How to Get Paint Out of Your Clothes

Getting paint out of your clothes can be a tiresome and time-consuming process. No one wants to lose a precious piece of clothing to stubborn paint. Unfortunately, not all stains can get out, but if you wash the clothes fast enough, any stain will disappear with our recommendations below. Have no fear, for we’re here to guide you through it all and save your precious clothes.

Getting Paint Out of Your Clothes 101

There are many types of paint, and each one has its specific uses. Some can be annoying and require different cleaning steps to get out of your clothes, but we’ll go through them thoroughly in this guide.
Most paints are either water or oil-based, and each type requires different methods for effective stain removal. Here’s how to remove these kinds of paint from your clothes:
Acrylic-Based Paint
Acrylic-based paint is the better choice for painting primed metal surfaces and masonry. It’s pretty durable, which is bad when you’re trying to get it off your favorite shirt.

Supplies:

  • Water
  • Liquid detergent
  • Cleaning cloth
  • A metal spoon or dull knife
  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Rubbing alcohol

Step 1

Start by scraping off any excess paint using the edge of your metal spoon or dull knife.

Step 2

Run some warm water and flush the backside of your fabric under it, then dip a sponge in the soapy water and blot the paint stain from the outside in to get the remaining paint off. Use clean parts of the sponge to get as much paint as you can.

Step 3

Mix the liquid detergent with warm water and pour it on your cleaning cloth, then vigorously dab and squeeze the cleaning cloth into the paint stain. Rinse again with warm water to remove the soapy water, and repeat until the paint is no longer coming up.

Step 4

If the stain is still visible, you can use stain remover or rubbing alcohol; soak it up and scrub the area gently with a toothbrush.

Step 5

Wash your clothing item following the steps on the care label and let it completely air dry.
Latex-Based Paint
Latex-based paint isn’t as durable as acrylic, so getting it out of your clothes is less time-consuming.

Supplies:

  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Liquid detergent
  • Cleaning cloth
  • A metal spoon or dull knife
  • Toothbrush
  • Hairspray

Step 1

Turn the clothing item inside out and start scraping off the dry paint using a dull knife or an old spoon you no longer need.

Step 2

White vinegar is a mild acid that will penetrate the paint stain and make it easier to wash off, so we’ll use it here to soften the paint.
Apply white vinegar to the affected area, then rinse the clothing under faucet water. Afterward, dab the stain with paper towels and remove as much paint as you can.

Step 3

Mix some liquid detergent with water and sink a cleaning cloth into the now soapy water. You need to dab the paint with the cleaning cloth and remember to shift to clean parts of the cleaning cloth to get as much paint as you can.

Step 4

Wash the stain with warm running water to get the residual soap, vinegar solvent, and remaining paint out. If there is still a visible stain, use hairspray and scrub it out gently with a toothbrush.

Step 5

Wash your clothing item following the steps on the care label and let it completely air dry.
Oil-Based Paint
Oil-based paint is a very popular choice for woodwork applications and for artists who sell portraits and wall arts.
Getting oil paint out of your clothes is going to be a bit harder due to its oily nature, but it’s not a lost cause.
Just follow these steps, and you’ll save that favorite shirt of yours.

Supplies:

  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Paint thinner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid detergent

Step 1

Turn your piece of cloth inside out and put a lot of paper towels under the stain. Apply the paint thinner to a paper towel and keep rubbing the stain; don’t stop unless you get all the loose paint out. You will find the paint thinner recommended by the manufacturer on the back of the paint can.

Step 2

Use rubbing alcohol to rub the stain, then rinse it out with warm running water.

Step 3

Start pouring the detergent on your stain, and be generous with the amount. Then, fill your sink with warm water and leave your clothing in it over the night.

Step 4

On the next day, wash off any remaining detergent and rinse using cold running water.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is one of the toughest types of paint to get out. It’s incredibly messy and tends to bleed into your clothes and bind to the fibers, making it a lot harder to scrub off.
Find out your paint’s solvent base to determine how fast the paint will dry. Knowing the solvent base will also clue you in on the best way to remove the paint.

Supplies:

  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Toothbrush
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol

Step 1

Flush your clothing item under warm running water.

Step 2

Use the cleaning cloth and blot the area to absorb excess paint.

Step 3

Mix the liquid dish soap with warm water and apply it to the stain; let it soak for 30 minutes, then scrub the stain using a toothbrush.

Step 4

Soak the clothing in rubbing alcohol for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm running water.
Repeat the process until most or all of the paint is out.

Step 5

Wash your clothing item following the steps on the care label and let it completely air dry.

Conclusion

So, if you ever get paint on your favorite shirt again, you now have all the information you need to save it from getting tossed in the trash. Now don’t take this as an excuse to paint on fragile fabrics; it's not always going to work.
And hey, if any of these cleaning methods ever seem too much of a hassle or the paint really won’t come off no matter what, you can always send it out to a professional service to take care of it for you.