How to Remove Fabric Paint From Fabric & Clothes: 7 Ways

This is not about reversing your work but removing stains on other clothes while finishing a project.

In other words, your favorite hoodie/ T-shirt probably got in the way during the dunking session. Now you have to find out how to remove fabric paint from fabric & clothes.

Do not discard the spotted clothes just yet. Just follow a few pretreatment procedures based on the paint type before removing the fixed splotches. Then you can apply various available ingredients/tools found at home to work on the dry or wet fabric paint.

how to remove fabric paint

This guide provides superb answers for dealing with such paint marks on textile upholstery or garments. Want to know more?

Does Fabric Paint Wash Off?

Let us begin by acknowledging a few points regarding the topic. The method of ridding of such paints relies on variable factors. The most crucial one is being the fabric type.


For instance, silk or satin items are poor receptive to any kind of washing treatment.

So you must test a little corner to check whether the fabric can withstand the paint spot-removing method you pick.

Usually, these materials are kept at a distance from the painting task. But the paintbrush strokes often throw tiny spatters around, making silky/satin curtains the unfortunate prey.


Another example includes a clothing item with a heat-set step. Perhaps you only meant to apply this step on the painted fabric but not over the area that shows a few accidental spots.

You will find it pretty tedious to remove those spots now as you have utilized an iron or hair dryer on the part.

Latex Paints

These paints are commonly recognized as water-soluble paints for various fabric types.

You will not have to go through many ordeals to remove them because latex paints are easier to wash off.

However, I suggest treating them only after the stains/splatters are fully dry.

Oil-based Paints

Almost all such paints are quite indelible if you do not treat them right away. Oil-based or water-insoluble fabric paints are a headache but not impossible to wash off.

You should cure the stains while they are still fresh and wet.

Can You Remove Fabric Paint from Clothing?

You can positively remove fabric paint from clothing, though it will require some effort.

Most importantly, you have to figure out which method best fits the fabric type. You can spot-test a hidden portion of the garment before applying the entire concoction.

Furthermore, try not to dwindle around with the colored stains all over the fabric. Chances are that you might end up working on the cleaning task for hours!

I know it feels inexplicable at the moment. Nevertheless, the spatters become more prominent and long-lasting on curtains, upholstery, or your jeans if you wait longer.

Lastly, avoid heat-treating the clothing if you do not want to spend your entire day fixing the mistake.

How to Remove Fabric Paint from Fabric & Clothes: Wet & Dried Paint Removing Guide

remove fabric paint from clothes & fabric

There are guidelines to follow for each paint type, but they are nothing arduous. Since wet and dried paints have different bases, it is evident to abide by suitable pretreatment methods.

Wet Fabric Paint

You have to be fast and attentive for oil-based paint splashes. Here is how you can prepare the fabric before using the proper dye removing technique.

  • Wash the paint under running warm water quickly.
  • Or scrape off the excessive coat, be quick about it.
  • Water-insoluble paints will harden and set when heat is introduced, so avoid ironing, washing in hot water, or using a hair dryer.
  • Large splatters will try to spread or bleed; take a paper towel to absorb excess dye.

Dried Fabric Paint

If the paint you are using is water-based, then let it dry. This is the only pretreatment available for this paint type.

How to Remove Wet Fabric Paint from Clothing: 7 Different Ways

I have compiled seven harmless and proven techniques to pick for removing colored spots from clothing. Remember, these are for wet/oil base fabric dyes only.

Pretreat the garment as instructed above before trying one of these.

1. Rubbing Alcohol

The presence of isopropyl or ethanol chemicals indicates a thorough cleanup job for any stain. Therefore, you can depend on rubbing alcohol for any coloring disaster caused by the kids or you!

Besides, it disinfects the garment while cleaning. So, say goodbye to the concealed bacteria growth before it can even harm you.

There are a few things you must consider before moving on:

  • Try not to use it on printed/colored clothing since it poses the risk of dye peeling off.
  • Pour an appropriate amount of rubbing alcohol, or the clothes will damage.
  • Dilute the liquid with water if the paint splatters are mild or the fabric is delicate.
  • Concentrated rubbing alcohol is okay if the stains are deep and severe or the fabric is solid (denim, etc.)

