Picture this: you’re painting with acrylics, and the color splatters onto your favorite sweater. When cleaning your brushes, some paint water goes rogue and gets on your carpet. Instead of throwing out your shirt, why not learn a few tricks for how to remove acrylic paint from fabric?
Learning how to remove acrylic paint from fabric is easy to do, and as a crafter, it’ll save your wardrobe. We paint with acrylics on everything from canvas to wood, but sometimes acrylic ends up on fabric we never intended to paint. You can use a few common ingredients to pre-treat stained clothes.
Table of Contents
The best technique to remove acrylic paint from clothes
Once you drop paint onto your clothes, time is of the essence. You want to move quickly to treat the stain.
The best technique to remove acrylic paint from clothes is to pre-treat the item with some kind of cleaning agent. Detergents are a great choice, but you can use a few other common items, as well. The important thing is to move quickly and let the treatment soak into your clothes before you wash.
Let’s talk about some of the best treatment options are to save your clothes when painting accidents happen.
1. Removing acrylic paint from fabric with dish detergent
The easiest treatment you can try is to remove acrylic paint from fabric with dish detergent. You can also use laundry detergent for this. Both are highly-concentrated soaps, but dish detergent is really great for lifting sudden stains.
To remove acrylic paint from fabric with dish detergent, turn the garment inside out. Focus on the paint spot and run warm water over it. Dilute a little detergent with warm water and dab it onto the spot. Don’t rub the spot, but dab vigorously until the color beings to fade. Rinse, then add to wash.
When you feel that enough of the paint has been removed, you can rinse the cloth and add it to your regular load of laundry. It’s important to treat the stain before you wash, or you may accidentally set it instead of cleaning it.
2. Removing acrylic paint from fabric with hairspray
Another great treatment option for removing paint is hairspray. You might not reach for this product when you go to clean most other things, but when it comes to wet paint, you’ll be totally surprised at how well it works.
To remove acrylic paint from fabric with hairspray, use a dry cloth to dab most of the paint away. Then, coat a sponge with hairspray or wet the fabric and spray directly onto the cloth. Scrub the spot with a brush or sponge. Hairspray will grab the paint, so allow it to dry. Tweeze any leftover pieces.
Once you’ve treated the stain this way, throw it into the wash on the hottest setting and hope for the best! Please note that this technique may fade some fabrics, so always test a swatch first. Denim materials hold up well, and white fabrics can be bleached.
3. Removing acrylic paint from fabric with isopropyl alcohol
This ingredient will be hiding in your medicine cabinet, but it can be helpful in removing paint from your clothes. Particularly once the paint has fully dried, isopropyl alcohol is your hero to remove acrylic paint.
To remove acrylic paint from fabric with isopropyl alcohol, wet the stain with water, then soak the stained area with the alcohol. Scrape away any paint that begins to peel up. Let the alcohol soak into the fabric and continue wiping the paint that comes loose. When finished, wash with hot water.
Again, be careful with this method, as alcohol is very drying. It may affect some fabrics, so always test a small piece first.
That’s the final technique on our list. Now, let’s get into some common questions you’ll have about removing acrylic paint from clothing.
Tips for removing paint from clothes
When removing paint from your clothing at home, there are some best practices you’ll want to keep in mind. Here’s a short list of advice on removing acrylic paint from clothes.
- Move quickly – stains set with time, so the sooner you clean a stain, the better.
- Read fabric labels – acetate clothing will melt if you use an acetone-based cleaner.
- Spot test – find an inconspicuous spot and dab a chemical first.
Keep these tips in mind, or else your well-intentioned cleaning may do more harm than good.
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions about removing acrylic paint from fabric.
Can I remove a dry paint stain?
Scrape the stain first to remove large flakes, then use an alcohol or chemical method to remove the stain.
Will rubbing alcohol ruin my clothes?
Be very careful when removing stains, and always test a product on an unseen piece of fabric first. Many chemicals can damage delicate fabrics.
What if I still can’t get the stain out?
Your local dry cleaner can usually work some magic for you. Take your clothes to a professional when all else fails. If your clothing is particularly precious for you, do this first to avoid ruining your favorite pieces!
Can I remove latex-based paint stains?
The dish soap method should usually work, but you will also want to try acetone on these stains.
How to remove acrylic paint from fabric: Final thoughts
To be perfectly honest, the best tip we can share is this: don’t paint in clothing you care about! Accidents will happen no matter how careful you are, so take steps to prevent your best clothing from getting ruined.
When you stain clothing, time is of the essence, so don’t panic if you spill a blob of bright blue on your favorite white blouse. Keep these tips in mind for your next painting project, and if you happen to spill something on yourself, you’ll know how to remove acrylic paint from clothes.
Let us know in the comments what you’ve tried and what has worked for you before.