How to Remove Paint from Clothes


There is nothing quite as satisfying as a fresh coat of paint. Whether you are giving a few walls a clean-up or updating your entire interior, fresh paint offers any space a rejuvenating lift.

The task of painting itself, however, can be daunting. If you’ve ever painted your home, you know it is both messy and time-consuming. Part of the preparation work, even for experienced painters Etobicoke, means covering your floors, carpets and furniture with drop cloths and plastic sheets.

But what if you forget to change and end up with paint on your clothes? Don’t fear, if you have a spill and need to know how to remove paint from clothes, we’ve got you covered. Keep in mind, spot testing is always a good idea and it’s important to take extra care with volatile chemicals.

Here is a guide on how to remove paint from clothes:

1. Assess the Amount of Paint

If you accidentally get paint on your clothes, you’ll need to quickly determine the type of paint in order to figure out your next steps. Check the label to see if it is latex, oil-based, or acrylic. Your first actions will depend on the kind of paint and the type of fabric it has stained.

While more fragile materials, such as silk, may be permanently damaged, you may still have time to rescue other fabrics.

2. Move Quickly for Latex

Latex paint is water-based and can usually be treated quickly, when wet. Look for a label on your paint that says either ‘latex’ or ‘acrylic latex’. From the back of the fabric, run the stain under warm running water. Then mix warm water with a mixture of dish soap and hand soap. Dab the stain with a sponge or paper towel. Rinse and repeat, until the stain is removed.

3. Find the Hairspray

For dried latex on clothing, first scrape off excess paint. Then rub either hairspray or isopropyl alcohol and soak it for one minute. This will help to break up the paint and allow you to properly remove it. Run the fabric under warm water, then treat with soap and water, as used for wet latex paint.

4. Blot with Acetone

If your efforts to remove latex paint still don’t work, you may need to escalate to acetone. Wearing gloves, blot the stain gently with acetone. Be warned, however, that acetone is a volatile, flammable liquid that should not be used on all fabrics—synthetic fibers will dissolve on contact.

5. Scrape and Blot Wet Oil-Based Paint

An oil-based stain on your clothing will best be treated when the paint is wet. If you happen to catch the mark early, scrape off excess paint and use a clean, white cloth to blot off as much paint as possible. While blotting, try to keep your pressure confined to a space no bigger than the stain itself.

In other words, if the stain is smaller than your finger, try blotting with a fine-tipped instrument such as a pencil, covered by a cloth.

6. Reach for the Turpentine

Once your fabric is scraped and blotted, removed of as much oil-based paint as possible, rinse it well. Before it dries, place the stain face-down on a stack of paper towels and blot firmly with turpentine, which will further break up the paint. Repeat, replacing paper towel as necessary.

Allow the remaining stain to soak overnight in a mixture of water and dish soap, then run through your laundry with stain remover until the mark has gone. Keep in mind, you should never use turpentine for fibers such as acetate, triacetate or rayon.

7. Thin Dry Oil-Based Paint

If your oil-based paint has dried, you will almost certainly have a more difficult time getting it out of your clothes. Your best bet is to soften the oil, which hardens on drying, using a paint thinner. Read the label on your paint to determine which thinner works best. Be sure to spot-test your fabric before treating the stained area.

8. Flush and Blot Acrylic Paint

If acrylic paint has landed on your clothing, flush with warm water and blot with a mixture of one-part water, one-part liquid dish soap. Rinse and repeat, before washing in the laundry.

9. Gather Supplies for Next Time

Because it is so important to treat paint stains as quickly as possible, make sure you have what you need, should you have to rescue your clothing again. Simply add a few items to your paint preparation list—in addition to paint, brushes and tape, add things like hairspray and dish soap. If you are using an oil-based paint, you may want to bring home some turpentine, as well.

While a fresh coat of paint can bring new life and colour to a room, it takes time, patience and skill to execute without a mess. Most people, new to painting, underestimate the effort, preparation and clean up. We hope these ideas on how to remove paint from clothes helps, should you need advice in a hurry. Remember to be safe with volatile chemicals and always read labels.


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