Now you can head to the following steps:

  • Water spray on the splattered area.
  • Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rub it onto the region.
  • Or you can use an old toothbrush to scrub off the stained section with alcohol.
  • Rinse it with warm water.
  • Repeat the process till the paint has come off.
  • Wash the garment in a washer to dispose of alcohol traces.

2. Baking Soda

This mild alkali-based absorbent offers efficient cleanup for light paint smudges. You can go for it when your hands get stained with tie-dies or fabric paints as well.

But you cannot apply the soda powder without making a paste out of it. Water is its best partner when removing pigments.

Utilizing baking soda has another benefit that I find most helpful. The paste mixture soaks unwanted odor lurking in the fabric and forces it to disperse. It eliminates moisture at the same time.

  • Use the paper towel pretreatment before setting it to work.
  • Blot the area well.
  • Take a cup of baking soda and add some hot water to it.
  • Dip the stained area in the mixture for a few minutes.
  • The paint will slowly disintegrate or come off into the baking soda solution.
  • If you do not wish to waste this much soda, sprinkle some on the wet paint stain and wait for it to work.

3. Vinegar

Whenever an individual suggests applying vinegar, always go for the white one. It is readily available in any superstore or market.

Vinegar acts like baking soda in treating stains, odors, and slime residues. Despite its clear and transparent nature, it is strong and requires very little to finish the job.

Some fabric types might not react well to vinegar, so it is better to dilute with water. It allows the vinegar to release zinc salts and aluminum chloride – two vital ingredients to loosen the paint off the fabric.

While rice or apple cider vinegar yields a similar outcome, white vinegar is the most powerful of all.

  • Choose distilled white vinegar for a spotless result.
  • Use the ratio 1:10 for vinegar and water, respectively.
  • Take a clean sponge and dip it in the solution.
  • Now press it on the paint spatters.
  • You will notice the sponge absorbing the color from the clothing.
  • Repeat the procedure if needed.
  • Wash the fabric in cold water after the stains are all gone.

4. Hairspray

You will need aerosol hairspray for this method. Its main constituent is alcohol with compressed gas. And we already know alcohol works wonders in treating paint smears.

When the gas, alcohol, and aerosol force are applied together, it slackens the splatters from the garment.

  • Lay the clothing item on a flat surface.
  • Make sure the other side of the fabric is blocked by another cloth or a cardboard box to prevent paint bleeding.
  • Initiate hairspray action on the stained area.
  • Quickly but gently scrub the section with a soft bristle brush/toothbrush.
  • Constant scrubbing relaxes the sticky paint.
  • You can blot the residues each time before repeating the steps.
  • Wash the clothing as usual.

5. Dish Soap

You select liquid dish soap when the questioned fabric is delicate. The best part about this option is that you can mix it with water to lighten the concentration to suit the material grade.

  • Run the smudged area under water to rinse it.
  • Take a small bowl to mix dish soap and water. Do not add too much water. The lighter the solution is, the slower the progress will be.
  • Grab a clean sponge or a rag to douse into the mixture.
  • Soak the stained area using a sponge/rag.
  • Let it sit for some time – no more than five to six minutes.
  • Next, scrub the section well. Compress the solution into the clothing so that the paint loosens.
  • Wash the item in regular water/washing machine once all spots are removed.

6. Acetone

This chemical solvent is perfect for latex, uncured, or oil-based paints stuck on any fabric. However, you should spot-test it to inspect whether the fabric can withstand it.

  • Dip a corner of a sponge, cloth piece, or rag in acetone. Avoid getting it in your bare hands.
  • Place the acetone-soaked rag/cloth/sponge on the stains and rub well.
  • Rubbing action helps paint particles to break down and come off.
  • Wash the fabric afterward with soap and water or machine wash it.

You can also use nail polish removers here, but it will require multiple repetitions of the scrubbing step to get the final clearance.

7. Turpentine

I call it turpentine spirit, which is basically the distilled resin harvested from pine trees. The solvent works like magic with paint marks.

Consider it like the industrial/commercial thinners that aid in softening stiff paint brushes. Therefore, it will do the job of separating wet paints from fabric too.

