How To Remove Paint
Over the past several months since the covid-19 lockdown and kids at home parents have had to come up with a zillion ideas to keep them entertained and busy even if for just a few minutes. Finger painting or using a brush to create a masterpiece work of art has been a very popular arts and craft activity.
To bring out all this artistic creativity it is common to use water-based paints like latex or acrylic to get their ideas onto paper, canvas or on their clothes, face, hands, furniture, carpets and walls.
What to do with those inevitable paint spills, or finger prints everywhere and anywhere. Don’t despair help is here. Here you will find tips on how to remove water-based paints and oil based paints from almost any surface.
Whether your having fun with arts and crafts or if you are doing a home makeover the following tips will help get any type of paint out and off almost any surface.
How To Remove Paint
Before you begin removing paint from any clothing or skin you should find out what type of paint it is. One simple trick to find out whether it is water-based or oil based paint is to do a quick test.
To find out what type of paint it is start by applying a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a clean white cloth or rag and dab onto the paint stain. If the paint comes off onto the rag then it is a latex/acrylic water based paint. If the paint does not rub off then it is an oil-based paint.
Oil based paints are made with linseed oil primarily and will require tougher and sometimes harsher chemicals such as turpentine or other mineral spirits also known as paint thinners to remove. Extra time and effort will be required to remove oil-based paints and the tips below will help guide you to remove either types of paints from any clothing, skin, carpet, furniture, walls and more.
How To Remove Water-Based Paints from Clothes
Although it may feel and look like all hope is lost, don’t throw away that paint stained t-shirt or sweater without trying a couple of things first. It will take a little effort to remove any water based paint from any clothing, but remember it is water based so that kind of gives away a hint as to how easy it will be to actually remove.
Actually it’s as easy as washing your hands or doing the dishes, yes that’s right, simply mild hand or dish soap does the trick.
6 steps on how to remove water-based acrylic or latex type paints from any clothing
Step 1 – scrape as much of the excess paint from the clothing by using the flat dull side of a knife or spoon.
Step 2 – Blot any excess paint with a rag or paper towel so that most of the extra paint is removed. It is best to use a white cloth or rag to ensure the colour of the rag does not fade onto the fabric you are trying to remove the paint from.
Step 3 – Turn the garment inside out and run warm water over it until the paint colour fades out of the fabric.
Step 4 – Pour some dishwashing liquid or hand soap over the paint stained area and rub gently or blot area to remove as much of the paint as possible. You can also mix soap into a container with warm or room temperature water which will be a safe to use on almost all and any type of fabric. Using a sponge or rag, dip into the water and soap mix and then lightly dab the soap and water soaked sponge onto the paint stained area. Do not use excess force to scrub or rub as this will cause the paint to further embed itself into the tiny fibers of the fabric and may cause further damage to the item of clothing.
Step 5 – Once the area is saturated from the dabbing of soap and water mix, rinse it under warm water until all soap residue is removed. Some of the paint should be washing its way out at this point. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all paint has been removed.
Step 6 – Wash the item in a regular laundry cycle.
How To Remove Water-Based Paints from Skin
Although water-based paints are completely water soluble they do become water resistant once they have been left to dry. That is why it is imperative to act quickly to remove any water-based paints from skin or clothing as soon as possible.
We do not recommend the use of paint removers such as turpentine or paint thinners on the skin as they are harsh and toxic. However we do recommend using some of the handy and simple ingredients you may already have in your home as they are more gentle on the skin.
5 Steps To Remove Water-based Acrylic or Latex Paints From Skin
To remove water-based, oil-based or any type of paint from any skin surface follow the steps below.
Step 1 – Start by washing away the bigger chunks of paint with some soap and warm water. You may notice that the simple use of mild hand soap or liquid dish detergent usually works perfectly to remove the water-based paint from the skin surface.
If the soap and water did not do the trick to completely remove the latex or acrylic paint then using some form of cooking oil, baby oil or mineral oil is the next best thing to cleaning off all paint from your skin.
Note: Mineral oil and olive oil work best to remove both water and oil based paints from any skin surface. You can use whatever you have on hand in the house such as vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, or baby oil.
