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How to remove paint stains

Got a paint stain to clean up? Read here for instructions on how to remove paint stains from clothes and other surfaces.

It happens to everyone at some point: you’re repainting a wall, or doing some crafts with the kids, and a paint stain appears on your clothes or table. Think your favourite shirt or expensive furniture has been ruined? Think again! Here, we’ll take you through how to remove paint stains from clothes and surfaces.

 

Work fast

The best time to remove paint stains from clothes is immediately as it’s easiest to get rid of a paint stain whilst the paint is still wet, so here are those all-important first steps:

 

  • Gently scrape the paint away from the fabric or surface, using something easy to clean. A lolly stick, a butter knife, or a plastic spoon will all do the job.
  • Put a little clean water over the paint stain. This will keep it moist and make it easier to loosen later.
  • If it’s on your clothes, remove that item if you can. It’s not essential, but it’s more comfortable than walking around with a damp patch on your clothing!

 

How to remove a craft paint stain

Craft paints, which are usually water-based, should follow these instructions:

 

  1. Turn the item of clothing inside out.
  2. Run the affected area under cold water – hot water may set the stain.
  3. Repeat step 2 until most of the paint is gone.
  4. Pre-treat the remaining stain with a detergent like Surf excel liquid – dab on and rub in gently.
  5. Wash the clothing as normal, on the maximum temperature allowed, and repeat as necessary to remove fabric stains from clothes

 

How to remove an acrylic or oil paint stain

The question of how to remove paint stains gets a little more complicated with acrylic or oil-based paints as they are harder to remove.

 

  1. Lay the clothing on a clean cloth or piece of kitchen paper, with the stain facing down.
  2. Dab gently on the back of the stain with a cloth soaked in paint stain remover, white spirit, or turpentine. Remember to check the clothing label first to avoid damage.
  3. Once you start to see paint coming off, apply a little liquid detergent to the stain.
  4. Use a cotton bud or an old toothbrush to gently rub it in, then leave it to soak for a few hours in the hottest water the label recommends.
  5. After that, wash it as normal – also at the maximum temperature allowed. Repeat steps 3-5 as necessary until all the stain is removed. Do not allow the clothing to dry in between washes as this can make the stain harder to remove.

 

How to remove paint stains from surfaces

With other materials and surfaces, you should (again) try to remove the excess paint whilst it’s still wet. Simply wipe up with a cloth and a little cold water and then dry thoroughly.

 

For dried paint stains, you can try to scrap it away with a spoon or spatula but make sure you take care and try this method on a small area first in case of damage. You can also try using a reliable cleaner like Sunlight or Rin to get rid of anything that’s left behind by applying it to the area with a clean cloth and a little water and rubbing gently.

 

A paint stain needn’t be the end of the world – or whatever’s been stained, for that matter. It’s easy to learn how to remove paint stains from clothes and surfaces, and we hope these tips have helped you out.

Key Steps

  • If you want the best advice on how to remove paint stains, the most important thing is to act as soon as possible. Ideally, try to remove the paint while it’s still wet.
  • Check paint packaging for ingredients and brush cleaning instructions.
  • Check clothing labels for wash temperatures and chemical warnings.

Top Tip


Some types of paint stain remover are unsuitable for particular fabrics and surfaces – especially delicates or synthetics. Always check the label first.

Check the packaging!


To remove paint stains from clothes, it’s important to know what you’re working with. Water-based substances are much easier to remove than oil-based substances so always look at the paint label before trying a cleaning method.