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How To Get Paint Out of Clothes

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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If you are on this page, your main question is how to get paint out of clothes, and we have you covered with methods and tricks. Before you start getting paint stains out of clothes, you need to know several things concerning the paint. The first being how soon you noticed the paint stain when it's wet on dry because dealing with damp paint is relatively easy and less hectic than cleaning dry paint. The second thing you should know is the type of paint you are up against, the common ones being water-based paints and oil-based paints. The third and last thing you should know is the type of fabric you are dealing with.

The tools you require for this job are paper towels, a part of warm water, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, dish soap and laundry detergent, stain remover (optional), spoon or a blunt knife, duct tape(optional). Most of these products are easily accessible, which makes your stain even more interesting to remove. Below is a guide on how to get paint out of clothes to save your outfit.

1. Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based paints are very glossy compared to water-based paints and may come by you or your husband when painting door frames, doors, or skirting boards.

How to Remove Oil-Based Paints from your Clothing

1.You should do this outside as a paint thinner or turpentine has strong smells, and it is best to use them in well-ventilated areas.

2. Scrape off any excess paint with the back of a spoon or a dull knife and use a paper towel to blot as much paint as possible

3. Turn the stained cloth inside out and put paper towels inside the clothes against the stain. This step is to prevent the solution from bleeding through the clothing to the opposite side.

4. Dip a clean rag into the paint thinner and turpentine. You can do a spot test on an inconspicuous area to check how it will react with your garment and ensure it doesn’t stain or damage your fabric.

5. Once you have confirmed it's safe to use on the fabric, blot the paint stain using the white cloth soaked with the solution.

6. Repeat this process of removing oil a few times until the oil-based paint stain is gone, and you can work the stained area while switching between the front and back of the clothes.

7. If the paint is still persistent, use dish soap or liquid detergent and hot water for some minutes. Pour some nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol over the stained area, and gently scrub with preferably an old toothbrush to get rid of any residue.

8. Launder and wash the cloth in cold water

9. If the stain remains, consult a professional, but if you successfully remove paint stains out of your garments, it's time to fabric dry.

Pro Tip: If you are dealing with delicate or synthetic garments, do not use paint thinner or turpentine. They are suitable for cotton garments, and these solutions can break down the garment or run the dye.

2. Water-Based Stains

Water based-paints are inclusive of latex paints, mostly used for painting walls and ceilings, painting trim, metal and wood doors, and cabinetry. Fresh latex paint, as water-based paint, washes out quickly. They also include acrylic paints, which, on the other hand, are used mostly for crafts and artworks. Also, most paint products used with children are water-based because they are safer to use, and the stain is relatively easy to remove.

How to Remove Water-Based Paints from Your Clothing

Below are some steps you can follow to make sure you get rid of the water-based paint out of your favorite garments.

1. Scrape off as much paint as possible with the back of a spoon or a flat edge like a butter knife or a putty knife

2. Turn your stained cloth inside out and flush warm water on the reverse side of the stain as this pushed the color out the other side of the cloth. The warm running water method is best done on an outdoor faucet or in a utility sink because it can quickly get messy. Flush the water on the garment at the hottest wash temperature you can for a few minutes, and it should start to disappear but keep in mind that light clothes such as a shirt can rinse easier than heavy garments like jeans.

3. Mix one cup of cool water with a tablespoon of dish soap or laundry detergent.

4. Get the stained cloth into your solution and blot the paint stain

5. Repeat this process until you get rid of the oil paint from the clothes

6. Launder the outfit in some cold water

7. If that process does not eliminate paint out of the fit entirely, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol or a nail polish remover that is non-acetone and blot the stain until it clears.

8. Launder the cloth in some cold water again

9. If the paint from clothes is not out at this point, it is difficult to remove and calls for professional assistance.

Pro Tip: Before using the rubbing alcohol or the nail polish remover, make sure you do a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the cloth.

3. Dried Paint

The removal process can be the hardest to remove among all of them, predominantly acrylic paint.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint Stains

Unlike water-based stains, which are easy to remove in both wet and dry form, acrylics can be challenging because of their hard plastic-like coating. To remove any dried paint, scrape the excess paint off your garments before throwing them into a washing machine for a regular wash and dry. Do this using the back of a spoon and not a knife to avoid causing any damage to your wear. If the stain persists, use another method of alcohol or nail polish remover. Remember to do this while making sure your wear is not delicate to withstand some products.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are acrylic paint stains permanent on clothing?

They may leave a permanent stain on clothing once they dry up, but you should use the method we have provided above to help you remove the paint, and if the stain remains, either get professional help or tie and dye the wear.

2. Is it possible to get rid of paint from garments with baking soda?

Baking soda is a powerful stain remover because of its absorbent properties. However, paint is quickly set into cloth fibers, and baking soda is not powerful enough to remove paint from your garments. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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