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After a rainy day in with some craft projects, you might need to know the fine art of paint stain removal – so find out how it’s done here!

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A child painting a picture using acrylic paint.

How to remove poster paint and acrylic paint from clothes

All parents face it at some point: your kids love to paint, but they aren’t too fussy about what they’re painting on. Paper, craft projects, scrapbooks … and, of course, their clothes. Luckily, paint stain removal can be a cinch. Here’s what to do when your budding artist’s masterpiece has escaped the canvas.

How to remove paint stains from clothes: Poster paint

The good news is that a lot of kids’ paints are designed to wash out easily – things like poster paints are usually water-based, which means they’ll dissolve in water. 

Act fast: it’s best to work on these paint stains while they’re still wet, or to keep them wet until you’re okay to begin. Ready? Here’s how to get poster paint out of clothes in three steps:

  1. Remove as much paint as possible. Using a spoon or a blunt knife, gently scrape and lift away as much of the paint as you can from the stain. Then use a damp cloth or paper towel to blot the stain.
  2. Flush with water. Hold the garment under the tap, stain side down, and direct a stream of cool water from the back to the front of the stain. This will help loosen it.
  3. Treat with Persil liquid. Apply a little Persil liquid to the stain and rub in with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush. Then you can wash the garment according to the instructions on the care label. 

Top tip: If the stain doesn’t seem to be shifting at all after the second step, you can try using rubbing alcohol for some extra paint stain removal power. Be careful, though, as solvents can damage some delicate fabrics – check the care tag first, and test on a hidden part of the fabric.

How to remove paint stains from clothes: Acrylic paint

If you’re wondering how to get rid of paint stains on clothes when the paint isn’t designed to be washable, there’s more good news: it can be done.
If you manage to catch the stain while it’s fresh, you can follow the same steps as above, since wet acrylic paint is water soluble. However, once it dries, it forms a waterproof plastic layer on fabric that will need to be dealt with before you can work on the stain. 
For this type of paint stain removal, you can use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol, hairspray or even an alcohol-based nail polish remover.
Check the care label on the garment to make sure you won’t damage the fabric, and then (if you’ve got the go-ahead) use a rag or some paper towels dampened with your chosen solvent to dab at the stain until you start to see the colour come away. Then you can follow steps 1 to 3 above.
So that’s how to get paint stains out of clothes – nothing more to it. Now there’s no need to worry about paint stain removal before your kids get down to an arts and crafts session: you can easily remove any colourful splodges that come your way. 

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