How To Get Paint Out Of Clothing

One of the toughest mama laundry dilemmas I've found is how to get paint out of clothing. Read on to learn how I've solved this art-project challenge.

Need To Get Paint Off Of Clothes? Here’s How:

It’s spring consignment-sale season, which means I’m back putting in long days at my local children’s resale event (and loving every minute!). Thanks in part to my posts on topics like how to get mud out of clothing and how to get grease stains out of fabric, I’ve become known as the “queen of stain removal” at our event. But one question that came up several times last week was how to get paint out of clothing.

So I decided it was time to share this hack. And lucky for me, this also gave me the perfect excuse to finally tend to the paint on Kimmie’s Junior Girl Scout uniform from a few meetings ago.

Want my full list of laundry-room must-haves? Then check out this related post, with 16 of my fave laundry stain-removal products for everything from food stains to set-in stains. Or see these specific posts for more on grease stain removal, mud removal, and getting stubborn crayon marks out of clothing and other fabrics.

Ready for my secret weapons?

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

The Secret To Getting Paint Out Of Clothing

I’ve tried lots of different things over the years, and have finally found a product that really WORKS. Consistently.

Or actually, a family of products.

And even better, they’re water-based, biodegradable, and low- to no-VOC!

It’s a great little family of products from a company called Mötsenböcker’s. Their Lift-Off formulas have revolutionized my laundry stain-removal regime when it comes to tough stains that no other products can touch.

I am especially impressed with how well their paint-removal formulas work. (I purchased these spray bottles several years ago, which is why the packaging looks different from what you might see if you go to buy some of this stuff.) The two formulas I’ve used are the Latex Paint Remover, for things like regular latex house paint (though it’s also what I used in this post’s demo), and the Spray Paint Graffiti formula (which I use on other random not-really-sure-what-it-is paint-type stains as well.)

And more recently, they seem to have come out with a NEW formula designed especially for acrylic paint! (Not to mention one just for oil-based paints.) Even better!

This stuff apparently works by breaking down the chemical bonds that hold the paint together, dissolving them so that the paint breaks apart and separates from the surface it’s on. You’ll need a small brush for scrubbing the product into the paint/fabric – one that’s gentle enough not to harm the clothing itself. (I usually use a small nail brush, but an old toothbrush is perfect for delicates.) It’s also good idea to have gloves on hand, and to follow the directions carefully. So, without further ado, here’s

How It Works:

1. Spray the Mötsenböcker’s product directly onto the fabric you’re trying to clean.

2. This is important: WAIT ONE MINUTE. You want to let the product really soak into the stain (paint) and go to work.

3. Gently scrub the stain with your brush of choice. (You should at least see the paint starting to streak. If not, try using a different formula – for example, maybe the paint stain you’re trying to remove is latex instead of acrylic, or oil-based paint instead of latex?)

4. Spray again. WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE. Gently scrub again.

5. Repeat step 4 until the stain is gone, or you feel as if you aren’t making any more progress on it. Launder as usual (before the product dries on the fabric) and line-dry. (DO NOT run through the dryer, because you don’t want to further heat-set whatever’s left of the stain.)

6. Repeat the process until the stain is indetectable.

Fresh out of the washer, you can barely tell where the red paint was!

And that’s all there is to it!

Have you tried other products to get dried paint out of clothing, and had success? If so, let us know in the comments!

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