Paint drips and spills happen—we don’t always see those «Wet Paint» signs. When you find paint stains on your clothes, hope they are from acrylic paint. While oil-based paint stains are much more difficult to remove, water-based acrylic paint can almost always be removed from clothes. The key to successful removal is to act quickly. You’ll have much better luck removing the stain if the paint is still wet. If you can’t treat the stain right away, try to keep the area damp by dabbing it with water. But, even if the paint dries, there are still treatments using some household products that should help you remove the stain. You’ll just need a bit more patience! These instructions are for removing acrylic paint from washable clothes. For dry-clean-only garments or home accessories, take them to a reputable dry cleaner as soon as possible. Tell the cleaner what type of paint caused the stain (if you know) for the best results.

Detergent Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold
Cycle Type Usual cycle for the type of fabric
Drying Cycle Type Do not dry clothes in an automatic dryer until all paint is removed then dry as usual
Special Treatments Pretreat paint stains before washing
Iron Settings Do not iron clothes until all of the paint is removed

Materials

  • Heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Enzyme-based stain remover
  • Commercial paint remover
  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • Cotton swab

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

How to Get Wet Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

  1. Lift Away the Paint

    If the acrylic paint stain is a drip or blob of paint, use the edge of a dull kitchen knife, spoon, or old credit card to lift away as much of the paint as possible from the surface of the fabric. Do not rub with a cloth or paper towel. That will only push the paint deeper into the fibers. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Flush Out the Paint

    As quickly as possible, hold the reverse side of the paint-stained area under a faucet with cold to warm water running at full force. The water will help force the paint out of the fibers.

    Tip

    If possible, after removing as much paint as possible from the surface, keep the area wet by dabbing with a damp towel until you can treat the stain at home. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Apply Stain Remover

    While the fabric is wet, put a few drops of an enzyme-based stain remover or heavy-duty detergent on the stained area. Use a soft-bristled brush or your fingers to work the stain remover into the fabric. Allow the stain remover to work for at least 15 minutes before taking the next step. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Wash as Usual

    After the stain remover has had a chance to work, wash the garment following your usual routine. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Check the Stained Clothing

    After machine- or hand-washing the clothing, check the stained area. Do not put the item in a hot dryer if the paint stain is still visible. Repeat the stain-removal treatment steps and rewash the clothing. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  6. Dry as Usual

    Once the stain is removed, dry the clothing following your usual routine. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

If the paint has dried before you discover the stain or the stain is stubborn, follow these steps.

  1. Treat With Isopropyl Alcohol

    Using a cotton swab or small white rag, apply some isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) to the paint stain. Work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to prevent the spreading of the paint. Work slowly and saturate the fabric with the alcohol. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Lift Away Loosened Paint

    Use a dull kitchen knife blade or the edge of an old credit card to lift away paint as it releases from the fibers. Apply more alcohol as needed. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Treat the Stained Area

    Once you have removed as much of the paint as possible, use an enzyme-based stain remover to treat the stain. Work in the stain remover with a soft-bristled brush and allow it to work for at least 15 minutes before washing the clothes. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  4. Wash the Clothes

    Wash the clothes as usual but check the paint-stained area before tossing them in a dryer. Repeat the steps if the stain remains. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  5. Last Resort

    If the alcohol and stain remover did not work after a couple of treatments, use a commercial paint stain remover as a last resort. Choose a citrus-based paint remover for a less toxic treatment.

    Warning

    Do not use acetone, turpentine, or petroleum-based paint strippers on acetate or triacetate clothes because the fibers will dissolve and this cannot be reversed. The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Ironing

Do not iron clothes that are stained with acrylic paint. The heat of the iron will set the stain permanently.

Tips for Washing Clothes With Acrylic Paint Stains

  • Treat and remove acrylic paint stains as quickly as possible.
  • Keep the area damp to make stain removal easier.
  • Do not dry clothes that are still paint-stained in an automatic dryer.

FAQ

    • What should I do if the stain won’t come out at all?If you’ve repeated multiple steps, and even a commercial paint stain remover isn’t helping, consult a professional cleaner. Depending on the material of your stained clothing, a professional may have more specialized advice.
    • Is it better to remove acrylic paint when it’s wet or dry?Removing wet acrylic paint is much easier to do than dried acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is water-soluble when fresh but won’t respond to water once it’s dry.
    • Is there any way to avoid acrylic paint stains?The only way to avoid a lengthy stain-removal process is to paint while wearing things you don’t mind dirtying. Acrylic paint stains are so difficult to remove that it’s better to prevent the issue altogether.

