Fabric paint stains can be frustrating, but with the right techniques, you can remove fabric paint from clothing and other textiles. In this complete guide, we’ll cover how to get fabric paint out of clothes using household items. We’ll also provide tips to avoid stains when using fabric paint in the first place.
What Type Of Fabric Paint Are You Removing?
The first step is identifying what type of fabric paint you need to remove, as the removal method can vary:
Acrylic Craft Paint
This is a thick, opaque paint that’s commonly used for clothing embellishments and crafts. It’s water-based but becomes permanent once dry.
Fabric Paint Pens
These paint pens are specifically designed for fabric with permanent acrylic paint formulas. The ink is opaque and dries quickly.
Fabric dye chemically binds to fabric fibers to create a color change. This type of dye is challenging to remove once absorbed into the fabric.
Fabric markers contain quick-drying ink that’s designed to work on fabric. The ink is semi-permanent and can be reactivated with water.
How To Remove Fabric Paint From Clothes
Below are methods to remove each type of fabric paint from clothing and textiles:
Acrylic Craft Paint Removal
For dried acrylic paint:
- Rub the stain with isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will break down the dried paint.
- Use an old toothbrush and rub the alcohol into the stain. The bristles will help loosen the paint.
- Rinse the fabric under running water.
- Repeat as needed until the paint is gone.
For wet acrylic paint:
- Run the fabric under cold water before the paint fully dries.
- Gently blot the stain with a paper towel or clean rag. Avoid rubbing, which can push the paint further into the fabric.
- Spray dish soap directly on the stain and scrub with a soft-bristle brush.
- Rinse under cold water until the soap is removed.
- Allow to fully dry, then repeat if needed. The paint should lift while still wet.
Fabric Paint Pen Removal
- Apply hairspray liberally to the stain. Let it sit for a minute.
- Scrub the stain with an old toothbrush.
- Rinse with cold water.
- Rub liquid laundry detergent into the stain and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Wash in the washing machine on a cold cycle. Air dry.
Fabric Dye Removal
Unfortunately, once absorbed by the fibers, removing fabric dye is extremely difficult. But you can try:
- Rubbing alcohol – Soak the stain and blot.
- Bleach – Use on white fabrics only and rinse thoroughly.
- Color remover solution – Follow product instructions.
- Take to a professional cleaner.
Fabric Marker Removal
- Wet a clean rag with cold water.
- Rub the marker stain with the wet rag to reactivate and transfer ink.
- Rinse under cold water.
- Rub a small amount of dish soap and scrub.
- Wash in the washing machine.
Tips To Avoid Fabric Paint Stains
The easiest way to avoid the hassle of removing dried fabric paint is by taking precautions when using it:
Wear an apron or smock – Protect your clothing by wearing something overtop. An old shirt works too.
Cover your work surface – Use an old tablecloth or newspapers to prevent paint drips.
Blot excess paint – Don’t allow paint to saturate the fabric. Blot brushes before applying paint.
Heat set – Heat setting with an iron will permanently bind acrylic paint to fabric. Do this before washing.
Wash alone – After heat setting, wash the painted item separately to avoid staining other clothes.
Use short wash cycles – Short, gentle cycles will be less likely to damage painted fabric.
See below for step-by-step instructions on removing specific types of dried fabric paint from clothing:
Acrylic Craft Paint Stain Removal
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Old toothbrush
- Paper towels
- Soft-bristle scrub brush (optional)
- Laundry detergent (optional)
Apply a generous amount of isopropyl alcohol directly onto the dried paint stain. Let it sit for a minute.
Use an old toothbrush to scrub the alcohol into the stain. Apply light pressure and work in circular motions.
Blot the stain with a paper towel. Check to see if the paint has lifted.
Rinse the clothing under cold running water. Hang or lay flat to dry.
If paint remains, repeat steps 1-4 until it has been removed.
For stubborn stains, apply laundry detergent and scrub with a soft brush after rinsing the alcohol.
Wash normally once the stain is gone.
Fabric Paint Pen Stain Removal
- Old toothbrush
- Dish soap
- Paper towels
- Cold water
- Washing machine
Spray hairspray liberally over the paint pen stain. Make sure it’s completely saturated.
Let the hairspray sit for 1 minute to penetrate the stain.
Use an old toothbrush to vigorously scrub the stained area. Apply pressure as you scrub.
Rinse the clothing with cold water until the hairspray is removed.
Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap directly onto the stain. Gently rub it in.
Let the dish soap sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. This will help lift the stain.
Rinse the clothing again until all soap residue is gone.
Wash the item alone in the washing machine, using a cold cycle.
Air dry the clothing and check if the stain has lifted. Repeat if needed.
Fabric Marker Stain Removal
- Clean rags
- Cold water
- Dish soap
- Washing machine
Run a clean rag under cold water until damp.
Gently dab the stained area with the wet rag. Apply light pressure to lift the ink.
Check the rag frequently for ink transfer and rinse when needed. Repeat until no more ink lifts.
Rinse the clothing under cold water to remove any residual ink.
Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain. Gently scrub with your finger or a toothbrush.
Rinse the clothing again until all soap is removed.
Wash the item normally in the washing machine. Air dry.
Inspect the stain and repeat steps if needed. Heavy stains may require repeating the process.
What household items remove dried acrylic paint?
Isopropyl alcohol is highly effective at breaking down dried acrylic paint on fabric. For tough stains, toothbrushes and laundry detergent can also be helpful for scrubbing it out.
Does hairspray remove fabric paint pen stains?
Yes! Hairspray is an inexpensive and handy solution for removing stubborn fabric paint pen stains. The alcohol in hairspray dissolves the pigments. Follow up with dish soap and washing to get the paint entirely out.
How do you get dye or ink out of fabric?
For dye stains, try rubbing alcohol, bleach (for white fabrics), or a color removing solution. For ink stains, dampening the fabric helps reactivate and lift the ink so it can be blotted away. Then wash with dish soap. Prompt action is best before it sets.
What is the best way to wash a painted garment?
Hand wash or use gentle cycles. Wash the painted item separately from other clothes, at least the first time, in case there is residual paint. Hang dry or tumble dry on low. Repeated washings will not fade quality acrylic paint.
How do you heat set fabric paint?
After painting the fabric, cover with parchment paper or a cloth. Iron using a medium-high setting, moving slowly over the surface for 2-3 minutes. Avoid ironing directly on painted fabrics. The heat permanently binds the paint to the fibers.
Removing fabric paint doesn’t have to result in a ruined garment. With some household supplies and elbow grease, stains can usually be lifted. The key is taking action while the paint is still fresh. When working carefully and sealing properly, you can create beautiful painted fabrics that will hold up to washing.
Summary of key points:
- Identify the type of paint (acrylic, dye, marker) to choose the right removal method
- Act quickly while paint is still wet by rinsing, blotting, or scrubbing with dish soap
- Use isopropyl alcohol, hairspray, or water to dissolve dried acrylic, pen, and marker paints
- Heat set properly after painting and before washing
- Take precautions by wearing an apron, covering surfaces, and washing separately
With the techniques in this guide, you can now remove fabric paint stains and avoid future headaches!