How to Remove Paint from Clothes

If you are a regular paint user, then avoiding paint stain may not be easy. Often, you get paint spots or patches that stain your clothes or garment. Whether it’s latex or acrylic paint, selecting the wrong cleaning method makes the paint removal process cumbersome. How to Remove Paint from Clothes

You can remove paint from clothes using rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol, liquid laundry detergent, blot with turpentine, hairspray, Goo Gone, blot with non-acetone nail polish, or washing machine and warm water.

The application procedure should be adhered to when using each of the stated methods to avoid damaging your clothes. Further, you can opt for commercially available methods like Goo Gone or home-based options highlighted in this article too.

See Also: WD 40 Removes Paint?

Details: How to Remove Paint from Clothes

1. Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a powerful solvent that cleans both latex paint and acrylic paint from clothes.

The compound breaks paint molecular structure into a thick viscous liquid, which is fast to clean.

Besides, rubbing alcohol won’t stain your fabric if you follow the steps provided accordingly. Alternatively, you can use isopropyl alcohol in paint removal.

Items Required

  • Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
  • 5 liters of warm water
  • Soapy detergent
  • A sponge or a clean piece of clothing

Procedure to follow

  1. Prepare Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol in the right concentration.
  2. Administer drop test experiment on the paint-stained clothe to ascertain the performance
  3. Spray rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol over paint-stained area gently.
  4. Leave it for 5 to 10 minute to cure
  5. Soak the clothe in warm water and clean with soap detergent to remove the remains of rubbing alcohol
  6. Rinse with clean water

NB: Rubbing alcohol/Isopropyl alcohol can be used in spot paint removal or entire cleaning without any problem provided that the right concentration is met during dilution. 

2. Liquid laundry detergent

Liquid laundry detergent can either be commercially acquired or homemade. The liquid such as Absolutely Clean Laundry is manufactured specially to clean both dried and wet paint.

The laundry liquid usually acts on contact and breaks the paint molecules into a washable fluid.

You can either wash directly with the liquid detergent or spray over the paint-stained area before cleaning.

Usually, a particular laundry liquid is manufactured for a given type of paint; therefore, it would help if you stick to the manufacturer’s instruction.

Items Required

  • Laundry liquid-like Clean Laundry from amazon
  • 3 liters of warm, clean water in a bucket
  • Hand gloves

Procedure to follow

  • Add laundry detergent in warm water in a bucket and stir uniformly.
  • Soak the stained clothe entirely and leave it for 5 minutes
  • Wash the clothe gently
  • Rinse with clean water

NB: Laundry detergent is best used for both commercial paint removal and spot paint cleaning. Excess laundry detergent may bleach the fabric. 

See Also: Nail Polish Remover Removes Paint?

3. Blot with Turpentine

Turpentine acts instantly on the application and breaks both wet and dried paint without affecting clothe fabric.

The solvent is self-activating and penetrates deeper and thus works incredibly for multiple layer clothing during paint removal.

However, turpentine irritates nasal cavity and skin upon contact – you should wear a respirator and hand gloves during paint removal.

Items Required

  • 1 liter of turpentine
  • Soapy detergent
  • 4 liters of warm water in a bucket
  • A clean piece of cloth
  • Scraper

Procedure to follow

  • Spray turpentine over the paint-stained clothes – including by swing set stain
  • Leave it for 3 to 6 minute to cure
  • Using a scraper, scrape off the dried paint- where appropriate.
  • Wash the stained area with a soapy detergent
  • Rinse with clean water and dry under the sun

Turpentine can be used in the removal of acrylic and latex paint. You will comfortably clean wet and dried paint with turpentine without any problem.

4. Clean with Hairspray

Hairspray contains a chemical formulation that breaks down latex and acrylic paint into thick fluid, easier to clean.

The structural formula is self-activating and won’t stain or bleach the cloth fabric upon contact.

Alternatively, you can use sprays that contain isopropyl components in their formulation.

Items Required

  • Hairspray from Amazon
  • 3 liters of warm water
  • Hand gloves
  • Soap detergent

Procedure to follow

  • Wear hand groves and carry point spray over the paint stain area to ascertain the performance
  • Gently apply hairspray over the paint-stained area entirely
  • Leave it for 7 minutes to cure
  • Soak the stained area with warm water and soap to remove hairspray traces
  • Rinse with clean water to dryness

Hairspray works best for wet and dried latex paint. 

See Also: Mineral Spirits Removes Paint?

5. Washing machine and Warm water

A washing machine is best for large quantities of paint-stained clothes.

Wet latex paint easily dissolves warm water while dried paint is cleaned by the washer’s centrifugal spin and drained without affecting the fabrics.

Avoid cleaning acrylic paint-stained clothes with a washing machine as it many stain internal parts. Soapy detergents may be added when removing latex paint to accelerate the removal process.

