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A girl and boy getting messy painting with their hands and feet.

How to Get Paint Out of Clothes

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Most kids love to get creative with paint, but there's no need to worry about stains! Read our tips on how to remove paint from clothes for handy advice.

Despite your family's best efforts to stay mess-free, you're likely at some stage to have to learn how to remove paint from clothes. Kids frequently forget to roll their sleeves up before painting, or you might have accidentally stepped in a tray of emulsion when sprucing up your home. Should you panic? Of course not! We’ve put together these how-to instructions to make removing paint from clothes as pain-free as possible, so that you and your family can get back to the business of being creative!  

Paint? What Paint?

Before you attempt to remove paint from clothes you need to know the original source of the stain: what type of paint is it? Why? Because paints generally fall into two categories: water-based and oil-based (water-based paint is the easiest to remove). You then need to know when the stain occurred. All stains should be treated as soon as possible, before they have time to dry, otherwise they can set into the fibres of the fabric and will become much harder to remove.  

Be sure to:

  1. Check the label on the paint for specific details and any cleaning instructions the manufacturers may have provided.

  2. Check the care labels on your garments and choose an appropriate cleaning method and detergent.

  3. Scrape off any dried paint with a blunt-edged implement.

  4. Use a cotton bud to gently lift off any excess wet paint.

  5. Avoid rubbing the stain as this may make it larger and will push it further into the fabric.

  6. Test any stain removal techniques on an inconspicuous part of the garment first.

  7. Protect your hands with gloves to avoid coming into direct contact with stain-removal products.

Want to learn more about removing poster, acrylic or emulsion paint stains? Keep on scrolling...

How to Remove Poster Paint from Clothes

Most poster paints are water-based, which means the stain-removal process is likely to be successful, even if the stain has had time to dry. Persil small & mighty liquid detergent is a good choice for poster paint stains as it completely removes yellow washable paint in a normal 40 degree wash and is highly effective on blue paint stains even in a low-temperature wash.  

You should:

  1. Run clean warm water through the back of the stain to flush as much of it out as possible.

  2. Pour a small amount of Persil small & mighty Bio directly on to the stain using the Stain Eraser Ball.

  3. Rub the stain with the bottom of the ball – this will help to loosen the stain.

  4. Rinse clean and reapply as needed.

  5. Finally, apply a commercial stain remover (if necessary), and put the garment in the wash

  6. If any of the stain remains, follow steps two - four a second time, and consider consulting a dry-cleaning professional.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Clothes

Acrylic paint is also water-based, but once it has dried it is harder to remove as it contains plastic to give surfaces a glossy finished effect. If you've managed to catch the acrylic stain before it's dried, follow the removal instructions for water-based paints above. If the stain is dry you should:

  1. Apply an alcohol-based cleaner, like nail-varnish remover, hairspray, or rubbing alcohol to the stain with a clean dry cloth to break down the dried plastic surface. (Remember to test the solution on a hidden area of the garment first).

  2. Then, follow the instructions above for removing water-based paints.

How to Get Emulsion Paint Out of Clothes

Emulsion paint is generally used for decorating purposes and can contain different ratios of ingredients, so it's important to check the side of the tin to find out how the manufacturer recommends you remove stains. Often, emulsion paints that are oil-based can be effectively removed with paint-thinners like white spirit or turpentine. You should:

  1. Place the stained garment upside down on kitchen roll and blot the stain from the back with a clean dry cloth and the recommended stain-remover until the stain vanishes.

  2. Apply Persil small & mighty Bio directly to the stain and then place the garment in hot soapy water to soak over night (be sure to check the garment’s care label to know how hot the water can be).

  3. In the morning, apply detergent a final time and gently scrub the stained area (avoid this if you're washing delicate or natural fabrics that might damage with too much agitation).

  4. Wash the garment as normal and repeat the above method if any stain remains.

There you have it – knowing how to get paint out of clothes is easy with the right products and techniques! And, we’ve got even more stain removal advice for you here: just use the handy Solve Your Stain Tool and you’ll be a laundry pro in no time!