How to remove stains from paint?

How To Remove Stains From Walls

Quick Tips

Where do wall marks come from? Everyone has Most people have seen a random scuff on their wall at some point. Sometimes the mark is clearly from a shoe. However, there are other instances in which mystery marks appear.
Regardless of where the smudges on your walls originated, wall marks and stains can be bad news, especially if you’re a renter whose landlord is coming over for a move-out walk through. And some of those blemishes seem impossible to remove. Well, most of them aren’t if you know how to properly remove stains on walls. Whether you rent or own, the following three tips can help you get rid of those stubborn marks and stains on your walls.

Tip 1: Remove Stains on Walls with Soap and Water

Before breaking out any heavy duty wall cleaner, you want to start with the simplest method. All you’ll need here is some warm water, a few drops of dishwashing liquid and a microfiber cloth.

  1. Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Dip your microfiber cloth into the solution. Wring out the cloth so that it’s not overly saturated.
  3. Rub the stain with the damp cloth until you can’t see the stain anymore.
  4. Wait until the wall dries to be certain the stain is gone. If it’s faint, but still there, repeat the process.

This method should be a safe way to remove stains on walls, whether they’re painted or not. If the stain or mark doesn’t seem to be budging, you’ll need to move on to then next tip on wall cleaning.

Tip 2: Use Cleaning Erasers to Remove Stains on Walls Remove Stains on Walls with Cleaning Erasers

Eraser tools that are used for wall cleaning look a lot like a sponge. You can find them at any grocery store or online. These cleaners can come in handy for tougher wall marks or stains. The only items you need for this method of wall cleaning is the cleaning eraser tool and some water.

  1. Wet the cleaning eraser following the instructions on its packaging.
  2. Before you tackle that mark or stain, you’ll want to do a spot test on an out-of-the-way area. Cleaning erasers can work magic on wall stains, but they can also damage finishes, especially on wooden surfaces.
  3. Once you’ve determined that the cleaning eraser is safe for your wall, gently rub the mark until it disappears. Don’t scrub too hard, or you may create a stain on your wall that’s even worse than the original.

Cleaning eraser tools will typically remove stains on walls, even if the soap and water treatment had little to no effect. But what can you do if your spot test failed and you weren’t able to use the cleaning eraser?

Tip 3: Get Rid of Stains and Marks with Wall Cleaner

If the first two wall cleaning tips didn’t make a dent in your stain or you were unable to use a cleaning eraser on your wall’s surface, consider using wall cleaner. While there are many products on the market specifically made for wall cleaning, you can usually get by with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Follow the dilution steps on the cleaner to the letter and be sure to do a spot test before you get to scrubbing.

If none of these wall cleaning tips worked in your home, then you have a stubborn stain indeed. In this situation, you may want to bring in a professional cleaning service to remove them Contact your local Merry Maids.

Cleaning fingerprints and dirt off of a painted wall

When it comes to residential painting, fingerprints, stains, dirt, grime, and dust are just a few factors that can make painted walls look unsightly. But as surprising as it may sound, cleaning up a painted wall is easier than many people think. Here are a few suggestions to help you make your walls look like new again.

  • Consider the paint finish: Since not all wall paints have identical properties, assessing what type of finish you have is critical to choose the most appropriate cleaning method. While latex paint along with gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and eggshell finishes are designed to withstand washing, abrasive cleaning, and light scrubbing, matte paint is more difficult to clean. TIP: when washing walls, start at the base and move up gradually to avoid drip marks; don’t use too much force or a harsh cleaner, as it may damage the paint.
  • Dust walls regularly: Regardless of the type of paint on your walls, regular dusting is required to keep your walls looking fresh. The easiest way to get rid of dust is to use a soft broom or brush, or to tie a microfiber cleaning cloth around a long-handled sweeper and run it over your walls. TIP: to preserve the quality of your residential painting job, avoid using brooms or brushes with strong bristles, as they may scratch against walls and damage the paint.
  • Wipe away stains and fingerprints: Before attempting to clean stains and fingerprints, make sure that you choose the right cleaning solution. Most marks can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. You can also use one cup of ammonia combined with a half of a cup of vinegar and a quarter of a cup of baking soda to one gallon of warm water, or a paste of baking soda and warm water. TIP: always clean stains and fingerprints as soon as possible; avoid using products that contain alcohol because this compound can break down paint, leaving marks on your walls.
  • Choose the right cleaning method: To prolong the life of a commercial painting job, begin by wiping stains and fingerprints gently with a soft cloth dampened with a mild soap solution. When rubbing persistent marks, use a gentle, circular motion. If stains and fingerprints are still visible after washing the wall, try to scrub harder. TIP: always spot-test the cleaning product and method you intend to use on an inconspicuous area of the wall to ensure that it won’t affect the paint.
  • Try special products: For hard-to-remove stains, such as greasy fingerprints, you may want to opt for specialty products like Siege Premium Kitchen Degreaser and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. TIP: you can also use a commercial water-activated micro-scrubber to wipe off persistent dirt.
  • Rinse clean: Gently and lightly rinse off the cleaner with water and then dry your walls with a soft towel. TIP: you don’t need to rinse you walls if you use a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and water.

