How To Get Paint Off Windows — Tricks Expert Painters Use for a Better Finish That Won't Damage Glass

If you've had a DIY disaster, these expert tips on removing paint from your windows will be a lifesaver

a window seat in a bedroom
(Image credit: Timna Rose. Design: Atara Studio)

If you've ever done a DIY paint job, you'll know that it's not always as plain sailing, or neat and tidy, as the tutorials make it look. Paint trends are everywhere and might well be tempting you to give one of your rooms a make-over. Learning how to paint a room yourself is a great skill to master, cutting costs and giving you a sense of accomplishment. But just like kids at a craft table, it can get pretty messy.

Now and again, paint can have a mind of its own, ending up in places you really don't want it. DIY aficionados and novices alike often ending up accidentally brushing paint on the windows when giving a room a colour refresh. If this happens to you, there's no need to panic. I spoke to a painting expert to find out the best ways to remove paint from windows.

1. What should I use to get paint off windows?

a large window with slim sightlines

(Image credit: Timothy Kaye. Design: Manna Made)

'Begin with milder options like warm vinegar or soapy water,' says Chuck Reger of Five Star Painting. Whilst soapy water is easy to make up, the type of vinegar can sometimes cause some confusion. 'Distilled white vinegar is the most commonly recommended type for removing paint from windows. Its acidic properties can help soften the paint, making it easier to remove,' says Chuck of this natural paint remover

Use a cloth with these solutions to gently work at the paint, loosening it up to start removing it. A latex paint remover can also be a great option if the paint is proving tricky to get rid of. 

'A razor blade is often the most effective tool, especially for tougher spots,' says Chuck. If you're dealing with paint that is too stubborn for a cloth, taking a fresh razor blade and gently scraping at the paint can help to get your windows clean again. Make sure you have lots of soapy water on the window first through to act as a lubricant for the blade.

2. How To Avoid Scratching The Window

a small window in the kitchen

(Image credit: Nicole Diane. Design: Collected Interiors)

This is one of the most common concerns when it comes to removing paint from windows according to Chuck. 'To prevent this, opt for gentle methods initially,' he says. Instead of going straight in with a razor blade, try to get the paint off with warm soapy water or vinegar and a soft cloth which won't pose any threat to your glass. 

Sometimes, however, we need a little extra help to remove those tougher spills. If this is the case and you need to use a razor blade, Chuck says: 'ensure the razor blade is used at a shallow angle and keep the glass surface lubricated with soapy water to minimize the risk of scratching'.

3. Dry Paint vs. Wet Paint

sheer curtains living room idea

(Image credit: Joshua Smith / Lance Gerber)

Most of the time, you'll know that you've got some paint on the windows and you'll be able to act fast, dealing with the paint whilst it's still wet. Sometimes though, you'll be sat on the couch, thinking you've done a great job, when you notice that a small bit of paint has crept onto the window without you realizing. Chuck assures us, however, that whilst it's easier to deal with wet paint, it is possible to get rid of dry paint too. 

'For dried paint, start with softening techniques like warm vinegar, soapy water, or a latex paint remover. If the paint remains stubborn, a razor blade can be used carefully to scrape it off,' he says. 

4. Removing Paint from Wooden Window Frames

a dining room with arched windows with curtains

(Image credit: Daniel Wang. Design: DesignbyRUCHI)

When it comes to how to paint walls, getting right up to the window frames without accidentally painting them can be a challenge. If this happens, avoid taking the razor blade to it as this can damage the wood surface. 'A soft-bristled brush or sponge can work well,' says Chuck. Use this with some warm soapy water to work away at the paint whilst protecting the wood surface of the frame. A mild latex paint remover can also work well.

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Imogen Williams
Trainee writer

Imogen is a freelance writer and student on the Magazine Journalism master's degree at City, University of London following her Modern Languages degree at The University of Exeter. She has written for lifestyle and popular culture magazines as well as wellness and sports magazines. She has a long-standing interest in interior design and London architecture and is a firm believer in the power of bold wallpaper.