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A pot of white household paint with a dripping brush.

How to Remove Household Paint Stains

Removing household paint stains isn’t always easy, but there’s plenty of ways to remove paint stains from clothes! Find out how with this handy guide.

Whether you’ve just moved house or you’re freshening up the walls of your bedroom, an unexpected paint stain on clothes is not an uncommon side-effect of any home decorating project. Luckily, we’ve got some great tips on how to remove paint stains – so even if you’ve splashed Sunset Blush all over your favourite T-shirt, everything you need to know about getting the stain out is below!

How to remove gloss and emulsion paint from clothes

Whether you’re dealing with a gloss or emulsion paint stain on clothes, the most important thing to check is whether the paint is oil- or water-based. Many gloss paints are water-based, but this isn’t a guarantee. Water-based paints will usually wash out (or you can apply the same principle to them as you would to craft paint stains), but oil-based paint stains will require a little more work. 

Start by checking the paint can, which should be able to provide specific instructions on how to remove paint stains caused by its contents. If it doesn’t, read on to find out how to remove paint stains from clothes:

  1. Act fast – these stains are usually easier to remove when wet. Remove the garment, if you can, or keep the stain damp until you can move on to the next step.

  2. Use a paint remover to treat the stain. Lay the fabric, stain-side down, onto a rag or piece of kitchen roll, and then dab at it with a cloth soaked in paint thinner or paint remover. If the paint tin recommends a certain paint remover, use that. Otherwise, you can try turpentine or white spirits to remove paint stains from clothes. Always check the garment care label first as certain synthetic fabrics, such as rayon, will not be able to withstand chemicals like turpentine.

  3. Treat with Persil liquid and leave to soak. Rub the stain with Persil liquid and soak it in the hottest water possible (again, check the care label) for a few hours or overnight.

  4. Wash as usual. Pre-treat the stain with detergent again before popping it in the machine and washing at the highest temperature the garment care label allows.

Top tip: If you’re having trouble determining what sort of paint you’re dealing with, look for information on the paint’s packaging about the best way to clean your brushes after use. A water-based paint tin will suggest rinsing your brushes in water; if the tin says to rinse your brushes in turpentine or white spirits, you’re probably dealing with an oil-based paint.

Now you know how to remove gloss or emulsion paint from clothes, you can relax in the knowledge that your home improvement project will only end up recolouring your walls!