For the best results, wash an entire wall in a single session, side to side and bottom to top, using the same solution. If you wash just an area of a wall, wash marks are very likely to occur after the wall dries out.

Although the surest way to restore a residential painting job to a perfect state is to apply a fresh coat of paint, we hope that the aforementioned tips will help you keep your painted walls clean and gleaming for years to come.

How to Remove Paint from Clothes

Whether you’ve got adventurous and creative children running around, or you’ve had a little home redecorating incident, paint stains are something you’ve probably experienced before. These types of stains are very common, but do you know how to get paint out of clothes? Believe it or not, you don’t have to throw stained clothing out. In fact, with a few handy hints and tips from OMO, you may be able to get your clothes cleaned up in no time at all!

Types of paint stain

When it comes to learning about how to remove paint from clothes, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a few different types of paint stain, and that different cleaning methods may work better for one type of stain than another. Here are some of the most common stains:

  • Oil-based paint stains: If you’re painting doors, door frames, or skirting boards in your home, you may be working with an oil-based paint that gives a wonderful high gloss finish. It’s best to treat these more as you would oil stains than standard paint stains.
  • Water-based paint stains: Children’s paints are normally water-based, as these types of paint are much safer for kids to use. The good news is that they’re also very quick and easy to remove, especially if you use the classic ‘flushing’ method of stain removal. We explain this technique in a little more detail below.
  • Dried paint stains: Dried paint can sometimes be a little trickier, especially if you’re dealing with acrylic paint. However, learning how to get dried paint out of clothes is easier than you think, so don’t panic!

Simple ways to remove paint stains

Whichever type of paint stain you’re dealing with, these useful tips can help you to get cleaned up. Here’s how to remove paint stains from clothes using detergents and other household products:

  1. Water-based paint
    Water-based paints like kid’s paints are some of the easiest to get rid of because they respond well to water alone. Start by ‘flushing’ the stain out of the material. You can do this by holding the back of the stain up to running water and waiting until the water runs clear. If a small amount of discolouration remains, pre-treat the stain by applying some OMO liquid detergent and rubbing it into the fabric gently before popping the clothing into the washing machine and washing as normal.
  2. Oil-based paint
    Oil-based paints are a little trickier because they behave very much like oil and grease, so they don’t mix very well with water. Paint thinner works well if these stains are on easy-care fabrics, but it’s better to steer clear of harsh chemicals like these for more delicate materials. Instead, pre-treat the stain with dishwashing soap before washing as normal. Dishwashing soaps are designed to cut through the grease on dirty dishes, so they’re ideal for oil-based paint stains!
  3. Dried paint
    Is it best to tackle paint stains on clothing while the paint is wet or dry? Well, it depends upon the type of paint. Water-based paints are easy to remove in both wet and dry form, but acrylic paints can be a little more difficult when they’re dry because of their hard, plastic-like coating. If you’re finding dried paint stains challenging, try gently scraping any excess off your clothes before cleaning. You should use the back of a spoon – not a knife – for this to avoid damaging your clothing.

If normal stain removal techniques and washing don’t get rid of any remaining dried acrylic paint stains, then an alcohol-based cleaner can be useful. Try nail varnish remover, rubbing alcohol, or even hairspray. And there you have it, removing paint stains from clothes needn’t be a source of fear anymore! Just remember, whatever detergents or other household cleaning products you decide to use, always make sure you check the care labels on your clothing first.

Some clothing may be too delicate to withstand some of the harsher cleaning products and may be best treated with water and detergent.

DIY SOS: How to Remove Household Paint Stains

Whether you’ve just moved house or you’re freshening up the walls of your bedroom, an unexpected paint stain on clothes is not an uncommon side-effect of any home decorating project. Luckily, we’ve got some great tips on how to remove paint stains – so even if you’ve splashed Sunset Blush all over your favourite T-shirt, everything you need to know about getting the stain out is below!

