10 Ways to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Painting isn’t a clean job, whether it’s a wall or canvas. So, if you are painting anything, you should prepare for some mess that may need cleaning later. One of those messes is paint-smeared clothes. Don’t worry. It’s often not so difficult to get paint out of clothing.

How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Before we need to go through the instructions for removing different kinds of paint from your outfits, you need to understand the different types of paint and how easy/difficult they are to get rid of.

Types of Paint Stains

Here are some types of paint stains you may be dealing with:

  1. Latex Paint or Water-Based Paints

Water-based paints, also known as latex, are the most popular for painting drywalls and plasters. It’s not flammable and easy to get out of clothes. 

2. Oil-based Paints

Oil-based paints are more durable and are not as easy to get rid of as water-based paints. Also, they dry off quickly, and it’s essential to act fast. 

3. Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paints are mainly used for craft items like painting on a canvas or wood. Like oil-based paints, acrylic paints can be hard to remove, especially when dried. 

** You should determine if your paint stain is water, oil, or acrylic before treating them. **

Before Using Any Method:

  1. Act Fast: 

The best paint stains to act on are fresh or wet ones. Dried paint is often difficult to remove, so it’s best to treat the stain while it’s wet.

2. Blot Out Excess Paint: 

Use a spoon to remove excess paint from the fabric. Also, use a cloth to soak up wet paint before treating the paint. 

In a case where the paint is already dried, consider scraping away the dried paint off the fabric using a dull knife. 

3. Know The Kind of Paint Stain You’re Dealing With

The kind of paint on your cloth will determine the method you should use in removing it. For example, water-based paint can easily be removed with a dishwashing liquid. Oil-based paint, on the other hand, will require alcohol or turpentine. 

4. Follow Manufacturer’s Instructions:

Your cloth manufacturer may have cleaning instructions for your fabric, and it’s best to follow them. For example, if your cloth is ‘Dry Clean Only,’ you should dry clean only. 

10 Ways to Get Rid of Paint Stains From Your Cloth

Did you smear your favorite shirt with a paintbrush or accidentally get a paint stain on your clothes? Regardless of how you got the stain, you can easily remove it with any of the following methods. 

#1: Dishwashing Liquid 

liquid dish soap

If you are dealing with acrylic, latex paint, and even oil-based stains, consider using a dish detergent as your first solution. If it doesn’t work, you can resort to another option in this guide. 

Step 1: 

Remove excess paint from the cloth

Step 2: 

Rinse the stained cloth with warm water and then dab the stained part with a bit of dish detergent. 

Step 3: 

Leave for some minutes, and then scrub the stained part. Rinse with warm water and repeat the process if necessary. 

Step 4: 

Wash the garment as usual once the stain is gone. 

Note: This method is best for clothes that are color-safe. So test your outfit for colorfastness before trying this method. 

#2: Laundry Detergent 

laundry detergent

A mild laundry detergent is another option to get rid of paint stains on your clothes. This method is excellent as long as your garment is color-safe. Also, this method is suitable for acrylic paints and watercolors. 

Step 1:

Place your stained cloth on a surface or an absorbent towel. 

Step 2: 

Mix some detergent with a cup of warm water. Soak a cloth in the solution and blot the paint stain. You can also consider applying the detergent directly on the paint surface and working with a damp cloth/sponge. 

Step 3: 

If the paint is wet, it should start coming out already. You can also use your fingers to break down pain particles until you no longer see a trace of the stain. 

Step 4: 

Once the paint is gone, wash the cloth as usual. If the stain is still there, consider blotting the stain with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover before washing. 

#3: Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is great for removing stubborn stains like ink stains and oil-based paint stains. Follow these steps to get rid of it: 

Step 1: 

Test a small area of your cloth to confirm the color won’t run. 

Step 2: 

Soak a cotton wool ball in the rubbing alcohol and blot the stain repeatedly. 

Step 3:

Once there is no trace of paint stain left, wash your fabric as usual. 

