Whether you’re a weekend DIY enthusiast, an artist, or simply had a mishap while painting a room, it’s not uncommon to find that some of the paint has made its way onto your clothes. From splatters during a home renovation to drips from a paintbrush, while creating a masterpiece, these scenarios are all too familiar.

Understanding how to get paint out of clothes is crucial, as paint can leave stubborn stains that ruin your favorite outfits if not addressed quickly. Addressing paint stains promptly can make the difference between a simple cleanup and a permanent reminder of your painting project. For instance, knowing how to remove acrylic paint from clothes or how to get latex paint out of clothes can save you not only time but also the cost of replacing garments. Immediate action is essential because the longer paint sits on fabric, the harder it is to remove, risking irreversible damage to your clothes.

In the following sections, we’ll guide you through various methods to remove paint from clothes, ensuring that whether it’s a splash of acrylic paint or a smudge of oil paint, you’ll know exactly how to tackle the stain. So, let’s dive into the solutions that will help keep your wardrobe paint-free!

Types of Paint Stains

When tackling the challenge of getting paint out of clothes, it’s important to know what type of paint you’re dealing with. Each kind of paint has its unique properties and requires specific methods for removal. Below is a table outlining the main types of paint you might encounter:

Type of Paint Characteristics
Acrylic Paint Acrylic paint is water-based, making it quite easy to clean while wet. However, once it dries, it forms a plastic layer that makes it resistant to water. This paint is popular in both hobby and professional art due to its bright colors and quick drying time.
Latex Paint Latex paint is another water-based type, commonly used for interior and exterior walls due to its durability and ease of cleaning. It remains soluble in water longer than acrylic, allowing for easier removal when wet, but once dry, it adheres strongly to fabric fibers.
Oil Paint Characterized by its oil-based formulation, oil paint is renowned for its rich colors and smooth application. It dries slower than water-based paints, allowing for longer working times, but this also means it can be more challenging to remove once it has set into fabrics.
Fabric Paint Designed specifically for fabrics, this paint is meant to be permanent, allowing artists to create durable and washable designs on textiles. Its formulation bonds directly with fabric fibers, creating long-lasting and often vibrant finishes.

Each type of paint requires a slightly different approach, but the fundamental steps involve acting quickly and using the right cleaning agents. Whether you’re dealing with acrylic paint or a smear of oil paint, understanding these differences can aid significantly in effective stain removal. Remember, knowing how to remove paint from clothes effectively can save your favorite garments from being relegated to the rag bin.

General Tips for Removing Paint from Clothes

When you accidentally get paint on your clothes, a few straightforward steps can help you manage the situation effectively. Here’s how to tackle paint stains smartly:

  • Act Quickly: The sooner you address the paint stain, the higher your chances of removing it. Whether it’s splatters from renovating or accidental drips during an art project, prompt action is essential.
  • Test First: Before attempting to remove paint from clothes, it’s crucial to test the fabric for colorfastness. Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to an inconspicuous area of the garment to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or damage.
  • Blotting Over Rubbing: If you find paint on your clothing, blot the stain gently with a clean cloth. To effectively remove dried paint from clothes, always blot rather than rub the stain. Rubbing can push the paint deeper into the fabric, whereas blotting helps lift the stain out
  • Choosing the Right Solvent: Use the solvent that is appropriate for the type of paint you’re dealing with. For instance, rubbing alcohol can be effective for acrylic paint, while a paint thinner might be needed for oil-based paints.

Step-by-Step Guides for Removing Specific Types of Paint

Acrylic Paint Removal:

Acrylic paint, often vibrant and quick-drying, can be challenging to remove once dried. Knowing how to get acrylic paint out of clothes effectively requires prompt attention before the paint sets

Supplies Needed:

  • Warm water
  • Blunt tool (e.g., spoon, old
  • credit card)
  • Cotton ball or towel
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Bucket (optional for soaking)


  1. Remove Excess Paint: Gently scrape off any excess wet paint using a blunt tool, working towards the center of the stain.
  2. Dab the Stain: Use a cotton ball or towel to dab the stain, ensuring you switch to clean sections of the cotton ball or towel to avoid reapplying paint.
  3. Flush with Water: Rinse the area with warm water to remove any excess paint, directing the water flow from the back of the stain.
  4. Apply Detergent: Treat the stain with liquid laundry detergent and a bit of water to lather, then gently work it into the stain.
  5. Soak (Optional): For tough stains, soak the garment in a solution of laundry detergent and warm water for up to an hour.
  6. Launder: Wash the garment using the warmest water suitable for the fabric, according to the care label.
  7. Dry: Check the stain before drying; only dry the garment once the stain is completely removed.