How to remove gloss and emulsion paint from clothes

Whether you’re dealing with a gloss or emulsion paint stain on clothes, the most important thing to check is whether the paint is oil- or water-based. Many gloss paints are water-based, but this isn’t a guarantee. Water-based paints will usually wash out (or you can apply the same principle to them as you would to craft paint stains), but oil-based paint stains will require a little more work.

Start by checking the paint can, which should be able to provide specific instructions on how to remove paint stains caused by its contents. If it doesn’t, read on to find out how to remove paint stains from clothes:

  1. Act fast – these stains are usually easier to remove when wet. Remove the garment, if you can, or keep the stain damp until you can move on to the next step.
  2. Use a paint remover to treat the stain. Lay the fabric, stain-side down, onto a rag or piece of kitchen roll, and then dab at it with a cloth soaked in paint thinner or paint remover. If the paint tin recommends a certain paint remover, use that. Otherwise, you can try turpentine or white spirits to remove paint stains from clothes. Always check the garment care label first as certain synthetic fabrics, such as rayon, will not be able to withstand chemicals like turpentine.
  3. Treat with Persil liquid and leave to soak. Rub the stain with Persil liquid and soak it in the hottest water possible (again, check the care label) for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Wash as usual. Pre-treat the stain with detergent again before popping it in the machine and washing at the highest temperature the garment care label allows.

Top tip: If you’re having trouble determining what sort of paint you’re dealing with, look for information on the paint’s packaging about the best way to clean your brushes after use. A water-based paint tin will suggest rinsing your brushes in water; if the tin says to rinse your brushes in turpentine or white spirits, you’re probably dealing with an oil-based paint.

Now you know how to remove gloss or emulsion paint from clothes, you can relax in the knowledge that your home improvement project will only end up recolouring your walls!

Smell Out of Washer

How do I get the smell out of washing machine after washing tea towels were mistakenly soaked in white spirit. White spirit is the base for nail varnish remover and is used to clean paint brushes etc. It has a very strong smell and is very difficult to get out of any material, although it doesn’t stain. The smell lingers for ages. I usually throw the cloths away once used with white spirit but this time I decided to wash them and I can’t get the smell out of the washing machine. Everything washed since has a taint, even when using a fabric softener. Advertisement


Try adding white vinegar and baking soda and send the machine through several cycles. This may work. (05/20/2003)

By Kathy B. O’Keefe

I echo the vinegar (it’s great to use instead of fabric softener on your clothes as well). You might try it with washing soda as well. Not the same thing as baking soda. I wonder if borax might help….hmmm. (06/10/2003)

By Jessica

Hi – I have just done exactly the same thing!! My washing machine reeks! Can you tell me if either of the suggestions worked, or if you found a different solution that did the trick, or is it off to the launderette for me?



By Clox

Smell Out of Washer

Please can someone tell me if the white vinegar and baking soda works? I just did the same thing last night!!! Now we have a load of laundry that smells of white spirit. (01/17/2006)

By Sandra

I’m an appliance repair technician. The only thing that we have found that takes that mildew or fungus smell from washers is a citrus based cleaner called “PUREWASH”. It’s not sold in stores – – only available at a website- / it works great! We buy it in bulk! Our customers love it! (09/04/2006)

By motsbc

I just removed the smell out of mine after reading this thread…

First I got some zip ties and was able to make a trap with the hose right before the drain, and 2, I ran a cleaning solution thru the washer on a full cycle…

1 litre vingear

1/8th bottle super mildew remover (spray type)
1/4th med box of baking soda

Ran this on cold/cold setting. Then ran a quick rinse cycle of just plain cold water. Worked a charm! 😀 (09/21/2006)


Motsbc is right. That “purewash” works great! It not only cleaned my washer but it made all my towels and cottons smell new again – and it only takes a tablespoon per load! (11/10/2006)

By emmy

Our 13 year old Kenmore top load washed just started emitting a dreadful vomit-like smell. Coincidentally, we’ve experienced “brown water” on several mornings recently, which the City Water Sewer Administration has told my husband is “nothing to worry about.”

Any ideas? Hot water and bleach have not helped.

By Mississippi Mama

Our 13 year old Kenmore top load washed just started emitting a dreadful vomit-like smell. Coincidentally, we’ve experienced “brown water” on several mornings recently, which the City Water Sewer Administration has told my husband is “nothing to worry about.”

Any ideas? Hot water and bleach have not helped.

By Mississippi Mama

I have the horrible mold smell on days when we’ve done a high volume of laundry. The clothes stunk and felt brittle even when we used softener.
I tried vinegar and baking soda, but still was not thrilled with the results.

