Removing Paint Stains from Clothes

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Home Improvement

Removing Oil-based Paint Stains

Oil-based paint stains can be difficult to remove from clothing. However, there is some good news. Nowadays, acrylic paints are more commonly used for various painting projects, making oil-based paint stains less common. If you do find yourself dealing with an oil-based paint stain, consider switching to more eco-friendly and fabric-safe alternatives for your future painting needs.

Here are some tips to help you remove oil-based paint stains from your clothes:

If you want to remove stains from fabric, it’s important to act quickly. You can start by blotting up the stain with an old towel or cotton cloth to prevent it from spreading. To remove oil-based paint from fabric, you’ll need to do some detective work. Check the back of the paint can for instructions on how to clean spills. The recommended solvent for that brand of paint is your best bet for removing the spot. However, this can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with synthetic or treated fabrics. It’s best to test a small area of the garment before proceeding. If the dye runs or the fabric fibers are compromised, you might have to cover the spot with an embroidered decal and call it a day.

If you decide to use the recommended solvent, start by putting down a generous layer of paper towels to absorb excess solvent. Make sure to read the instructions for proper handling and wear gloves to protect your hands. You’ll also need a disposable can or jar to hold the solvent, a bucket filled with warm water and dishwashing liquid, cotton balls, a clean cloth, more paper towels, and a toothbrush.

Turn the garment inside out and saturate a cotton ball or cloth with solvent. Apply it to the fabric, working from the back side as much as possible to direct the paint away from the garment’s inner fibers. Press the fabric into the paper towels to transfer the paint from the fabric to the paper towel. You may need to move the paper around or add additional layers as it absorbs the paint. Check the front of the garment to see how well the solvent is working and keep at it until the stain is gone. You can also work the stain gently with a toothbrush if necessary.

Once the stain is gone, wash the solvent-saturated area in a bucket of soapy water to remove as much solvent residue as possible. Presoak the garment in your washing machine and wash and dry it as usual. If these steps don’t work, you can try using a commercially available paint remover like Goof Off or Oops! to remove the paint.

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  • Epinions. “Reviews of Goof Off Ultimate Remover.” (4/4/12).
  • Good Housekeeping. “Stain Buster — Paint, Latex (Acrylic/Water-based)” (4/4/12).
  • Goof Off. “Removes Tough Stuff.” (4/4/12).
  • How to Clean Stuff. “How to Remove Oil Based Paint Stains From Fabrics.” (4/4/12).
  • How to Clean Stuff. “How to Remove Paint from Polyester Fabrics.” (4/4/12).
  • K-State Extension. “Get the Red Out – Stain Removal Tips.” (4/4/12).
  • Lumberjocks. “How to remove dried paint from clothes?” (4/4/12).
  • Theberge, Michele. “How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Your Clothing & Fabrics.” YouTube. 4/12/10. (4/4/12).
  • Thrifty Fun. “Guide: Removing Paint Stains from Clothing.” (4/4/12).


1. What should I do immediately after getting paint on my clothes?

If you get paint on your clothes, act fast! As soon as possible, remove any excess paint with a spoon or dull knife. Don’t rub the paint, as this will only make it worse. If the paint is still wet, place the stained fabric under cold, running water and rinse it out as much as possible.

2. Can I remove paint from clothes that have already been washed and dried?

If the paint has already been washed and dried, it may be more difficult to remove. However, it is still possible. Try using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on the stain, then wash the garment again. If the paint is particularly stubborn, you may need to take it to a professional cleaner.

3. What types of paint are the hardest to remove from clothes?

Oil-based paints and permanent markers are some of the hardest paints to remove from clothes. If you get these types of paint on your clothes, you may need to use stronger chemicals and take extra precautions to prevent damage to the fabric.

4. Can I use bleach to remove paint from my clothes?

Bleach may be able to remove some types of paint, but it can also damage the fabric and cause discoloration. It’s best to avoid using bleach on painted clothing and instead try other methods such as rubbing alcohol or vinegar.

5. What is the best way to remove water-based paint from clothes?

To remove water-based paint from clothes, start by rinsing the stain under cold water. Then, mix a solution of equal parts dish soap and warm water, and apply it to the stained area. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Repeat this process as necessary until the stain is gone.

6. How can I prevent paint from getting on my clothes in the first place?

The best way to prevent paint from getting on your clothes is to wear old or protective clothing, such as a smock or apron. You can also cover your work area with newspaper or a drop cloth to catch any drips or spills.

7. What should I do if I can’t remove the paint stain from my clothes?

If you’ve tried multiple methods and still can’t remove the paint stain from your clothes, it’s best to take the garment to a professional cleaner. They may have access to stronger chemicals or techniques that can get the stain out.

8. Can I use a hair dryer to dry the paint on my clothes faster?

No, you should never use a hair dryer to dry paint on your clothes. This will only cause the paint to set in and make it harder to remove. Instead, let the paint air dry naturally before attempting to remove it.

9. Is it safe to use chemicals to remove paint from clothes?

While chemicals can be effective at removing paint stains from clothes, they can also be dangerous if not used properly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear protective gloves and clothing when using chemicals.

10. Can I still wear clothes that have paint stains on them?

Depending on the severity of the stain, you may still be able to wear clothes that have paint stains on them. However, it’s best to avoid wearing stained clothing to important events or occasions.

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