How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

When painting or repainting your home, you often accidentally can get paint on your clothes either through having applied too much paint to the paintbrush or if you accidentally brushed up against a freshly painted wall.

It could be difficult to remove the stain later if you don’t take action right away while it’s still fresh. You will often find that washing paint stains from clothes might require more effort than washing normal stains, especially if the paint dries off.

However, you can wash off such stains with the right detergents and methods to make your clothes look clean again. This guide will show you how to get paint out of clothes using a washing machine or manually. So, let’s get right into it.

The Different Types of Paint

Due to the variety of materials used in their production, paints have a variety of removal techniques, and you’ll frequently find that not all paint stains can be removed using the same stain remover.

Below you will find some of the most common paints that might stain your fabrics:


This is one of the most popular types of paint (latex paints) and is often used to coat the surfaces of drywall. Washing off this paint from fabrics and clothes is quite easy.

Oil-based paint

As the name hints, this type of paint is manufactured from natural or synthetic oils and features different elements that can change the colours of a certain surface.


Acrylic paint is quite common among artists who like painting on different materials, such as canvases, when working on their craft projects. While acrylic paint is a great choice for painting beautiful artistic pictures, removing it from fabrics and clothes can be challenging.

Precautions to Take Before You Clean Paint Out of Clothes

stains on jeans

Clothes made from soft materials such as velvet, silk and wool have to be handled gently.

Make sure that you use a detergent that cleans those materials, getting rid of pain stains without damaging the fabric of the clothes. Also, do not use too much force while scrubbing or rubbing a stain off a delicate fabric.

Getting Rid of Water-Based Dried Paint

Water-based paints can easily come into contact with your clothes, but they can also be easily removed, even on delicate fabrics. Follow the below steps to remove any water-based paints stains from fabrics and clothes successfully:

Get Rid of Dried Paint With the Help of a Butter Knife

Before you start washing your clothes or fabrics, you have to get rid of the excess paint on your clothes using different tools. Examples of such tools include dull knives, brushes, and spoons. Glide the tool over the paint in an upward motion, scraping off some of the water-based paint that might be on the fabric. Try not to press down on the stain, as this will make the stain sink in further.

Pour Some Water on the Underside of the Garment to Get Rid of Loosened Paint

Once you wash off the dried paint that might be on the fabric’s outer surface, flip over the fabric to access the underside. Next, pour some warm water on the part where the paint stain is. Warm running water makes it easier for you to clean a stained garment as compared to cold water.

This will clean the underside of the fabric, getting rid of any paint that might be on the stained area.

Use Liquid Detergent

Once you’re satisfied that the first two steps have removed as much paint as possible, pour some warm water into a large container and add some detergent. Run a test on the clothes using the detergent that you poured into the container. Perform a spot test to check if the detergent works well. In some instances, the detergent might be too harsh on some fabrics and might cause discolouration. Therefore, be careful and only use a detergent suitable for the item of clothing you are working on, and check the garment’s care label for any instructions.

Dip a rag or a dry cloth into the warm water solution, then leave it for a few minutes (10 to 20 minutes). After that, remove the rag from the warm water solution, then glide it over the fabric in first an upward and then a downward motion while applying some light pressure to get rid of the water-based stain. Keep on repeating this cleaning procedure until the water-based paint starts coming off slowly.


Next, rinse off the soapy foam from the part that you were cleaning using clean, warm water.

Check if the stain has been washed off completely. If you can still see the stain, you may have to use a more powerful cleaning agent to get rid of the remaining paint. Examples of agents that might clean paint remains include nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, paint stain remover, or any other alcohol-based cleaner.

Pour the cleaning agent on a clean rag, then rub off the remaining stain using the rag. An old toothbrush, a clean cloth, or a cotton ball might also be ideal for getting rid of such stains.

Getting Rid of Oil-Based Paint Stains

Unlike water-based paint stains, oil-based paint stain remains must be removed from fabric and clothes using powerful and effective cleaning detergents. The same applies to acrylic paint stains. The type of detergents used to remove these paints is dependent upon the severity of the stain.

By following these steps, you will hopefully get rid of the oil-based stains in no time and wear your clothes as if nothing happened!

Turn the Fabric

Start by flipping your fabric to access the underside. Fix some paper towels in between the fabrics to absorb some of the paint that might leak off. Placing paper in between will also stop you from accidentally spreading the stain to other parts of your clothes. After that, pour some paint thinner on a piece of cloth or rag, then gently rub the cloth on the underside of the stain.

Rinse It

Rinse the cloth that you are working on using either warm water or cold water.

Use Some Detergent

Pour some detergent (liquid dish soap) on the spot that you were cleaning and let it soak in for a few seconds. Afterwards, place the item of clothing in soapy water and let it soak for about 12 hours.

Clean the Fabric

After your clothes have soaked for around 12 hours, rinse them with cool water and check to see if you can still see the paint stain. If you are working on a bigger stain, you may have to have another go at it with some paint thinner and repeat the above process until it fades away.

Spotless All the Way

And there you go! A few tips and tricks on how to get paint out of clothes will do the work. There are many detergents, chemicals, and other cleaning agents that can help you remove paint from clothes. However, you should always choose a detergent or chemical agent that won’t ruin the fabric you’re working on and effectively remove the stain type.

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