I then went back to 20 Mule Team BORAX and have the quality of my laundry back. Smells fresh and, with softener, the clothes are once again soft.
I want to do a comparison with that PUREWASH and the BORAX to see what the difference is.

By Klean Klothes

Washing machine odor is caused by fungus that comes from overuse of detergent and fabric softener. I used a cleaner called “purewasher” to get rid of the fungus that causes washing machine smell. It also gets rid of mildew smell from towels and clothing! It’s been months and the smell hasn’t returned! (08/04/2007)

By emmygal

Can someone please tell me where to get this purewash. I have looked everywhere and I just need a website or something. If I take the time to wash one more load and it stinks I am going to yank this washer out and throw it in the yard. It is the worst thing to go to work smelling like you haven’t washed your clothes in a year and the corporate environment frowns upon that. (09/05/2007)

By devan

By erika

Thanks for your recommendation of 1 litre vinegar, 1/4 box of baking soda, and 1/8 bottle of mildew remover on a cold/cold setting. This worked beautifully. I had tried purewash. I tried bleach. I tried 40 oz vinegar. None of these three solutions worked on my front loading washer. Your vinegar/baking soda/mildew remover combo with cold settings did the trick. You saved my wife and I a lot of frustration. Thanks again. (10/08/2007)

By Eric Davis

I used white vinegar, about half a litre the first time, then a full litre the second time. The smell has now gone! Thanks! (10/08/2007)

By Yvonne Mackey

Here are some tips for tackling the most common stains to carry out before washing normally. Never use hot water on protein stains as this will set them into the fabric and don’t rub so hard as to damage the fibres.

Another thing to bear in mind is that soaking items with metal zips for too long can cause the glue to dissolve. Also garments with hooks and eyes, or buttons may have the cotton thread shrink. Finally, you shouldn’t soak wool, flameproof, elasticated and non-colourfast garments to remove stains.

Remove stains from clothes

NOTE: These methods are printed in many books, they aren’t my own, I am just passing them on to you and cannot guarantee the effectiveness of them. Use at your own risk..

Grass stains

Most light grass stains should come out through normal washing. For heavy stains though, you can try dabbing with methylated spirit and rinsing with water before washing them. (Note: Don’t use methylated spirit on acetate or triacetate fabrics)

Ink stains

Ballpoint pen: Spot with methylated spirit. Felt tip pen: Dab small marks with methylated spirit. Fountain pen: Rinse immediately. Wash white cottons and linens straight away. Any residual stain should be treated by rubbing with lemon juice, then covering the stain with salt and leaving for up to an hour. Rinse and repeat until the stain has gone. For coloureds, woollens and silk – sponge and then wash normally

How To: Remove Paint from Clothes


It’s bound to happen. You’re just going to do a bit of touch-up or you accidentally brush up against a still-wet project. Next thing you know, there’s paint on your clothes. Don’t panic!

First, find out if the offender is latex, acrylic, or oil. To test, apply rubbing alcohol to a clean white rag and dab the stain: If paint appears on the rag, it’s latex. If not, you’ll need help from a paint removal agent.

While delicate fabrics like silk don’t always fare well in the paint removal process, denim and other cottons often turn out as good as new. So try these treatments, and you might be able to wear that paint-besmirched shirt on your next night out of the house!

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– Clean rags
– Spoon
– Butter knife
– Paper towels
– Liquid dish detergent
– Liquid laundry detergent
– Clean sponge or white cloth rags
– Packing or duct tape
– Rubbing alcohol
– Nail polish remover
– Toothbrush
– Turpentine or paint thinner
– Disposable plastic container
– Cotton balls


Removing Latex Paint from Clothes

Step 1

Act fast if paint is still wet! Place a pad of clean rags or paper towels directly under the paint to keep it from transferring to another area of the garment. Then, scoop off wet paint with a spoon or butter knife, rinse under warm running water, and blot carefully with a clean, dry rag or paper towels. (If you can’t peel your clothes off just then, get rid of the excess as best as you can and wet the area with water until you can take off the garment.) Turn inside out and run warm water through from the back.

Step 2

Liquid dish detergent is great against paint, as long as the garment is color-safe. (Test an inconspicuous area like an inseam by rubbing in detergent and rinsing it. If the item isn’t color safe, use liquid laundry detergent.) Apply detergent directly to the stain and work up a lather with a clean sponge or cloth. Work on the area with clean sections of cloth, and move the padding underneath occasionally as well.

Blot to check your progress, and repeat as needed. Then launder as usual. If the paint had dried and remains steadfast despite your efforts with detergent, allow the fabric to dry and proceed to the next step.

