How to Get Paint Out of Clothes? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Painting is a very messy job. Even if you’re careful, it can smudge on your clothes. The question now is how to get paint out of clothes?

Don’t worry, we’ve created the perfect guide on how to get the different types of paint out of your clothes and painting do’s and don’ts.


Where do you start?

Maybe you’re an artist who discovers that your favorite pair of jeans has accidentally been spattered with paint or a mom whose toddlers have just discovered the art of finger painting.

Whatever the reason, you find yourself faced with a dilemma: you have paint stains on your clothes. They’re messy, they’re hard to ignore, and they ruin your clothes. You’re at a loss about what to do.

There are actually a lot of remedies on how to get paint out of your clothes and the first step in deciding what to do is to discover what type of paint caused the stain.

Different types of paint require different methods of removal and some stay on clothes more than others. Paints are usually either water-based or oil-based.

How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Water-based paint

Water-based paints are commonly used every day. Think finger paints, acrylic paints, and indoor and outdoor latex paints.

How to get paint out of clothes when you’re using water-based paint is easy as it can be washed away quickly and doesn’t need paint thinners.

OIl-based paint

Oil-based paints, on the other hand, cling to your clothes much more. They leave darker stains and require turpentine, paint thinner, or similar solutions for removal. These paints are used in things like woodwork, furniture, and oil paintings.

Unsure about what type of paint you’re using? Just grab the paint can or container and read the label since it’s usually indicated there. If you don’t see a label, then just hop on to the internet and search it up. Knowing the correct type of paint staining your clothes is a crucial step in determining how to get paint out of clothes.

How to get water-based paint out of clothes?

How to get water based paint out of clothes

If the paint on your clothes is water-based, then you’re in luck. Compared to the other types, water-based paint washes off relatively easily.

Whether your kids accidentally splashed some paint on you or it was an art project gone wrong, you just have to follow these steps.

Step 1: Scrape off excess paint.

Scrape off the excess paint present regardless if it is wet or dry paint. It will lessen the size of the stain and make the process faster.

After scraping it off, run the stain under warm running water. Use rags or paper towels to blot and absorb the rest of the paint.

Step 2: Wash with dish soap or laundry detergent and warm water.

You can mix one part dish soap with one part warm water, or one-half detergent and one-half warm water. After mixing, dip your clothes into the solution.

Scrub the stain using a soft brush or blot it out again using rags and paper towels. Remember: Before using the solution, do a patch test to see if it could discolor your clothes. This will help prevent any more disfigurement from happening.

Wash with dish soap or laundry detergent and warm water

Step 3: Wash it in the laundry.

Once you have scrubbed the stain, throw it into the laundry and do a full wash cycle as recommended. This should eliminate any remaining stains on your clothes.

Make sure to sort out your whites and coloreds when doing this step to prevent any more mishaps!

Step 4: Rinse and repeat

If the stain is still there, do the entire process all over again. Sometimes all your clothes need is a little love and scrubbing to get it back in business.

Step 5: Try alternatives

Remedies not working? You can also try dabbing acetone on the stains. Just be careful not to use it if your clothes’ fabric contains acetate or triacetate.

If you can’t use acetone, try using hairspray, rubbing alcohol, or a non-acetone-based nail polish remover. If worse comes to worst, you might need to contact a professional dry cleaner.

Watch this quick video on how to get paint out of clothes when the paint is latex:

How to get oil-based paint out of clothes?

Oil-based paint is harder to work with than water-based ones. It’s much more stubborn and harder to remove and requires more specific materials. Not to fret, this process will help you remove it like a pro.

Step 1: Remove the excess paint

If you are dealing with wet paint, you have to scrape off as much of it as possible. Afterward, you have to blot out the remaining paint using a white cloth. Dry oil paint is a little bit trickier to work with. You have to treat it with an appropriate paint thinner.

It’s important to remember to spot treat a small piece of the fabric with the paint thinner to ensure no discoloration occurs.

Step 2: Rinse the fabric without letting it dry

Do not let it dry so that you don’t have to repeat the process. Once you have finished rinsing it, lay it down on some white paper towels or white cloths.

Step 3: Blot the stain with paint thinner

The next step is to blot the stain using the right paint thinner. If you don’t know what paint thinner to use, check the label on your paint can. There is usually a certain brand stated there.

