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10 Ways to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

If you’re an artist or novice DIYer, then you’re probably no stranger to the types of messes that can be made when working with paints and other difficult-to-remove materials. Unfortunately, one of the most common types of messes is getting acrylic paint on your clothes.

Usually, when this happens, it’s a disaster – the paint has dried in before you even realize what happened! Don’t worry though; we’ve got some helpful information so that your clothing won’t become art permanently. In this blog post, we’ll walk through step by step how to get acrylic paint out of clothes as quickly and effectively as possible.

Are Acrylic Paint Stains Permanent on Clothes?

Are Acrylic Paint Stains Permanent on Clothes

It is a common misconception that acrylic paint stains are permanent on clothes. Fortunately, the truth is far more forgiving! Generally speaking, this type of paint is water-based, which means it’s easy to remove with the right technique.

New stains can often be partially removed while they’re still wet with a damp cloth or paper towel, making them much easier to take care of than when they dry.  The longer those colorful particles have time to trance into the fibers of your clothes, the harder they’ll be to take out.

Cleaning supplies such as rubbing alcohol, acetone, and denatured alcohol have all proven to be effective in treating these stains, but some desperate measures may be called for depending on how set in the stain has become.

How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes: 10 Methods That Work

Whether you accidentally let a brushstroke fly during an arts and crafts session or tipped over a bottle of paint in the laundry, these 10 methods could possibly save your clothing from an otherwise unfortunate fate.

Isopropyl Alcohol Method

Isopropyl Alcohol Method

Isopropyl alcohol is the go-to solution for many when it comes to removing acrylic paint from fabrics. That’s because its chemical properties bind with the acrylic pigment in the paint, making it easier to remove.

  1. Start by soaking or saturating the area completely with a good amount of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Once the stain has been sufficiently soaked, use a flat object to scrape off whatever you can of the paint from your garment.
  3. Make sure to move the object in the direction of the weave for best results – back and forth motions should do the trick nicely!
  4. After that, put it into the washing machine on the right cycle, press start and relax.
  5. If necessary, simply put garments through the cleaning process again to ensure all paint residue is gone.

Acetone Method

Acetone Method

Acetone can be found in most commercial nail polish removers and is one of the strongest solvents available for removing acrylic paint from clothing. Its effects on acrylic paint are almost instant, as it breaks down the paint’s molecules, making them easy to wipe away without staining or damaging the fabric underneath.

  1. Use cotton balls or a clean rag and soak them in acetone, then carefully dab the affected region on your clothes.
  2. Give the liquid some time to do its thing, and then rinse off under cool water; this will help clear away any remaining residue of the acetone.
  3. Don’t overuse this method – if you’re not happy with the results, try something else.
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It’s important to use acetone with caution as it can act as a degreaser and weaken fabrics that are not specifically designed to be resistant to its reaction.

Dishwashing Liquid Method

Dishwashing Liquid Method

Acrylic paint is water soluble, so mixing a bit of detergent with some warm water and scrubbing the fabric with a soft brush or old toothbrush should do the trick of getting it out. Not only is it inexpensive and convenient, but this method is also arguably one of the most effective for removing acrylic paint from clothing.

  1. To start things off, turn the item inside out, especially in the area with the stain.
  2. You can then rinse that area with some warm running water to remove as much paint as you can.
  3. Whip up a simple solution of 1 part warm water and 1 part dish wash liquid.
  4. Grab a sponge or cloth, immerse it in the mixture, and start swabbing vigorously where the stain is. Don’t rub too hard, as this could cause it to spread even further.
  5. Once you’re done scrubbing, give it a quick rinse with some water. You might need to repeat this process for stubborn stains.

Vinegar and Ammonia Method

Vinegar and Ammonia Method

This combination works because ammonia breaks down the acrylic particles while vinegar lifts them off the cloth, allowing you to remove the hardened pigment quickly and easily. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Start by pre-treating the fabric with cold water and soaking it for a couple of minutes.
  2. Then mix up a solution of vinegar, ammonia, and salt in a bowl – all you need is one cup of each ingredient, plus a pinch of salt.
  3. Keep in mind not to just pour the liquid directly onto the garment.
  4. Grab a sponge or another item, soak it in the solution, and use that to scrub at the stain. Keep scrubbing until the stain is gone.

Hair Spray Method

Hair Spray Method

Put simply, hair spray breaks down the acrylic polymer molecules into smaller particles that can dissolve in water and wash out more easily. It won’t work in all cases but is a simple yet effective first line of defense before reaching for any commercial stain remover solutions.

  1. Apply some of the spray onto a clean cloth or sponge and gently dab it onto the affected area.
  2. Don’t be too aggressive as this can spread the stain.
  3. Afterward, do a regular wash and dry cycle.

