Removing Paint Stains from Clothing

With any stain, you want to treat it as quickly as possible. If paint is allowed to dry on your clothing it will be more difficult to remove all traces of the stain.


Read the Paint Container

Nearly every paint container is going to have instructions for removing and thinning that particular kind of paint.

Tempera Paint Stains

Carefully scrape off excess paint, being careful not to make the stain much bigger. Pre-treat the stain with cold water and a detergent. I usually use a little Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent and blot it into the stain, being careful not to spread the paint. Then let the garment soak for a while, apply detergent again if the stain persists. Once the stain is removed, wash the garment in warm water (assuming this is washable fabric).

Latex Paint Stains

Latex paint can be really tough to remove once it dries, so try to get to it early. It is water soluble, so if you get to it before it dries you can have some success with just detergent and water.


If there is excess paint, carefully scrape it off with a dull knife. Then blot the stain with a mild detergent (like Dawn) and luke warm water. Then rinse with clean water and repeat the first step if necessary.

Oil Based Paint Stains

Carefully scrape of any excess paint. Blot the stain with a sponge with a small amount Turpentine or whatever solvent the paint can recommends. Then mix one teaspoon of a mild detergent (like Dawn) with a cup of luke-warm water. Blot the stain with this solution. Lastly, sponge with clean water.

Commercial Product

I have had some success using Goof Off for removing paint stains from clothing. Follow the instructions on the container.

Tip: Remove paint splatters from your hair by rubbing the splatters with baby oil.

Do you have any tips for removing paint from clothing? Please share them below...




For all those who have gotten paint on clothing, here is an inexpensive way to get it out. HAIRSPRAY! Spray it on the paint, rub till the stain disappears and laundry as normal. The item will be as good as new. (02/20/2005)

By Gwen


If the paint has dried completely on the clothing, need not worry, get a bottle of hairspray, spray it directly on the paint and get a steel wool and scrub. NB:make sure it is ok fabric to use the steel wool on. (12/09/2005)

By Alyce

Rubbing Alcohol

My son got paint on his brand new (expensive) Burton jacket. And we panicked. We tried hairspray but it didn't quite work very well. Then we tried rubbing alcohol! It completely took out the WHOLE stain. Please try this. (01/11/2006)

By JAne


Just tried the hairspray tip for paint on my husband's jeans. THe paint stain was from over 2 weeks ago and it works. I sprayed and rubbed, and kept doing that until the paint came off. Many many thanks because my cousin was saying because it was oil based paint it would never come off. Many many thanks (02/18/2006)

By Aly


The alcohol worked great on Acrylic Latex which was 2 days old and had been washed. Couldn't use hairspray as I have no need of it due to being foliculely challenged. (02/25/2006)

By Dave


Alcohol worked fantastic for removing white latex paint from my blue jeans and a very expensive Blue Willi blue jean sweater. I had tried using a stain remover called Goo Gone on the day old paint with no success. The garments had just come out of the washing machine and were still damp. I used the alcohol (over the counter Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol from the drug store which contained 70% alcohol). When I put it on the paint and rubbed a bit, the paint just melted away. I put the items back in the washing machine and the stain is now totally gone. This is a method that I highly recommend. Easy, cheap and best of all it works! (03/12/2006)

By Bob


Alcohol was great. Dried paint on my nieces jacket. Should have ruined it. Alcohol worked very well with a minimum of rubbing (04/02/2006)

By Mary

Rubbing Alcohol

My husband just bought a lovely beige upholstered couch for our living room. While carrying an open can of Iced Mocha (dark chocolate) colored latex paint, I accidentally slipped and spilled it on one of the seats. I tried the rubbing alcohol and it worked! Thanks so much for your useful posts. (04/03/2006)

By Suzanne

A couple 'rules' for removing stains like this.

Remember from chemistry class that 'like dissolves like'. Water is a polar molecule (the oxygen is relatively negative, hogging electrons from the hydrogens) and the so other polar substances are needed to dissolve it. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything besides water that should really work well.

Anything oil based at all needs something non-polar. That's why alcohol works. Same with baby oil. Hair spray contains alcohol... so it's like a sticky version of rubbing alcohol.

Detergents (dish or laundry soap) works on most things because it surrounds molecules of the bad stuff and takes them to the magical land of spilled liquids.

Check everything for color-fastness (color-fastitude?) before you go bathing your clothes in it. (04/10/2006)

By Ryan


I have a Jacket, my Favorite Jacket from my Favorite football Team, and one of my friends shot me with a paintable gun, i thinks the paint was Oil Base, i tried washing right away but i kinda made it worse, and now its stained in my closet, so i thought i could restore it someway, but I'm not sure what to do... Help!

The Jacket is Polyester with cotton, should i use Alcohol?

Editor's Note: I think alcohol might help. If that doesn't seem to do anything, try spraying the spots with WD-40, then if it seems to take the paint out, take some Dawn dishwashing liquid and rub it into where you put the WD-40 and launder as usual. (04/11/2006)

By Michael


I thank everyone so very much for the ALCOHOL tip. IT WORKED IMAZINGLY! I had my dark indigo wash denim soaked for more than a week and didn't know what to do with them. i can't believe ALCOHOL just removed the paint that well. I did use a stiff brush, but i scrubbed so hard and left a round slightly discolor blot now. But I'm still very glad that the paint came off. (04/15/2006)

By tiffany


I'm ecstatic. Quick spray of hairspray on a very old paint stain on a good jacket. Quick scrub with steel wool and its GONE! Thank you for your wonderful tip. (04/21/2006)

By Donna

Rubbing Alcohol for Latex Paint

I splattered paint on two pairs of my brand new shorts, one pair cotton, one pair were swim shorts material. The paint was interior latex. I tried Dual Action Oxy, soaking, hot wash, cold wash, nothing took the paint out. So, reading this, I tried rubbing alcohol. Paint had been washed and dried, and the rubbing alcohol took it right out with a tiny bit of gentle scrubbing (I used a small wire bristle brush with softer bristles for cleaning sneakers) but I'm sure you could use any sort of bristle brush. Don't rub too hard! Worked great! (05/30/2006)

By Dave

Goo-Gone Didn't Work on Oil Based Stain

I tried the Goo-Gone on a white oil-based primer (on work jeans) and it didn't work, if you are trying to remove oil paint from denim then don't buy Goo-Gone for that particular purpose. We had some in the house so it didn't cost me anything, but it is useless as far as oil-based Rustoleum goes.
PMZ (07/07/2006)

By Pauly-Wauly


Use "OOPS" to get paint out. But wash clothes with "OOPS" in washer without other clothes. (08/06/2006)

By Carli

Simple Green

WOW - IT WORKED! I tried rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, and Dawn dish detergent to no avail. An all-purpose cleaning product called "Simple Green" was the only thing that removed the paint from my son's good gym shorts with mild scrubbing effort! (08/14/2006)

By Debbie Slane


i had just gotten a new pair of jersy short and had got paint on them. I noticed it a couple days after the paint had dried on them, so I thought they were gone. I soaked them in oxy clean for 3 days with no luck. I tried hairspray, no luck. then I use alcohol and a toothbrush and rubbed it on. The alcohol took the paint out right away (08/23/2006)

By kelly


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