How to Remove Epoxy from Concrete

You can use epoxy adhesive for engineering and structural purposes, such as protecting concrete floors. It is normal to spill epoxy every once in a while, and in this guide, we will show you how to remove epoxy from concrete step-by-step!

There are many ways of removing epoxy from concrete, depending on whether it has hardened or not. If the epoxy is uncured, you can remove epoxy with acetone, nail polish remover, methylated spirit, or white vinegar. However, if the epoxy has cured, you can use a paint stripper with a floor grinder, a shot-blast machine, or a sandblaster.

What Is Epoxy?

epoxy resin poured into clear cup

Epoxy is a solution made up of resin and hardener. Epoxy paint uses epoxy to cover garage floors, patios, and basements for added durability. Besides its concrete sealing properties, epoxy paint adds resistance against oil stains, tire marks, scuffs, peeling, cracks, and spills. It also adds shine to a painted surface and comes in various colors. Compared to tile and wood flooring, epoxy is cheaper and more durable to use.

Safety Tips Before Removing Epoxy

man with respirator and eye goggles handling household chemicals

Removing epoxy from concrete can be hazardous if you are not careful. Depending on how you remove epoxy, you should always follow these safety tips:

  • When using a paint stripper with strong chemicals, you should work in a well-ventilated area. You can circulate the air continuously by pointing a fan in the direction of a door or open window.
  • To reduce hazardous fumes in your paint stripper, you must put on a respirator. Be sure that the respirator covers your mouth and nose.
  • You must cover the rest of your skin to avoid skin contact with strong chemicals. Equip rubber gloves, eye goggles, rubber boots, a long-sleeve shirt, and pants before working.
  • Wear earplugs to prevent high-pitched sounds from damaging your hearing when using machines.

How to Remove Uncured Epoxy from Concrete

brooms in concrete garage

Some epoxies can harden in a matter of seconds. So, if you spill any, you should immediately follow these steps:

  1. Moisten a clean cloth with acetone/nail polish remover, methylated spirit, or white vinegar. Rub the cloth on the epoxy glue before it dries.
  2. Allow the liquid to soak in, then clean it off with a dry cloth or paper towel.
  3. If the epoxy does not bend with the surrounding region, sand it down with wet-and-dry abrasive paper.

How to Remove Cured Epoxy from Concrete

men cleaning smooth concrete floor

If the epoxy has cured, removing it will require more effort. There are two main ways of removing cured epoxy from concrete: using chemicals or machines.

Removing Epoxy Using Chemicals

Step 1: Choosing a Paint Stripper

Paint strippers contain chemicals that allow you to remove the cured epoxy from concrete. They often have butanone, which helps break down epoxy glue and makes it easier to strip. You can use these paint strippers if you want to remove cured epoxy from concrete:

  • Methylene Chloride Stripper/dichloromethane. Dichloromethane contains butanone and is your best bet at stripping away thick lacquer.
  • Caustic Strippers. Caustic strippers take longer to remove epoxy paint, but they come with fewer health risks. They work well when you are dealing with many epoxy layers.
  • Acetone. Acetone is ideal for removing epoxy paint from small areas. However, it quickly dissolves and should not be used on large surfaces.

Step 2: Preparing a Solvent

Once you have chosen a paint stripper, pour it into a bucket or large container. Use a rag, paintbrush, or mop to apply it on the epoxy substrate as a test.

Step 3: Applying the Solvent 

Next, apply the paint stripper to your desired surface. Leave it on for as long as your paint stripper’s packaging suggests. Meanwhile, you can move away from the workspace to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. 

Step 4: Scrape Off the Epoxy

Once the suggested time has passed, take a putty knife or paint scraper to test if the epoxy paint lifts off the surface. Make sure to hold the putty knife at an angle before scraping the epoxy. Use a toothpick or a toothbrush instead of a putty knife for minor dents and crannies.

Apply as many coats of solvent to remove the epoxy. You can also use a putty knife or a sharp blade straight away to remove the epoxy. However, to avoid damage to the surface, you should still apply the solvent coats.

Once you remove the epoxy from concrete, you can clean everything off using any of these solutions:

  • Bleach, water, and 1/8 cup dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar and water

Removing Epoxy Using Equipment

man with respirator using a sandblaster

Apart from chemicals, you can use mechanical equipment to remove epoxy from concrete. Whichever machine you use, be sure to put on earmuffs to protect your hearing. To remove epoxy from concrete, you can use any of these machines:

  • Floor Grinder. A floor grinder uses an abrasive surface to scrape epoxy from concrete. With a bladed grinder attachment, it works far more efficiently.
  • Shot-Blast Machine. A shot-blast machine uses high pressure and tiny steel balls to strip paint. It also prepares a concrete floor for applying new epoxy.
  • Sandblaster. A sandblaster uses compressed air or steam to shoot sand particles over a surface at high speeds, quickly removing unwanted epoxy.

After removing epoxy using a machine, you can clean up any dust with a vacuum. If there is a white residue on the floor, you can clean your floor using any of these solutions:

  • Bleach, water, and 1/8 cup dishwashing detergent
  • White vinegar and water

Frequently Asked Questions

concrete garage with equipment

What Will Dissolve Epoxy? 

You can dissolve epoxy using acetone/nail polish remover, methylated spirit, white vinegar, or various paint strippers. However, you should only use acetone for small surfaces.

Does Paint Thinner Remove Epoxy? 

A typical paint thinner is not strong enough to remove epoxy, which is resistant to wear and tear. 

Will Vinegar Remove Hardened Epoxy? 

You can use vinegar to remove hardened epoxy. First, dampen a clean cloth with vinegar and soak it onto your desired area. The hardened epoxy should then soften up, and you can scrub it off easily.

Can You Repair Concrete with Epoxy?

Epoxy does not need routing and can repair concrete. It can fill hairline cracks, cures quickly, and is much stronger than concrete. 


man cleaning concrete

Overall, there are three different methods of removing epoxy from concrete. If the epoxy is uncured, you can prepare a chemical solution to remove it. If the epoxy has cured, you can use a putty knife with a paint thinner to scrape it off. You can also resort to different machines to remove epoxy from concrete.

If this guide helped you clean up your concrete, you could also learn to cut concrete!

Liam Weissman

Hello and welcome to PowerToolGenius! My name is Liam and for the last 9 years, I have worked extensively with various power tools and accessories. I have tested hundreds of different brands and models and understand the industry extensively and have been working with tools my entire life!

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