How to get paint out of clothes the easy way

By Nicole Tinkham

How to get paint out of clothes the easy way

If you’re an artist, you get paint on your clothes. It simply happens. When it does, one of two things probably run through your mind. You either care less because your entire wardrobe is covered in paint already, or you have a panic attack. We’re here to tell you that getting paint out of clothing doesn’t have to freak you out. Here’s what you need to do FIRST: Determine what type of paint it is (oil-based or water-based) and whether or not it has already dried. Then you want to get on top of it ASAP and follow the methods below to getting paint out of clothes the easy way.

Identify what kind of paint you’re dealing with

Not all paint is the same and not all paint will come out of clothing the same way. The first thing you must determine is what kind of paint it is. If it’s an oil-based paint, you’re in luck as long as you get to it before it dries. These are actually easier to remove because they take so much longer to dry but can be difficult once dried. Water-based paints on the other hand dry much quicker. The TRICK is getting to the spot before it dries. This makes everything much easier.

Also read the label on the clothing to make sure the paint removal method you choose won’t damage the clothing.

Check if the paint has dried

Try to get to the paint before it has dried on your clothing if at all possible. This is so IMPORTANT! Here’s what to do in both situations:

(For water-based paint)

The paint is still wet: Get at it right away! What you want to do is flip the fabric over and wash the area with lukewarm water until it comes out.

The paint has dried: In the case the paint has already dried, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub the spot until it starts to disappear. If there’s some excess paint still left, use a tool (like a wooden stick) to gently scrape the rest of the paint off. You’ll also want to wash and dry the fabric as you normally would after removing the paint.

(For oil-based paint)

When it comes to oil-based paint, you won’t be washing the paint out as you would with water-based paint. Instead you’ll be using an oil solvent. Pour some solvent on the area and scrub it out with a towel. You may have to do this a few times to completely get the stain out. Next, you’ll want to soak the fabric in cold water with a little dishwasher soap to get all the grease out.

Another way to remove oil-based paint is with turpentine. Apply the turpentine and gently pat the surface with a sponge. This will allow the paint to simply peel off the fabric. Once removed, wash the clothing as normal. Warning! Turpentine can fade the color of clothing. Be sure to test it out on a small area first.


•    Cold water is better for removing paint than warm water because it’s more effective in getting rid of the grease.

•    Always scrub clothing gently as harsh scrubbing can damage delicate articles of clothing.

•    PROTECT your clothing. Wear an apron to prevent stains when you’re working on a project.

•    When paint is wet, you can wipe off any excess with a cotton ball before moving into one of the above methods.

•    Be sure to protect your hands with gloves.

In our minds, the number one most important thing to focus on when working on a project is to have fun. That means not worrying about paint getting on your clothes! Wear clothes you don’t care about or wear an apron so making a mess is the last thing on your mind. Of course, accidents do happen which is why we put together this helpful guide to getting paint out of clothes the easy way. We want to hear from you! Have these methods worked for you? Do you know a better way to get paint out of clothes? COMMENT below and we’ll include your ideas in this post!

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