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How to Get Paint Out of Carpet & Clothes

The occasional paint splatter often winds up on your clothes or carpet. Here's how you can minimize the damage and salvage your carpet and clothing.


  • Step 1: Blot the stain Scrape the paint off of the fabric or carpet. In a bucket, mix 1 cup warm water with a teaspoon of liquid detergent. Wet a clean rag in the cleaning solution and blot the paint spot firmly. Rinse and repeat as needed.
  • TIP: Latex paint contains pigment and polymer resins, which dye fabric fibers upon drying. It's essential to remove the paint splatters before they dry.
  • Step 2: Use vinegar Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to 10 parts water and lightly dab the paint with a sponge if a stain still remains. Rinse with clean water and repeat as needed.
  • TIP: Before using, test any cleaning product on a small, unnoticeable area of the fabric or carpet to make sure it won't cause damage.
  • Step 3: Use acetone Use acetone if the stain remains. Apply a small amount to the paint and blot or rub lightly with a rag. Don't use acetone on fabrics containing acetate or triacetate -- it will melt the fabric fibers.
  • Step 4: Use a steam cleaner Use a steam cleaner for larger spills and splatters on your carpet. The hot water will loosen the paint and the vacuum will extract it. You may have to go over the spill several times in order to completely remove the stain.
  • Step 5: Use a commercial paint remover Use a commercial paint remover from your local hardware store. Such products may also work on oil-based paint as well as surfaces other than carpet and clothing.
  • FACT: Semi-precious stones, such as malachite and lapis lazuli, were ground up and used as paint pigments in the Medieval Era.

You Will Need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Liquid detergent
  • Rag
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Acetone
  • Steam cleaner
  • Commercial paint remover

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