How to Get Paint Out of Clothes: 10 Simple Ways

Removing paint from clothes can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s doable if you act fast. Whether you’re an artist working on a canvas or just giving your bedroom a new look, accidents happen. The key is to address the paint stain as soon as possible because once the paint dries, it can be tough to get out.

First things first, figure out what type of paint you’re dealing with. Different paints require different removal methods. Also, keep in mind that some fabrics can handle stain treatments better than others. Sturdier materials may withstand certain cleaning agents, while delicate fabrics like silk could be permanently damaged.

To avoid making things worse, always test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying any cleaning product. This way, you can be sure that your efforts to remove the paint won’t cause more harm than good.

Can You Remove Paint From Clothes?

How you remove paint from clothes depends on a few factors. If you catch the paint stain while it’s still wet, use a spoon or knife to scoop off as much as possible before it dries. Then, use a stain remover to deal with the rest.

For dry paint stains, there are household tricks that can help.

The method you use depends on the type of paint. Identify the paint type before treating the stain, as it will guide your solution.

How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Using Dish Detergent

Ideal for: Removing water-based, latex paint stains, as well as acrylic paint stains.

If you’re dealing with a stain from water-based, latex paint (typically used for larger projects like walls or ceilings), dish detergent is your best bet for getting rid of it.

  1. Start by rinsing the stained fabric with a bit of warm water.
  2. Dab the stain with a cloth soaked in water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid.
  3. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse with warm water.
  4. Repeat this process as necessary and wash the garment in cold water.

This method also works well for acrylic paint, particularly if the paint is still somewhat wet. However, it’s important to ensure that the clothing is color-safe before using dish soap, as it might cause colors to bleed.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Ideal for: Removing latex paint stains.

Rubbing alcohol is an effective solution for tackling latex paint stains. It’s a good option to try if dishwashing liquid doesn’t do the trick.

  1. Wet the stain with warm water to make the spot damp.
  2. Use a cotton ball or an old toothbrush soaked in rubbing alcohol to scrub the stain.
  3. Rinse with warm water and repeat the process as needed.

Rubbing alcohol is also a reliable method for removing acrylic paint stains. After treating the stain, toss the garment in the wash to eliminate any remaining traces of the stain and alcohol.

Using Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Ideal for: Removing latex paint stains.

Nail polish remover, particularly those containing acetone, works similarly to rubbing alcohol in treating paint stains. It is most effective for latex paints.

  1. Soak a rag in the nail polish remover and blot the stain to loosen up the paint.
  2. Once the stain is treated, toss the garment in the wash.

However, it’s crucial to check that the fabric of the clothing does not contain acetate or triacetate, as the acetone in nail polish remover can damage these fibers.

Using Hairspray

Ideal for: Small stains, especially latex paint stains.

Hairspray is a handy tool for removing paint from clothes, especially for smaller stains. Many aerosol hairsprays contain alcohol, which can help break down latex paint.

  1. Spray the stain until fully covered.
  2. Scrub the stain with an old toothbrush to loosen the paint.
  3. Optionally, run warm water over the stain or spritz it with regular laundry stain remover.
  4. Toss the garment in the washing machine.

Using Hand Sanitizer

Ideal for: Latex paint stains.

Hand sanitizer, containing alcohol, can also effectively loosen up latex paint stains, similar to hairspray.

  1. Cover the stain with hand sanitizer.
  2. Scrub the stain with a toothbrush.
  3. Toss the garment in the wash.

For extra stain-fighting power, you can use both hand sanitizer and hairspray if you’re particularly concerned about removing a stubborn stain.

Using Salt, Vinegar, and Ammonia

Ideal for: Tough paint stains.

To tackle stubborn paint stains, follow these steps using common household items:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of salt with two tablespoons of vinegar and two tablespoons of ammonia.
  2. Soak a rag or an old toothbrush in the mixture and scrub at the stain until it comes out.
  3. For larger or more persistent stains, fill the sink with water and add more of the ingredients, maintaining the ratio of two parts ammonia and vinegar to one part salt.
  4. Let the stained garment soak in the sink for several hours or overnight, then scrub the stain with a toothbrush again.

Using Laundry Detergent

Ideal for: Acrylic paint stains.

For acrylic paint stains, a simple solution involving laundry detergent works well:

  1. Soak a rag in liquid detergent and rub it on the stain. If you’re concerned about the strength of undiluted detergent or dealing with delicate fabric, mix the detergent with water before applying.
  2. Blot and rub as needed to loosen the stain.
  3. Rinse after soaking.

This method is also effective for spray paint stains. Ensure thorough soaking before rinsing.

Using Lavender Essential Oil

Ideal for: Small latex paint stains.

An effortless solution for small latex paint stains involves lavender essential oil:

  1. Apply five drops of this oil on the stain.
  2. Let it sit for about half an hour. Once the oil has soaked in, use an upside-down spoon or a butter knife to scrape off as much loosened paint as possible.
  3. If not all the paint comes off, repeat as needed or try alternative methods.

Using Turpentine

Ideal for: Oil-based paint stains.

Oil paint, known for its durable oil base, is challenging to remove from clothing. Its resilience makes it suitable for trim or outdoor paint jobs. While other methods may not work for oil paint, turpentine can be an effective solution.

  1. Place the garment with the stain facing down on a stack of paper towels.
  2. Dab the stain to thin out the paint, you can replace paper towels if needed.
  3. After removing most of the stain, treat it with stain remover or a mixture of water and dish detergent for an extra measure of effectiveness, and then wash it normally.

Using Duct Tape

Ideal for: Dry latex paint stains.

Duct tape, known for its versatility, can also help remove paint from clothing, especially dry latex paint stains.

  1. Without wetting the fabric, attempt to loosen some of the dry paint by scraping it with a butter knife, an old toothbrush, or an emery board.
  2. Take a small piece of duct tape and use the sticky side to lift as much of the paint as possible. Press the tape firmly onto the stain and lift.

Can you remove paint from clothes after it’s been washed and dried?

If you’ve already attempted to treat a dried paint stain without success, it might be time to acknowledge that your garment is probably beyond saving.

Dried paint is notoriously challenging to remove from fabric, and it could be nearly impossible. Trying to remove the stain at this point might even result in more damage to the clothing.

Additional Expert Tips

  1. Avoid rubbing the stain; instead, pat it to prevent spreading it to other parts of the fabric.
  2. Don’t toss stained garments in the washer with other items to prevent transferring paint to clean clothes.
  3. The most effective way to prevent dealing with paint stains is to wear protective coverings over your clothes or use old clothing that you won’t mind damaging.

Remember, these methods are specifically tailored to the type of paint stains mentioned, so be sure to choose the one that matches the nature of the stain you’re dealing with.

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