in circular motions until all of the foam has been removed.

You may need to use a brush or sponge for thicker foam deposits. However, don’t scrub too hard, as you want to avoid damaging the paint.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

After removing all of the foam, rinse the surface with clean water. Then, dry it off with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Before you apply spray foam again on this surface, you should wait at least 24 hours. Then, don’t apply any other products until the surface is completely dry.

During this process, if you get spray foam on your hands, you can remove it by dipping a rag in acetone or rubbing alcohol. Put this cloth on your hand and take off as much of the foam as possible. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water afterward.

Safety Tips for Removing Spray Foam

It’s essential to stay safe when working with spray foam. Here are some tips to make this process smooth and safe.

  • Wear protective eyewear and gloves when using acetone or rubbing alcohol. These solvents can be hazardous if ingested or absorbed by the skin.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area. If you’re removing spray foam from the walls, open the windows and doors so that you can breathe.
  • Store acetone and rubbing alcohol in a safe place, away from heat sources or open flames.
  • Follow the instructions on the packaging for proper use and disposal of these products.
  • Never mix acetone or solvents with other products, as this can create hazardous fumes.
  • When using a utility knife or scraper, do not push too hard, as this could damage the surface. Also, do not cut too close to the surface because you’ll take the paint off with the spray foam.

You can use the steps mentioned in this guide for smaller sections of spray foam. However, if you’re working on a large area, it’s best to call in professionals for this task. They have the right equipment and experience to handle the job quickly and safely.


Evan has decades of experience as a project manager for large-scale commercial renovation home-building projects throughout the US. Currently, Evan runs a successful construction management company in Virginia.

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