How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes: Effective Solutions

When you accidentally get acrylic paint on your clothes, it can be an almost impossible task getting dried acrylic paint out of clothes.

This is why you should learn how to get acrylic paint out of clothes as soon as possible by using effective and easy solutions.

By using some handy household items, you can save your clothes from unsightly paint stains and wear them with confidence again.

How To Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

  • Identify that the paint type is water-based first and confirm the fabric type to select the right cleaning method.
  • Act quickly to remove wet acrylic paint stains for best results. Quick action is key: do not let the acrylic paint dry.
  • Use wet wipes or nappy wipes to bot any additional paint and make sure it doesn’t spread to the rest of the garment.
  • Run the painted area under cold running water and use laundry soap or even dishwashing detergent.
  • Keep hand washing and rubbing the clothing under running water, each time applying fresh soap until the color begins to fade out.
  • For more stubborn stains caused by acrylic paint, you may need to try rubbing alcohol or isopropyl and rub and scrub with a wet wipe/nappy wipe.
  • I have been told BBQ wipes also work as they are basically a microfiber cloth that can get inside the weave of most clothing fibers.
  • A special mention to citrus-based cleaners like Goo Gone: rub it in and leave for a while and then wash it with soap.
getting acrylic paint out of clothes by hand washing

Caution When Cleaning Acrylic Paint From Clothes

  • Some colors are harder to get out than others like reds, blues and yellow.
  • For dry acrylic paint stains, consider professional cleaning options if needed.
  • Use cool water / soapy water so that acrylic paint stain does not set.
  • Keep the fabric away from heat such as air heat or hot water as these will make the acrylic paint set and be impossible to remove.

6 Steps To Getting Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

To get dried acrylic paint out of clothes, you can follow these steps.

  1. Scrape off the paint: Use a spoon or a dull knife to gently scrape away the dried paint from the surface of the fabric. Be careful not to tear your clothes.
  2. Soak the spot: Mix some water with a little bit of dish soap in a bowl. Put the part of the clothing with the paint in the water and let it soak for about 15 minutes. This helps to loosen the paint.
  3. Rub the fabric: After soaking, use an old toothbrush or your fingers to gently rub the stained area. This helps to break up the paint.
  4. Rinse and repeat: Rinse the area with warm water. If the paint is still there, you might need to soak and rub it a few more times.
  5. Wash the clothing: Once the paint is mostly gone, you can wash the clothing piece as you normally would. Use laundry detergent and follow the washing instructions on the tag of your clothes.
  6. Air dry: Let your clothing air dry instead of using a dryer, just in case there’s still some paint left. The heat from the dryer might make the remaining paint harder to remove.

Remember, the sooner you try to remove the paint after it gets on your clothes, the easier it will be.

But even if it’s dried, these steps can help you get your clothes looking a bit better.

Identifying the Type of Paint

Before you start washing anything, make sure your stain is actually acrylic or another type of paint as the treatment will differ for each.

Water-Based Paint

I’ve found that water-based paints are popular for their quick drying time and easy clean-up.

These paints often have “water-based” or “acrylic” written on the label. A key benefit of using water-based paint is its low toxicity, making it safer for the environment, children, and pets.

  • Identifying these paints is simple because they mix well with water.
  • When trying to remove stains from clothes, it’s necessary to act quickly since dried water-based paint can be difficult to remove.

Oil Paint

Oil paints are thicker and often used by artists who desire rich colors and texture in their work.

To identify oil paint, I look for “oil-based” on the label or see if the paint contains linseed oil or other oil-based solvents.

  • These paints do not mix with water, which makes them easier to distinguish from water-based paints.
  • Removing oil paint stains from clothes requires a different approach, usually involving paint thinner or a specific cleaning solution.

Emulsion Paints

Emulsion paints, also known as latex paints, are a type of water-based paint but have some differences from traditional acrylics.

They are often used for household painting projects due to their durability and versatility.

  • Emulsion paints typically contain vinyl, so be careful to check the materials listed on the paint label to identify them.
  • The cleaning process for clothes stained with emulsion paint is similar to that of other water-based paints.

