Artists love their acrylics, don’t they? They can produce lively colors, dry fast, doesn’t require mineral or turpentine spirits-we can go on and on singing the praises of acrylic paints. But that love affair ends when you spill some on your clothes. Since acrylic paints are so durable, it’s normal to freak out, thinking they will never come off. But it’s possible.
You can remove acrylic paint from fabric by using some simple household items like nail polish remover and hair spray. It’s not much of a difficult task if you act fast. If the paint dries off, that opens up a whole new can of worms. That said, you still have some options to explore.
This guide can be more helpful to parents who have children taking art classes in school. Many kids use acrylics in school and knowing the lively sweethearts they are, it’s almost a guarantee that they will return home with acrylic paint stains on their clothes. So, have a read and prepare your acrylic paint contingency plan.
Table of Contents
- Does Acrylic Paint Wash off Fabric?
- Can You Get Acrylic Paint Out of Fabric?
- Is Acrylic Paint Easy to Get Out of Clothes?
- How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Fabric: 5 Different Ways
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Does Acrylic Paint Wash off Fabric?
Yes, acrylic paints do wash off fabrics. In fact, they are easier to remove from clothes than oil paints and pastels. When it’s wet, acrylic paint perfectly dissolves in water. So, a quick rinse can be effective if you do it as soon as the paint spills. Hair spray and rubbing alcohol can be a great help.
Removing acrylic paint stains from a piece of fabric is simple if you clean it up while the color is still wet. Sunlight exposure will also keep the paint from hardening. However, if you don’t pre-treat the stain or the paint dries on the fabric, you have to do some extra work to eliminate the color blot.
Dry acrylic paint on fabric is very difficult to remove after it gets set. Acrylic paint can dry hard and create a plastic-like texture, leaving clothing stiff to the touch and potentially a trail of hideous color blots. Also, there’s a chance that this will make your clothes itchy and uncomfortable. You won’t love wearing them if you have sensitive skin.
So, if you get some acrylics on your t-shirt or pants while working on your project, take a wet cloth and blot out as much of the paint as you can. Don’t take them off and throw them into the washing machine right away. After treating the spot, you can choose any one of the acrylic paint-washing methods we will discuss below.
Can You Get Acrylic Paint Out of Fabric?
Yes, you can get acrylic paint out of fabrics. You have to treat the spilled area as soon as you can. If you can do this, it will make your work much easier.
However, that does not mean there is nothing you can do if the paint dries off. It’s going to give you more trouble, that’s for sure. But it’s possible to get dried acrylic paint out of fabrics.
Is Acrylic Paint Easy to Get Out of Clothes?
Is it difficult to get rid of acrylic paint from clothes? It depends on the spill quantity and how quickly you react to it. If you treat the stain immediately and the spill is minimal, it will be a walk in the park.
On the other hand, you might have a tough time removing acrylic paint from clothes if the paint hardens and the color spreads over a larger area.
How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Fabric: 5 Different Ways
While it’s true that once acrylic paint dries on fabric, it’s there to stay, there are some tricks you can try to eliminate a lingering paint stain. Dry paint can often be removed if you haven’t run the item through the dryer or ironed it, but all of these techniques are most effective when used on wet paint. Here we will give you some tips for removing acrylic paint from fabric.
But before getting into that, we must show you how to treat the stain first. You can boost the possibility of getting favorable results substantially when you pre-treat the acrylic paint stain before trying to get it off. As we mentioned earlier, use a wet cloth to soak up as much of the paint as possible if the paint is still fresh.
However, that will not be an option if the paint becomes dry. You can try to scrape off the paint with a toothbrush. Try a toothbrush first, as it won’t damage the fabric much. But if that turns out to be a futile approach, go for a spoon or a blunt knife. You should be able to remove a sizable amount of paint before you get to the washing part.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the cleaning methods.
Method 1. Laundry Soap
Fresh acrylics easily dissolve in water, so laundry soap can work well to remove them. You might come across some tips online which advocate the use of dishwashing soap for this purpose. We strongly discourage that because dishwashing detergent can cause suds. Only use laundry detergent because it has been specifically formulated for fabric use.
This is the simplest and most cost-effective technique we have covered here. However, do remember that it won’t work for dried-off paint. The paint spill has to be fresh for this to work. So, if you are struggling with a hardened smudge, a simple laundry detergent wash might not be enough.
- Step 1. Take some water in a bucket and add equal amounts of laundry detergent to it.
- Step 2. Put a piece of cloth in. Avoid dipping it too much so that it gets overly wet.
- Step 3. Now use this wet cloth to blot the paint smudge. Don’t wipe, as it will only help the paint to spread further.
