How to Get Paint Out of Clothes


The best offense is a good defense so plan ahead  — wear old clothes when you know you’ll be doing a project and save old t-shirts for your kids to use as an art smock! Common sense, right?

We know that accidents happen despite your best efforts. Have you had a mishap when you’ve tackled what you thought would be a quick project? Or maybe your little ones surprised you with an unexpected messy gift made with love? Good news. There is still hope for that favourite top or pair of jeans.

Tackling Water-Based Paint

If you’re using water-based paint for a project like freshening up your walls or a project with your kids, the good news is that this type of paint is the easiest to remove from clothing. Here’s what you should do:

  • Try to catch it while it’s still wet!
  • Blot the excess paint with an old cloth and run it under water.
  • If you catch it quickly, you may be able to simply scrub the paint gently with water and dish soap. If not, grab an old tooth brush and get to work.
  • If the stain is dried, dampen the fabric with water first, then apply rubbing alcohol to the paint stain with a cotton ball or an old toothbrush.
  • After you’ve worked on the stain, rinse well.
  • Wash and dry according to the instructions on the garment.


Tackling Oil-Based Paint

If you’re using an oil-based paint for a house project like painting woodwork, doors or your newly rehabbed shabby-chic furniture, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Act fast! Stains are always easier to remove before they dry.
  • Blot the excess paint with an old cloth (cotton will work best) to keep it from spreading.
  • Check the paint can for a recommended solvent which may be paint thinner or turpentine in which case you’ll want to be careful about the area where you’re working on the stain and ventilation – you may even want to wear gloves.
  • Turn your item inside out and work on the stain from the back side. Lay the garment on an old towel and be sure to test an area first to make sure you’re not doing more harm than good.
  • Work the solvent into the fabric with a cotton ball or spray bottle and tooth brush which will begin to transfer the paint from your garment to the old towel.
  • After you’ve removed the stain, rinse your garment in warm, soapy water to remove the solvent.
  • Presoak your item and then wash and dry like you normally would.

Don’t worry about the mess. Use these tips and have fun with your projects!

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