When dealing with paint stains, knowing the type of paint is vital. Act quickly and use the appropriate cleaning method for each paint type to increase the chances of successfully removing the stain from clothing.

Removing Wet Acrylic Paint Stains

Using Warm Water

When I accidentally get wet acrylic paint on my clothes, the first thing I do is flush the stained area with warm running water. I hold the fabric under the water, letting the excess paint flow away. Warm water helps loosen the paint particles, making it easier to remove the stain. Do not use hot water. Cold water is ok.

Using Paper Towel

After rinsing the stained area with warm water, I gently blot the paint with a paper towel. This helps absorb any remaining wet paint from the fabric. Remember to be gentle – applying too much pressure can spread the paint or push it deeper into the fibers. You don’t want to do this.

Using Dish Soap

Now comes the part where dish soap plays a key role. I apply a small amount of dish soap to the stained area and gently massage it into the fabric with my fingertips. Since dish soap is designed to break down grease and grime, it works wonders on acrylic paint stains too.

Within a few minutes, I can see the paint stain lifting from the fabric. After that, I rinse the area thoroughly with warm water to remove any remaining soap and paint residue.

Some other articles mention specific brands but from my experience, as long as it is a good quality dish soap it does not matter what brand.

By using these three simple steps – warm water, paper towel, and dish soap – I can effectively remove wet acrylic paint stains from my clothes. Just remember that acting quickly and being gentle are vital factors for success.

Does rubbing alcohol remove acrylic paint from fabric?

Next, I prepare a solution to break down the remaining paint particles. Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is a good choice. Alternatively, nail polish remover containing acetone can be used.

Pour a small amount of the chosen liquid onto a cotton ball or microfiber cloth and gently dab the stained area. Be sure to test a small, hidden part of the fabric first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

This method was actually proven to work by my own wife who got acrylic paint on her work paints (she’s a preschool teacher), and I saw her using rubbing alcohol and questioned what she was doing. She told me a lady at her work insisted she try it, I was sceptical but hey, it worked.

Why rubbing alcohol can remove acrylic paint from fabric

There are a few reasons why rubbing alcohol removes acrylic paint from fabrics. Rubbing alcohol is effective in removing acrylic paint from fabric due to its solvent properties.

Here’s why it works:

It dissolves acrylic paint – Even though acrylic paint is water-based, rubbing alcohol contains isopropyl alcohol, which acts as a solvent for acrylic paint (I never knew this).

The alcohol breaks down the paint’s chemical bonds, causing it to dissolve or loosen from the fabric fibers.

It evaporates quickly – Rubbing alcohol has a low boiling point, which means it evaporates quickly when exposed to air.

As it evaporates, it carries away the dissolved paint particles, making it easier to remove the paint stain.

Safe for most fabrics – Rubbing alcohol is generally safe to use on most fabrics, but it’s always a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.

Scrubbing with an Old Toothbrush

Once the rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover has been applied, grab an old toothbrush and gently scrub the stain.

This helps to lift and break apart the paint particles. Keep in mind, patience is necessary when working on a dry paint stain, as multiple applications and scrubbing sessions might be needed.

Rinse the fabric with cold water between each scrubbing session to help flush out paint particles.

Once the stain appears significantly reduced or disappears completely, wash the garment as usual.

Remember, tackling a dry acrylic paint stain can be a challenge, but with a methodical approach using the right materials, success is often within reach.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Clothes with Baking Soda

Sometimes no matter what you try, some wet and dried acrylic paints are just really stubborn, they are basically what I call an acrylic stain.

These lead you to try all sorts of things and one of the proven methods of removing acrylic paint is to try baking soda.

The good news is that while this method does not always get rid of all the acrylic paint it can remove much paint from not only your favorite shirt but any fabric.

I tried this after getting Posca paint pen stains (which is basically acrylic paint in a pen) on a shirt and struggled to get it off.

To try and remove acrylic paint from clothes using baking soda, you can try the follow steps:

Act quickly

The sooner you can attend to the stained garment, the easier it will be to remove the paint.

