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How To Get Paint Out of Clothes

Updated on June 8, 2012

Getting Paint Out Of Clothes

It doesn't matter if you're painting the interior of your home or you're painting a little ceramic figurine, inevitably you're going to get paint on your clothes.

You can take the precaution of wearing your old, grubby painting clothes but it doesn't matter. Sooner or later, before you finish the project, some little dab of paint is going to mysteriously find its way into your closet and latch itself onto your favorite blouse.

Getting wet paint out of your clothes is bad enough but trying to get paint out of your clothes after it's had time to set up and dry is almost impossible.

Even if you think it won't happen to you... even if you think you'll never be picking up a paintbrush anyway... make note of these tips for how to get paint out of clothes. Because sooner or later you're going to need them.

Image Credit: Petr Kratochvil at

How To Remove Latex/Acrylic Paint From Clothes

If it's latex/acrylic paint you can try using rubbing alcohol. Use a clean white cloth to thoroughly soak the spot with rubbing alcohol. Or you can just pour it directly onto the area if it's a large splash of paint you have to remove.

Let the alcohol soak into the stain for a couple of minutes. Then, using your fingernail or a small spatula or even a popsicle sitck, start at the outer edges of the stain and gently scrape it away.

Apply more alcohol if necessary and first scrape with the grain of the fabric and then go across the grain. Use your clean white cloth to blot up excess as you scrape it away.

Eventually you may have just a slight bit of color showing, which will usually come out in the wash.

Housekeeping Tips : How to Remove Paint From Clothes - Video

In this video Rachael shows how to get paint out of clothes using dish soap and hairspray. I've used this method to get black Sharpie ink out of a skirt and it worked like a charm. And the stain I was removing was probably 3 or 4 times the size of the little spot she's working on here in this video.

More Tips

Paint thinner, used sparingly, works well on heavier fabrics like denim. Be careful though because it can harm finer fabrics and it can also just smear the paint around and make an even bigger mess.

Lestoil also helps loosen the paint. Use it the same way you'd use alcohol, suggested above, but be careful. Lestoil may fade some fabrics.

If it's water-based paint, try soaking the garment in warm, soapy water to soften the paint. Then use a small scrub brush to loosen the stain and a trip through the washing machine should take care of it.

I that still doesn't work, try contacting your local art supply shop and see if they have a secret recipe for paint removal. Most artists wear paint spatters as a badge of pride, but you never know.

If all else fails and you're really fond of the garment, try taking it to your local dry cleaner. Every dry cleaner I've ever known has a 'Secret Formula' for getting out tough stains.

Original Formual Goop Multi Purpose Hand Cleaner

What favorite garment did you lose to paint stains?

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    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Great info. It's nice to know that I can use a regular household item to remove acrylic paint from clothing.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I really appreciate this information. Thank you!

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 5 years ago

      Great lens. Thanks for the tips!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 5 years ago

      It always happens, doesn't it? Thanks for your tips!