Latex Paint Removal:

Supplies Needed:

  • Identical to those needed for acrylic paint removal, as the methods largely overlap. This technique also effectively teaches how to get latex paint out of clothes.


  • Follow the same steps as for acrylic paint removal, adjusting the detergent type or concentration as needed based on the paint’s composition.

Oil Paint Removal:

Oil-based paints, known for their durability and resistance to water, can be a formidable opponent in stain removal. How to get oil paint out of clothes often involves stronger solvents.

Supplies Needed:

  • Blunt tool (e.g., spoon, old credit card)
  • Cotton ball or old towel
  • Paint thinner (mineral spirits, turpentine) or rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • Bucket


  1. Remove Excess Paint: Scrape off as much paint as possible without spreading the stain.
  2. Dab with a Cotton Ball: Use a cotton ball or old towel to absorb the wet paint. Use clean portions for each blot.
  3. Apply Paint Thinner: Spot-test the paint thinner on a hidden area of the fabric. If safe, apply it to the stain and blot gently.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Flush the stain with warm water, moving from the back to the front of the stain.
  5. Apply Detergent: Saturate the stain with liquid laundry detergent, add a bit of water, and work it in gently.
  6. Soak: Soak the garment in a warm water and detergent mixture for about an hour.
  7. Hand-Wash: Carefully hand-wash the garment to remove any solvent residue.
  8. Dry: Hang the garment to air-dry to prevent any fire hazard from trapped solvent residues.

Fabric Paint Removal:

Fabric paint is crafted for durability, making fabric paint removal particularly tough. However, with the right approach, it is possible to mitigate these stains.

Supplies Needed:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or acetone (for oil-based fabric paints)
  • Dish soap or liquid laundry detergent
  • Warm water
  • Blunt tool (spoon or brush)
  • Cotton balls or soft cloths


  1. Scrape Off Excess Paint: Begin by removing any dried or excess fabric paint with a blunt tool to prevent further spread.
  2. Apply Solvent: For oil-based fabric paints, apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol or acetone with a cotton ball to the stain and blot gently.
  3. Treat with Detergent: If the paint is water-based, skip the solvent and apply a mixture of dish soap and warm water directly to the stain.
  4. Blot and Rinse: Continue blotting the stain, applying more solvent or detergent as needed, and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  5. Launder: Wash the fabric on a gentle cycle using the warmest water suitable for the material.
  6. Check and Dry: Ensure the stain is completely removed before drying. If remnants remain, repeat the treatment before drying.

Special Cases

When dealing with paint stains, some situations require special attention due to the materials involved or the item’s structure. Here are a few scenarios and the best approaches to handle them:

How to Get Paint Out of Delicate Fabrics:

  • Identify the Fabric: Check the garment label to confirm if it’s silk, wool, or another sensitive material.
  • Spot Test First: Always test any cleaning solution on a hidden area to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric.
  • Blot Gently: Use a soft cloth to blot the stain, which can help remove paint from clothes without harsh scrubbing that can damage delicate fibers.
  • Use Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild detergent and cold water to get paint out of clothes, preserving the integrity of delicate fabrics.

Paint Removal from Carpets:

  • Lift Don’t Rub: Gently lift the paint from the carpet fibers using a blunt tool, avoiding rubbing that might push the paint deeper.
  • Blot with Solution:Apply a cleaning solution suited for carpets and blot with a towel. This approach is especially effective for how to get acrylic paint out of carpet. Use a mixture of dish soap and warm water to dilute and lift the paint.
  • Rinse with Water: Carefully rinse the spot with cold water, then blot dry.

