How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

Young couple holding paint can and roller with paint on clothes and shoes
We put down drop cloths, we tape around things that can’t be moved, and we remove everything we can from the room. So many precautions, so many steps taken to not get paint on anything, only to find out you bent over to refill your roller and bumped the wall. Luckily, the wall can be painted over, but what do you do about the new color on your shirt?  

Because you probably picked high-quality paint made to stay on your wall for a long time, you might think that it will stick to your clothes for a long time. That’s not necessarily the case, though, and even though each main type of paint will have a different method to get the paint out, they all have processes for removal. 

How To Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes 

One general rule with paint removal: Time is of the essence. Dried paint is harder to get off your walls than wet paint, right? The same can be applied to clothes. As the paint dries, the bonding agents begin to activate, which is why paint will stick to your wall only when it’s dried but run while wet. As soon as you notice the paint on your clothes, follow these steps: 

  1. Remove the clothing – you might have to switch to another outfit, but you won’t be able to properly remove the paint while wearing the affected clothing. 

  1. Pour a small amount of laundry detergent on the spot, you’re not doing a full load of laundry, so you just need a little. 

  1. Rub the detergent into the paint spot with a brush, like an old toothbrush or even a dry paintbrush. 

  1. Apply cold water to the stain, and repeat steps 2,3, and 4 as needed until the stain is gone or close to gone 

  1. Add a final round of laundry detergent and wash, then allow to air dry. 

Related Topic: Safe Craft Paints for Kids to Use 

How To Get Oil-Based Paint Out of Clothes 

Acrylic and other water-based paints will be the more common paints found in homes these days, but oil-based paints still exist and can get on your clothes just the same as other types of paint. 

  • Apply a small amount of paint thinner to the back of the stain. First test out the paint thinner on a nonobvious spot of the garment to make sure you’re not going to damage your clothes beyond the paint. Blot as much as you can before moving to the next step. 

  • Fully rinse out the thinner. 

  • Soak the garment overnight in hot water with some dish detergent applied directly to the spot. 

  • Rinse the garment again to fully remove the dish detergent. 

  • Put your clothing in the laundry as you normally would. 

Related Topic: Ultimate Guide to Oil-Based Paint 

How To Get Spray Paint Out of Clothes 

Spray paint, as the name implies, sprays paint out of the can toward your target, but the spray can always come back and get on you and your clothes. 

  • Blot up the excess paint with a paper towel or other similar cloth. If you try to rub the spot, there is a very real chance that you will help the stain set instead of getting it out. 

  • Next, apply a stain remover. If you have a water- or oil-based paint, certain stain removers will be more beneficial, so always make sure you check before applying. 

  • Using a dry cloth, rub the stain. After the stain remover has been applied, it is safe to rub. 

Related Topic: Want to Spray Paint Perfectly? Avoid These Mistakes 

How To Get Dried Paint Out of Clothes 

The best time to get paint out of clothing is right after it happens; however, the ability to do that relies entirely on whether you noticed right away that the paint that should have been on your wall is on your outfit. If the paint has fully dried, you still might be able to get it out, but it will be harder than if the paint is wet. For the most part, these previously mentioned methods will also help but expect more modest results. 

The Best Way to Avoid Paint on Your Clothes 

If you never get paint on your clothes in the first place, you’ll never have to worry about getting it out. Hiring a pro to complete your painting project can save you time, energy and frustration. They can handle all the prep work and cleanup, which means no paint on you, or your clothes. Trust the professionals at Five Star Painting to make sure your room is painted properly and mess-free. Schedule your free estimate or call (888) 261-3633 today.