How to remove acrylic paint from clothes

By | July 5, 2016

Remove acrylic paint from clothes

Acrylic paints are those that kids use in their art and craft classes for painting. So if your kids are into paint and stuff then you will at some point of time come across acrylic paint stains on their clothes.

Acrylic paints are generally water soluble while being used to paint, but they come water resistant once they dry up. So when they land up on clothes the stains dry up within an hour or so.

Removing acrylic paint is easy and does not require too much of work. The ingredients needed are easily available at home.

1. Flush out excess paint with water

If the paint is fresh and wet, you should right away take it under a tap and flush away the excess paint quickly. Keep washing till most of the color has washed off. Afterwards a residual stain would be left which would be light in color and depth and can be easily removed with other common household items.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Acrylic paints are made of chemical compounds that easily dissolve into alcohol. So rubbing alcohol can be used as a solvent to pull out the acrylic paint from the fabric.

Soak the stain area with rubbing alcohol and dab with a sponge. The paint should start dissolving and come out easily. Apply more alcohol if needed.

If you do not have rubbing alcohol at home, try aftershave lotion or hairspray. They also contain alcohol like substances and can have a similar effect.

In some cases, the paint may be too strong for rubbing alcohol to remove. Then you can try some stronger alcohol like denatured alcohol.

This method works best if the fabric is white in color. With colored fabrics, you may want to do a spot test first to check if the dye on the fabric is resistant to alcohol.

3. Hair Spray

Hair spray also contains alcohol which can be used to dissolve and lift stains. Get a can of hair spray and spray it on the stain directly. You may first want to try it on some hidden part of the fabric to test colorfastness.

After applying hair spray on the stain, use a sponge to dab it and see if the color starts to lift from the fabric. Apply more hair spray as needed.

Once the stain has been removed completely, wash the clothes as usual in laundry detergent.

4. Dish soap with hot water

Since acrylic paints dissolve in water to some extent, they may loosen up a bit upon applying hot water with some soap.

Apply some dish soap directly on the fabric and soak it in hot water. But first make sure that the fabric is washable in hot water. Gently rub the fabric with your own fingers and see if it comes out.

If you see the stain slowly getting reduced and dissolving out in the water, leave it like that for few minutes or hour till the whole stains is lifted.

Stains that are wet will respond quickly to this method. Dried stains may take some time or may not be affected at all.

Acetone based nail varnish remover

Similar to alcohol, acetone can also dissolve acrylic paints. Acetone based nail varnish removers can be used for this purpose.

However keep in mind, that acetone or any acetone based solution should never be applied on acetate/triacetate based fabrics. Acetate based fabrics tend to “dissolve” in acetone.

Also you should first test the acetone on some inconspicuous part of the fabric first to check if the fabric is colorfast.

Blot the paint stain with nail polish remover using a sponge or cotton ball. See if the paint transfers the cotton ball. If it does so, continue dabbing till the whole stain disappears to has been reduced as much as possible.

Afterwards you can wash it with usual laundry detergent.

Commercial stain remover

If there are traces of the stain that persist even after applying alcohol then you can try some commercial stain remover products. They are available on

These products are often very effective in lifting the stain completely. Always check the manufacturers instructions first before applying it on the fabric.

Tips and extra advice

Like always, do not forget to first do a spot test when applying any cleaning solution or mixture to the fabric.

There is another trick to remove the paint stain that involves freezing the garment. Freezing the stain might help to break it and pull it out of the fabric. You need to first freeze the whole garment so that the paint in the stain becomes hard enough. Then use something like a credit card to hit it gently to break it and separate from the fabric.

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