Preventative Measures

Taking a few proactive steps can significantly reduce the chances of getting paint on your clothes. Here are some effective measures you can take:

  • Wear Protective Clothing: Always wear old clothes or a dedicated painting outfit when you’re working with paint. This is the best way to ensure you don’t have to worry about how to get paint out of clothes later.
  • Use Drop Cloths: Place drop cloths or tarps on the floors and over any furniture in the area where you are painting. This helps catch any drips or splatters, reducing the risk of getting paint on your garments and carpet.
  • Painter’s Tape: Use painter’s tape to cover cuffs, collars, and other parts of your clothing that might accidentally brush against wet paint.
  • Keep Cleaning Supplies Handy: Have cleaning supplies like wet wipes or a quick stain remover nearby. If you do get paint on your clothes, immediate action can often prevent a permanent stain.
  • Pre-Treat Clothes: If you’re engaging in a messy paint project, pre-treat your work clothes with a stain repellent fabric spray. This can make it easier to remove paint from clothes if any accidents happen.

By implementing these preventive steps, you can minimize the risk of paint-related accidents and save yourself from the hassle of removing tough paint stains.

Natural vs. Chemical Cleaners

Natural vs. Chemical Cleaners: Which Works Best for Paint?

When deciding how to tackle paint stains on clothes, choosing between natural remedies and chemical cleaners is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of both options:

Type Pros Cons
Natural Cleaners – Environmentally friendly – May be less effective on tough stains
– Generally safer for sensitive skin – Requires more time and effort
– Often cheaper and easily available – Inconsistent results depending on stain
Chemical Cleaners – More effective on a variety of stains – Can be harsh on the environment
– Fast-acting results – May irritate skin or damage fabrics
– Specifically formulated for paint removal – Typically more expensive

Natural Cleaners might include items like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. These are great for lighter stains or when you’re dealing with delicate fabrics and are concerned about potential damage from harsh chemicals.

Chemical Cleaners, on the other hand, include solvents like turpentine, acetone, or commercial stain removers that are engineered to tackle heavier, more stubborn stains such as dried or oil-based paints.


In this guide, we’ve explored a variety of methods to effectively remove paint from clothes, highlighting the differences in treatment for acrylic, latex, oil, and fabric paints. Each type of paint presents its own challenges, but with the right techniques and solvents, you can tackle even the most stubborn stains.

Acting quickly is the key to successful paint stain removal. The sooner you address the stain, the better your chances of removing it completely without permanent damage. Whether you’re using natural remedies or chemical cleaners, immediate action can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your cleaning efforts.

We hope this information proves valuable in maintaining your garments free from paint stains. Remember, if you need further advice or resources related to keeping your clothes and household items pristine, PrepSmart Professional Painting is here to help with smart solutions and expert guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

For fresh acrylic paint stains, rinse under cold water and apply liquid detergent directly to the stain. For dried stains, use an alcohol-based solution like isopropyl alcohol to soften and lift the paint before laundering.

Yes, you can remove dried latex paint from clothes. Scrape off excess dried paint with a blunt knife, then pretreat the stained area with laundry detergent before washing on a warm cycle.

Oil paint removal requires a solvent like turpentine or paint thinner. Apply the solvent to a cloth and blot the stain gently. Follow up with a wash using a strong detergent to remove any residual paint and solvent.

Natural cleaners can be effective for light paint stains and are safer for delicate fabrics. Ingredients like vinegar or baking soda can help lift stains without the harsh effects of chemicals. However, they might not be as effective on heavy or dried paint stains.

Treat delicate fabrics with care by blotting the stain rather than rubbing it. Use a mild detergent and cold water to gently treat the stain. Avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals that could damage the fabric.

The best way to prevent paint stains is to wear protective clothing such as old clothes or an apron. Additionally, using drop cloths and painter’s tape can help shield your clothing from drips and splatters.

Removing fabric paint from clothes can be challenging because it’s designed to be permanent. You can try using isopropyl alcohol or acetone for oil-based fabric paints, but success might vary depending on the paint and fabric type.