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From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: removing spray paint (grafiti) from an RV
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 03:24:46 -0400
Message-ID: <>

The first thing I'd try is pressure washing it.  Haul the thing to the car wash and
see if the  paint can be blasted off.  If it is fresh then the water blast usually
does the trick.

An excellent solvent for less-than-fully-cured paint (less than about a week old) is
furniture polish, the oily kind that comes in a bottle and not an aerosol.  The kind
with citrus oil works best.  (Aerosol types might work; it's just that I've never
tried them.) If that doesn't do it then I'd try charcoal lighter fluid (usually
naptha) and mineral spirits in that order.  Each is a stronger solvent than the

If the substrate is aluminum or fiberglass (not paint) then my next step would be
alkaline purple cleaner/degreaser followed by lacquer thinner.  For each of these try
LIGHTLY scrubbing with a plastic pot scrubber (NOT ScotchBrite which is abrasive but
the typically red and yellow steel wool-looking plastic pads.)  This gentle scraping
greatly aids the solvent action.

This is the end of my generic advice.  If the paint is still being uncooperative then
the next steps will highly depend on the particular finish.  Each method should be
tested on a non-visible area to make sure that it doesn't hurt the substrate or its

My next step would probably be citrus-based paint remover.  Follow that with strong
solvents like MEK and acetone.  Proprietary products like Goof-Off fit in here but
they're so expensive that I tend to avoid them in favor of generic solvents.

Wading in deeply into territory where substrate damage is very possible, methylene
chloride (the active ingredient in most paint removers) is next.  I'd not use paint
remover which contains thickeners and other solvents.  Pure MeCl which is available
as a plastic welding cement is the proper type.  I'd wet a cloth with the solvent and
try to rub only on the paint itself.  Get the smears off with a weaker solvent.
Nothing except fully cured epoxy or urethane-based paint can withstand MeCL so it
almost has to come off at this point.

Everything including the furniture polish removes wax so re-waxing is necessary to
protect the finish.  Unless the paint has been sun-cured for several days, the
furniture polish oil will almost surely do the trick.

If the substrate is paint then I'd not go any stronger than mineral spirits.  Just
let it soak awhile.  It'll soften the partially cured paint without seriously
affecting the fully cured substrate.  Whatever substrate softening that happens is
temporary and any dulling can be polished out after the substrate re-hardens.


On Mon, 16 Jul 2007 21:11:35 -0700, JC Dill <> wrote:

>Not my trailer (thank goodness) - but...
>"someone sprayed graphetti on the side of my R.V. trailor with silver
>spray paint how do i remove this without messing up my paint job on
>the trailor?? "
>I don't know any more about the type of RV, siding, paint.  Any
>suggestions are greatly appreciated.

From: John De Armond
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel
Subject: Re: removing spray paint (grafiti) from an RV
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 15:01:28 -0400
Message-ID: <>

On Tue, 17 Jul 2007 07:44:12 -0400, "Cliff" <> wrote:

>Everyboysmomma wrote:
>> >
>> THANKS John,
>> This just got printed and added to my RV binder.  I hope I never need
>> it, but this is great information.
>> Momma
>   You should be aware that pressure washers are great for removing Decals
>... not if you WANT them removed, only whe trying to ge caked mud off the
>Cliff in TN - do NOT ask me how I know ...

So true.  You can usually get 'em to stick back down by cleaning the substrate with
some residue-free solvent, heating the substrate and decal with a hair dryer and
rolling the decal back down with a rubber roller.  The heat re-activates the adhesive
and lets it flow into the substrate pores.  Like new again.  Just don't overheat or
the decal will shrink.


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