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Posted by Bridget Reed

How To Get Paint out of Clothes

Have you ever found yourself lost in the joy of a painting project, only to discover later that your enthusiasm has left colorful marks on your clothing? It's a common mishap for both amateur and professional artists alike, whether you’re a whizz with a canvas or simply looking to spruce up a room with a fresh coat of paint.

In this detailed guide, we'll explore the best ways to tackle those stubborn paint stains, blending scientific approaches with enjoyable, easy-to-follow tips. Whether you're dealing with a fresh splash of acrylic or a dried dollop of oil-based paint, we've got the answers to help you restore your clothes to their former glory.

How Do Different Types of Paint Affect Clothes?

Before diving into the cleaning process, it's essential to identify the type of paint that's found its way onto your clothes. The paint world is vast, with varieties like latex paint, acrylic paint, oil-based paint, water-based paint, and even the tricky spray paint. 

Each type has unique properties that affect how you should approach the stain removal process. For example, latex and water-based paints are generally easier to clean, often requiring just some warm water and a gentle detergent. On the other hand, oil-based paints are more resilient and might require a stronger approach, like using turpentine or paint thinner. 

Understanding the specific kind of paint you're dealing with is crucial in choosing the right method to effectively remove the stain without damaging your clothes.

How To Pre-Treat Paint Stains?

Acting swiftly is crucial when dealing with paint stains. For wet paint, the first step is to remove as much excess paint as possible. Gently scrape off the bulk using a butter knife or an old toothbrush. This step is especially important for thick, oil-based paints or acrylics. 

If you're facing a dried paint stain, a gentle dab with a paper towel can lift off some of the excess without spreading the stain. It's important to avoid rubbing the stain, as this can push the paint deeper into the fibers of the fabric. For delicate fabrics, be extra cautious during this step to avoid causing any damage.

What Are the DIY Methods for Removing Paint Stains?

For DIY enthusiasts, there's a plethora of home remedies to try. Rubbing alcohol can be particularly effective on stains from acrylic paint. Simply apply it to a cotton ball and gently dab the stained area. 

For a general approach, a mixture of dish soap and warm water can help loosen and lift the paint, which is especially useful for water-based paints. Solvents like nail polish remover or acetone might be necessary when dealing with tougher stains from oil-based paints. 

Remember to use a clean cloth for application and an old toothbrush for gentle scrubbing. This method is ideal for spot-treating small areas and ensuring you don’t spread the stain further. It's also a good idea to place an absorbent cloth under the stained fabric to catch any residue.

What Detergent Should You Use?

Home remedies are great, but after you pre-treat your stain, you’ll want to wash it thoroughly with a detergent that’s tough on any residual staining but gentle enough to protect your clothes and the environment.

For those challenging stains, our Miracle Made Laundry Detergent Sheets can be a lifesaver. These innovative sheets are not just an ordinary laundry solution but a testament to modern cleaning technology. 

Perfect for tackling stubborn oil-based paint stains or dried paint residue, these sheets are environmentally friendly and gentle on the skin, embodying our commitment to eco-friendly solutions. 

Their potent cleaning power can handle even the most challenging stains, including those tough oil and grease marks often left by painting projects. These sheets dissolve seamlessly in hot and cold water, making them suitable for many washing machine types, including high-efficiency (HE) models. 

The compact, space-saving design ensures your laundry area stays clutter-free. Think of it as the trundle bed of laundry detergent — compact, efficient, and there when you need it (but not taking up additional space).

How Do I Get Paint out of Delicate Fabrics?

Delicate fabrics require a special approach, especially when they're marred by paint stains. Cold water is often the safer choice to avoid damaging these fabrics. Before applying any cleaning solution, especially if it’s a DIY mixture, always conduct a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the fabric. 

This ensures that the cleaning method won't harm the fabric. Gentle solvents can be effective on delicate fabrics, but careful application is key to preserving the integrity of the garment. 

For extremely delicate items, consider a professional dry cleaning service. This approach is particularly recommended for fabrics that are sensitive to water or harsh chemicals. 

And when in doubt — whether you’re looking to remove a stain or simply wash your bed sheets — double check the care label to ensure you’re following the manufacturer's guidelines. This simple step can save you a ton of heartbreak in the long run.

Washing Machine Tips

Our Miracle Detergent Sheets can be a great asset when laundering your stained clothes. Choose the warm running water setting appropriate for the fabric in question. These settings and our detergent sheets can help ensure the paint stain is thoroughly removed. 

However, in cases where the fabric is particularly delicate, or the stain is deeply set, professional dry cleaning might be the best route. If using a washing machine, separate the stained garment from other clothes to prevent the paint from transferring. 

Always follow the care instructions on the garment label to avoid any damage during the washing process.

Post-Wash Care

After washing, take a moment to inspect the previously stained area. If traces of paint remain, don't hesitate to repeat the cleaning process. When drying the garment, steer clear of high-heat settings, which can set the stain, making it even more difficult to remove.

Air drying is often the best option, especially for delicate fabrics. If the stain still persists, you may want to try a different removal method or consider seeking professional help. 


Some stains, especially those from oil-based paints, may require multiple treatments for complete removal. Patience and persistence are key when dealing with tough paint stains.

Artful Dodges for Paint Spots

Armed with this comprehensive guide, removing paint from clothes should feel less intimidating. Whether you're dealing with a recent splatter of latex paint or a stubborn patch of dried oil-based paint, these tips have got you covered. 

At Miracle MadeⓇ, we're dedicated to making your life easier and more enjoyable, even when it comes to tackling those unexpected paint stains. So, the next time a painting project gets a little messy, remember — you have the tools and knowledge to handle it with ease! 

Keeping your clothes paint-free is just as important as creating your next masterpiece. With the right approach and a little bit of know-how, you can keep your clothes looking as fresh and vibrant as your paintings or freshly painted room.

Sources:

Paint, Solvent or Water Based Stain Solutions | University of Illinois

Stain Removal Guide | American Cleaning Institute

Tips for Getting Stains Out of Your Laundry | Michigan.gov

Stain Removal | Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute

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