two shirts with paint on them

How to Get Paint out of Clothes

So, you’ve decided to give your room a colorful makeover, or perhaps you just finished a fantastic art project. Feeling proud and accomplished, right? But wait – you suddenly notice a big smear of paint on your favorite T-shirt. Oops! But don’t worry; accidents happen to the best of us. The important thing is knowing how to handle them.

You might be wondering if that bright blob is the end of your beloved clothing. Spoiler alert: it’s not! Getting paint out of clothes might sound like a task for superheroes, but with the right tricks, anyone can do it. And guess what? You’re in the perfect place to find out how. In this article titled “How to Get Paint out of Clothes,” we’ll guide you step by step, making sure you’re equipped to tackle those sneaky paint splatters. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to save the day (and your clothes)! So, let’s dive right in and uncover the secrets to stain-free attire. It’s time to turn that “oops” into a “no big deal!”

Determine the Type of Paint

Before diving into how to get paint out of clothes, it’s super important to identify the type of paint you’re dealing with. Different paints call for different cleanup strategies, you see. Let’s break it down into two big families: water-based paints and oil-based paints.

Water-Based Paints

If you’re a fan of art classes or DIY projects, you’ve probably come across these. They’re generally easier to remove because they dissolve in water. Here are the main types:

Acrylic This is the go-to paint for many artists. When wet, it can be your best friend because it cleans up easily. But once dried, it can become a bit stubborn.

Latex Often found in house paints, latex is water-soluble, which means that quick action with a bit of H2O can be your clothes-saving move!

Poster Paints Remember those school projects? Yep, poster paints are often the culprits. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to get out if tackled promptly.

Oil-Based Paints

These can be trickier to remove. They don’t mix with water, so you’ll need something stronger to tackle them.

Enamel It’s glossy and durable, making enamel great for surfaces like wood and metal. But when it lands on clothes, it’s a bit of a challenge.

Spray Paint Ever tried some DIY graffiti art? Spray paint is great on walls but not so much on jeans. Quick action is key!

Varnishes While technically not a paint, varnishes can still leave a mark on your clothes. They seal and protect surfaces but can be a bit tough to remove from fabric.

In our mission to understand “How to Get Paint out of Clothes”, knowing your paint type is half the battle. In the sections that follow, we’ll dive deep into the rescue tactics for each paint type. Stay tuned!

Removing Water-Based Paints from Clothes

Water-based paints are a favorite for many projects because they’re easier to clean up. And, when they end up on our clothes (hey, it happens to the best of us!), there are some simple ways to get them out. Whether that paint splash is fresh or has been sitting there for a while, there’s hope! Let’s explore the rescue methods for both scenarios.

Fresh Stains

Oh no, a paint splash! Quick, time is of the essence. Here’s how to handle it:

Blotting Method

  1. Grab a clean cloth or paper towel.
  2. Gently blot (don’t rub!) the stain to soak up as much paint as possible. Remember, the goal is to lift the paint, not spread it.
  3. Work from the outside of the stain towards the center to avoid making it larger.

Rinsing Technique

  1. Hold the stained area under cold running water. The pressure will help push the paint out.
  2. Rinse from the back of the stain, so you’re not pushing the paint further into the fabric.

Dried Stains

If the paint had some sneaky time to dry on your clothes, it might be a bit more stubborn. But don’t fret; we’ve got methods for that too!

Scraping Method

  1. Using a blunt knife or the edge of a credit card, gently scrape off as much dried paint as you can. Be careful not to damage the fabric.
  2. Brush off the flakes with a soft brush or your hand.

Soaking in Warm Water

  1. Fill a basin with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing detergent.
  2. Soak the stained garment for an hour or so. This helps soften the paint.
  3. Gently scrub the stain with a soft brush or cloth.

Laundry Pre-Treatment

  1. After soaking, apply a bit of laundry detergent directly to the stain.
  2. Rub the fabric together gently or use a soft brush to work in the detergent.
  3. Wash the garment as you usually would, following the care label instructions.

Knowing “How to Get Paint out of Clothes” is like having a superpower. And with these techniques in your arsenal, water-based paint stains won’t stand a chance!

Removing Oil-Based Paints from Clothes

Alright, here comes the challenge! Oil-based paints might be the superheroes of durability and shine when it comes to painting projects, but they’re also the arch-nemeses of clean clothing. The good news? Even these stubborn stains have their weakness. With the right moves, you can defeat them. Let’s get started!