Step 2 – Using your fingertips and small circular motions, rub the oil onto the skin area, if need be use the fingernails in a light circular rubbing motion to help scrape away excess paint.
If the paint is on your face where the skin is more sensitive, use just your fingertips and hands to gently massage the oil on and into the paint until it is removed. You can also use cotton balls or washcloths to gently rub the oil onto the skin to help remove the paint.
Step 3 – To remove any stubborn paint that will not come off with either soap and water or by using oil, then you can attempt the use of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
Step 4 – Soak the cotton ball with the rubbing alcohol and gently blot or rub onto skin surface until the paint is removed.
Step 5 – To remove the oil or alcohol from the skin simply rinse with mild soap and warm water.
How To Remove Oil-Based Paints from Clothes
As tough as oil-based paints can be they can still be removed from clothing and skin. Oil-based paints are made up of exactly what the name consists, mainly oil and the most commonly used oil is linseed oil.
Just like any other oil stain on any type of fabric oil-based paint is harder to remove than the water-based paints. But not all is lost if you happened to get some on your clothes, what is important though is to act quickly. The less time the paint has to completely dry on the clothes the better your chances of getting it off are.
8 Steps On How To Remove Oil-Based Paints From Clothes
Here are the steps to follow on how to remove oil-based paint from clothing.
Step 1 – Using the edge of a knife, or putty knife or even the side of a spoon, act quickly to scrape off the paint from the fabric.
Step 2 – Place a clean white cloth or rag in between the sides of the fabric, meaning if it’s a shirt sleeve put a clean white cloth in between the sleeve. This will enable the oil paint to be absorbed by the rag and lessen the risk of the paint bleeding onto other areas of the clothing creating more spots to eventually have to be removed.
Step 3 – Use another clean white rag or cloth dampened with some turpentine or paint thinner and using the blot or pat method try to absorb as much of the oil-based paint stain as possible.
Step 4 – Once you have scraped and blotted as much of the excess oil-based paint from the clothing item, rinse the item under warm or hot water. Carefully read the fabric label to know what temperature of water is best for that specific fabric.
Step 5 – Repeat steps 3 and 4 until all or as much of the oil-based paint is removed.
Step 6 – After repeating steps 3 and 4 and having removed all the paint stain, next apply some mild hand soap or dishwashing liquid to the area. Lightly rub the two sides of fabric together to allow the soap to get into all the fibers.
Step 7 – Wash the garment in a regular laundry cycle or let it sit in warm soapy water overnight and wash the next day.
Step 8 – As an alternative to turpentine, you can use other mineral spirts which are organic made paint thinners typically used to clean paint brushes or to thin out old thick paint. They are a little less harsh than turpentine. It will depend on how old and strong the oil-based paint stain is as to whether you can use the paint thinner or have to go to the stronger use of turpentine.
Note: Because turpentine can cause damage or fading to most fabric it is best to test it first in a small and inconspicuous part of the clothing.
If after all the blotting and washing in the laundry cycle the oil-based paint stain is still visible, you could try using one of the pre-washing stain removing type of product and let it sit for a day or two, and then wash it again in a regular wash load.
5 Steps On How To Remove Oil-Based Paints From Skin
Removing oil-based paints from skin requires a little more than just soap and water. As the name oil-based implies, oil paint is mainly made up of linseed oil, and using olive oil or any other type of cooking oil like coconut, vegetable or canola oil will help break down the oil based paint and can work really well to help remove the paint from all skin surfaces.
Here are the steps you can follow on how to remove oil-based paints from skin.
Step 1 – Using olive oil, petroleum jelly a.k.a. vaseline or coconut oil apply enough of an amount to the skins surface.
Step 2 – Gently rub whichever oil you are using like coconut, baby oil or cooking oil to the skin surface with your finger tips, cotton balls, paper towel or washcloth.
Step 3 – Continue rubbing gently in circular motions until all the paint begins to break down and disappear.
Step 4 – Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all oil-based paint stain is removed.
Step 5 – Wash skin with soap and water to remove all residue of oil and paint.
If the paint has been left to dry a little too long it can be harder to remove. In these instances, you may have to turn to removing the oil-based paints chemically by using small amounts of turpentine, paint thinner or nail polish remover, to remove the stubborn stuck on paint from the skin’s surface and simply end with a thorough washing with soap and water to remove all residue and odor of the chemical used.
