We've all been there, haven't we? You're in the zone, letting your creativity flow, when suddenly, SPLAT! Acrylic paint finds its way onto your clothes faster than you can say "Oops."
But fear not! Whether you're a seasoned painter or just an occasional DIY enthusiast, you can save your paint-splattered clothes. Join us as we tackle those stubborn stains head-on and get your clothes back to looking spick and span.
So, grab your trusty paintbrush (or toothbrush, in this case), and let's dive into the world of how to get acrylic paint out of clothing.
Gather Your Materials
The best thing about acrylic paint (besides its amazing consistency and vibrancy), is that it’s water-based. It's this use of water that makes acrylic paints water-soluble and dry faster than other types of paint.
That being said, it’s easier to get wet acrylic paint out of clothes than dry – which we’ll get more into soon.
It’s best to act as soon as you spot a stain. Some essential materials include:
- Acetone or rubbing alcohol (don’t worry – there are also ways to get acrylic paint out of clothes without alcohol)
- Dishwasher or laundry detergent
- Old toothbrush or paintbrush
- Clean cloth or paper towels
- Stain remover (for those pesky stains)
Luckily, these are all materials you likely already have around the house.
Detergent-based stain remover can help target any spots that need some extra attention. Martha Stewart warns against using industrial solvents to remove stains, such as acetone and paint thinner. These are meant for hard surfaces and are highly flammable so they should not be used in a washing machine.
No matter if you’re trying to remove dried acrylic paint from clothes or well, it’s important to pre-treat your garment. Here are some important steps to follow:
- Act quickly: Again, removing wet paint stains from clothes is easier. Try to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes as soon as possible for the best results.
- Avoid spreading the stain: Since acrylic paint is water-based, it can easily spread. Avoid spreading the stain by removing excess paint and flushing it with warm water. Make sure not to get the entire garment wet, as this can spread the stain.
- Blot the excess paint: As we said, scrape off any excess paint before or use a paper towel to blot it as much as possible (without spreading the stain).
- Check the tag: Knowing the type of material your fabric is made of is also important. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, or linen will react differently to certain pre-treatment washes than polyester, nylon, acrylic, or rayon will. You can find this information on the tag.
- Test a small, inconspicuous area: Before using any products on your clothes, make sure to see how the fabric will react. This is called a spot test and is important to protect your clothes.
How to Get Wet Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes
Now, for what you’ve been waiting for. The next time you get wet paint on your clothes, follow these steps.
- Pre-treat your clothes as necessary
- Apply liquid detergent (dish soap or laundry detergent)
- Gently rub it with a toothbrush or paintbrush
- Rinse the stained item in cold water
- Use isopropyl alcohol to ensure the stain is removed completely
- Machine wash your clothing in hot water and let it air dry
You may need to repeat steps 2-4 a few times for the stain to be removed. If you’re trying to get acrylic paint out of white clothes, you can follow these steps and then machine wash your garment with bleach as you normally would to return it to a bright white.
How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes
Sometimes a pesky stain goes unnoticed until it’s dry. While it’s more difficult to remove the paint when dry, it’s by no means impossible!
Here are the steps to try:
- Pre-treat your clothes as necessary
- Scrape the paint with a butter knife
- Soften the paint with isopropyl alcohol
- Flush your garment under cold water
- Pre-treat the stain with liquid detergent or stain remover
- Wash clothes in hot water and let it air dry
Better Homes & Gardens emphasizes that isopropyl alcohol is the best choice for removing dry acrylic paint from clothing. As we said before, it is best to avoid industrial solvents such as ammonia, acetone, or paint thinner to remove acrylic paint from fabric. Not only are these ingredients highly flammable, but mixing household chemicals can be extremely dangerous. Do not mix household chemicals freely and make sure to rinse your garment thoroughly before adding a different stain remover.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can try a mixture of baking soda and warm water or hairspray to soften the dry paint.
It’s also important to never machine dry your clothing after a potential stain. The heat from a dryer can cause a stain to set, while you can still catch and continue to treat a stain after it has been washed and air dried.
Be Prepared With Nova Color Paint
Acrylic paint is a lovely medium that is incredibly versatile. They are water-based which makes them easy to clean with soap and water when wet. However, they also dry quickly and are durable, so you may have a harder time cleaning and removing them once they dry.
When painting with acrylic paint, it’s best to take time to protect and cover the surrounding area with a tarp or newspaper, wear clothes (or a smock) you don’t care about, and always have a spray bottle of soapy water ready.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to tackle acrylic paint stains.
Shop our artist-grade acrylic paint collection today to complete your collection.