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How To Get Spray Paint Off Clothes? (Complete Guide)

How To Get Spray Paint Off Clothes

Getting spray paint on your clothes can be annoying and frustrating. If left untreated, it can leave permanent stains and ruin your garments. The good news is that there are several effective methods for removing spray paint from fabric.

This comprehensive guide will provide step-by-step instructions for getting spray paint out of clothes using household items. We’ll also cover tips for prevention and what to do for old, dried-on stains.

What You’ll Need

Before starting the removal process, gather the following supplies:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Baby wipes
  • Paper towels
  • An old toothbrush
  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cotton balls
  • Bucket for pretreating
  • Washing machine

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these methods carefully depending on the fabric type and if the paint is still wet or dried.

Method 1: Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works well for semi-wet stains on sturdy fabrics like denim, canvas, cotton, and polyester. Avoid using it on more delicate materials like silk or wool.

Instructions:

  1. Check the care label and test a small inconspicuous area first.
  2. Lay the clothing flat on a towel.
  3. Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol.
  4. Gently dab and rub the stained area, repeating as needed.
  5. Rinse with cool water and launder as usual.

Method 2: Nail Polish Remover (Acetone)

Nail Polish Remover (Acetone)

For fresh spray paint on durable fabrics, acetone-based nail polish remover can help dissolve and lift it. Use 100% pure acetone, not the “nourishing” types with oils.

Instructions:

  1. Spot test first. Acetone may damage certain fabrics.
  2. Lay the garment flat.
  3. Dip a cotton ball in the acetone and gently dab the stain.
  4. Check frequently and re-dip as needed.
  5. Once paint is removed, rinse thoroughly.
  6. Wash on a regular cycle.

Method 3: Baby Wipes

Baby Wipes

For semi-dry stains, baby wipes provide an easy cleaning hack. The emollients help loosen paint while the texture lifts it up.

Instructions:

  1. Lay the clothing on a flat surface.
  2. Gently rub the stain using circular motions with an unscented baby wipe.
  3. Check progress frequently and use a new wipe as needed.
  4. Once paint is removed, launder as usual.
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Method 4: Baking Soda Paste

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is a versatile household staple for removing all kinds of stains. Mix it with water to make a gently abrasive paste.

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, stir together baking soda and water to form a spreadable paste.
  2. Thoroughly coat the stain, rubbing the paste in with an old toothbrush.
  3. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. For dried paint, leave overnight.
  4. Rinse with cool water and wash normally.

Method 5: Vinegar Soak

Vinegar Soak

For delicate fabrics, try soaking in a vinegar solution to loosen spray paint. White distilled vinegar works best.

Instructions:

  1. Fill a bucket with 2 parts cool water and 1 part white vinegar.
  2. Submerge the stained garment and let soak for at least an hour.
  3. Check and gently agitate periodically with tongs.
  4. Rinse thoroughly and wash with detergent.

Method 6: Dish Soap and Warm Water

Dish Soap and Warm Water

One of the simplest ways to remove fresh spray paint stains is using dish soap and warm water. The surfactants in the soap help break down the paint.

Instructions:

  1. Mix a few squirts of dish soap into a bowl of warm water.
  2. Soak a clean cloth in the solution.
  3. Gently dab the stain repeatedly, re-dipping the cloth as needed.
  4. Once paint is removed, rinse and launder as usual.

Method 7: Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleach that can help lift spray paint off of white fabrics. Avoid using it on colors, as it may discolor or lighten the dye.

Instructions:

  1. Check that the garment is white and the care label permits bleach.
  2. Apply hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes, monitoring closely.
  4. Rinse and wash immediately afterward.

Method 8: Laundry Detergent

Laundry Detergent

For dried-on stains, laundry detergent can help loosen and lift away spray paint embedded in the fibers. Use an enzyme-based formula.

Instructions:

  1. Check care label instructions first.
  2. Pretreat the stain: rub concentrated detergent directly on the spot and let sit.
  3. Wash on the hottest water setting allowed for the fabric.
  4. Air dry in sunlight to help further bleach the stain.
  5. Repeat as needed.
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Tips for Old or Stubborn Stains

For spray paint that has dried and set into fabric, getting it out can be more difficult. Here are some extra tips:

  • Soak in hot water before attempting any removal method to loosen the bond.
  • Use a dull knife or spoon to gently scrape off thick layers of dried paint.
  • Try repeating the baking soda paste method several times, letting it fully dry between applications. The abrasion helps flake off paint.
  • Use laundry detergent containing enzymes and oxygen bleach for extra lifting power.
  • Wash in very hot water and dry in full sunlight to further bleach and fade.
  • Consider taking it to a professional cleaner for stronger chemical agents if DIY methods don’t work.

Preventing Future Stains

The best way to handle spray paint stains is to avoid them completely. Here are some tips for keeping your clothes paint-free while using aerosol cans:

  • Wear old clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting messy. An oversized button-down shirt makes a good smock.
  • Cover furniture, floors, and other surfaces with a drop cloth. Tape down the edges.
  • Work outside if possible for maximum ventilation.
  • Position the object you’re painting so spray will not drift onto your clothing.
  • Attach cardboard or paper guides to divert excess paint.
  • Keep a spray bottle of soapy water or thinner handy to immediately treat drips.
  • Remove clothing immediately if paint gets on it so it does not set in.
  • Have cleaning supplies ready to go for any mishaps.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can spray paint be removed from all fabric types?

No, some delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and dry-clean-only material may be irreversibly damaged by paint removers. Always spot test first. Acetone and other solvents could dissolve the fibers. When in doubt, take it to a professional cleaner.

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2. What kind of spray paint is easiest to remove from clothes?

Latex-based spray paints are the easiest to wash out of fabric compared to oil-based enamels, which set permanently. Soft, flexible acrylic paint also comes out better than hard lacquer finish types.

3. What temperature water should be used?

For most methods, cool to barely warm water is recommended to prevent setting in stains. Very hot water can make paint harder to remove. An exception is using laundry detergent on dried stains – the hottest setting safe for the fabric helps lift it.

4. Can spray paint cause damage even after being removed?

It’s possible for some fabrics. Paint removers and aggressive scrubbing can weaken or alter the texture. Acetone can dissolve man-made fibers if left too long. Stains release dye, causing discoloration. Always treat stains immediately before drying.

5. What home remedies should be avoided?

Avoid bleach, WD-40, turpentine, and gasoline, as they can create permanent stains or damage. Don’t use a hair dryer to try to heat and lift paint – it will just set it in. Avoid scrubbing aggressively with rough materials.

Conclusion

Dealing with spray paint on clothing takes patience, but stains can usually be removed with common household products. The key is treating them immediately before they have a chance to dry and bond to the fibers. With the right methods and care, you can get your clothes looking fresh and paint-free again.

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