  • Place some paper towels on a flat surface.
  • Now lay the fabric on top of the towels. It is to avoid fluid spreading and bleeding on the other side of the garment.
  • Use a sponge or a rag; soak it in turpentine.
  • Dab it over the stained region.
  • The paper towels underneath will absorb the slackened paint from the fabric. Replace them when fully soaked.
  • You may repeat the process once again for a thorough cleaning.
  • Do not forget to wash the item in the washer with fragrant detergent, as the turpentine scent is very persistent at lingering.

How Can You Get Dry Fabric Paint Out of Clothes?

Do you use water-soluble fabric paints for the projects? Then you can scan below for the most suitable choice to get dry fabric paint out of your clothes.

Unless you wear a human-size rubber glove, paint spatters are inescapable, no matter how minuscule. This section is ideal for oil-based paint spots that dry up. It happens; hence, do not stress over it.

Let us take on the daunting journey anyway.


Here you simply take the matter in your glove-protected hands and scrape off the excess paint. You can use a metal scraper or a spoon.

Its only drawback is potential fabric tears during unceasing scraping.

Another manual guidance is sanding the dried paint slowly and carefully with sandpaper. Do not waver while sanding, as it can damage the area.

This process is very boring and time-consuming, but the stain eventually comes off.

Solvent Application

Even if you accomplish removing a big portion of the paint from the clothing, there will be some leftovers.

Use solvent options like rubbing alcohol or acetone by following the steps stated previously. Just make sure to saturate the dried paint area as deeply as possible before scrubbing/brushing it.

Dip that scrubber or the brush in the solvent before using. It delivers a great result.

Machine Wash

Perhaps the residue is gone but is it entirely dissolved? You will never sleep in peace unless you select this final step for every paint-scrubbing method on clothes.

Wash the whole thing in the washer for in-depth bacteria and dirt buildup removal. Use regular wash with a cold water setting and your favorite laundry detergent.

I also try to use bleach for colored fabrics for a superb outcome.

How to Get Fabric Paint Off From Different Materials

The fabric variability is so vast it can overwhelm a textile artist on daily basis. What I find more unsettling is the treatment method each fabric label covers.

They are so flexible it is difficult for me to remember everything all the time. Yet, you can classify the material into certain categories and work your way one step at a time.

Let me begin with the items that are most frequently affected by fabric paints.

Removing from Carpet and upholstery

Always start by scraping away excessive paint right after the accident. Carpets, and rugs, have unique fabric types, so read closely.


  • Vacuum the scraped area.
  • Steam the remaining splatter if the paint has dried.
  • Choose hot water and liquid dish soap mixture in a 1:1 ratio for latex paints.
  • Use a clean rag to blot the area with the solution and slowly broaden the border.
  • Make sure excess moisture is removed with paper towels.
  • Slightly transform the blotting into a circular motion.
  • Clean it, then use an alcohol-based solvent on the residues.
  • Apply a similar blotting method with a clean rag.
  • Then finish it by dampening the area with little water, followed by more blotting with a dry cloth.

You can try turpentine if the paint is oil-based. And then, go for the hot water and dish soap method mentioned above.


The upholstery fabric requires soapy cloth blotting over the stains until the fabric has no residue left. You can apply most of the methods provided earlier, though use them in small amounts and go easy.

You cannot wash the material in the machine.

Read Also:

Remove from Jeans:

Try rubbing alcohol, baking soda, hairspray, acetone, etc., techniques for jeans or denim materials. I suggest spot-testing a tiny corner before deciding on one preference for possible discoloration.

Remove from Shoes:

Once again, the alcohol-based product will come to your rescue. You can even try the dish soap mixture if the spots are minor.

Remember to scrub well but not too vigorously to damage the shoe design.

Final Verdict:

There is no better way to stay vigilant as an artist than knowing how to remove fabric paint clothes and fabric.

You can practically use these solutions for life and even share them with the younger generation.

I can never stop using fabric paint since it amazingly brightens any dull upholstery in my house.

If you have been secretly discarding your paint-splattered favorite clothes while crying a little, now you know how to save them!

Why purchase expensive products that you may or may not find in the stores when a few common items can do the job equally well?

I wish you all the best, and do not give up on those clothing items!

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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