How To Remove Paint on Interior and Exterior Surfaces
If you have recently gone through a home makeover and did some interior painting or exterior painting yourself it can happen that some paint drops or spills can land on the floor, carpet or splash onto the glass of a window, or the wall paint drips onto the baseboard.
Everyone is human and although it can be disappointing not to be perfect like professional painting companies you should still take pride in knowing that removing any type paint is possible with a little time and effort.
How To Remove Paint from Walls
Today’s paint manufacturers make interior painting a breeze, with the variety of colour choices in water-based acrylic and latex paints. They are environmentally safe and eco-friendly, and despite that there are times when some may choose to use oil-based paints because it is believed they are usually stronger, last longer and are more durable to endure constant cleaning.
Areas inside the home that oil-based paints might be used are for painting are to paint the trim, interior doors, frames, baseboards, cove molding and other wood architectural details. Some homeowners choose the oil-based paint for the wood detailed areas because of the durability, longevity of the paint and that it also provides a barrier or layer of protection to those wood surfaces against scrapes and nicks, it is easier to clean scuff marks, dirt and grease compared to a water based paint.
Interior paint is mainly water-based paints also known as acrylic or latex. Because they are a water based product, washing and cleaning it up is easy. Here are the steps on how to remove paint from interior and exterior areas around the home.
To Remove Interior Water-Based Paint on Walls
When doing any interior painting paint spills and drips onto the floor, onto carpeting or drip onto the baseboard can happen. Here is what you can do to remove interior water-based paint on surfaces.
Step 1 – Identify what type of paint finish was used on the area as some paint sheens are not as durable as others to withstand heavy duty elbow grease so you should proceed with caution before applying any abrasive cleaners or scrubbing force.
An article with details about the different types of paint finishes and an explanation on how durable they are to withstand cleaning is worth a read before attempting to clean painted walls so that you do not end up having streaks and marks or the paint actually rubbing off like in the picture below. Step 2 – Starting with the mildest of solutions which would be soap and warm water. Using a soft cloth or sponge gently rub in a circular motion until the excess paint is removed. Do not use abrasive cleaners or magic erasers as they will damage the paint.
Step 3 – Rinse with clean water and repeat if necessary.
If the paint is on the window glass or on the floor, you can try using a putty knife, scraper, knife or razor blade to gently remove the excess paint drips.
Step 4 – Using a circular motion, gently wipe the area with a soft dry cloth or sponge to dry.
To Remove Water-Based Paint off Floors and Carpet
If you have paint drips or spills on the floors, carpeting or other interior surfaces, here is what you can do to remove it.
Step 1 – Start with a damp sponge or cloth that has been soaked and ringed in some warm soapy water.
Step 2 – Rub over the surface until all paint is removed.
Step 3 – For dry paint that has become more stubborn to simply remove with soap and water, use a rag that is lightly dipped into turpentine and rub over paint until it is completely removed.
To Remove Oil-Based Paint off Floors and Carpet
If you used an oil-based paint for painting any interior wood details such as baseboards, trim, doors or cove molding and notice paint drips or spills, here are the steps on how to remove oil-based paints from floors and carpeting.
Step 1 – Use a soft clean white cloth or rag that has turpentine or paint thinner on it. Using a white rag or cloth is best to ensure that the colour of the cloth does not fade onto the surface you are cleaning.
Step 2 – Using the blotting motion, gently dab the area where the oil-based paint is until it begins to loosen.
Step 3 – Repeat step 2 until all oil based paint is removed.
Step 4 – Rinse with warm soapy water and follow with clear rinse with warm water.
Step 5 – Pat dry or let air dry
To Remove Exterior Water-Based Paint
The following tips are for what you can do to remove exterior water-based paint off surfaces.
If you are one of the lucky ones and your exterior painting was done by experienced and professional painters then there may not be to much paint or stain on other surfaces other than the where it was intended to be. Removing some of the paint can be as easy as a good power washing soak up with some soap and water.
