Does Spray Paint Wash Off Clothes – Paint Removers That Work!

pexels teona swift 6850541 Does Spray Paint Wash Off Clothes - Paint Removers That Work!

Spray paint DIYs are fun as long as you don’t accidentally get some paint on your clothes. Once that happens, your focus shifts from getting the perfect finish to cleaning the stains quickly. Luckily, you can get spray paint off of clothes using items already stored in your cabinets.

Wet paint is easier to remove from clothes than dry paint. If some paint sprays on your clothes, act quickly and place paper towels on the stain to absorb as much of it as possible. For water-based paint, clean the surface with dishwashing liquid and water. For oil-based paint, a solvent like acetone or hairspray will work better.

While your first instinct is to toss the soiled clothes in the washing machine, it is recommended to pre-treat the stain before going down that road. I will explain what gets spray paint out of fabrics and how you should treat wet and dry paint for the best results.

Will spray paint come out of clothes?

Spray paint sticks to clothes differently compared to smooth objects, and this is because paint settles into the fabric and sinks in the weaves. So, while you can quickly strip away paint from metal surfaces and other smooth objects, clothes are not so forgiving.

Water-based paints come off easily from clothes compared to oil-based variants. However, you should keep in mind that some color may stay on your clothes even if you remove the stain completely. And if you try to scrub the surface too much or use a strong chemical paint remover, you will end up ruining your clothes.

Light-colored clothes are easier to treat than darker colors because there are fewer chances of discoloration due to paint removal treatments. Fortunately, small paint stains are less noticeable on dark-colored clothes.

Effective ways to remove spray paint from fabric safely

Before attempting to clean a paint stain, check the label of the spray paint can to find out whether it’s water-based or oil-based. Both types of colors are removed using different products; therefore, it’s important to know what kind of stain you’re dealing with.

Bleach and chemical paint thinner are quick ways of removing stains, but they can damage the fabric for good. Instead, use safe products that remove the paint without ruining your clothes.

For water-based paints like acrylic and latex, washing the soiled area with dish detergent and warm water can do the trick. If the color is oil-based, using an oil-based remover has a better chance of effectively removing the stain.

Before using any paint remover, patch test a small area of the garment to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage to the original color.

Whatever you do, avoid putting the garment through the washing machine until you’ve treated the paint first. It may spread on other items in the load or color the insides of your washing machine.  

How to remove wet paint from clothes

Customizing your fabrics with spray paint is one thing, but accidental splashes can ruin the appearance of your clothes.

Removing wet paint takes less effort, so if you see a stain while you’re spray painting, clean your clothes before it dries completely.

Here are a few steps to get wet paint off your clothes without spoiling them.

1. Blot up the excess paint

When the paint is wet, avoid rubbing it, as that may cause the color to spread to other areas. Rubbing the spot might also cause the paint to sink deeper into the fabric.

Instead, place paper towels on both sides of the material to absorb the excess paint. Keep replacing the soiled paper with a fresh one to remove all the extra color.

2. Apply a stain remover

Once you have cleaned the wet paint from your clothes, it’s time to treat the stain with a paint stain remover.

For water-based paints, you can apply dish soap to the area and gently scrub the stain with a brush. Rinse the clothing with warm water and repeat the process if necessary. If dish soap doesn’t get the paint off, you can use other products to break down the stain a little more.

For oil-based paints, use a product that has solvent in its composition. You can apply turpentine by soaking a rag cloth in its solution. Leave the remover for 10-15 minutes to react with the bonds of the paint and break them down. You can also add some scrubbing action to the equation for better results.

Rub the soaked fabric with a clean cloth, preferably one you can discard later. The paint should start coming off onto the rubbing cloth. When it gets saturated, replace it with a new one and keep scrubbing the stain. Continue the process until you’ve removed as much paint as you reasonably can.

If the paint doesn’t come off with turpentine, you can try WD-40 or even hairspray.

3. Place it in the washing machine

After you have removed as much paint as you can, toss the garment into the laundry to clean the after-effects of the paint remover you’ve used.

How to remove dry spray paint from clothes

Dried spray paint stains can look intimidating, and you may be resigned to throwing your clothes away. Fortunately, you can get rid of dry paint from your garments and save them from the trash.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you remove dried paint from your clothes.

1.      Scrape off the dried paint

The first step is removing as much dried paint as possible. You can use a paint scraper or a butter knife to scrape the excess paint away from the stain. The more you remove from the surface, the higher chances of the paint remover reaching the paint that has soaked into the fabric.