Step 3

Again, gently scrape off the now-dried excess with a butter knife. Or firmly press a piece of packing or duct tape onto the paint, then lift it off, repeating until no more comes off.

If the paint residue remains on color-fast fabric (see Step 2), you have one more option: Apply a small amount of rubbing or denatured alcohol (or as a last resort, nail polish remover) to the stain, and work at it with an old toothbrush. Blot with water and repeat as required, then launder as usual.


Removing Oil and Acrylic Paint from Clothes

You’ll be working with chemicals, so be sure to do so in a well-ventilated spot.

Scoop off excess wet paint with a spoon or butter knife. If the paint has dried, use the butter knife to scrape off as much as you can. Turn the garment inside out and place a pad of cloth or paper towels under the stained area to aid in blotting.

Pour a paint removal agent such as a paint thinner or turpentine into a small plastic container—ideally something disposable, like a yogurt tub, for easy cleanup. Soak cotton balls or a clean rag in the paint remover and dab at the stain. Switch out for fresh cotton balls or an unused section of the rag as they pick up paint, moving the pad underneath occasionally, too, for a clean blotting surface.

For a truly stubborn stain, pour a bit of removal agent directly on it and scrub gently with a toothbrush, front and back, to free the fibers of paint.

By now, the garment should be practically stain-free. Place a fresh dry cloth or paper towel pad behind the area and blot to absorb the removal agent.

Step 4

Heeding the label’s recommended laundry detergent, apply a bit of detergent directly to the area and lightly rub it in as a final spot treatment. Wash and dry as usual, and wear the garment proudly. Whether or not you chose to disclose its former paint stain is up to you!

How to Get Paint Out of Your Clothes

What if your clothing is stained from a different household material? We’ve got fixes for those spots and smudges too. Ink is a common culprit: To get a ballpoint mark out of your clothing, use petroleum jelly to create a “dam” around the stain—that will keep the ink from spreading. Then use a clean toothbrush to dab the spot with rubbing alcohol. (Be sure to open a window in the room to keep it ventilated.) Next, dip a cotton ball in mineral spirits and dab the area again. Let it dry, and then rinse with a solution of 1 tablespoon of clear dish soap and 10 ounces of water. If you’re dealing with a permanent marker ink stain, there’s an easy fix: Use a clean toothbrush to rub a stain remover (like Amodex Ink and Stain Remover, $13, into the spot.
Makeup is another big source of clothing stains. The secret to getting rid of lipstick smudges? Hairspray! Simply spritz the spot with hairspray and let it sit for 10 minutes, then remove any residue and what’s left of the stain by wiping the area with a damp cloth. Got some foundation on your shirt? Use a cotton swab to apply rubbing alcohol to the stained area, then blot it with a cotton ball, repeating as needed. Nail polish stains can be trickier, especially if the clothing fabric is acetate or triacete—in that case, your best bet is to bring the piece to a dry cleaner to get the stain out. If you’re going to tackle the nail polish smudge yourself, place the stained area facedown on a few clean paper towels, then apply nail polish remover to the back of the stain. (Depending on the size of the stain, you may need to replace the paper towels to soak up the liquid.) Repeat as needed, then finish the task by rinsing the piece in cold water.

No matter how careful you are, it seems like splattering paint is inevitable. Whether it’s on your clothes, sofa or carpet, paint is destined to leave its mark. So, what do you do when your white tee turns dappled gray? Cleaning coach Leslie Reichert and carpet cleaning expert Dean Carter have some helpful hints and they all start with the same warning: treat the stain immediately!

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How to remove water-based paints including indoor/outdoor paint, finger paint, acrylic or poster paint

How to treat clothing:

The most important thing to do is to wash the paint out of clothing while it’s still wet, says Reichert. (Make sure the garment is washable before starting and follow the care label instructions.) Don’t put the entire piece of clothing in water, however. Instead, flush the stain by running warm water through the underside of the garment. Then, spot treat the stain with soap and running water. (You can use a bar soap like Ivory, dish detergent or laundry detergent.) Rinse and repeat until the stain is removed.

If the stain still remains, blot it lightly with an acetone nail polish remover (except with acetate or triacetate fabrics) or pre-treat with a commercial stain remover like Shout, then launder as usual. Do not place the garment in the dryer unless the stain is completely gone, otherwise, the heat will set the stain.

Old water-based paint stains are nearly impossible to remove. You can try scraping the paint from the fabric but take care not to damage it. Once it’s scraped, apply alcohol or acetone as directed above, then launder as usual. If the stain remains, do not machine dry the garment. Instead, air dry it and take it to a professional cleaner.

