How to Remove Paint Stains Permanently, Without Professional Cleaning

How to Remove Paint Stains Permanently

How would you feel if someone drops paint on your new carpet? It is any homemaker’s nightmare.

I came face-to-face with this nightmare sometime back. A birthday celebration preparation was underway. Here I was decorating the living room. And at the same time, my kitchen cupboard needed a fresh coat of paint.

This led to a big blob of paint on my carpet just a day before the get-together. And my main concern was how to get paint stains out of carpet quickly.

 I looked for all the solutions to my problem. This led me to collect all the information about getting paint out of carpet. This is what I found out.

Working on Paint Spilled on Carpet

Some things make your work easy. I had some and I procured the rest. The things you might need are – carpet cleaning solution, paint cleaner and carpet cleaner. You may need hydrogen peroxide or acetone, a scrub brush and mild dish soap.

So, here are the steps I took to get rid of paint from my carpet.

  1. Identifying the type of paint – water-based, oil-based or acrylic latex paint.
  2. Choosing a cleaning method based on the type of paint.

Let us take each situation and solve the problem stepwise as I did.

If the paint is oil-based

This is the paint I had on my carpet. I took the following steps.

  • Scrape out the extra paint as much as possible.
  • First, use a carpet cleaner on the area.
  • Douse the area with a cleaning solution till the spot is saturated.
  • Soak a cloth with paint cleaner, acetone or hydrogen peroxide. Blot the area. Continue until the stain breaks down. It will take repeated attempts to work on oil-paint.
  • Clean with water and soap.
  • Air Dry and vacuum it.

If the paint is water-based

My paint stain was not water-based. But if you have water-based paint on your carpet, worry not. Water-based paint is easier to remove compared to oil-based paints.

  • Again scrape out the excess paint from the carpet.
  • Start by pouring hot water on the area. Moisten the stain well.
  • Smear dish soap. Scrub with a hard-bristled brush till lather forms. Continue to dissolve. You may repeat a few times.
  • Wash off. Use a handheld carpet cleaner for stubborn stains.
  • Dry with a hairdryer and vacuum the area.
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If the box says ‘Acrylic latex’

Latex paint is water-based mixed with acrylic colors. To get acrylic paint out of the carpet, follow the steps mentioned above.

  • Start rinsing from the back of the carpet. Rub, scrape and blot as you go along.
  • You may use hand soap with dishwashing detergent as a stain emulsifier.
  • If your carpet material can tolerate it, dab acetone with a cloth.
  • Let sit for a few minutes.
  • Wash, dry and vacuum.

What if the Paint has Dried?

It is best to catch them soon. You will have more success removing wet paint than dried one. You may have been unlucky and have missed cleaning up while the paint was wet. Here are some options that tell you how to clean paint off carpet.

If latex or water-based paint is dry

Don’t wet it just yet. Use a blunt knife or similar object to scrape and rub off as much as possible.

A quick hack is a heavy-duty duct tape. Alternately, use an auto repair tape or gaffer’s tape. Apply the tape to the stained surface. Peel off the tape quickly. This would remove dried paint stuck on the surface.

Remember this hack is for sturdy rug-like carpets. Delicate fur-finish or velvet-finish carpets will get spoiled by duct tape.

If oil-based paint is dry

Scraping hard is the best solution. If you can use duct tape, try that. Try using turpentine or white spirits.

Put a cloth or paper towel on the paint stain. Soak with the solvents from the backside of the carpet. Keep scraping or rubbing lightly. As the paint dissolves, the towel will catch it. Change the towels if needed. And continue.

If it is dried spray-paint

This problem occurs inadvertently. You are busy giving a fresh look to one part of your home and you end up with spray paint on carpet. You have not ruined your carpet. You can salvage the item still.

Remember not to rub the stain. You have to keep blotting the stain while you pour thinners on the area.

Many household thinners may help you. You may use turpentine oil, hydrogen peroxide or dishwashing detergent. Use a sponge or clean cloth to dampen the dried paint.

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Wash carefully with warm water when the stain is gone. Pat dry. The good thing about spray paint is that the layer of paint will be quite thin.

Removing Paints From Clothes

Here is a problem that, as a mother of two creative kids, I encounter often. This is a different kind of challenge. I need to clean up spilled paint from bedsheets, clothing and curtains.

With paint on clothes, you have to identify the type of paint as well as the type of fabric. If the fabric is not for home-wash, take it to your dry cleaners. See if they can do something about the paint stain.

For fabrics that are washable, tackle the paint first. Understand, ask or think back to identify the type of paint.

Water-based or latex paint

This is a popular craft paint for kids as well as used for interiors. Kids may end up staining their clothes with this. If you are sure the paint on the clothes is acrylic latex, this is what you should do.

  • Use a butter knife or spoon to remove excess paint.
  • If dry, use duct tape or other heavy-duty tape to pull out the dried paint.
  • Rinse the area with warm water from the backside of fabric. Rub gently.
  • Use hand soap and detergent on the stain. Dab and rub gently.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Repeat, if needed.
  • Launder according to the wash instructions on the clothing.

Oil-based paint stains

Oil paint takes longer time to dry. If you act fast, you may clean it before it dries. Make sure it was oil based paint. Do not use water on it. Follow these steps.

  • Carefully scrape off extra paint.
  • If dry, use a hard brush to rub off as much as possible.
  • Use the solvent recommended on the paint can.
  • If in doubt, try distilled turpentine or other white spirits.
  • Make sure your fabric does not contain rayon, acetate or triacetate.
  • Put towels under the stain to soak dissolved paint.
  • Dab the area with the solvent of choice using a sponge or towel.
  • Keep dousing the paint with solvent till the paint dissolves completely.
  • Wash with laundry detergent and warm water.
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Latex or oil paint on sensitive fabric

Look at the tag of the clothing. Does it say – wool, silk, velvet or acetate? It is sensitive. If the tag says – Dry Clean Only – it is sensitive. Clean the paint carefully.

  • Remove excess paint off the fabric.
  • Be careful not to scrub hard.
  • Soak dry cleaning solution on to a sponge and dab the stain.
  • Start from the outer edge towards the inside of the stain.
  • Absorb grease with a dry spotter. They remove oil stains and turpentine spills.
  • Make a dry spotter by mixing coconut oil and liquid dry cleaning solution.
  • For stubborn or dry stain, leave the sponge with the dry spotter on the stained area.
  • Wash with dry cleaning solvent.

This should take the paint stain off your clothes. Whatever type of paint you have on your clothing, these steps will be able to solve the problem.

Some Points to Remember

You can remove paint successfully from washable fabric. Make sure that you understand the fabric you are dealing with. Use chemicals accordingly.

  • Identifying the type of paint is important. For example, chalkboard paint is a water-based paint.
  • Apply solvents mildly to loosen paint for scraping them off.
  • Before applying any solvent, test it on a hidden part of the fabric.
  • Rinse out one chemical completely before trying the next.
  • Do not rub too hard. It breaks the fiber threads.
  • Blotting with towels is the best way. Keep changing towels to ease the process.
  • Use home remedies such as alcohol, nail polish remover or varnish remover if slight stain remains.
  • Use the vacuum cleaner on the dry fabric while taking paint off carpet.
  • Rubbing alcohol is a blessing on dried paint spills anywhere – walls, floors, furniture etc.
  • Keep kids away when using any chemical.
  • Keep doors and windows open when cleaning paint with chemicals.

My experience has taught me that paint spills and splatters are inevitable if you have kids. Even adults may make mistakes. Responding to the mistake quickly and having a few handy options can go a long way. Keep the solutions ready and let paints color your life.