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How To Get Acrylic Paint Out Of Clothes

acrylic paint on clothes

Every artist has been there; we all get paint on our clothes. I’ve gotten it on my shoes, in my hair, and even my favorite hoodie. You might be afraid your clothes are ruined and can’t be fixed, so how do you get acrylic or oil paint out of your clothes? Keep reading and find out!

How To Get Acrylic Paint Out Of Clothes Fast

Take a deep breath and don’t panic. Wet paint is far easier to get out of clothes than dry paint. If you act quickly, you’ll likely be able to save your clothes from permanent damage. 

Because of the nature of acrylic paint, when it’s wet, the pigments of the paint are still suspended in a wet acrylic polymer. It’s really tough to remove stains once the acrylic polymer dries. If you act quickly while it’s still wet, it can mainly be rinsed out with water. 

If you still have a paint stain even after flushing the garment with water, take the next step to pre-treat the clothing item with a stain remover, if you have one on hand. You can prevent the paint stain from being set into the clothing by using a pre-treatment or stain remover.

Once you’ve rinsed and pre-treated your clothes, you can put your clothing in the washing machine on warm with your laundry detergent to finish washing the stain out of your clothes. Using warm water is critical so that high heat doesn’t set the stain into the clothing item. Be sure not to dry the clothes with a dryer until the paint stain has been removed to avoid setting the stain into the clothing.

Lastly, if you don’t have access to a washing machine, you can wash your clothing in a sink with warm water and regular dish soap. Dish soap is gentle enough to use on clothes and will help to remove any remaining paint from your clothes. 

If you were searching for ways to get paint out of your clothes and the paint dried, don’t despair. We have some solutions for you to fix that problem, too. 

How To Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out Of Clothes

Okay, so you didn’t manage to get the acrylic paint out of your clothes before it dried. It’s okay, we might still be able to help you save your favorite t-shirt. You likely have several products around your home that will work for removing dried paint.

First, see if the paint can be removed by peeling it off the clothing item. Be sure not to do anything too aggressive to the fabric, because you don’t want to damage your clothes any further. You could also very carefully use a butter knife or a fork to see if you can lift any of the paint off. 

Next, look in your cupboards for an alcohol-based cleaner, such as:

  • Alcohol-based hairspray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Nail polish remover

Spot test your clothing in an inconspicuous area to be sure that it won’t ruin your clothes. Once you are sure that your clothes won’t be ruined from the product you are using, you can proceed. 

You’ll want to dampen a cloth with your chosen alcohol-based product and apply it to the paint. Alcohol breaks down the bonds of the acrylic paint, so hopefully the paint will break down so that you can remove it. Keep doing this until the spot has disappeared or until the paint starts to transfer to the cloth. 

Once the paint has been removed as much as it will, you can launder your clothing on warm with a good detergent to finish treating it. If there’s still a stain, you may want to use a pre-treatment, as well. Make sure not to wash your clothes on hot to avoid setting the stain into the clothing further.

How To Get Oil Paint Out Of Clothes

You’ll need to use a different process to remove oil paint from your clothes than you do with acrylic paint. With an acrylic paint, the focus is on breaking the acrylic polymer bonds. However, with an oil paint, your usual paint thinner can break down the pigments

Using a clean cloth, you’ll want to blot the paint and rinse the fabric with water so that the paint doesn’t dry on the clothing. Test your paint thinner on an inconspicuous area of the clothing to determine if it’ll ruin the clothes. If not, you want to use the thinner on the paint spot repeatedly until the paint completely thins out. 

If the paint has already dried, you can use thinner to try and soften the paint up. Just like with the wet paint, use the thinner until the paint’s pigments have broken down. You should place a cloth or newspapers under the clothing while you do this to avoid getting paint thinner on your household surfaces.

Next, you’ll want to soak the affected clothing in soapy water overnight to remove any excess oils or thinner, as they are a fire hazard. You can’t just place your clothing into the washing machine right away or it could catch on fire. Be sure not to skip this step!

Lastly, you can pre-treat and launder your clothes normally to finish cleaning the paint out of the clothes. Double check that the stain has been removed and dry the clean clothes. If the stain hasn’t come out of the clothes, repeat pre-treatment and washing before moving to the drying stage to avoid setting the stain into the clothes.

Getting Paint Out Of Clothing FAQ

Is acrylic paint permanent on clothes?

It can be! You generally can’t get paint off of your clothes once it’s been heat set. It’s easiest to clean them when the paint is still wet before the clothing has been put in the dryer or ironed. 

Will acrylic paint wash off clothes easily? 

Acrylic paint washes off clothes more easily if the paint is still wet. In this case, you can use water to flush the paint out of the clothes. 

Does baking soda remove paint from clothes?

You can use baking soda as a pre-treatment before laundering. Mix the baking soda with water to form a paste and spread it onto the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes or so to allow it to work. It helps draw remaining pigments out from between the fibers.

Does vinegar remove acrylic paint from clothing?

Like with baking soda, vinegar is an excellent spot-treating agent. In fact, the two work well together, making them a great duo to finish cleaning the stain out of your clothes. 

Does rubbing alcohol remove acrylic paint from clothes?

Rubbing alcohol can help break down the binders in acrylic paint, and as a result, it works well to soften dried acrylic paint. This can help the paint become soft enough to be removed and rinsed out of your clothing.

How do you get paint out of clothes that have dried?

If your clothes were dried in a dryer, then getting paint out of them might be next to impossible. Heat setting stains makes them incredibly difficult to remove. You may not be able to remove the paint from them, however, you can try the steps we outlined for removing dried paint to see if that will work. 

Related article: Learn how to use acrylic paint on fabric here!

Acrylic Art World

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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