How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes

Accidents happen, especially when working with acrylic paint. If you’ve accidentally splattered or spilled paint on your favorite clothing, don’t worry! With the right approach, you can effectively remove acrylic paint from your clothes.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to help you restore your garments to their original condition.

Understanding Acrylic Paint Removal

Acrylic paint is popular due to its versatility and vibrant colors. It’s water-based, which means it can be dissolved in water when wet. However, once it dries, acrylic paint becomes water-resistant and forms a plastic-like layer that adheres strongly to fabric fibers. This characteristic makes dried acrylic paint more challenging to remove than wet paint. The key to successfully removing acrylic paint is to act quickly before it fully sets into the fibers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Acrylic Paint from Clothes

Act Quickly

Time is of the essence when dealing with acrylic paint stains. The longer the paint sits on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove.

As soon as you notice the spill, take immediate action to prevent the paint from drying and setting into the fibers of your clothing.

Remove Excess Paint

Gently scrape off any excess paint using a spoon, a dull knife, or even the edge of a credit card. Be careful not to spread the paint further or push it deeper into the fabric.

Removing as much excess paint as possible will make the subsequent cleaning steps more effective.

Rinse with Cold Water

Turn the garment inside out and hold the stained area under cold running water. This helps to flush out as much paint as possible from the fabric, pushing it out from the inside.

Avoid using hot water as it can cause the paint to set permanently.

Apply Dish Soap

Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the stain. Dish soap is effective at breaking down paint particles and emulsifying oils.

Gently rub the soap into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush, such as an old toothbrush. This action helps to lift the paint from the fibers.

Rinse Again

Rinse the garment thoroughly under cold water to remove the soap and loosened paint. Repeat the process if necessary until you see no more paint coming out.

This step ensures that most of the paint is removed before moving on to stronger cleaning agents.

Use a Stain Remover

If the stain persists, apply a commercial stain remover or a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar.

Let it sit for about 15 minutes to penetrate the fabric and break down the remaining paint particles. Then, gently rub the stain with a soft brush to enhance the remover’s effectiveness.

Wash the Garment

Wash the garment in the washing machine on a cold cycle with your regular detergent. Avoid using hot water or a dryer as heat can set any remaining stain permanently.

After washing, check the stain before drying; if it’s still visible, repeat the earlier steps.

Repeat if Necessary

If the stain is still present after washing, repeat the above steps. Some stains may require multiple treatments, especially if the paint has dried or if it was applied thickly.

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Tips for Stubborn Stains

How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: Dab isopropyl alcohol on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing and washing. This can help dissolve tougher paint residues by breaking down the acrylic polymers.
  • Hairspray: Spray a small amount of hairspray on the stain and scrub gently with a toothbrush. Hairspray contains alcohol, which can help to break down the paint.
  • Acetone: For more stubborn stains, acetone (nail polish remover) can be effective. Test on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric. Acetone can dissolve acrylic paint but can also be harsh on certain fabrics.


Q1: Can acrylic paint be removed after it dries?

Yes, dried acrylic paint can be removed, but it requires more effort. Soaking the stain in a solution of water and dish soap or using isopropyl alcohol can help loosen the dried paint. Patience and repeated treatments may be necessary.

Q2: Is it safe to use acetone on all fabrics?

No, acetone can damage certain fabrics like acetate or those with a high synthetic content. Always test on a small, hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the fabric. If the fabric shows signs of damage, avoid using acetone and try alternative methods.

Q3: What if the paint stain is on a delicate fabric?

For delicate fabrics, avoid harsh chemicals. Try using mild dish soap and cold water, and consider taking the garment to a professional cleaner. Professional cleaners have specialized tools and solutions that are gentle yet effective on delicate materials.

Q4: Can I use bleach to remove acrylic paint stains?

Bleach is generally not recommended as it can damage the fabric and cause discoloration. Stick to dish soap, vinegar, or commercial stain removers that are safer for fabrics. Bleach should only be used as a last resort and with caution.


Removing acrylic paint from clothes is manageable with the right techniques and a bit of patience. Acting quickly and using common household items like dish soap, vinegar, and isopropyl alcohol can effectively lift paint stains. Remember to avoid using heat until the stain is completely gone, as this can set the paint permanently. With these tips, you can keep your clothes looking fresh and paint-free, even after creative mishaps.

For more useful tips and guides, be sure to check out our other blog posts at Warm Clothes Online. Happy painting, and may your clothes remain spotless!

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