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How to treat upholstery

Lightly scrape away excess paint immediately, then, blot the area with a damp, soapy cloth. (You can use bar soap like Ivory, dish detergent or laundry detergent.) “Keep blotting until the stain is removed and the cloth comes up clean of paint,” Reichert adds. “Never use too much water as it will dilute the paint and the stain will spread into a larger area.” Remove soapy residue by blotting the area with a sponge or cloth lightly dampened with plain water.

If the stain remains, blot it with acetone nail polish remover. (Test first on an inconspicuous area and make sure the fabric does not contain acetate or triacetate.) If the stain is still there, call a professional.

How to treat carpet:

Remove excess paint with a blunt knife then blot the stain with a damp cloth, using a quick, upward motion and twisting the pile as you lift, says Carter. Rinse cloth and repeat until all the paint has been removed.

If the stain remains, call a professional carpet cleaner as soon as possible. Once paint sets, it is virtually impossible to remove.

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How to remove oil-based paints

How to treat clothing:

Lightly scrape excess paint from the garment. “If the paint is still wet, work on the stain using a clean cloth lightly moistened with paint thinner,” says Reichert. “Dab until the cloth comes away clean and free from paint. NEVER use water on oil-based paint.” Launder as usual once the stain is completely removed.

Adds Reichert, “You can also take it to a professional, but once the paint dries on the fabric, it may be impossible to remove.”

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How to treat upholstery:

In the case of antique or fine silk upholstery, call a professional. For sturdier fabrics, remove excess wet paint by lightly scraping with a blunt knife. Dab the stain with a clean cloth moistened with paint thinner. Continue until there’s no trace of paint on the cloth. As always, test in an inconspicuous area first. If the stain remains, call a professional for help.

“If the paint has dried on the upholstery, you can try using a dry-cleaning solvent for removing paint from upholstery,” say Reichert. “Test in an inconspicuous spot first to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric.”

How to treat carpet:

“For oil-based paint, lightly lift excess paint with a dull knife. Then, using a cloth dipped in paint thinner, dab the stain using a quick, upward motion, twisting the pile as you lift,” suggests Carter. Move to a fresh part of the cloth as needed. (Test paint thinner in an inconspicuous spot of the carpet first.) If the stain remains, it’s time to call a professional carpet cleaner.

How to remove paint stains

The best way to work out what type of paint stain you’re dealing with is to read the label on the paint tube (or contact the art teacher and ask). From there you can move onto proper stain removal.

Acrylic or water-based paint stains: These paints are designed to dissolve in water, which makes them a favourite of parents and teachers everywhere.

Oil-based paint stains: Are a lot more difficult to remove, but thankfully less common in younger children’s art classes.

Removing paint stains from clothes or fabric

To deal with a fresh water-based paint stain on your child’s clothing, try using a spoon or dull knife to scoop up as much paint as possible, before blotting gently with a cloth. Try to stop the paint stain from drying out. Using a sponge, work a detergent and water mix directly into the water-based paint, rubbing gently in between your fingers, before rinsing thoroughly. Keep repeating this process until most of the stain has disappeared from the clothing. If you notice some of the paint stain remaining, apply a touch of nail polish remover on an absorbent cloth and blot, before rinsing well again and laundering.

Other removal solutions for paint stains on clothes include:

  • For a dried-on water-based or acrylic paint stain, brush off as much of the dried paint stain as possible with a hard bristled brush, before applying a soapy water mix or gently dabbing on a varnish remover with a clean cloth. Once the paint stain has softened in the clothing, scrape off as much as possible (testing for colour fastness). Then, work a detergent mix into the stain, as above, and follow the same steps until the dried paint stain has been removed.
  • For an oil-based paint stain that is still wet, remove as much of the paint as possible with a knife or spoon before blotting and rinsing well. Place the fabric stain-side down over an absorbent cloth, before sponging the back of the garment with a touch of turpentine (keeping an eye on the colours to make sure they don’t run). Continue this process until the stain disappears, replacing the cloth underneath when it becomes wet. Do not rinse. Follow by rubbing in a good quality laundry detergent before soaking in hot water overnight (occasionally rubbing the stain gently), before rinsing and washing as per garment directions.
  • If the oil-based paint stain has dried into the clothing, brush off as much as you can with a hard bristled brush, and if you have access to the paint tin or can, read to see if it contains directions for their preferred paint-remover and apply. Once the stain has loosened and becomes wet again, scrape off as much as possible before following the above steps to remove a wet oil-based paint stain.
  • In general, oil-based stains should be treated immediately by applying white spirit or turpentine from the reverse side of the fabric – though not on fabrics like rayon, acetate or triacetate. If the paint is allowed to dry, a skin forms and the stain is impossible to remove. But remember there are many different paints and it is best to consult the paint manufacturer for specific advice.