#4: Nail Polish Remover

nail polish remover

Another suitable option for removing dried water-based and acrylic paints is a nail polish remover. This method also works for latex and poster paints. To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1:

Brush off the dried paints with a toothbrush to get rid of excess paints

Step 2:

Apply the nail polish remover onto a clean cloth and dab it on the affected area. The dried paint should start loosening by then, so start scraping away the stains with a brush or spoon.

Step 3: 

Apply a laundry detergent or dish soap until the stain and leave for some minutes before laundering as usual. 

Note: Ensure your fabric doesn’t contain acetate or triacetate because the acetone in nail polish remover can break down the material. 

#5: Vinegar 

Vinegar is helpful for different kinds of stains, including water-based stains. You can mix the vinegar with baking soda or salt for more effectiveness 

Step 1: 

Apply vinegar or vinegar + baking soda paste to the paint stains and let it sit for 15 minutes. 

Step 2: 

Use a clean cloth, sponge, or brush to work on the stain. This should depend on the type of material you’re dealing with. For example, a toothbrush can work on jeans but not on delicate fabrics like silk. 

Step 3:

Wash your cloth as normal once the paint is gone. You can also use detergent or dishwashing liquid to work more on the stain. 

#6: Turpentine 


Turpentine is a good option for oil-based paint stains. Because of its strong smell, it’s best to wear a mask or treat your cloth stains outdoors. 

Step 1:

Place the fabric on a towel and soak a clean rag or cloth in turpentine. Dab the stain with turpentine. 

Step 2: 

Start blotting the stains until the paint starts coming out. 

Step 3:

After some paint has come out, continue the process using the dishwashing/liquid detergent method. 

Step 4:

Wash and rinse your cloth following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

#7: Paint Thinner

paint thinner

Another option to remove an oil-based stain is using paint thinner. This mineral-based solvent helps to dilute and dissolve oil-based paints. Like turpentine, they have a strong smell and are best used outdoors. 

Step 1: 

Paint thinner is best used while the paint is wet, so ensure you use this method when the paint stain is fresh. Gently clean out excess paint before applying the paint thinner. 

Step 2:

Apply the paint thinner on a rag and then blot the stain until it starts dissolving. 

Step 3: 

Rinse the area and use dishwashing liquid or detergent scrub before washing. 

#8: Hairspray

hair spray

Hairspray does more than protect your hair. You can use your hairspray (which must contain alcohol) to remove a poster, latex, and acrylic paint stains. 

Step 1:

Place the fabric on a towel and apply some hairspray to the stained cloth. 

Step 2:

Leave the hairspray for some minutes before dabbing the paint stains. 

Step 3:

Once the paint stains start loosening, you can use a brush or cloth to scrub the affected area. 

Step 4:

Toss in the machine or wash as normal once the paint stain is gone. If the stain persists, consider treating it with rubbing alcohol before washing. 

#9: Sanitizer 


Your hand sanitizer contains some amount of alcohol which makes it perfect for getting rid of oil-based and acrylic paints. 

Step 1: 

Place your fabric on a towel and cover the stained areas with sanitizer. 

Step 2: 

Use a clean rag or cloth to dab the areas until the paint loosens. 

Step 3: 

Toss in the machine and wash as normal. 

#10: Lavender Oil

If you are dealing with paint or even nail polish, you can try using lavender oils. 

Step 1:

Apply about five drops of the essential oil to the stained area and leave for 15 to 30 minutes. 

Step 2: 

Scarpe the dissolving paint with a spoon and scrub with a brush or sponge as needed. You can also apply essential oil if the paint doesn’t come off. 

Step 3:

Apply some detergent with warm water before washing as normal, or try other methods if the paint persists. 

How To Get Rid of Dried Paints

If you’re dealing with dry latex paint, you can simply use duct tape. Start by scraping off some of the excess paints and then putting duct tape over the cloth. 

Press the duct tape before lifting it off, together with the paint. Then wash with dishwashing liquid and water. 

How To Get Rid of Paints on Non-Washable Clothes

If you are dealing with non-washable clothes of dry clean only fabric, then there is only little you can do. 

Scrape or scoop away excess paints and then give the cloth to a professional laundry cleaner for proper treatment. 

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