Oops! You got a little paint on your clothes….Now what?? Just remember, don’t panic! It happens to all of us at some point! It’s inevitable, right? If you’re like me, you may have plans just to do a “touch-up” on something, but it turns out to become a full-on job. You may forget to dress for the part and then that “oopsie” occurs.
In this post we’ll explore two scenarios – fresh paint and paint that has already dried. As you know the makeup of fabric is definitely different from getting it off your hands!
I remember when I was in grade school and art class met once a week. This one teacher always had a big cardboard box full of old shirts that we could slip on whenever we were going to do something messy. Usually that involved tempera paints, as that’s what we used a lot of then.
When we got older we made it habit to put on something we didn’t mind getting paint on. Of course, I’m here to talk about what to do when you get paint on clothing you do care about. First things first….how easy or difficult it will be will depend on a few things – how freshly the stain happened, and what type of paint got spilled.
Getting Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes
Let’s start with acrylics since I use those the most. Because acrylics dry so expediently, you have to act just as quickly in tackling it! Here’s what I did when I last had one of those “Murphy’s Law’s ” happen to me.
And yes, I am doing a demo for your right now, a la those carpet cleaner demos, lol in which I intentionally dropped a little paint on this swatch of fabric to recreate what I did and show you how this works 🙂
First, I grabbed a paper towel and proceeded to wipe off the stain. Then I repeated it depending on how much got spilled. A hard tool though , like a plastic knife, works the best in scraping off the loose paint.
I made a beeline for the sink and rinsed out what I could of the stain. Next, I reached for a bottle of rubbing alcohol, as per some advice I’d gotten from somewhere, yep, that very stuff you may have in your medicine cabinet, and poured some of it onto the stain.
I took the garment and rubbed it in, then I got a flat hard object, most likely a plastic knife. In this case, I was out of those and I ended up grabbing one of my clay sculpting tools, using it to lift off the residue.
Much to my surprise, it worked! Rubbing alcohol, like acetone nail polish remover, is made to tackle paint.
Lastly, I rinsed it out and then hung it somewhere to dry. Try it! Check to make sure you have either a bottle of acetone or rubbing alcohol in your nearby cabinet.
Getting Oil-Based Paint Out
Now if the unfortunate accident involves paint that is oil based, you may have an easier time getting it out. That’s one thing I always liked when comparing oils to acrylics – with oil based paint, time is on your side and a little turp is all you need to tackle the stain.
Dab some turpentine on the stain and follow the procedure above with water based paint. Get a few paper towels and fold, and place under the stained area to absorb the residue and prevent it from spreading.
Can You Get Dried Paint Out?
Just like when you are cleaning brushes -getting to it before it dries makes this easier. Now the million dollar question. Yes and no. It depends on how long ago the spill happened, in addition to the paint makeup. If it’s acrylics, you may be sol, but if it is oil, you may be in luck and the procedure in the paragraph above should help.
Ok, so let’s just say, worst case scenario, the stain is permanent. Now what??
Don’t lose hope yet! I remember in the early 90s the splatter paint craze was going on and I was able to up-cycle a sullied tee into a piece of wearable art. Yeah, I know that was a different time 😁 You could dye the garment, re-cycle it into a cleaning cloth, OR…if nothing else, you can do what I did, if we’re talking about a small spot or two:
Take this tshirt for example; it had a drop on it right near the v-neck, and that is hard to hide. I was very irked. But I had an ace up my sleeve….I ended up sewing on some decorative buttons – one to hide the spot and the others in a pattern, and this is someone who hates sewing. But did it work? You bet!
Nevertheless, you know know all about the in’s and out’s of getting paint out of clothing AND how to do it with a smile. Just follow the guidelines above to determine if the paint is removable in the first place AND then proceed. But if it’s not, perhaps a creative hack like the one I found could save the day??