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you. Acrylic paint is immensely popular and is used in many projects such as general painting, decorating around the house and in many different types of crafts. To clean your painting tools and spills, just use water, but if it has spilt on your clothes, it could cause staining. Do not worry, as most spills are fairly easy to remove, but only if you take quick action. In this article discover how to get acrylic paint out of clothes. Table of Contents

  • 1 Quick Action is the Key
  • 2 Process of removing wet Paint from your Clothes
  • 3 How to remove Acrylic Paint from Clothes by Hand?
    • 3.1 Using Isopropyl Alcohol to take off Acrylic Paint
    • 3.2 Using Vinegar and Ammonia to take off Acrylic Paint
    • 3.3 Using Dish Wash Liquid to take off Acrylic Paint
    • 3.4 Using Hairspray or Window Cleaner to take off Acrylic Paint
    • 3.5 Using Acetone to remove Paint Stains
  • 4 What to do when Acrylic Paint is spilt on your Carpet or Upholstery?
  • 5 Questions and Answers
    • 5.1 How to get dried Acrylic Paint out of Clothes
    • 5.2 Is it possible to use Vinegar to get rid of Acrylic Paint?
    • 5.3 Is it okay to use an old Toothbrush to remove Paint Stains?

Quick Action is the Key

Where you spill the paint does not matter, it can be on your clothes, carpets, chairs or even on the hard wooden floor. The main thing is to act quickly. You first need to wipe up the mess and then apply water to remove the rest. On all surfaces you need to first wipe up the mess, then on soft surfaces use water to clean up the rest. After you have cleaned the mess on hard surfaces, using a knife or other flat tool lift off the rest of the mess and then use water to clean it up completely. If the paint is not gone on the first attempt, continue to apply water until the paint stain has been completely removed. You need to act quickly, as acrylic paint dries fast, and it is easier to remove the stain when the paint is still wet. Unfortunately, if allowed to dry, the paint stain will set. Acrylic paint is made up of pigments that are suspended in a water-soluble polymer solution, but only when wet. Once the paint has dried properly, it becomes slightly resistant to water and you may never be able to remove the stain entirely. how to remove acrylic paint

Process of removing wet Paint from your Clothes

How to get acrylic paint off clothes? Once again quick action is vital, as the acrylic paint needs to be removed before it dries. So, if you are doing art or some other home projects, watch your clothes and as soon as you see a spot of paint remove it immediately. Let us look at the process of how to get acrylic paint off clothes. The best method to remove the paint is to use soap and warm water. Mix 1-part warm water with 1-part liquid soap, and only mix a small amount to start with. Take a sponge, place it into the water and soap solution and apply it to the paint spot. Continue with this method until the paint starts to loosen. If you still have a stubborn paint spot remaining, apply a little stain remover straight onto the paint spot and pop it into the washing machine. how to get dried acrylic paint out of clothes

Tip: Be careful not to put the garment into the dryer until you have removed the paint spot entirely.

How to remove Acrylic Paint from Clothes by Hand?

No matter what method of how to remove acrylic paint from clothes you choose, the answer lies in your quick response in treating the stain. The faster your response removing the stain from your clothes, the stronger the possibility of success. Follow these few steps before removing using any of the stain removers. By using a knife, spoon, or any flat tool, scrape the excess paint off your garment. Next, if you act quickly while the paint is still wet, gently pat the paint spot using a paper towel and soak up as much of the paint as you can. The key to your success lies in your quick action, removing as much paint as soon as you can. The paper towel method will only be effective when the paint is still wet and if you remove as much as you can. Also, remember to gently pat the paint spot, do not rub it. This action will effectively remove all the excess paint that has not soaked into the material.

If you rub it, you will only cause the paint to go deeper into the material, which will make it even more difficult to remove. After you have successfully removed all of the excess paint from your garment, you can now proceed by following any one of the following methods below.