Fresh Stains

Acting quickly can be the game-changer here. Remember, with oil-based paints, traditional water rinsing won’t do much. Here’s what to do:

Blot without Rubbing

  1. Grab a clean cloth or absorbent paper towel.
  2. Carefully dab at the stain to soak up as much paint as possible. Avoid rubbing, as it’ll push the paint deeper into the fabric.

Use of Mineral Spirits or Turpentine

  1. In a well-ventilated area, put on gloves and dampen a clean cloth with mineral spirits or turpentine.
  2. Gently blot the stain, working from the outside in.
  3. Rinse the area with cold water afterward.

Dried Stains

Dealing with a dried oil-based paint stain? It’s tough, but not impossible. Here are the steps to reclaim your clothing:

Gently Scrape off Excess

  1. Take a blunt knife or the side of a credit card and carefully scrape off the dried paint layers.
  2. Lightly brush away the scraped-off particles.

Application of Solvents

  1. In a well-ventilated area and wearing gloves, apply a suitable paint remover or solvent to the stain using a cloth.
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes (but always follow the product’s instructions).
  3. Blot gently with a clean cloth.

Repeated Laundering

  1. After treating with solvents, wash the garment separately in the warmest water suitable for the fabric.
  2. Check the stain after washing. If it persists, treat and wash again before drying, as heat can set the stain.

When it comes to the question of “How to Get Paint out of Clothes”, knowledge is power. And now, with these oil-based paint removal tips, you’re more powerful than ever. Stains, beware!

General Tips and Precautions

Alright, champs! Now that you’re armed with some top-notch advice on tackling both water-based and oil-based paint stains, let’s take a moment to chat about some general best practices. These golden rules will ensure your stain-removing efforts are both safe and effective.

Always Test a Small, Inconspicuous Area First

Before diving headfirst into any stain-removal method, do a little patch test. Apply your chosen treatment to a tiny, hidden spot on the garment (like the inside seam). This way, you’ll see if there are any unwanted reactions, like color fading, before treating the main event.

Avoid Rubbing Vigorously

We get it; stains can be frustrating! But resist the urge to scrub them with all your might. Vigorous rubbing can actually work the paint deeper into the fibers, making it even harder to remove. Gentle blotting is your best friend here.

Always Read and Follow Garment Care Labels

This little label inside your clothes is a treasure trove of information. It’ll tell you what temperatures and washing methods are safe for the fabric. This is crucial to know, especially when using hot water or strong solvents.

Consider Wearing Aprons or Old Clothing When Painting

A little prep can save a lot of stress later on. If you know you’ll be getting into a painty situation, why not wear an apron or some old clothes you won’t mind getting stained? It’s a simple step that can save your favorite garments from paint splatters.

There you have it! With these handy precautions in your toolkit, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of “How to Get Paint out of Clothes”. Happy painting (and stain removing)!


Embarking on a painting journey, whether it’s a home makeover or a creative art project, often comes with its fair share of messes. But armed with the right knowledge, those pesky paint stains on your clothes aren’t as daunting as they seem. From identifying paint types to understanding the ins and outs of removal techniques, you’re now equipped to tackle any paint-related mishap that comes your way. Remember, it’s not just about the methods, but also the care and attention to detail that truly makes the difference. As with many things in life, prevention is often the best solution, so always be prepared and consider the environment you’re working in. But for those inevitable oops moments, you now have a trusty guide in “How to Get Paint out of Clothes”. Here’s to colorful adventures and spotless clothing!


While many paint stains can be significantly reduced or entirely removed with the right techniques, there’s no 100% guarantee. Success often depends on the type of paint, the fabric, and how long the stain has been there.

The sooner, the better! Fresh stains are generally easier to treat. The longer the paint has time to set and dry, the harder it becomes to remove.

Yes, many household products like dishwashing detergent and vinegar can be effective, especially for water-based paints. For oil-based paints, however, you might need specialized products like mineral spirits or turpentine.

It’s tougher to remove a stain that’s been dried in a dryer, as heat can set paint stains. But it’s still worth trying the methods outlined above, especially if the garment holds sentimental or monetary value.

Yes, some solvents can be harsh on fabrics and might cause discoloration or weakening. Always test on an inconspicuous area first, use in a well-ventilated space, and wear gloves to protect your skin.

It’s a good practice. Laundering helps to remove any residual paint and the chemicals or products used during the treatment process.