Items Required

  • Washing machine
  • 10 liters of clean, warm water
  • Power source
  • Soap detergent – optional

Procedure to follow

  • Connect the washing to the power supply – don’t switch on.
  • Put paint-stained clothes in the washer.
  • Add clean water
  • Add soapy detergent – determined by the level of paint staining.
  • Close the machine and set the washing time
  • Switch on and let the cleaning process go on till the set time is over
  • Rinse the clothes and dry under the sun

It’s advisable to sort your paint-stained clothes when using the washing machine – sort clothes by material make, material texture, and other leaning parameters advised by the manufacturer. 

6. Goo Gone

Goo Gone is a commercially manufactures paint stain remover that features a complex chemical formulation, which acts instantly upon contact.

The solvent breaks strong molecular bonds of both latex and acrylic paint without any problem.

You can either spray the paint-stained area or soak the clothes in Goo Gone during the paint removal process. Importantly, you must adhere to the instruction provided by the manufacturer on the labels.

Items Required

  • Goo Gone
  • Warm water – 5 liters
  • Soap detergents

Procedure to follow

  • Spray Goo Gone gently over the paint-stained cloth.
  • Leave it for 3 to 4 minutes to cure
  • Clean the clothe with soapy detergent to remove traces of Goo Gone
  • Rinse with clean water – to dry

NB: Goo Gone is best for port cleaning and a small paint-stained section. Wear protective gear to prevent skin irritation. 

Read Also: Goo Gone Remove Paint?

Precaution for Removing Paint from Clothes

During the paint removal process, cleaning precautions should be followed strictly to prevent damage or bleaching the fabric. Moreover, personal safety is paramount too.

When removing paint from clothes, consider some of the safety and precautions highlighted below:

  1. Always wear protective gear when cleaning, e.g., face mask, respirator, eye protection, hand gloves, and overall – to prevent skin irritation upon contact.
  2. Acrylic stained clothes should not be mix with latex-stained clothe when cleaning.
  3. Avoid high concentrated laundry liquid since they breach the clothes when cleaning paint
  4. always read and follow instructions provided by the manufacturer when using commercially available paint stain removers
  5. Never inhale any stain remover directly – most of them contain choking chemicals, e.g., turpentine.
  6. Remove wet paint before it dries off.
  7. Always carry out a drop experiment for any homemade paint stain remover to ascertain the performance.
  8. Never use excess abrasive force when rubbing paint-stained area – to prevent breaching the cloth or damage the fabric.
  9. Always rinse the cleaned clothes with warm water to remove traces of paint stain remover from the fabric.

See Also: Alcohol Removes Paint?

Best Homemade methods of Paint Removal from Clothes

You will not always have commercially available paint removers with you. Therefore, it’s essential to opt for some of the following homemade paint stain removers as an alternative.

1. Scraping off blunt knife or scalpel

You can scrap dried paint off using a blunt knife or scalpel gently to eliminate paint stain. Wet paint requires a little bit of consciousness to prevent spread during the removal process.

Clean with warm water the scrapped area to attain the original form. Remember, the scraping method is mainly used for small surfaces. It’s preferable when used on latex paint (or wood deck sealer) that acrylic paints. 

2. Vinegar or white spirit

vinegar or white spirit works by breaking the paint molecules into thin viscous liquid upon application. It would help if you diluted vinegar/white spirit to the right concentration before application.

Carry out a drop-test experiment before use to ascertain the suitability of the concentration. Otherwise, you may end up bleaching or staining your clothes.

After a successful paint removal process, clean the clothes with soapy detergent and rinse them with warm water to eliminate traces of vinegar/white spirit from your clothes.

NB: Vinegar irritate nasal cavity and skin upon contact – you should wear protective gear during application.

3. Dish soap

Dish soap like Cascade Complete Dishwasher cleans paints through paint bonds breakdown. Prepare dish soap solution and rub it gently over the paint-stained surface until the paint is fully removed.

Then, wash the clothes in warm water before rinsing to dryness. You can mix dish soap in warm water and soak your paint-stained clothes for one hour before cleaning.

Notably, carry a drop-test experiment before soaking your clothes to confirm concentration performance.

4. Baking soda

Mix a tablespoon of baking powder with vinegar/mineral spirit and rub gently (with a sponge) over paint-stained clothes until the paint is cleaned.

Wash the area with soapy detergent and clean water to remove traces of baking soda and vinegar from clothes before rinsing to dry. NB: Baking soda is suitable for latex paint removal. 

See Also: Removing Paint from Metal Door


Removing paint from your clothe requires proper method selection and procedure, whether dried or wet paint, the type of paint under removal should be noted and appropriately accorded.

Moreover, the surface area is a critical factor that determines the quantity of paint needed. You can acquire commercially available paint stain removers or homemade paint removers such as dish soap, baking powder, and vinegar.

You can remove paint using hairspray, rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol, blot with non-acetone nail polish, liquid laundry detergent, stain with turpentine, Goo Gone, or washing machine and warm water.

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