How to get paint out of clothes

Find out how to get paint out of clothes and rescue your garment before it's too late

How to get paint out of clothes
(Image credit: Unsplash/Roselyn Tirado)

Our main tip on how to get pain out of clothes is to act quickly. A paint stain that's fresh and hasn't dried is most likely removable; a paint stain that's dried most like is not. So, don't lose precious time and get to it while there's still time to save your garment. 

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How to get paint out of clothes

Firstly, though, we will say that there are materials that should never be worn while doing paintwork. They are silk and wool. Silk in particular is so thin and delicate that pain will saturate it almost instantly; once a fabric has been saturated through with paint, nothing will get the stain out. So, always do DIY while wearing old clothes you don't mind getting stained. 

Having said that, accidents do happen, and if you've stained your favourite jeans/a shirt you'd quite like to keep, these are things you can try to get it off.

1. Blot! Start blotting the stain with paper towels as soon as you've noticed it. The more of the paint you're able to absorb this way, the better the chance of removing the stain altogether.

2. If your paint is water- or latex-based, gently remove the remaining paint with warm water and washing-up liquid or warm water and liquid hand soap. Again, the key here is patient blotting, not aggressive rubbing. You may need to go through a lot of paper towels here!

3. If your paint is oil- or acrylic-based, you'll need to use turpentine. Turn the garment inside out, taking care to place plenty of paper towels against the stain. Start blotting the unstained side of the fabric with turpentine. The turpentine should push the paint out on the other side. If any paint remains afterwards, try to remove with washing-up liquid and warm water. 

If following these steps hasn't helped to remove the stain, it means that it has soaked through into the fibres: it's best to use this piece of clothing for DIY from now on. 

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Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.