How to Get Paint Out Of Clothes

Learning how to get paint out of clothes starts with understanding some things about paint and fabric. Whether you’re cleaning a grass stain or a paint stain, most experts agree—for most stains, it’s critical to clean the stain as soon as possible before it dries. Dried paint stains are notoriously hard to remove because the paint is formulated to bond with walls, furniture, and, unfortunately, your clothes.

Now, read on about how to remove paint from clothes step-by-step. And don’t worry, we’re going to cover how to get dried paint out of clothes too.

What to Know About Removing Paint From Clothes

First things first. Most paints are water- or oil-based, and each formulation requires a different stain removal method for getting paint out of the fabric. In addition, when you’re cleaning stains from clothing, the first order of business is to read the care label.

Here you’ll find what the manufacturer recommends for general cleaning, what to avoid, and other helpful information about the fabric. You won’t find specific information like how to get paint out of clothes or remove ink stains, but clothing care labels give you a good starting point.

The other things you need to know are:

  • Take your time when you’re working on a stain so you don’t damage the fabric.
  • Don’t machine dry stained clothing until you’re sure the stain is gone, or it could end up being permanent.
  • Use the mildest stain removal product to begin with and only move on to more robust solutions when needed.
  • Test an inconspicuous area of the clothing before you use any stain remover or cleaner on a stain.

How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

If you, or your kids, use acrylic paint for arts and crafts or you’re an avid DIY interior decorator, you’ve likely found a paint stain or two on floors, furniture, or clothes. Hopefully, when you get paint on your clothes, you notice it before it dries because that makes the process quicker and more likely to succeed.

Nevertheless, if the paint has already dried, soak the stained area with distilled white vinegar and leave it for two hours. Vinegar is a safe and effective all-purpose cleaner and stain remover that works on paint, blood, and rust stains too. Once the paint stain has been re-liquified, proceed with the stain removal method below for how to get acrylic paint out of clothes.

Supplies:

Metal spoon
Liquid dish soap
Rubbing alcohol
Sponge
Toothbrush
Water

  • Scrape off excess paint with the edge of a metal spoon.
  • Rinse the paint stain with warm water using your kitchen sink sprayer.
  • Mix one cup of warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a bowl.
  • Dip a sponge in the soapy water and blot the paint stain from the outside in.
  • Move to clean parts of the sponge as you blot to get up the most paint.
  • Rinse the stained area with warm water again and let the clothing air dry.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to saturate the stain (if it’s still visible) and scrub it gently with a toothbrush.
  • Wash the clothing according to the care label.
  • Line dry the clothing and check to see if the stain is gone.

If you can still see paint on the fabric, scrub the area once more with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush. Rinse the stained area and let the clothing air dry. If this method doesn’t work, a dry cleaner may be able to help.

If you can still see paint on the fabric, scrub the area once more with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush. Rinse the stained area and let the clothing air dry. If this method doesn’t work, a dry cleaner may be able to help.

How to Get Water-Based Paint Out of Clothes

Water-based paints come in two formulas: acrylic and latex. Acrylic paint is commonly used for art, crafts, and kitchen cabinets. Latex paint is typically used indoors for ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. From repainting the den to school art projects, water-based paints are used frequently in many households.

Unfortunately, not all paint ends up on walls or canvases where it belongs. Accidents happen, but the good news is water-based paint isn’t as hard to remove from clothes as other kids’ messes. If you discover a dried water-based paint stain, first soak the stain with vinegar for a couple of hours to liquefy the paint, then move on to the method below for removing fresh paint stains.

Supplies:

Cleaning cloths
Hairspray
Metal spoon
Liquid clothes detergent
Paper towels
Water

  • Use the edge of a metal spoon to scrape and scoop up excess paint.
  • Rinse the stained area with warm running water.
  • Dab the paint with paper towels to remove as much as you can.
  • Mix one cup of water with a teaspoon of liquid clothes detergent.
  • Dampen a cleaning cloth with the cleaner and soak the paint stain.
  • Blot the paint off with the cleaning cloth, switching to clean sections as you work.
  • Rinse the stained area again to remove the soapy water and paint.
  • Use hairspray to soak the paint stain if it’s still visible and rub the area gently with a cleaning cloth.
  • Wash the clothing per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Let the clothing air dry and check the stain.

If the stain is still visible, you can repeat the step with the hairspray and rewash the clothing. As a last resort, you may need to take the clothing to the dry cleaners.

How to Get Latex Paint Out of Clothes

Latex paint doesn’t bond as well as acrylic paint and because it’s water-based, getting it out of upholstery and clothes is pretty simple. If the paint stain has dried, soak it with vinegar until the stain begins to dissolve, then move on to the rest of the steps.

Supplies:

Cleaning cloths
Liquid dish soap
Metal spoon
Paper towels
Rubbing alcohol
Toothbrush
Water

  • Scrape off the excess paint with the edge of a metal spoon.
  • Rinse the stain in warm running water.
  • Remove as much paint as possible by dabbing the stain with paper towels.
  • Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with warm water in a bowl.
  • Soak a cleaning cloth with the soap and water and squeeze it out onto the stain.
  • Blot the paint up with the cloth and shift to a clean spot when it gets dirty.
  • Rinse the stain with water to remove the soap residue and loose paint.
  • Use rubbing alcohol to rub the stain if it’s still visible.
  • Wash the clothing as you normally would.
  • Allow the clothing to air dry and check to see if the stain is gone.

If you still see paint, use a toothbrush soaked in rubbing alcohol to scrub out the rest of the stain gently. Consult a dry cleaner if the stain doesn’t disappear completely.

How to Get Oil-Based Paint Out of Clothes

Oil-based paint is still one of the most common choices for woodwork, furniture, and other surfaces that need a durable, glossy finish. Because of the oil in the paint formulas, knowing how to get the paint out of clothes is a little more involved than water-based paint stains. That’s because you’re working with a paint stain that’s also a grease stain. If an oil-based paint stain has dried, you’ll need to soak it with rubbing alcohol until it liquefies. Then follow the steps below for how to remove paint from clothes.

Supplies:

Liquid clothes detergent
Paint thinner
Paper towels
Rubbing alcohol
Water

  • Turn the clothing inside out and place a thick layer of paper towels beneath the stain.
  • Dampen a paper towel with paint thinner and dab the stain until no more paint is absorbed.
  • Rinse the stained area with hot running water.
  • Pour enough liquid clothes detergent onto the stain to saturate it thoroughly.
  • Place the clothing in a sink or tub of hot water and let it sit overnight.
  • Rinse the clothing the following day using hot water.
  • Wash the clothing according to the care label.
  • Allow the clothing to air dry and then check the stain.

If an oil-based paint stain is still visible after using the method above, you may need more firepower. Commercial paint removers like Goof Off aren’t as harsh as paint thinner, but they can be strong enough to get out the rest of the paint. Follow the directions on the paint remover label, then wash your clothing as you usually would.

The next time paint ends up on your favorite shirt, you’ll know exactly how to get paint out of clothes to save the day. Whether you use our professional house cleaning guides and do it yourself or let The Maids take the reins with our flexible and affordable cleaning services, we’ve got you covered. Learn how you and your family can enjoy a cleaner home more often without all the work with a free estimate.


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