Baking Soda Method

Baking soda works to get out acrylic paint due to its absorbent properties. The powder helps to lift the oily texture of acrylic paint away from the clothes, making it easier for you to get them sparkling again. Here’s what to do:

  1. For best results, mix one cup of water, one tablespoon of detergent, and one tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl.
  2. For extra stain-fighting power, drop some dishwashing liquid and alcohol in the mix too.
  3. Then submerge the stained clothing in the mixture for about 10 minutes. Afterward, voila! Your garment should be free of acrylic paint stains.
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Commercial Stain Remover Method

Commercial Stain Remover Method

The commercial stain remover is an excellent way to remove acrylic paint from clothes. Not only does it quickly break down the paint on the surface of a fabric, but it also seeps deep into the weave of a garment to lift out residual color particles and protect against any residue left behind.

  1. To achieve the best results, spray some stain remover onto the stained area of your garment and let it soak for as long as 24 hours.
  2. Once done soaking, try using a mild laundry detergent and wash as usual.

Don’t forget to do an initial spot check on a small area before treating your entire outfit with a commercial stain remover.

Denatured Alcohol Method

Denatured Alcohol Method

Denatured Alcohol is a form of ethanol that has toxic ingredients added to it, which make it undrinkable and unfit for human consumption. While not suitable for drinking, it’s great for tackling unsightly stains from acrylic paints on clothes!

  1. Start by dipping the cotton ball into the denatured alcohol and carefully dabbing the stain.
  2. Once done, soak with some soap and water.
  3. Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.

Paint Thinner Method

Paint Thinner Method

While it may seem counterintuitive, paint thinner is actually great at dissolving the acrylic paint and making it easier to get out of clothing fibers. Paint thinner works by removing the binding agents that hold the paint together and dissolving the paint pigments.

  1. Before beginning, slip a piece of cardboard beneath the stained area to prevent any accidental splatters or extra paint transfer.
  2. Then dip a rag into the paint thinner and carefully dab at the stain.
  3. Be sure to switch out your rag for a clean one every time it begins to pick up more pigment.
  4. For tough stains, apply a liberal amount of the paint thinner directly onto the fabric and gently scrub it with a toothbrush.
  5. Wash and dry as usual.

Window Cleaner Method

Window Cleaner Method

Window cleaner is an inexpensive and versatile cleaning solution, and to our surprise, it can be used to save those precious clothes from acrylic paint misadventures! It works because it contains surfactants like ammonia, which can break up the molecules in the acrylic paint and dissolve them.

  1. Start by taking a colorless formula and spraying the stained area with enough cleaner to dampen it.
  2. Let it sit in the cleaner for around 10-15 minutes.
  3. Throw the garment in the washing machine and dryer as usual.

5 Extra Tips for Getting Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

Acrylic paint can, unfortunately, be a real pain to try and remove from clothing. Follow these tips for better results:

  • Act quickly! As soon as you discover that the paint has spilled or been smeared on something, pounce on the issue and begin attempting to remove it.
  • Always do a spot test in a hidden area first, since some fabrics don’t react well to certain cleaning methods.
  • Never put a piece of clothing that has been stained with acrylic paint into an automatic dryer.
  • Keep that fabric damp, as this will make it easier and simpler to remove the paint.
  • Under no circumstances should you try to iron clothes with paint stains on them. The heat of the iron will solidify the stain, ensuring that it is so much more difficult (if not impossible) to get out.
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With these tips in mind, acrylic paint removal no longer needs to seem like an intimidating task.

How to Prevent Acrylic Paint Stains on Your Clothes

To avoid the nightmare of having to deal with the grim reminder of your artistic endeavors, here are some tips to help you prevent acrylic paint stains:

  • First, make sure you always wear an apron or even an old shirt as a smock – tie it at the back tightly so it doesn’t budge from any quick brush strokes.
  • Also, protect your surface area – newspaper, plastic sheeting…whatever works for you!
  • Finally, washing up as soon as you’re done painting will go a long way in keeping stains off clothes and other materials.

Staying prepared and cleaning up after projects are both key factors in preventing any stains on clothes.

Final Thoughts

Trying to get acrylic paint out of your clothes and failing can be a real stresser. But with the methods and tips we’ve provided, you don’t have to worry about losing your favorite shirt or that beloved pair of jeans.

Whether it’s rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, laundry detergent, or good old-fashioned soap in hot water – there’s hope when it comes to getting the paint out! Taking quick action is key so that the paint doesn’t set permanently into the fabric. Good luck cleaning!


Does hand sanitizer remove paint from clothes?

While hand sanitizer contains some alcohol, which can help to degrease the spots and lighten them somewhat, it’s not a real solution. In the short term, it may be able to provide some relief, but do not rely on it as your only method of removing paint, or else you may find yourself with an unwearable wardrobe.

Does WD 40 get paint out of clothes?

While WD 40 can help to remove some tougher dried stains, it’s best used as a last resort. It may be effective at loosening up some of the paint from the fabric, but this could also lead to further discoloration and damage. As with any stain removal efforts, test it first in an inconspicuous area of the garment before tackling it on the stained area.

Can acrylic paint be washed off with water?

Acrylic paint can be washed off with water, but only if it is still wet. Once it has had time to dry and set, all water-based attempts to remove it will only further embed the color into whatever surface you are trying to scrub it from. The general rule of thumb is that if you have a chance to remove the acrylic paint while it is still wet and before any cleaning solutions come into play, then you should go for it.

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Tuesday 16th of April 2024

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Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

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