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How to remove paint stains from clothes: A comprehensive guide

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 India 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, 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 remove paint marks from clothes effectively.

prepare for paint stain removal

How to get rid of water-based paints on 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:


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


Step 1: Remove excess paint

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

Step 2: 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.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: Apply stain remover (if needed)

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

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: Consider professional cleaning

If all else fails, it might be time to consult a professional dry cleaner.

Learn more helpful washing tips from our experts:

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


  • Washing machine

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Rinse the stain

Rinse the affected area with warm water.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: Rinse and wash

The next day, rinse the garment thoroughly and wash as usual. Read our guide on how to use a washing machine to select the right settings.

Step 5: 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.

Additional tips for paint removal

Stain removal, especially paint, can sometimes feel like a daunting task. However, with the right knowledge and a bit of patience, it's entirely manageable. To ensure the best results, it's essential to keep a few key pointers in mind:

Act quickly

The sooner you address a paint stain, the better. Fresh stains 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.

Blot stains gently

When you encounter a fresh paint stain, 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.

Read more: 10 easy tips on how to take good care of clothes

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.


Common mistakes to avoid when removing stains from clothes

  • Rubbing too harshly: This can spread the stain and damage the fabric.
  • Using hot water on protein-based stains: This can set the stain, making it harder to remove.
  • Skipping a patch test: Always test any removal agent on a small, hidden part of the garment to ensure it doesn't damage or discolor the fabric.
  • Not checking care labels: Some fabrics have specific care requirements that, if not followed, can damage the garment.

Sustainable washing with Electrolux

At Electrolux, our commitment goes beyond just effective cleaning; we're dedicated to sustainability and garment care. Our front-load washing machines come 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.

By choosing Electrolux, you're not only opting for a clean today but a greener tomorrow. So, the next time you wonder how to take paint 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 for choosing a washing machine or browse our top-selling washing machines below:

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  • No more visible detergent residue with UltraMix*.
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