How to remove paint stains from clothes

How to remove paint stains from clothes

7 minute read |

Life often surprises us with unexpected moments, sometimes involving accidental paint splatters on our cherished garments. Whether it's a DIY project that went awry or an unintentional encounter with freshly painted surfaces, paint stains can pose a challenge. However, with the appropriate strategies, you can successfully restore your clothing from these persistent marks.

In this guide, Electrolux presents a user-friendly set of instructions on how to remove paint stains from clothes, ensuring that you're well-prepared for any unforeseen paint-related mishaps.

Preparing for paint stain removal

Before diving into the removal process, it's essential to identify the type of paint you're dealing with. Paints are generally categorized as water-based or oil-based:
  • Water-based paints: This category includes acrylics, often used in arts and crafts such as watercolors, and latex paints, commonly used for walls and ceilings.
  • Oil-based paints: These paints boast a glossier finish and are typically used for trim, cabinetry, metal, wood doors, and more.
If you're unsure about the paint type, a quick look at the paint can label should provide clarity. Now, let's delve into the removal process for each type, guiding you on how to take off paint from clothes effectively.

How to remove oil-based paints from clothes

Oil-based paints, known for their durability and glossy finish, are often used in more specialized tasks. They're the preferred choice for painting furniture, wooden crafts, and even some outdoor projects. Accidentally brushing against a freshly painted surface or accidentally dropping a brush onto your lap during a DIY furniture project can lead to such stains.

While these paints can be a bit more challenging to remove, the right approach can yield success. Here's how:


  • Clean rags or paper towels
  • Turpentine or paint thinner
  • Hot water
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Optional: Stain remover


Blot the stain

Turn the garment inside out and place it on clean rags or paper towels. Blot the stain using turpentine or the recommended paint thinner until no more paint lifts.

Rinse the stain

Rinse the affected area with warm water.

Soak in detergent

Apply dishwasher detergent to the stain and let the garment soak in hot, soapy water overnight. Always check the garment's care tag for the recommended water temperature.

Rinse and wash

The next day, rinse the garment thoroughly and wash in washing machine as usual. Make sure to read our guidance on how to operate an automatic washing machine to make the best out of your machine.

Re-treat if needed

If the stain remains, apply a stain remover and wash again. Ensure the stain is entirely gone before drying the garment.

how to remove oil-based paint from clothes

Check carefully to ensure the paint stain is completely removed before drying the fabric

How to remove water-based paint stains from clothes

Water-based paints, such as acrylics and latex, are frequently found in our daily lives. They're the go-to choice for DIY home projects, children's school activities, and even some of the art classes we might take up as hobbies.

It's not uncommon to find ourselves with accidental splatters after a room renovation, a child's art project, or even a simple craft session. The good news? They're relatively easy to remove. Here's how to get acrylic paints and other water-based paint marks from clothes:


  • Warm water
  • Clean rag or paper towel
  • Detergent
  • Optional: Stain remover, non-acetone nail polish remover, hairspray, or rubbing alcohol


Remove excess paint

Using a spoon or dull knife, gently scrape off as much dried paint as possible.

Rinse with warm water

Flush the back of the stained area with warm running water. Alternatively, blot it with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb any remaining paint.

Apply detergent

Mix equal parts detergent and warm water. Saturate the stain with this mixture, then blot vigorously with a rag or paper towel. Rinse and repeat until the stain lifts.

Apply stain remover (if needed)

If the stain persists, apply a stain remover and wash the garment as per its care label recommendations.

Additional treatments

For stubborn stains, gently blot with non-acetone nail polish remover, hairspray, or rubbing alcohol. Ensure you rinse the garment in warm water before washing it again in washing machine.

>>> Learn more expert washing tips:

Additional tips to get rid of paint stains from fabrics

To ensure the best cleaning results, here are some essential tips to keep in mind before you dive into the process:

Act quickly

The sooner you address a paint spots, the better. Fresh marks haven't had the chance to set into the fabric fibers deeply. By treating them promptly, you reduce the risk of the stain becoming permanent and make the removal process more straightforward.

Treating the paint stains promptly

Treating the paint spots promptly reduces the risk of them becoming permanent

Blot stains gently

When you encounter a fresh paint mark, your first instinct might be to rub it away. However, rubbing can push the paint deeper into the fabric and even cause it to spread to a larger area. Instead, gently blotting lifts the paint from the fabric without spreading it.

Always refer to garment care labels before treating or washing

Different fabrics have unique care requirements. Some materials might be sensitive to certain cleaning agents or require specific washing temperatures.

By checking the garment's care label, you ensure that your stain removal method won't damage the fabric or cause further issues.

Persistence is key

Some paint stains, especially those that have had time to set, can be particularly stubborn. It's essential not to get discouraged if the stain doesn't come out after the first attempt. Multiple treatments, using different methods or products, might be necessary to completely remove the stain.

>>> Related reading: How to take care of your clothes properly

Creative solutions for permanent paint stains

If you've exhausted all methods and the paint stain remains resolute, don't lose hope or consider discarding the garment just yet. Sometimes, these "imperfections" can be turned into unique fashion statements.

  • Consider embracing the stain by creating a tie-dye or splatter paint effect on the entire garment, turning the stain into a part of a larger design.
  • Another idea is to sew on patches, lace, or other decorative elements to stylishly cover the stain.
  • If you're not keen on wearing the stained item, repurpose the fabric. Craft it into a trendy tote bag, a quilt, or even a cushion cover.

Remember, creativity knows no bounds. With a bit of imagination, what was once a ruined piece of clothing can become a cherished piece of art or a functional item in your home.

Sustainable washing with Electrolux

At Electrolux, our commitment goes beyond just effective cleaning; we're dedicated to sustainability and garment care. Our range of front load washing machines and top load washing machines comes equipped with innovative technologies that not only ensure effective stain removal but also maintain the vibrancy of your clothes. Two standout features include:

  • UltraMix technology: This ensures that detergents and softeners are fully activated, resulting in an impeccable clean and keeping colors vibrant for longer.
  • UltraWash feature: This advanced feature provides a thorough yet gentle wash, ensuring that even the toughest stains are removed without compromising the fabric's integrity or color.
How to get paint stains out of clothes with Electrolux washing machines

Electrolux washing machines comes equipped with innovative technologies maintain the vibrancy of your clothes

By choosing Electrolux, you're not only opting for a clean today but a greener tomorrow. So, the next time you wonder how to remove paint stains from clothes, remember that with the right techniques and a reliable washing machine, you can keep your garments looking their best.

Refer to our buying guide article if you are looking for helpful tips on how to choose a washing machine or browse our top-quality washing machines below:

  • UltraWash offers perfect cleaning at lower temperatures for less energy
  • Gentle care drum protects your delicate clothes
  • SteamCare reduces wrinkles by 30%
  • Abaya cycle is designed for gentle cleaning.
  • StainCare removes 40 different visible stains*.
  • UltraMix prevents visible detergent residue*.
  • SensorWash with AI removes 49 different visible stains*.
  • No more visible detergent residue with UltraMix*.
  • Abaya cycle is designed for gentle cleaning.
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