Cleaning & Organizing

How-To: Removing Paint from Clothes

A small splatter of color shouldn't keep you from wearing your favorite shirt

Photography: (Main Photo)

Whether you're working on a crafts project or finishing a full-scale home repainting job, it's inevitable to end up with a splash or two of paint on your clothes.

This wouldn't be a problem if you're wearing your working garb, but if you accidentally spill some pigment on an old favorite—it brings up a challenge. Don't stress, you don't have to throw away your ruined outfit yet. With just a few household staples, you can make your threads look brand new. Check out our step-by-step guide below: 

What you need:

  • plastic knife or spoon
  • turpentine
  • soft toothbrush
  • detergent
  • paper towels


  • Remove excess paint by scraping it off with a plastic knife or spoon. Avoid using anything too abrasive so as to prevent damaging sensitive fabrics. Once you’re done, use a wipe or a paper towel to dab off any residue.
  • Decide on the treatment depending on what type of paint you’re dealing with. If it’s a water-based paint, soak the item of clothing in warm water until the color subsides. For acrylic and oil-based paints, you might have to pre-treat the stain with a little turpentine.
  • If the stain doesn’t come off completely with a simple solution, you can use a soft toothbrush and detergent for colored clothes. Sprinkle a little detergent and brush in one direction to remove any build-up left.
  • Wash the garment immediately after treating. Wring out the warm water and turpentine, give the stained area one last check and wash the item of clothing as you normally would. 

RL Tip: Remember that it's easier to work with fresh stains rather than dried up spots so make sure to deal with it as soon as possible!

PHOTOS and SOURCES: (Main) | wikiHow and | How to Get Paint Out of Your Clothes via Real Simple

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