Removing paint stains from unwashable fabrics

Unfortunately, both acrylic and water-based stains usually mean the end of any unwashable fabric, but do talk to your drycleaner first and see if they think they can do anything.

Removing paint stains from carpet or furniture

If your kids managed to smear paint on the couch, or you forgot to put a drop cloth down before getting out the finger paints, try these tricks:

  • For water-based paint stains on carpet and upholstery, scrape up as much of the paint as you can, before blotting with an absorbent towel. Try to keep the paint stain moist for best stain removal. If dried, use a hard-bristled brush and brush off as much caked paint as possible, before adding soapy water or a paint/varnish remover, and then scraping off any remaining paint. Spray with water and blot with rubbing alcohol. Repeat the steps until removed.
  • For large paint stains, soak the stain with water and lay towels over the stain to blot, before applying the above method.
  • Another solution for water-based paints stains is to apply turpentine, soap and water to a soft stain. Should the paint stain have hardened, brush as before and then apply a little turpentine to soften. Never use liquid paint remover if the stain is wet.
  • To remove oil-based paint stains off carpet and upholstery, scrape off as much wet paint as you can, and blot, or if hardened brush off and use the recommended paint-and-varnish remover to soften (this information can be found on the paint label). Scrape away excess, blot, and spray the stain with water. Use a touch of turpentine to dab the stain (keeping a close eye on the stain to be sure the colours don’t run). Alternate blotting with the turpentine and clean water until the stain is gone. Sponge a lukewarm detergent mix on the stain and blot again until you can’t remove any more paint. Blot well with clean water and let the carpet or upholstery dry before vacuuming.

Stain remover notes

  • The quicker you deal with a stain, the more likely you are to remove it.
  • Unless it’s a fat stain, cold water is best for rinsing a stain, so as not to set it and make it harder to remove later.
  • Before using a cleaning solution, test on an inconspicuous section, such as the inside of a sleeve, to check it won’t ruin the fabric.
  • Always rinse out one cleaning solution before trying another to remove a stain as certain chemicals are not supposed to be mixed.
  • Read the care instructions on the item of clothing before attempting vigorous stain removal. Some clothing may be too delicate to attempt stain removal and are better taken straight to the drycleaners.
  • Don’t rub fabric harshly to remove stains as this can abrade fibres and cause fading.
  • The white towel blotting method is often recommended for stain removal. Simply fold a clean white towel and, once you have treated the stain with water, gently dab it with the towel and check to see how much of the stain has transferred to the white towel.
  • If using commercial stain removers and detergents, always follow the product label to understand the proper use and safety precautions you may need to take.
  • It’s always easier to treat a stain on a washable fabric.

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If you accidentally spill paint on your shirt or pants, don’t panic: We asked Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, how to get this tricky stain out of your belongings. The most important thing she says is to treat paint stains as quickly as you can, because once the paint dries, the stain may be impossible to remove.

Another thing to keep in mind: while some materials may be able to stand up to these stain treatments, more fragile ones, like silk, may be permanently damaged. To make sure your cleaning products and method are a match with the material, spot test them first. At the first sign of color bleeding or fading, stop what you’re doing and accept the sad fate of your garment. And next time, please, oh, please, wear a smock.

Latex or Water-Based Paint

Good news: “Fresh latex paint washes out quickly,” says Forte. But if it’s dry, start by scraping off excess paint. Working from the back of the fabric, vigorously flush the stain under warm running water. Mix a solution of one part dish soap, like Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap ($2,, to one part warm water. Sponge the stain with the detergent solution, tamping it vigorously. Rinse and repeat this process until no more paint is removed. If the stain remains, try blotting with acetone. Caution: Do not use acetone on fabrics containing acetate or triacetate — it will melt these fibers!

Oil-Based Paint

If the stain is dry, soften it by treating it with the product the paint manufacturer recommends for thinning the paint (check the paint can’s label). If the paint is wet, scrape off excess, then use a clean white cloth to blot up as much paint as possible. Rinse, but don’t let the fabric dry. Place the stain face down on a stack of white paper towels or cloths. Blot with turpentine, like Winsor & Newton Distilled Turpentine ($13, Tamp the stain to help break up the paint. Repeat, replacing the paper towels or cloth until no more paint can be removed. Treat the remaining stain with liquid hand dishwashing soap and soak overnight. Rinse well and launder. If the stain remains, treat with a prewash stain remover, like Shout Advanced Gel ($14 for a 3-pack,, and launder again.