Using Isopropyl Alcohol to take off Acrylic Paint

  • Soak or saturate the paint-stained area completely using Isopropyl alcohol, do not be shy with the amount of alcohol you use
  • By using a flat object, a coin or even your fingernail try to scrape or lift off the paint from your garment. When scraping, try to move in the direction of the weave of the fabric using back and forth movements. See if you can remove as much paint as possible before you proceed onto the next step
  • Place your garment into the washing machine and set it to the correct cycle meant for that type of material. Add your usual type of detergent and wash the garment for the full cycle and hopefully, it will successfully remove the paint stain
  • This method should remove the paint stain, but if it remains you can do this again until the stain has been completely removed

how to get acrylic paint off clothes

Using Vinegar and Ammonia to take off Acrylic Paint

If your garment contains triacetate or acetate, or if you do not have any Isopropyl Alcohol, you can use a mixture of vinegar and ammonia with a pinch of salt instead.

  • Once the paint has dried use a spoon, knife, or your fingernail to remove as much dried paint as you can
  • Put the garment in some cold water and soak
  • Next, mix 1-part of white vinegar and 1-part of ammonia with a pinch of salt
  • Remove the garment from the basin of water and wring it out
  • Put some of the vinegar and ammonia solution onto a clean sponge and gently rub the affected paint spot
  • Rinse the garment with water and if necessary, you can repeat the process
  • Now you can wash the garment in the washing machine, but before you put it into the drier make sure the paint stain has been completely removed

Using Dish Wash Liquid to take off Acrylic Paint

  • Turn your clothes inside out, especially where the paint stain is and rinse it with some warm running water until you have removed as much paint as possible
  • Mix 1-part warm water with 1-part dish wash liquid. This is a simple method as most people have dish wash liquid in their house
  • Immerse a clean sponge or cloth into the mixture and swab the paint stain vigorously, try to avoid rubbing it as you can cause the stain to spread further. Remove as much paint as possible, even using your fingernails
  • Rinse the affected area with water and check to see if the stain has been removed. Repeat the process if needed
  • Put the garment into your washing machine and wash it as you normally do, then put it into the drier and check to make sure the paint stain has been removed

Using Hairspray or Window Cleaner to take off Acrylic Paint

  • If the paint is still damp, you can pat the spot with some paper towel, but do not rub it
  • Spray some hairspray or window cleaner onto a clean cloth or sponge. Next, moisten the area you have sprayed with a little nail polish remover or acetone, be careful not to use too much as acetone will attack any synthetic materials
  • Try to remove as much of the paint stain with your fingernails or a knife before you start to scrub with the cloth. Then use the moistened sponge or cloth to rub the paint stain with an up and down movement. Try being gentle and not rough, as you might spread the stain
  • You need to put the garment into the washing machine straight away to avoid the chemicals damaging the material. Put the garment into the drier and when done your paint stain should be gone

Using Acetone to remove Paint Stains

Acetone is by far the best and strongest method to use for removing paint stains. However, unlike all the cleaning materials used above, it will destroy synthetic fabric or plastic. This type of cleaning material is not recommended for use on clothes but is safe to use on other surfaces like metal, glass, or any nonporous materials. Also, it is used extensively in hard-to-reach areas where you are not able to scrub. Take care when using it as it is extremely flammable and has a strong odor. Acetone is also often used with fibreglass resins. If you use an airbrush, you can soak your nozzles in acetone to remove the excess paint which clogs up the hole. All the paint, hardware and home improvement stores stock this item packed in metal tins. how to remove acrylic paint from clothes

What to do when Acrylic Paint is spilt on your Carpet or Upholstery?

You cannot put your carpet or upholstery into the washing machine, so how to remove acrylic paint spilt on your wooden furniture or carpet. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Use a knife, scraper, or some flat hard object to scrape off most of the excess paint
  • Put some lukewarm water into a bucket, bowl or container that is large enough to take an ordinary dish towel or washcloth. Try to use hot water, as it could cause the paint stain to become permanent
  • Next, add some dish wash liquid, laundry powder or bar soap to the water and mix until it begins to foam
  • Put the cloth into the soapy water and pat the paint stain lightly, do not rub it as it could cause the stain to spread or go further into the fabric. Clean the cloth and repeat if needed.
  • Keep up with this process until the paint stain has been removed and the water you rinse out of the cloth is clear

Questions and Answers

How to get dried Acrylic Paint out of Clothes

By using water, as acrylic paints are water-based, and they will dissolve in water. Simply adding a few drops of warm water to the paint stain will moisten the paint, making it easy for you to remove. This is the approved method of how to get dried acrylic paint out of clothes.

Is it possible to use Vinegar to get rid of Acrylic Paint?

Vinegar is an effective, easy, and affordable way to remove hard dried paint from most surfaces. Vinegar is also non-toxic and eco-friendly. Vinegar is also highly effective in removing stubborn paint from most surfaces.

