​Even if you take care to wear your old clothes when painting, it won’t make you immune from being a victim of a paint stain.

It’s easy to accidentally brush against the paint when you pop in to check if it’s dry and even easier to brush against wet paint when out-and-about that, inconsiderately, hasn’t been labelled.  

​Many relegate paint-stained clothes immediately to the bin, or for future use when decorating.

oil based paint

​If you act quickly, you may be able to remove the stain by following the methods below. The techniques can be harsh to fabric, but we figure it's better to salvage something than have it thrown away.

Read on to learn how to identify oil-based and water-based stains and how you can treat them effectively.


​Removing Oil-Based Paints

​Oil-based paints are designed to be tough and durable. Therefore, it's no surprise that oil-based paint stains are particularly tough to remove.

Catching the stain early is crucial to successful removal as once it is dry, it will become almost impossible to remove.

Check the back of your paint tin to confirm if your paint is oil-based before attempting to remove the stain.

Look carefully as sometimes oil-based paint is referred to as solvent-based paint or alkyd paint and will contain a high level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

What You'll Need:

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    Dull knife or old bank/loyalty card
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    Cotton balls
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    Turpentine
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    ​Wad of kitchen towel
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    ​Gloves
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    ​Small tub to soak the stain in
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    ​​Bio laundry detergent

​If you don't have any cotton balls, just use an old clean rag that you are happy to soak in turpentine.

If you don't have any paper towels, use an old tea towel or other absorbent material that you don't mind if it becomes stained with the paint. 

​How to remove oil-based paint stains from clothes

​Follow the seven steps below to get paint out of your clothes.

Step 1 - Act Quickly

​It's crucial that as soon as you start working on removing the stain while it is still wet.

Step 2 - Remove Excess Paint

​Remove any excess paint using a knife or old loyalty/bank card.

​​​​​​​​​​Be very careful not to spread the paint any further as this will only create a more prominent stain to try and clean up.

​Blot the remaining paint with the kitchen towel or cotton balls. Do not press down firmly as this will engrain the paint deeper into the fibres.

Step 3 - Spot Test The Solution

​Put on the gloves and in an inconspicuous area, such as the inside of a collar, apply a small amount of the turpentine.

If there are any adverse effects, you will be unable to continue removing the stain.

Step 4 - Apply Turpentine

​Lay down some layers of paper towels. Put the stain face-down onto the paper towels. As we are attempting to transfer the stain to the paper towels, you need to dab at the back of the stain with a turpentine-soaked cotton ball.

Move the stain around on the paper towels to a clean area and repeat the dabbing process. Replace the paper towels if they become saturated.

Step 5 - Rinse Under A Tap

​Hold the back of the stain under running warm water to rinse out the turpentine.

Step 6 - Rub In Laundry Detergent

​Rub a laundry detergent into the stain and soak in a small bucket of water overnight.​

If you can, occasionally remove the garment, rinse under a tap, and reapply the laundry detergent.

Step 7 - ​Wash The Garment

​After you have removed as much of the stain as possible, wash the garment with a bio laundry detergent.

We recommend that you don't clean the garment with any other items of clothing.

It may seem wasteful, but staining more clothes will only give you a bigger problem to tackle!

​Removing Water-Based Paints

​Water-based paint is becoming increasingly more common on the shelves of DIY stores.

​Paint that is water-based dries quickly and is more environmentally friendly than oil-based paint as it releases less Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

Fortunately, water-based paint also has the benefit of being slightly easier to remove compared to oil-based paint.

What You'll Need:

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    Dull knife or old bank/loyalty card
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    Bio Laundry Detergent
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    Clean Rags
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    ​Rubbing Alcohol

​If you don't have any rubbing alcohol (can be purchased in pharmacies) you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

​How to remove water-based paint stains from clothes:

​Follow these 7 steps to get water-based paint out of your clothes.

Step 1 - ​Act Quickly!

​​Like with oil-based stains, the quicker you tackle the stain, the more likely you are to have favourable results. Ideally, start treating it as soon as it happens.

Step 2 - ​Remove Excess Paint

​​Using a dull knife or an old bank card or loyalty card, remove as much excess paint as possible without spreading the paint further.

Step 3 - ​Rinse The Stain

​​Turn on a tap to full pressure. Force the stream of water onto the reverse of the stain to help push the stain out of the fibres and down into the sink.

Don't be tempted to rub the stain as this may cause it to spread even further.

Step 4 - ​Spot Test The Detergent

​Apply a small of the bio laundry detergent to an inconspicuous area of the garment.

​Check if there are any adverse effects. If there are, you should stop with this method unless you would otherwise bin the garment.

In that case, it may be better to have a slightly damaged garment, then no garment at all!

Step 5 - Apply Detergent

​​​Using a clean rag, apply a liberal amount of laundry detergent to the stain.

Gently rub it into a lather with your hands and then rinse.

Repeat this step until the stain is removed.

Step 6 - ​Apply Rubbing Alcohol

​If the laundry detergent has failed to remove the stain, try using rubbing alcohol once you have spot-tested it.

​Apply the rubbing alcohol to a clean rag and massage it gently into the stain.

Step 7 - ​​Wash The Garment

​Once you have removed as much of the stain as possible, wash the garment in the washing machine with a bio laundry detergent.

​Let us know if you managed to banish your paint stain in the comments section below.

We're always looking out for new tips and tricks, so please share your experiences with us!