2.      Clean the stain with an alcohol-based solution

Your best bet for removing acrylic-based spray paint stains is alcohol-based cleaners such as acetone or hairspray. Apply the cleaner so it sinks into the stain, and allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes. These cleaners should break the bond between acrylic plastic.

Since dried paint is difficult to remove, an alcohol-based cleaner might only remove some of the stain. In this case, you may need to use a heavy-duty paint remover.

Please be warned that paint removers contain harsh chemicals that can strip down the fabric’s original color. Therefore, they should be used as the last resort.

3.      Wash the fabric

Whether or not you were able to remove the paint stain completely, put the fabric in the washing machine to clean the paint remover thoroughly.

What gets spray paint out of fabric?

Sometimes one paint-removing method may not get the job done. Therefore, we have listed a few products that can help you remove paint stains from clothes.

Dish soap

If the paint is wet and water-based, dish soap can work on the paint stain. If it does not remove it entirely, it should help get rid of the top layer. You can then use another product for the paint that’s bonded to the fibers.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective paint stain remover whether you’re using oil-based or water-based paints. It works better on wet paint, but you can always give it a shot for dried stains. Your best bet would be to use rubbing alcohol that’s 90% or stronger.

Just remember to do a patch test to ensure it won’t damage the material.


Vinegar is a good option for removing paint since it’s acidic. While it may not work as well on large stains, you can definitely try it on smaller areas. The good news is that it can be used for both types of paints, water and oil-based. You can also use vinegar on wet and dry stains, which helps take the guesswork out of which surface is better suited to this product.

Check the material with a spot test before applying it liberally over the stain. Do not pour it on top of the paint; instead, saturate a cotton ball with vinegar and apply it to the fabric until the stain is soaked. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes before washing it with warm water.


Turpentine is an effective way to remove paint as it is primarily a paint thinner. You can use it on wet and dry oil-based paint, but it doesn’t work as well on water-based paint stains.

The only downside is that turpentine can strip the original color of your clothing. For this reason, you should only use it on white or light-colored fabrics.

Just like vinegar, you shouldn’t pour turpentine directly on the stain but soak the paint with a spare cloth dipped in the solution. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, and then wash the area with some dish soap and warm water.

Turpentine has a strong smell, so you should make sure your room is adequately ventilated. In addition, you may need to soak the fabric in a solution of water and vinegar for a few hours to get rid of the odor from your clothes.


WD-40 works on oil-based paint when it’s still wet. It contains degreasers and solvents that help break down oily substances, but the solution doesn’t work on dry spray paint.

While it is an effective solution, WD-40 is not recommended as it can create an additional stain on the fabric if applied too liberally. If you decide to use it, spray just the paint and not the area around it.

Let it soak for some minutes before rinsing it with warm water and dish soap.


Hairspray contains alcohol that can help break down the paint and remove it from your clothes. You can use it for oil-based spray paint stains, whether dry or wet.

As with other paint removers, hairspray can also leave behind a stain on the fabric. Therefore, it’s best to test on a hidden area of the garment first before spraying it on the paint.

Once the hairspray has passed the patch test, spray it on the stain and gently rub the stain with a clean cloth. The paint remover is working if the paint starts transferring on the dry cloth.


Acetone works best with oil-based spray paint, regardless of its state. It is the primary chemical used in nail polish removers, so it should also work the same way on spray paint stains.

While acetone doesn’t leave a stain, it can break down synthetic fibers, so always test it beforehand.

What can you do if nothing works?

There is always a possibility that nothing works to remove the paint stain altogether. In that situation, you can take it to a professional dry cleaner who has had better luck removing spray paint from clothes.

The other option is to cover the stain with a fabric-colored pen designed for masking paint marks. Visit an arts or fabric store to find the shade that best matches your clothes.


Does spray paint permanently stain clothes?

Spray paint can be removed from clothes if you act fast and clean the stain while it’s still wet. Things get difficult once the paint dries down and binds with the fabric.

Can thinner remove paint from clothes?

A paint thinner helps loosen the bonds between paint and the fabric; therefore, it is an effective solution for removing paint from clothes. You can wash the garment later to get rid of its smell.

Can alcohol permanently stain clothes?

Using alcohol on clothes can result in permanent stains and discoloration, especially on woolen fabrics.

Can you use baking soda to remove dried spray paint?

Yes, you can apply a paste of baking soda and hot water on your dry spray paint stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and scrub the fabric to remove the paint.  


Removing spray paint from your clothes can be tricky, especially when the paint has dried. However, that doesn’t mean that your garments are beyond repair. You can try removing spray paint from your clothes using the products and methods mentioned in the article. Don’t be discouraged if one remover doesn’t work; there’s always hope with the next one!

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