It only takes an accidental swipe or a small spill to turn your regular clothes into painting clothes. Or does it? Getting paint out of clothes may be easier than you think and definitely not impossible. Just follow these simple steps on how to remove different types of paint from clothes and you can keep that sweatshirt or pair of pants in your regular rotation. 

HOW TO REMOVE PAINT FROM CLOTHING: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FIRST

Different types of paint will require different removal methods based on what they’re made of. This guide features instructions for removing water-based paints, such as acrylic and latex paint. Before you begin treating the stain, do the following: 

 

  • Look on the paint can or container to find out what type you’re working with. 

  • Check the clothing’s care tag for any specific fabric requirements like dry cleaning. Only use these removal methods on washable fabrics. 

  • Act fast. Don’t let the paint dry or spread before you try to remove it.

 
Note: Do not wash articles that have been previously cleaned in, washed in, soaked in, or spotted with gasoline, dry-cleaning solvents, or other flammable or explosive substances, as they give off vapors that could ignite or explode.
Grey t-shirt with a red paint stain laid flat on a table

HOW TO GET LATEX & ACRYLIC PAINT OUT OF CLOTHES

Latex and acrylic paint are considered water-based and should come out of clothes fairly easily with some spot treatment and a machine wash. Common latex and acrylic paints include interior or exterior home paint, art paint or children’s finger paints.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • A dull knife, spoon or credit card
  • Liquid laundry detergent or dish soap
  • Clean cloth or sponge
  • Store-bought stain removers (optional)
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STEP 1: GENTLY SCRAPE OFF EXCESS PAINT

Use a dull knife, spoon or old credit card to lift off any excess material. Gently scrape the surface of the fabric, making sure not to rub or push the paint deeper into the fabric.

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STEP 2: RINSE STAIN WITH WARM WATER

Turn the garment inside out and rinse the stain from the back to flush the paint from the fabric. This is an important step. Since latex and acrylic are water-based paints, the running water will keep the paint active and easier to remove.

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STEP 3: WORK IN A TINY DAB OF DETERGENT OR DISH SOAP

Apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent of dish soap (about 1/8 teaspoon) directly onto the stain. Work the soap into a lather, adding more water if needed, and gently scrub with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse the soap out and continue soaping and rinsing until all the paint and soap has come out. 

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STEP 4: MACHINE WASH AS USUAL

Machine wash the item as usual, using the warmest water recommended on the care tag. If you see some paint remaining, add any product in your stain-fighting arsenal, like oxygen bleach or laundry detergent containing stain removers. Learn more about choosing hot or cold water for stains.

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STEP 5: LINE DRY AND CHECK THE STAINED AREA

Line dry the item: heat from a dryer will set any stain left behind that you can’t see while the fabric is wet. After it’s dry, check if the stain is gone. If the stain remains, repeat the steps above.

Clean, folded grey t-shirt on a table

get help removing other tough stains

Count on these quick steps to help you tackle oil stains in cotton, synthetics, wool and delicates.

Learn more about how to remove ink stains from clothes with this step-by-step guide.

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