Scrape off excess paint

Use a dull knife or spoon to gently scrape off any excess acrylic paint from the fabric. Be careful not to spread the paint further.

Blot the stain

Take a clean cloth or paper towel and blot the stained area gently. Avoid rubbing the paint, as it may push it deeper into the fabric.

Prepare a baking soda paste

In a small bowl, mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a paste. You can start with 1 tablespoon of each and adjust as needed.

Apply the paste

Using a clean cloth or an old toothbrush, apply the baking soda paste directly to the stained area. Make sure to cover the entire paint stain with the paste.

Let it sit

Allow the baking soda paste to sit on the stain for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will help loosen the paint from the fabric.

Gently scrub

After the paste has had time to work, use a toothbrush or soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the stained area. Work the brush in circular motions to lift the paint from the fabric fibers.

Rinse with cold water

Rinse the garment under cold running water to remove the baking soda and any loosened paint. Check if the stain is completely gone, and if not, repeat the process.

Launder as usual

Once the paint stain has been removed, wash the garment according to the fabric care instructions. Use your regular laundry detergent and wash it in cold water.

Check before drying

Before drying the garment, ensure that the paint stain is completely gone. You really want to check before placing the washed garment in a clothes drier. The heat from the dryer can set any remaining paint, making it more difficult to remove. So be extra careful.

Some colors of acrylic paint are harder to get out of fabric

I have also found out that some colors of acrylic paint can be harder to remove from fabric compared to others.

The difficulty of removing acrylic paint stains can depend on few factors, these include the pigment concentration, the type of fabric, and the length of time the paint has been on the fabric. 

Here are some things to consider regarding the colors of acrylic paint:

Dark and highly pigmented colors – Dark colors, such as black, navy blue, or deep red, often contain a higher concentration of pigments. These pigments can be more stubborn and have a stronger adherence to the fabric, making them more difficult to remove completely.

Staining pigments – Certain pigments, such as those used in fluorescent or neon colors, can have staining properties. These pigments may penetrate the fabric more deeply, resulting in a more persistent stain that is harder to remove.

Light and pastel colors – Lighter colors, including pastels, may be easier to remove compared to darker and more intense shades. However, this can vary depending on the specific pigments used in the acrylic paint.

Fabric type – The type of fabric also plays a role in the ease of stain removal. Some fabrics, like synthetic materials or tightly woven fabrics, can be more resistant to absorbing paint, making it easier to remove.

On the other hand, porous fabrics like cotton or linen may absorb the paint more readily, making stain removal more challenging. I will cover the different types of fabrics below.

Regardless of the color, it is always recommended to act quickly when dealing with acrylic paint stains. Promptly blotting, scraping off excess paint, and treating the stain with appropriate methods can increase the chances of successful removal.

In cases where the stain is particularly stubborn or if you are concerned about damaging the fabric, seeking professional cleaning assistance or consulting a dry cleaner experienced in stain removal can be a good option.

Stain Removal for Different Fabrics

Delicate Fabrics

When working with delicate fabrics, I find that it’s vital to treat the stain as soon as possible. For the best chance of removing acrylic paint, flush any wet paint with cold running water.

If the paint is dry, I often use isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the paint. But, be careful – I recommend testing the alcohol on a hidden part of the fabric to make sure it doesn’t damage it.

Cotton and Synthetic Fabrics

For cotton and synthetic fabrics, the technique changes a bit. I suggest using an enzyme-based stain remover or heavy-duty laundry detergent.

Apply this directly to the wet stained area, and gently work it into the fabric using a soft-bristled brush or your fingers.

Allow the stain remover to work for at least 15 minutes before moving on to the next step.

If the stain persists, I often turn to isopropyl alcohol to treat it. Again, test this on a hidden part of the fabric before use.

Hand-Washing vs. Washing Machine

When deciding between hand-washing and using a washing machine, I consider the type of fabric and the size of the stain.

For smaller stains on sturdy fabrics, a washing machine can be an effective option. I make sure to follow the care instructions on the clothing label.

Hand-washing might be the preferred choice for delicate fabrics and larger stains. I usually soak the entire piece of clothing in cold water until the stains fade.

