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How do I remove paint stains from clothes?


How do I remove paint stains from clothes?

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Question: How do I remove paint stains from clothes?


Paint stains can be water-based paint (latex) or oil-based paint. With either type of paint, follow the steps to remove the paint before it dries. If you can't treat it right away, keep the area wet until you can. These techniques are for washable fabrics. For dry-clean only garments or home accessories, take to a reputable cleaner immediately.

Latex Paint

On the wrong side of the fabric, flush the paint from the fibers with a forceful stream of warm water. Next, work a solution of laundry detergent and water into the stain, soaping and rinsing until the stain is removed. You may need to repeat several times. Then launder the garment as usual.

If the paint has dried, try a commercial paint remover like OOPS!. Follow instructions carefully.

On tightly woven fabrics, you may be able to remove the paint with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Use a cotton swab and work from the outside of the stain toward the inside. Use a dull knife or the edge of a credit card to gently scrape away the paint. This works best on "new" paint stains that have not been set by heat.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paint must be removed while it is wet. If it dries, it is nearly impossible to remove. So, keep it wet until you can start cleaning.

If the paint can lists a paint thinner to use, start with that or some turpentine. Working from the back of the fabric, place the stain over a thick pad of paper towels or old white rags. Wet the area with paint thinner and tap the area with an old spoon or scrub brush to force the paint out. Keep changing the paper towels underneath to a clean area as paint is absorbed into the towels. Be patient, this will take time.

Once the paint is removed, saturate the area with detergent and work it in well. Submerge the stain into the hottest water temperature recommended for the fabric and let it soak overnight. Scrub again with some detergent and launder as usual.

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