Skip to content
Had a mishap with some paint? Don't fret - check out this helpful paint stain removal guide!

" />
An image of paint on a child's t-shirt.

How to Remove Paint from Clothes

Whether you’ve got adventurous and creative children running around, or you’ve had a little home redecorating incident, paint stains are something you’ve probably experienced before. These types of stains are very common, but do you know how to get paint out of clothes? Believe it or not, you don’t have to throw stained clothing out. In fact, with a few handy hints and tips from OMO, you may be able to get your clothes cleaned up in no time at all!

Types of paint stain

When it comes to learning about how to remove paint from clothes, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a few different types of paint stain, and that different cleaning methods may work better for one type of stain than another. Here are some of the most common stains:

  • Oil-based paint stains: If you’re painting doors, door frames, or skirting boards in your home, you may be working with an oil-based paint that gives a wonderful high gloss finish. It’s best to treat these more as you would oil stains than standard paint stains.
  • Water-based paint stains: Children’s paints are normally water-based, as these types of paint are much safer for kids to use. The good news is that they’re also very quick and easy to remove, especially if you use the classic ‘flushing’ method of stain removal. We explain this technique in a little more detail below.
  • Dried paint stains: Dried paint can sometimes be a little trickier, especially if you’re dealing with acrylic paint. However, learning how to get dried paint out of clothes is easier than you think, so don’t panic!

Simple ways to remove paint stains

Whichever type of paint stain you’re dealing with, these useful tips can help you to get cleaned up. Here’s how to remove paint stains from clothes using detergents and other household products:

  1. Water-based paint 

    Water-based paints like kid’s paints are some of the easiest to get rid of because they respond well to water alone. Start by ‘flushing’ the stain out of the material. You can do this by holding the back of the stain up to running water and waiting until the water runs clear. If a small amount of discolouration remains, pre-treat the stain by applying some OMO liquid detergent and rubbing it into the fabric gently before popping the clothing into the washing machine and washing as normal.

  2. Oil-based paint 

    Oil-based paints are a little trickier because they behave very much like oil and grease, so they don’t mix very well with water. Paint thinner works well if these stains are on easy-care fabrics, but it’s better to steer clear of harsh chemicals like these for more delicate materials. Instead, pre-treat the stain with dishwashing soap before washing as normal. Dishwashing soaps are designed to cut through the grease on dirty dishes, so they’re ideal for oil-based paint stains!

  3. Dried paint 

    Is it best to tackle paint stains on clothing while the paint is wet or dry? Well, it depends upon the type of paint. Water-based paints are easy to remove in both wet and dry form, but acrylic paints can be a little more difficult when they’re dry because of their hard, plastic-like coating. If you’re finding dried paint stains challenging, try gently scraping any excess off your clothes before cleaning. You should use the back of a spoon – not a knife – for this to avoid damaging your clothing.

If normal stain removal techniques and washing don’t get rid of any remaining dried acrylic paint stains, then an alcohol-based cleaner can be useful. Try nail varnish remover, rubbing alcohol, or even hairspray. And there you have it, removing paint stains from clothes needn’t be a source of fear anymore! Just remember, whatever detergents or other household cleaning products you decide to use, always make sure you check the care labels on your clothing first.

Some clothing may be too delicate to withstand some of the harsher cleaning products and may be best treated with water and detergent.