If I’m using hand sanitizer instead of alcohol, I’ll mix it with equal parts water to dilute it before applying it to the stained area.

Remember to be gentle and patient during the stain removal process. Persistence and the right techniques can help save your favorite clothes from stubborn acrylic paint stains.

Additional Cleaning Methods

Using Commercial Stain Removers

I often turn to commercial stain removers when dealing with acrylic paint stains on my clothes.

They contain enzymes that break down the paint and make it easier to remove.

Apply the stain remover according to the product’s instructions, gently scrubbing with a soft brush if necessary. Remember, using such a product can be a key part of your cleaning process.

White Vinegar and Dish Detergent

Another helpful method I’ve used to remove acrylic paint from clothes is mixing white vinegar and dish detergent.

Combine equal parts of both ingredients, and apply the mixture to the stained area. Let it sit for a few minutes, then gently rub the fabric to loosen the paint.

Rinse the area with warm water, and repeat if necessary. This solution can be beneficial for treating latex paint stains as well.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide can also be effective for removing stubborn acrylic or oil-based paint stains. Apply it directly to the stain and let it sit for at least 10 minutes.

Gently scrub the area with a soft brush or sponge, being careful not to damage the fabric. Rinse with warm water and let air dry.

It’s vital to test the hydrogen peroxide on a hidden part of the clothing first, as it may discolor some fabrics.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains

When a stain becomes exceptionally persistent, I have a few tips to help. Try using rubbing alcohol, pouring it over the paint stain until saturated, then let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Also, use a soft brush, sponge, or cloth to scrub the stained area. In some cases, it may be necessary to repeat this process several times for optimal results.

Remember to stay patient and persistent when tackling tough stains.

Professional Cleaning Options

Dry Cleaning

When dealing with stubborn or dried acrylic paint stains on clothes, dry cleaning can be a great option.

In my experience, taking the garment to a professional dry cleaner will save time and effort. They have the necessary tools and expertise to safely remove the paint without damaging the fabric.

Some people find that dry cleaning is the best option for expensive or delicate clothing. Professional dry cleaners use specialized techniques that are effective and gentle on fabrics. By choosing this option, there’s a higher chance of preserving the garment in its original state.

To ensure the best possible outcome, be sure to inform the dry cleaner about the type of paint stain and the material of the garment.

This allows them to pick the right cleaning agents and approach for the task. Remember that each garment is unique, and providing specific information helps in achieving desired results.

I have found that dry cleaning is most beneficial for those who:

  • Have limited experience with stain removal techniques
  • Want to save time and effort
  • Need to clean expensive or delicate clothing

Choosing a reputable dry cleaner is necessary for effective paint removal. Do some research before entrusting your garment to a professional cleaner.

Read the reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family to find a reliable dry cleaner in your area.

In summary, dry cleaning is a viable and efficient option for removing acrylic paint stains from clothes.

It is particularly suitable for expensive or delicate garments that require special care.

So, the next time a paint mishap occurs, consider taking the affected clothing item to a professional dry cleaner for the best possible outcome.

Precautions and Tips

Performing a Spot Test

Before attempting to remove acrylic paint from clothing, I always perform a spot test. This is as simple as using a little bit of water and detergent or stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the garment.

This way, I can ensure that the cleaning solution won’t damage or discolor the fabric. Doing this is a good idea, especially for delicate or brightly colored garments.

Reading the Care Label

I can’t stress enough how vital it is to examine the care label on clothing items. This simple step can save you from accidentally ruining a garment during the stain removal process.

The care label informs me of the best laundry practices, such as the correct water temperature, the type of detergent allowed, and whether the garment can be machine-washed or requires dry cleaning.

By following the care label instructions, I increase my chances of safely and effectively removing the acrylic paint stain.

Remember, key points to keep in mind while dealing with acrylic paint stains include:

  • Act quickly to address the stain before it dries.
  • Perform a spot test to ensure the cleaning solution won’t harm the clothing.
  • Check and follow the care label instructions for best laundry practices.
  • Use a mix of water, detergent, and other stain-fighting techniques, depending on the garment and stain status.

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