How to Remove Paint from Clothes

Find out how to remove paint from clothes with these tried and true methods.

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There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to brighten and update any room of your home. The problem is, no matter how careful you are, paint always seems to end up not only on the wall, but on your clothes, too. If you’ve had a paint accident, don’t throw it out just yet. Here are a few tips on how to remove paint from clothes.

Check out these tips for painting a room without making a mess!

How Do You Remove Water-Based Paint from Clothing?

If you accidentally splattered paint on your shirt while painting your bedroom, chances are it was a water-based paint. Water-based paint includes indoor and outdoor latex paint, finger paints, acrylic craft paint and poster paint. Here’s how to remove it from your clothing:

  1. Scrape off any wet paint and then run the stain under warm water.
  2. Spot treat the stain with dish soap or laundry detergent, scrubbing with a soft brush.
  3. Launder as you normally would.
  4. Repeat the process if the stain is not removed.
  5. If any paint remains after washing, don’t put it in the dryer—the heat will set the stain.

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How Do You Remove Oil-Based Paint from Clothing?

Oil-based paint is more difficult to remove, and may even be impossible if it dries on your clothing. The one thing to remember with oil-based paint is to never use water when treating the stain. Follow this process to remove oil-based paint:

  1. Scrape away any wet paint with a dull knife.
  2. Moisten a clean rag with a little paint thinner, then blot the stain.
  3. Continue blotting with paint thinner until the stain is gone, moving to clean areas of the rag as you work.
  4. Once you’ve removed all the paint that you can, rinse the area and spot treat with dish soap or laundry detergent.
  5. Launder the clothing normally and repeat the spot treatment as needed.

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How to Remove Dried Paint From Clothes

The first thing to do when removing dried-on paint from clothes is to grab a spoon or a dull knife. Carefully scrape the paint free, taking care not to damage the clothing underneath it. Rinse the spot in warm water and then apply a mixture that it half detergent, half warm water.

Home Remedies to Remove Paint from Clothes

If you’ve got most of the paint off of your clothing but there’s still a stain left behind, don’t worry! There are a couple of home remedies that may just do the trick. One option is rubbing alcohol. Flip the clothing inside out and then saturate the stained area with rubbing alcohol. Use an old toothbrush to work the alcohol into the fibers of the clothes and keep scrubbing until the paint is lifted. Voila! Then launder as usual in the washing machine. No rubbing alcohol on hand? Try hairspray or nail polish remover.

Preventing Paint Stains in the Future

One final note: When painting, it’s best to wear clothes that you no longer care about so that if you get paint on them, it’s no big deal. If you will be doing more painting, keep that one set of clothes as part of your painting gear.

Here’s how to avoid and remove those pesky paint drips on your woodwork!

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Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.