Housekeeping Laundry & Linens Stain Removal How to Get Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes The key to removing acrylic paint stains from clothing is to act fast. By Jolie Kerr Jolie Kerr Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag ... And Other Things You Can't Ask Martha. Her work has appeared in GQ, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times and Town & Country. A graduate of Barnard College, Jolie lives in a tiny Manhattan apartment with her five vacuum cleaners. Learn about BHG's Editorial Process Published on January 24, 2023 Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Buff Strickland Project Overview Working Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour Skill Level: Beginner Water-based acrylic paint is a popular choice because of its versatility, quick drying time, and water-solubility, which makes cleaning brushes and hands easy. It is also less toxic than other paints, making it ideal for use around children and pets. However, when dry, acrylic paint becomes water-resistant, making it a difficult stain to remove from clothes. This guide explains what to do when acrylic paint stains clothing, as well as methods for removing the paint when it has dried on clothing. What to Know About Acrylic Paint Stains The most important thing to know about acrylic paint stains on clothing is that the paint is easy to remove when it is wet, but the stains are quite difficult to eliminate once the paint is dry. If at all possible, treat an acrylic paint stain as soon as it happens by flushing it with cold running water. Once acrylic paint has dried on clothing, it may be impossible to remove it entirely. The pigment in acrylic paint is suspended in a polymer solution that is water-soluble when wet but water-resistant when dry. Isopropyl alcohol is the best choice for removing dried acrylic paint from clothing. While other stain-removing agents, such as ammonia, acetone, or paint thinner, can be used to dissolve acrylic paint, they are best used for removing acrylic paint from hard surfaces rather than from textiles. Additionally, avoid using products with a high concentration of water, like vinegar or window cleaner, because the water content will render them powerless against insoluble stains. When it comes to removing the paint from clothing, stick with isopropyl alcohol. It is also important to be aware that isopropyl alcohol, as well as ammonia, acetone, and paint thinner, is flammable. When using it to pretreat stains on washable fabrics, take care to flush residue out with cold running water prior to laundering to avoid an appliance fire. The 9 Best Laundry Stain Removers of 2023, According to Testing What You'll Need Equipment / Tools Dried Acrylic Paint 1 Butter knife or scraping tool 1 Rag Materials Wet Acrylic Paint Stain remover Laundry detergent Dried Acrylic Paint Isopropyl alcohol Stain remover Laundry detergent Instructions When acrylic paint gets on an article of clothing, working quickly to flush the paint from the garment will prevent the paint from leaving a permanent stain. How to Remove Wet Acrylic Paint from Clothes Flush Paint with Cold Water Flush the paint from the clothing by holding the garment under cold running water; it is best to let the water flow through the back side of the clothing so that the water pushes the paint off and away from the fabric rather than through it. If there is a large amount of paint, scoop it off the garment using a plastic spoon or paper towel prior to flushing it with water. Pretreat Stain Use a laundry stain remover or liquid laundry detergent to pretreat the paint stain. Wash Clothes Launder the item as usual, using the hottest water temperature the garment can tolerate, according to the care instructions on its tag. Check Stain Before Drying The heat from a dryer will set a stain, so it's important to check that the stain came out in the wash before putting it in the dryer. If there is still a lingering stain, simply repeat the stain removal process. Once acrylic paint has dried, it's difficult to remove from clothing. The following method may work, but before proceeding, it's worth considering whether the garment is worth salvaging. How to Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes Scrape the Paint Use a butter knife or scraping tool to scrape the paint off the fabric. Break the Paint Down Isopropyl alcohol can break down the water-resistant top layer of dried acrylic paint. Use a rag to apply the alcohol to the stain, rubbing gently to work it into the paint. If pigment transfers from the garment to the rag, the alcohol is working to break down the paint. Pretreat Stain Once the top layer of the paint has been dissolved, flush the alcohol from the garment with cold running water, and use a laundry stain remover or liquid laundry detergent to pretreat the stain. Wash Clothes Launder the item as usual, using the hottest water temperature the garment can tolerate, according to the care instructions on its tag. Check Stain Before Drying The heat from a dryer sets stains, so check that the stain came out in the wash before putting the garment in the dryer. If there is still a lingering stain, simply repeat the stain removal process.