- Step 4. After you take off some of the paint, wash the cloth well in cold water.
- Step 5. Check to see if any paint remains. If more dabbing and washing is required, do so until no trace of paint remains.
Method 2. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol, aka isopropyl alcohol, is a common disinfectant. So, you can buy it easily from your local supermarket. We recommend using the 70% solution to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes. There is also a 99% variety, but you would not want to use that since it is too strong for fabric application.
- Step 1. Take off your stained clothes and put them on a basin.
- Step 2. Directly apply some isopropyl alcohol on the stain and let it soak in until it runs off into the basin.
- Step 3. Soak the affected area, then scrape the paint off with a spoon or a dull knife. Repeatedly scrape in both directions so that you can take out as much paint as you can.
- Step 4. Remove the alcohol from the fabric by rinsing it thoroughly.
- Step 5. Inspect the spot closely to see whether there are any leftover paint specks.
- Step 6. If the paint is gone, you can wash the clothing item as you normally would in your washing machine.
Method 3. Oil Soap
If you have old relatives who have wooden floors, you might be familiar with the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap. For generations, Murphy’s Oil Soap has been a trusted cleaning agent in American households. It can work its magic across a variety of surfaces. Thankfully, textile happens to be one of them.
- Step 1. Open the tap and hold the stained portion of the fabric under the stream of running water.
- Step 2. Take a piece of dry cloth and pour some Murphy’s Oil Soap on it. No need to dilute it. In fact, if you dilute, you might not get the cleaning power required to get rid of stubborn acrylic stains from your favorite shirt.
- Step 3. Apply this damp rag to the stain and blot it. Make sure you don’t work the paint any deeper into the fabric by rubbing it!
- Step 4. Repeat the rinsing process with the clothing, and then examine it to see whether or not all of the wet acrylic paint has been removed from the fabric.
- Step 5. Wash the garment as you usually would remove any soap residue that may still be there and get rid of any paint specks that may still be caught in the weave of the fabric. This completes the process.
Method 4. Hair Spray
You’ll find a mix of polymers, alcohol, and hydrocarbons on your hairspray’s ingredient list. These materials not only do a great job of keeping your hair in shape, but they can also save the day when you need to deal with a stain that just won’t go away. However, make sure to spray the spray on a small area to make sure it doesn’t damage the fabric.
- Step 1. Put the cloth in a sink or a basin.
- Step 2. Spray directly on the acrylic paint stain.
- Step 3. Run your fingers over the paint stain. Try to peel the stain off the fabric. If the hairspray softens the stain enough, you would be able to do so.
- Step 4. Quickly peel off as much of the paint as you can. The stain might get hard once it becomes dry again. So, act fast.
- Step 5. Use cool water to rinse the item.
- Step 6. See if any paint dust is still there. One last scratch with your fingernail might get rid of the last of the debris.
Method 5. Nail Polish
The hairspray is not the only vanity item you can throw at resilient acrylic paint smudges. Nail polish remover can deal with a wide range of paint splatters. It also works well for acrylic paints. So, if you are looking for a paint remover without spending extra money, give your nail polish removers a shot.
- Step 1. Put some nail polish remover on a clean rag.
- Step 2. Keep the damp rag pressed on the paint smudge for five minutes or so.
- Step 3. Take away the rag and inspect the surface of the fabric to determine if the acrylic paint appears loose and flaking.
- Step 4. Scrape off the paint stain using a dull tool like a spoon or butter knife.
- Step 5. Do a quick rinse in cold water to get rid of the acetone before it ruins the fabric.
- Step 6. Look for any traces of paint and redo the procedure if required.
- Step 7. Finish up with a regular wash in warm water and detergent.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can follow the rubbing alcohol method to get dried acrylic paint out of clothes and fabric. The hair spray and nail polish remover tricks work pretty well as well. But we prefer the rubbing alcohol approach since it puts less strain on the fabric material. Nail polish remover and hairspray might not be the best thing to use on your clothes.
If you wash the clothes before treating acrylic paint stains, the paint might spread even more. So, make sure to loosen the paint as much as possible before putting the clothes into the machine. If you follow the right steps to treat the stains, acrylic paint will come off after you wash them. Otherwise, it won’t.
No matter how cautious you are, paint splatters are inevitable if you work with paint regularly. So, you have to know what to do once you accidentally get some paint on your clothes. Avoid washing the cloth immediately. A swift response to treating the stain will be a more sensible decision.
Afterward, you must use a suitable cleaning material to remove the paint smudges altogether. Your chances of restoring the fabric to its original glory are at the highest when you take care of the spill when it’s fresh. Dealing with dried-off acrylics is a bigger challenge, but you can get good results using rubbing alcohol and other cleaning agents.