Acrylic Paint

Flush the spot with warm water, then sponge it with a solution of one part dishwashing liquid soap and one part warm water. Repeat as necessary, then rinse and launder.


How to Remove Paint From Everything Else


Scrape off excess paint. Mix a solution of one part liquid hand dishwashing detergent to one part cool water. Sponge the stain with the detergent solution, tamping it vigorously. Rinse and repeat until no more paint is removed. If the stain remains, try blotting with acetone.


Scrape off excess paint and, starting at the outer edge of the stain, apply acrylic paint and varnish remover. Gently scrape away the paint as it softens. Repeat, using the remover sparingly, until you have removed as much paint as possible. Be careful to keep the paint and varnish remover from spreading the stain. “Otherwise you may create a bigger stain,” warns Forte. To avoid this, work on the individual tufts, carefully applying the remover and working it in so it doesn’t spread to the surrounding tufts.

If any paint remains, work glycerin into the stain and let it soak for several hours. Sponge the stain with a mild solution of liquid hand dishwashing detergent to one part cool water. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Sponge with a solution of one part white vinegar to 10 parts water. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Now that you know how to fix stains, learn how to dispose of or donate your leftover paint after you finish your project.

How to Remove Paint Stains from Floors | Removing Paint Stains From Hardwood & Carpet

If you’re a homeowner, you know the struggles associated with renovation projects. Your floors are at the most risk when you take on a home improvement project like painting. Drips and accidental paint spills can do major damage to your flooring, leaving your home looking messy and unkempt.
If paint happens to spill during a home improvement, it’s best to clean a paint spill as soon as it happens. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that! While removing dried-on paint from your flooring is a difficult task, it’s not impossible.
Use this guide to remove the most common types of house-hold paints from your carpet, hardwood, or linoleum flooring. House-hold Paints. Before you handle a paint stain, you’ll need to understand the type of paint that caused the stain.

• Oil Paint: Oil-based paints are commonly used for exterior applications because they grip the surface that they are covering better than a latex paint would. Oil paints take more time to dry than other types of paints due to the additives, which help to prevent the paint a glossier finish, but make it very difficult to remove.
• Water-/Latex-Based Paint: Water-based paints are typically used for interior applications. This type of paint dries rather quickly because the moisture in it evaporates. These types of paints aren’t as durable or as shiny as other paints, but they are very easy to clean up after. Typically, only soap and water are required to do the job.

Removing Paint Stains: The Process

Removing Oil Paints: To remove oil paints, the use of chemicals is usually required, including turpentine, acetone, kerosene, and various paint thinners. While these chemicals do a decent job of removing oil paint, they can also strip a surface of its original color, particularly carpet and hardwood flooring. If you are using a chemical remover, test a small portion of the surface first.

• To remove from carpet, apply turpentine to the stain and blot with a clean cloth until the paint is removed. Remember to avoid scrubbing, as this will only work the paint deeper into the surface. When most of the paint is gone, combine a tablespoon of dishwashing soap with two cups of cool water and use a clean cloth to sponge the remaining stain.
• If the oil paint landed on a hardwood or linoleum surface, you can quickly wipe it off with a damp paper towel. If the paint has dried on a wood surface, sand off as much of the paint as you can, then use the paint stripper to remove the rest. You can also heat up the oil paint on the surface and then scrape what melts off. Remove any excess by rubbing the surface with mineral spirits, safe for hardwood and linoleum.

Always remember to wear protection when using chemical strippers to avoid any health-related issues.

Latex Paint Removal: If you’re using latex paint, there are a few ways to clean up any spills that occur.

• Start by removing as much of the paint from the surface first. Again, avoid scrubbing to prevent further damage. Mix warm water with a teaspoon of mild dish detergent. Blot the area to remove most of the excess, working from the outside of the stain in. Once the paint is gone, let the area dry and then vacuum over the surface.
• For paint dried on hardwood or linoleum, scrape as much of the dried paint off. Use pliers or a putty knife to do so, taking care to avoid scratching the surface. Soak the area with a mixture of water and dish soap, scrubbing after a few minutes to begin removing the caked on paint. If there is still paint on the surface, use mineral spirits or alcohol to remove the excess. For more information on paint removal, check out Richmond Painters.

If soap and water aren’t cutting it, head to a local home improvement store for some guidance. You can find water-based latex paint removal products, which work just as well as chemical paint removers.

Don’t be afraid of paint spills – they happen. Remove them from your flooring with these helpful tips.

Find a Local Flooring Store

Like what you read? Get in touch with you local Floor Coverings International to learn more about how to remove paint stains from floors.

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