After applying acrylic paint, you might notice stains on surfaces that you didn’t intend to paint. You want to remove those stains but you are wondering, is acrylic paint washable?
Acrylic paint is washable but this is usually when the coating is still wet or fresh. Dried acrylic paint is tougher to remove from a surface because it isn’t as water-soluble as other types. So washing off a dried coating will require a solvent.
Is Acrylic Paint Permanent?
Acrylic paint is not permanent because the finish will chip off after a while. But this will take several years if it was applied properly and allowed to cure. No type of paint is permanent.
However, acrylic when used on an indoor surface, applied correctly, and sealed can last over a decade before you begin to notice changes in the finish.
The paint is made from plasticizers, silicone oils, and acrylic polymer. These 3 materials included in the formula make its finish stronger and resistant to moisture and chipping.
It is durable against things that can ruin other finishes. And, that’s why most people think that acrylic paint is permanent. However, it’s not. Though it can last for over 10 years on a surface, the finish will eventually deteriorate.
If used outdoors, the constant exposure to UV rays, wind, rain, and dust will cause its finish to wear out gradually till it begins to peel off. Though this will take many years. If used indoors, the constant touching, handling, and friction will cause it to chip after a few years.
Acrylic paint is washable with warm water but only when the coating is still fresh or wet. Fresh coatings are water-soluble so they will dissolve in warm water and can be removed.
Dried acrylic paint isn’t washable with water, either warm or not. When it dries, the finish is very hard and moisture-resistant so using water alone to clean or remove it won’t work.
Fresh coating can be removed with warm water because the polymer hasn’t begun to dry and the particles aren’t compact yet. So if you notice a fresh stain, wipe it off immediately with warm water. If the pigments start to solidify and the polymer begins to dry, then the acrylic paint will become tricky to remove.
The longer the coating is left on the surface, the harder it will be to remove it. This is why it’s very difficult to remove dried coatings with just water.
A dried coating means that the solvent has been completely evaporated. When the solvent evaporates, the paint bonds to the surface and becomes hard.
To remove dried acrylic paint, you will need a solvent like rubbing alcohol or mineral spirit to first dissolve the particles so they can become water-soluble. Then you can wipe the dissolved paint with warm water.
Related Read: How To Apply Acrylic Paint on Walls?
Interior acrylic paint will wash off in the rain if the coating is still wet and if you haven’t sealed the finish. Dried interior acrylic paint won’t wash off in the rain immediately. But, if exposed to constant water it will get washed off.
Though the interior acrylic paint wouldn’t wash off immediately after it comes in contact with rain, the constant rainfall can cause water to soak in the paint. This is because the binder isn’t designed to be water-resistant. Eventually, it will flake off or peel off the surface.
Exterior paint is designed specifically to be water-resistant. It also has flexible acrylic binders that contract and expands. This makes the binder cope better with moisture and temperature changes. So, when it comes to rain, exterior acrylic paint is much more water-resistant and will last longer.
That being said, you shouldn’t use acrylic paint either exterior or interior on a surface that will experience heavy and consistent rainfall. That’s because it won’t last long and will get washed off within 1-2 weeks. To increase its durability, you must seal the paint with a waterproof sealant.
Acrylic paint isn’t permanent on clothes. It can be removed from clothes or fabric but the removal process will be tricky and will require a solvent.
The paint can also leave a permanent discoloration on the fabric. This happens when it is removed carelessly with a chemical or strong solvent. The clash of the solvent with the pigments on the fabric can leave a permanent stain on the cloth.
If it’s a fresh paint splatter on a cloth, it can be easily removed by wiping the cloth with warm soapy water. However, if the coating has dried, it will be difficult to remove because it has soaked into the fabric threads.
So, to remove it, you must dissolve the coating first so it loses its bond to the threads in the fabric. Then, you can wash off the cloth with laundry detergent to remove the remaining pant.
However, acrylic paint is difficult to remove from fabric materials like wool, suede, and silk. This is because these materials are too sensitive to use a solvent on them. They are also very delicate and they can be ruined if you over-wash them or apply too much force.
Regular acrylic paint is washable on glass. But, permanent acrylic paint designed for glass and windows will prove virtually impossible to wash off. That’s because it is designed with extra additives to improve adhesion to slick surfaces like glass.
Regular paint doesn’t stick to glass the same way it would on wood. This is because glass surfaces are slick and ultra-smooth and have no grain or fiber that the coating can soak into. This makes it difficult for the paint to adhere to the surface.
To remove regular paint from glass, you need to use a plastic putty knife and scrape it off. Then, wipe the surface with warm soapy water. However, to remove permanent acrylic from glass, you must use a strong solvent. That’s because this paint is desgiined with extra additives and is usually sealed with a waterproof torpcoat.
You can remove acrylic from different wooden surfaces including floors, walls, and furniture. The coating is more water-soluble if it’s still wet and can be removed with water only. However, if the coating has dried, you need to use warm soapy water to remove it.
To remove stubborn acrylic paint on wood, use rubbing alcohol and then wash it with warm soapy water. However, it’s advised not to use too much liquid as wooden surfaces are porous and can get waterlogged from too much liquid (water).
You can remove acrylic paint from plastic surfaces by using warm soapy water, vegetable oil, diluted rubbing alcohol, or hair spray. The coating is washable because plastic surfaces are non-porous, so the paint doesn’t penetrate them, instead, it stays over the top layer.
Also, plastic surfaces are durable and won’t get damaged by most solvents, so you can try different removal methods for them. However, it’s always easier to remove a wet coating than a dried coating.
Acrylic dries faster on plastic surfaces because it doesn’t penetrate them, so the evaporation process start immediately. So, if you notice stains over the surface, it’s best if you remove them as fast as possible. To remove a wet coating, dip a rag in warm water and wipe it off.
To remove dried coatings from plastic, use a plastic putty knife to scrape most of it. Then, apply diluted rubbing alcohol, wait 10 minutes, and scrape the remaining paint.
In summary, acrylic paint is washable on all types of surfaces. However, wet coatings are more water-soluble and easier to remove than dried coatings.
But, acrylic is water-based so it doesn’t have a glossy finish or additives that repel solvents and prevents them from dissolving its coating.