We’ve all been through that atrocious moment when a paint stain falls on a garment in good condition. In this situation, it is normal to panic, after all the clothes will strongly absorb the paint to the point of drying and not letting the stain come out. If you want to remove paint on a wall, you will need to resort to abrasive cleaners, and this is not an option with clothing. But don’t worry, as today you can learn how to remove paint from clothes without tearing them in the process.
When working with paint, it is normal to wear worn clothes that can get dirty without problems, after all, a drop will inevitably splash on us. However, sometimes we forget this and we wear clothes in good condition. It may even happen that at the end of painting we lean on the still wet wall. No matter how the stain has arrived, what is relevant is being able to remove it.
Analyze what you are facing
Before getting paint out of clothes, you should know what type of paint you must remove. Not all of them react the same way to certain compounds, and you may end up making the situation worse.
There are two types of paints that are used depending on the job: water-based and oil-based. These are subdivided into other categories.
- Water-based: they can be acrylic or latex. Acrylic paint is not that sturdy, so it is used to paint works of art and other crafts. Latex paint is stronger, making it perfect for walls and ceilings.
- Oil-based: due to their composition, these paints are brighter when drying. Also, they can be applied to a large number of materials without the risk of being erased, such as metal, wood, plastic, etc.
You should also consider that not all fabrics are resistant to these treatments. You may know how to get paint out of jeans, but the technique used for them is not the same for cotton.
Test in a small area if the method you are going to use damages the garment. If you see signs of wear, then discard it.
When cleaning, start using the least damaging and drastic method, and gradually increase aggressiveness only if the previous one did nothing. It is not recommended to use the most powerful tools first because they could damage the garment instead of cleaning it, and these are generally more expensive.
Most cleaning alternatives should not cause damage, but be aware that this risk will always exist when removing paint from clothes.
How to remove paint from clothes – Dry or wet paint?
It will always be best to try to remove a stain while it is still wet. This is especially true with oil-based paints.
Once dry, you will most likely have to scrape the stain to remove the excess before trying to wash it. You can do this using a butter knife or a dull knife, or another similar utensil that has a thin edge.
You can try to dilute water-based paint even when dry, although it will not work in all cases.
How to remove paint from clothes – Water-based paints
There is a high possibility that the paint you used was acrylic or latex; after all, they are the most common options for decorating walls. If it was one of these, the most important thing is to be fast in the cleaning. This type of paint can be cleaned without leaving residue when it is still wet.
Place your garment on a clean cloth or paper towel to prevent paint from running through it, and try to remove as much of the stain as possible with another absorbent towel, pressing from above. As you clean, you must move the material that you placed under the garment so that it can continue absorbing paint.
If this is not enough for removing acrylic paint from clothes, moisten a cloth with liquid detergent and rub the stain. It is rare to use a very powerful detergent, but if you are going to work on a delicate fabric, such as silk, it is recommended that you dilute it slightly with some water.
You can use liquid dish soap on white clothes as a substitute. Regardless of the detergent you use, you should apply it to the garment until it foams. Rinse with plenty of water and dry with a clean cloth that you have not used before.
When detergents are not enough, you can try alcohol. Before applying, you should wet the stain with warm water to make it easier to remove. Do not pour alcohol directly on the garment; use a rag, a piece of cotton, or an old toothbrush to apply it.
Now you need to know how to get dry paint out of clothes. Acrylic paint should solidify into a kind of homogeneous powder. You can scrape it off using a butter knife.
Another homemade solution to deal with dry paint is to try to remove it with tape. As if it were a waxing, place the tape on the stain and lift it off.
Whether you managed to remove most of the stain with alcohol, detergent, or using a knife, the next thing to do is simply wash your clothes as you normally would to remove the residue. Wash the garment as many times as necessary until the stain completely disappears.
This should be enough to remove acrylic paint from clothes, but if all else fails, it is best to go to a dry cleaner to try to save the garment.
How to remove paint from clothes – Oil-based paints
While oil-based paint is not as popular as its water-based counterpart, you will still find it on many surfaces due to its strength and glossy finish. Furthermore, these paintings are easily identifiable because they are thick, almost solid.
The problem is that this resistance means that it is also more difficult to remove if it falls on the clothes, but it does not mean that it is impossible. The following tips are perfect for those people who do crafts constantly.
If you are not sure if the stain was caused by an oil-based paint, check its packaging. Never try to use water to clean this type of paint or you will create a real disaster.
When the paint stain is thick, the first thing you should do is remove as much excess as possible to leave a thin layer on the garment. Use a worn but clean cloth for this.
All oil-based paints have one thing in common: they can be diluted with a solvent. Manufacturers tend to indicate which is the appropriate solvent to eliminate it in the packaging. However, some universal options should work with most paints even if they don’t appear in the recommendations.
Distilled turpentine is one of these universal options. As long as the garment you are cleaning is not made of acetate, rayon, or triacetate, you can use it to clean the stain. The best thing is that it is easy to get at hardware stores and paint stores.
Removing oil-based paint from clothes using a solvent is an easy process. Preferably using gloves, grab a dry cloth and pour a little of the diluent on it. Just rub the rag on the garment until the stain comes off.
You will then need to soak your garment overnight. This will be done using water at the highest temperature that the fabric can resist, and previously applying a bit of liquid dish soap on the stain.
If the stain has not yet disappeared the next morning, prevent the garment from drying and repeat the process. This time apply a stain remover to help the solvent. Soak it again overnight.
Now you know how to remove paint from clothes. If all else fails, it is best to take the clothes to a dry cleaner to avoid damaging them by applying stronger solvents.
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