How to Get Fabric Paint Out of Clothes

Getting unwanted fabric paint on your clothes is not irreversible, especially if you take immediate action. The longer you leave the stains from fabric paints on clothes, the harder it will be to clean.

Several methods exist to clean fabric paint stains based on the nature of the fabric paint, whether it is water-based or oil-based. However, water-based fabric paints are easier to clean than oil-based paints.

Don’t panic if you get stains on your clothes from fabric paint.

5 Ways to Get Fabric Paint Out of Clothes

Check your clothes’ care label to ensure you follow the proper care instructions before using any of these items. Perform a patch test on a tiny corner of the stained clothes to prevent the clothes from damaging when removing the stains.

Unlike dye, fabric paint doesn’t bind to the fabric. This unsecured application is a headache when purposefully changing the look of clothes during fun projects, but it is perfect when trying to remove accidental staining.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an ethanol-based or isopropyl-based liquid commonly used as a household cleaning agent, which will make it successful in removing fabric paint stains. It is also an effective sanitizer and deodorizer.

However, rubbing alcohol is harmful to delicate fabrics, like silk, wool, rayon, etc., so consider this before using it as a stain remover. Dilute the rubbing alcohol with water before use to ease your fears, even if your clothes have durable fabrics.

Never be tempted to mix rubbing alcohol with bleach if the stained cloth is white. The chemicals in bleach react to rubbing alcohol to produce fumes that can be toxic to humans.

The steps:

  1. Use a paper towel or spoon to remove excess paint from the clothes.
  2. Carefully wet the stained spot with clean cold water; so the stain doesn’t spread.
  3. Pour rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and carefully scrub the stained area.
  4. Afterward, rinse the area with cold or warm water.
  5. Repeat the scrubbing process if there are still stains.
  6. Wash the clothes in the washer with detergent when there are no more stains to remove the traces of rubbing alcohol.


Vinegar is a powerful natural antibacterial cleaning agent. It is handy in removing fabric paint stains because of its alcohol content and acidic nature. Vinegar is effective in eliminating water-based and oil-based paint stains.

There is no need to worry about vinegar destroying the fabrics when treating stains, but it is still wise to perform a patch test.

The steps:

  1. Carefully remove excess paint from the clothes with a spoon.
  2. Pour vinegar on the stained spot and leave it to soak for five minutes. Soak for 15 minutes if the paint is dry on the clothes.
  3. Use a paper towel or cotton ball to remove the paint residue.
  4. Scrub the stain with a cotton towel or soft brush. Be careful during this step; so it doesn’t spread and damage the clothing.
  5. Gently rinse the area with cold water.
  6. Repeat this process if there are still stains on the clothes.
  7. Afterward, place the clothes in the washer with a mild laundry detergent to remove the last remnants of stains and the vinegar smell.


Turpentine is a substance extracted from coniferous trees, used for cleaning, deodorizing, and medicinal purposes.

Oil-based fabric paints are much harder to clean than water-based paints, so removing the stains will require a firmer oil-soluble substance.

Turpentine is especially effective in cleaning oil-based fabric paint because they are capable of dissolving oils.

Perform a patch test first because turpentine can fade color from clothes.

The steps:

  1. Use a spoon or dull knife to remove excess oil paint from the clothes.
  2. Arrange a stack of paper towels on a flat surface and place the stained cloth(s) on them.
  3. Wear gloves to protect your skin from the harsh effects of turpentine.
  4. Pour a little turpentine on the stain, leaving it to soak for a few minutes and longer for dry paint stains.
  5. After a while, replace the saturated paper towels.
  6. Use a cotton cloth or towel to remove the loose paint.
  7. Do not rinse the clothes but immediately wash them in the washer with laundry detergent to remove the pungent smell of turpentine.

Baking Soda

Baking soda removes stains from water-based fabric paint by absorbing them from the clothes. This absorbent ability makes baking soda a popular stain removal and deodorizing agent.

 The default powder form of baking soda is not as effective in removing stains as the liquid form, so mix water with the baking soda. However, if the paint is barely there, use the baking soda in its powdery form.

Select the viscosity of the baking soda solution based on your preference.

The steps:

  1. Use a spoon or a paper towel to remove the excess paint.
  2. Pour one cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of water into a bowl. Mix to form a uniform liquid solution.
  3. Pour the baking soda solution on the stained area and leave it to soak for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Alternatively, pour the baking soda into a large bowl with water, submerge the stained clothes, and soak for 10-15 minutes.
  5. After the soak, use a cotton towel or a soft brush to gently scrub the stained areas; till there are no stains.
  6. Gently rinse the affected area with cold water.
  7. Check if there are still stains; if there are, repeat the process.
  8. Wash the clothes in the washer immediately after to clean the remaining stains and remove the baking soda residue.

Acetone & Hairspray

Acetone and hairspray have similar mechanisms for removing stains from clothes due to their high alcohol content.

Hairspray is an aerosol compressed into aluminum containers with gas, used for cosmetic purposes. The problem with using hairspray as a stain remover is that it contains less alcohol content than in the past.

When reaching for hairspray in the store, check for alcohol as one of the main ingredients.

Acetone, however, is a chemical liquid that breaks down substances. In the absence of pure acetone, nail polish remover is a suitable alternative as acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover. It removes fabric paint stains as effortlessly as it removes nail polish.

A considerable difference between hairsprays and acetone when removing fabric paint stains is that hairsprays cater to water-based fabric paint, and acetone is more effective in eliminating oil-based fabric paint.

As always, perform a patch test before proceeding.

The steps:

  1. Gently remove the excess paint from the clothes with a spoon or cotton towel.
  2. Spray the stained area with a generous amount of hairspray. If you’re using acetone, pour the liquid on the stained area.
  3. After applying the substances to the stains, leave the clothes to soak for five to ten minutes. Leave dry stains to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. When the stains start to dissolve after a few minutes, gently wipe with cotton balls, a towel, or a cloth.
  5. Gently scrub the remaining stains with a soft brush.
  6. Use cold water to rinse the stained area. Be careful when rinsing to ensure the stains don’t spread.
  7. At this point, the stains should be gone. If not, repeat the process.
  8. Place the clothes in the washer immediately after treating to remove the residue. Use a suitable laundry detergent. This washing period is crucial because hairspray and acetone are highly flammable.

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