If the damage is more extensive and there is paint on areas that was not supposed to be such as the window glass, or on a frame around the front door or anywhere else it was not supposed to be then the following these steps can be helpful to you for removing that stubborn paint left behind.
To Remove Exterior Oil-Based Paint
If you are painting any exterior surface and have drips or spills where they are not supposed to be, act quickly to remove it.
When oil-based paint is completely dry and cured, it takes a lot more effort to remove it on any exterior surface. You would need to use harsh chemicals like turpentine, or paint strippers, along with scraping and sanding.
If the paint is fresh here are a few tips on how to remove it.
Step 1 – Use a clean white cloth or rag that has turpentine or paint thinner on it. If you use a white rag or cloth it prevents the colour of the rag from fading or bleeding onto the surface creating a whole new colour combination you were not looking for.
Step 2 – Blot and dab the surface area until it begins to loosen up the paint.
Step 3 – Repeat step 2 until all oil based paint is removed.
Step 4 – Rinse with warm soapy water to remove any turpentine residue and rinse with clear water.
Step 5 – Let air dry.
To Remove Old and Dry Exterior Paint
If you notice old paint left behind from previous exterior painting work done, then here are a few tips on how to remove dry exterior paint.
Tip 1 – Remove the old paint by using a paint scraper tool. Apply medium to firm pressure as you drag the blade of the scraper along the surface area.
Tip 2 – On a wood surface use a sandpaper block to smooth it away.
Tip 3 – On glass or metal surfaces you can attempt to remove fresh paint spills or drips with turpentine and a rag or cloth.
Once you are confident and satisfied that all the old exterior paint is removed you can give it a quick washing with garden hose or light spray setting on a power washer.
How To Remove Paint from Paint Brushes and Paint Rollers
To remove water-based paints from paint brushes and rollers, simply wash them in a container, or under running water at an old sink or using the garden hose.
Continue rinsing with the running water, while using hands to help remove the paint. Once all paint has been rinsed off give it a good shaking to remove all excess water and let air dry.
To Remove Oil-Based Paints from Paint Brushes and Paint Rollers
Oil based paints are tougher and harder to remove and you will need to use chemicals like turpentine or paint thinners. When using turpentine, ensure you are in a well-ventilated area as the fumes can be strong.
Step 1 – Using a container or old and no longer needed paint can, place the paint brushes or paint rollers in a standing position and fill container with turpentine or paint thinner only up to the level of the brush bristles.
To ensure you take care of your paint brush do not soak past the metal band on the brush otherwise you run the risk of damaging the brush and the bristles will fall off.
Step 2 – Let the brushes and rollers sit for a few minutes
Step 3 – Using your hand in a back and forth or up and down motion rub the turpentine into the brush or roller to ensure all the bristles and roller is covered. Make sure to rub on both sides of the brush and completely around the roller to properly work the turpentine into the bristles and the fibers of the roller.
Step 4 – Re-submerge into container with turpentine and give it a good swoosh around. Lift and make sure paint is removed.
Step 5 – Once all paint has been removed with turpentine, pour dishwashing soap onto the brush or roller and rub the water and soap mix into the bristles and roller. Use a dishwashing liquid that is specially formulated to cut through grease.
Step 6 – Rinse brush or roller under warm water or as hot as your hands can withstand. Use fingers and hands to work the soap out. Remove all the residue from any chemical used, along with the dishwashing soap by continuing to rinse until clear water is all you can see.
Step 7 – Squeeze all excess water out of paint brush bristles and foam fibers. Removing as much as possible will help to avoid the brush or roller from stiffening up and rendering useless.
Step 8 – Let air dry completely
Bonus Tip – If you are going to be using your brush and roller the following day and just don’t feel like washing it just yet, wrap it up in a plastic bag or saran wrap and store in freezer. Then use again the following day. It is not recommended to do this for more than once or twice before having to do a full clean so that your paint brushes and rollers last longer and are maintained in good condition.
These tips are useful to help remove water-based and oil-based paints from almost all surfaces and if you are looking for more painting tips for any DIY painting projects read the articles in our house painting blog.
Arts and crafts are a great pass time and loads of fun to do but if your considering any home painting you can leave it all up to the professional painting companies near you. This way you have no worries, no mess and no clean-up.