Is it okay to use an old Toothbrush to remove Paint Stains?

Certainly, a toothbrush can be effective in removing paint stains from clothes, but if the bristles are too soft it might not be as successful. From isopropyl alcohol to laundry detergent, here are our top tips for removing acrylic paint stains from your clothes. Acrylic paint is beloved by both artists and novice crafters alike for good reason: It’s quick-drying, easy to layer, and is water-based, making it safer to use around children and pets. Try as you might, paint is bound to land somewhere else other than your canvas—especially if little hands are involved. Learning how to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes could not only salvage a relaxing afternoon spent at the easel, but it could also save your favorite outfit. Your best chance for removing errant splatters of acrylic paint is to act quickly. Otherwise, the stain could be near impossible to get out. For the truly determined, Ileana Tejada, a sales representative at Arch Art Supplies, a local shop in San Francisco, says that you could make the effort to chip away at the dried paint. «Unfortunately, acrylic paint is nearly impossible to completely remove once dry, but one can get close,» she says. «Individuals can try to scrape as much [as they can] off of the fabric using a scraper, soap, and water, but the promise cannot be made that it won’t ruin the fabric.» In order to salvage your clothes, try one of these expert-recommended methods of removing acrylic paint—and be sure to act fast.

Apply Laundry Detergent

«You really do need to deal with this stain immediately,» stresses Mary Gagliardi, Clorox’s in-house scientist and cleaning expert who is also known as «Dr. Laundry.» «Stop what you are doing, remove the clothing and scrape away as much paint as you can. Next, apply liquid laundry detergent to the stain and gently (but quickly!) rub it in. You can also use a soft nylon brush like a toothbrush to give the fabric a quick scrub.» After applying detergent, Gagliardi says to rinse the stained item thoroughly in cold water and repeat the process as many times as needed to remove the paint. Be prepared to do it several times, depending on the severity of the stain. After the stain is removed, apply one last round of detergent and then put it in the washing machine, making sure to air-dry afterward. Gagliardi notes that due to the nature of this cleaning method, it won’t do well on upholstery or carpet—so it’s best reserved for your clothes. If you can’t start scrubbing immediately, you should still dab detergent on the offending spot. It will greatly improve the chances that you’ll be able to remove the stain later. «It’s always best to deal with the stain immediately,» Gagliardi says. «If you can’t (maybe you can’t take your clothes off) at least getting some detergent onto the stain will increase your ability to get an acrylic stain out when you actually can get to it (up to an hour later)!» Laundry detergent (and dish soap to the same effect) has been mentioned as a key component to the removal process, and for good reason: Gagliardi says that as long as the paint is still wet, the detergent’s cleaning agents are able to remove the paint ingredients. «This is a difficult stain to remove, and it’s mostly about technique (repeated application of detergent followed by rinsing) and timing (do this immediately and quickly),» she says.

Treat with Isopropyl Alcohol

According to Gagliardi, isopropyl alcohol is the only solvent appropriate for pretreating fabric stains, which makes it worth a shot. Tejada echoes this sentiment but says you can follow up with isopropyl alcohol as the best way to ensure the stain is removed from clothing. «We recommend immediately cleaning with soap and water and following up with alcohol and a toothbrush,» Tejada says. «If possible, throw in the washer immediately after. If the paint dries, it’s going to be extremely difficult to remove the paint, [so] individuals need to be quick in removing it from fabric.» Gagliardi adds that gentle scrubbing will aid in the removal process, and she recommends using either a soft nylon brush or a discarded toothbrush when applying detergent to the stain.

Avoid These Ingredients

You may have heard of window cleaner, vinegar, and ammonia as possible solutions to treat an acrylic paint stain. Gagliardi heavily counsels against these methods due to their high water concentration, which renders them rather ineffective on insoluble stains. And, if you’re considering pairing vinegar with ammonia, she has one word: Don’t. «Ammonia should never be mixed with other household cleaners,» she says. You should also avoid industrial solvents, such as acetone and paint thinner. While both, Gagliardi shares, will dissolve acrylic paint, they are meant for hard surfaces and will perform poorly on soft ones, like fabric. Plus, your washing machine is at risk of spontaneous combustion. «Even if you could use repeated applications of acetone to work dried acrylic off fabric, you now have a flammability issue on your hand,» Gagliardi says.


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