Turn your clothes inside out and blot them with paint thinner or turpentine. Make sure to use the clean parts of your rag, tamping it down. Repeat the process you completely remove the paint.

get oil-based paint out of clothes

Step 4: Soak with dish soap or laundry detergent and warm water overnight

Using warm and soapy water mixed with either dish soap or laundry detergent, let your clothes soak overnight.

For additional stain removal, you can also spot treat the stain with this mixture.

Step 5: Wash it in the laundry

After soaking, rinse it off carefully and launder it as you would normally. Hopefully, the stain is gone by now.

Step 6: Use a stain remover and repeat the process

If it still doesn’t work, use a stain remover and spot treat the garment again. Wash it afterward and spot treat it again.

Always keep in mind not to let your clothes dry while treating them unless your stain is gone!

3 Alternatives to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Don’t have time to grab some paint thinner from the store? Or maybe you’re looking for a quick fix that solves your paint-stained problems.

There are actually household staples that you can use to remove those pesky stains from your clothes. Below, we’ve listed some other alternative remedies you can try with things that you can find at home.

1. Ammonia and vinegar

Ammonia and vinegar

  • Step 1: First, you have to soak your clothes in cold water beforehand.
  • Step 2: You then mix a cup of ammonia, a cup of vinegar, and a handful of salt.
  • Step 3: Take your garment, wring it out, and lay it down on a flat surface.
  • Step 4: Dip a cloth or sponge into the mixture and blot the stain with it (use some force!).
  • Step 5: Rinse and repeat if necessary, then wash it and let it dry.

2. Window cleaner

Window cleaner

Window cleaners are an easier and quicker alternative. Since it has both ammonia and alcohol, it can still break down the paint for easy removal.

  • Step 1: Just grab your window cleaner and spray it into a sponge or cloth.
  • Step 2: Use it to blot the stain — again using force — and rinse it afterward.
  • Step 3: Repeat this process until all stains are gone.
  • Step 4: Afterwards, wash it and let it dry again.

3. Alcohol and acetone-based sanitizers

Alcohol and acetone-based sanitizers

Maybe the easiest item found in this list, you can use alcohol and acetone-based sanitizers to get paint out of your clothes. You can use rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or acetone nail polish removers.

  • Step 1: Spot test the clothes first to ensure your remover will not disfigure them.
  • Step 2: Afterwards, take your sanitizer or nail polish remover of choice and a clean paper towel or rag. You will use it to blot the stain until you are able to remove it completely.
  • Step 3: Repeat the process as is necessary and rinse using warm water when done.
  • Step 4: The last step is to wash and dry it.

Watch this quick video on how to get paint out of clothes using rubbing alcohol:

How to prevent paint stains?

To save you the hassle of doing these procedures, again and again, you can also find ways to prevent paint from getting on your clothes again in the future. Below, I’ve gathered up some nifty suggestions for you to stop that pesky paint from splattering you again.

Wear old clothes

One of the best ways to avoid paint getting into your clothes is just to wear old clothes that you don’t use anymore.

Get those threadbare clothes that are full of holes out for this purpose. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting it dirty and you can paint to your heart’s content without thinking about whether it would ruin your clothes.

Wear an artist’s smock or similar protective gear

Just like chefs and bakers use aprons when cooking to protect their clothes from ingredient spillage, you can also wear an artist’s smock or other equipment that could protect your clothes. This makes sure that paint clings to another surface, and not to your clothes.

How to prevent paint stains

Wear specially designed workwear

If you handle paint in your work, then consider investing in workwear with a special design to repel oil, paint, and other similar liquids that could cause a stain.

These can combine a professional look with all the protective capabilities needed to avoid stains on your precious work clothes.

Get creative

When all’s said and done, maybe the stain won’t get out of your clothes. You’ve tried everything, but it just won’t budge. Now you’re left with clothes that have a large unsightly stain on them. Why not turn them into something else?

Get creative and use it to create tie-dye shirts, or just paint on it completely. You will now have repurposed clothes that are completely unique.

Learn how to get paint out of clothes

While paint stains can be annoying, there are a lot of methods on how to get paint out of clothes. There are a lot of simple home remedies available that can get that stain out of your clothes. By following these suggestions, you’re well on your way to stain-free clothes.

remove Paint Out of Clothes

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