How to Remove Latex Paint From Clothes? (3 Methods)

While painting, you can accidentally spill latex paint on clothes. So, how to remove latex paint from clothes?

You can remove latex paint from clothes by applying a mild solvent over the paint solvent. The mild solvent will dissolve the latex paint, making it easier to wash out the latex paint with warm soapy water. 

You can use rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and mineral spirits as a solvent to remove latex paint from clothes. 

However, this is just a snippet. This post reveals more about removing latex paint from clothing. So let’s dive in.

Can You Remove Latex Paint From Clothes?

You can remove latex paint from clothes easily. That’s because latex paint doesn’t have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or strong chemicals that discolor clothes.

Latex or water-based paints include flat, chalk, satin, craft, poster, and acrylic latex paint. Water-based paints use water as their paint solvent. The water-based nature makes it easier to remove from clothing and fabric. Also, latex paints are thin and don’t have good adhesion qualities, so you can remove latex paint easier from the clothes.

Unlike oil-based paints, latex paint doesn’t have a glossy sheen that repels water. Instead, it has a dry and textured finish that can get affected by water. So, when you apply a mild solvent over the latex paint, the solvent will soak into the paint coating and dissolve the paint particles. Once the paint particles aren’t bonded anymore, you can wipe off the paint. 

Removing Dried Latex Paint

You can remove dried latex paint from clothes, but you must use a strong solvent such as rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol will penetrate (or soak) into the painted spot and dissolve the paint particles. Once the paint particles are dissolved, the paint liquefies and you can wipe it off.

If the latex paint has dried, it means the solvent (water) has evaporated, and the paint particles have hardened. Once the paint particles hardened, the paint will bond to a surface and you can’t wipe it off. To wipe a dry latex paint, you must first break the bond between paint particles. The only way to break paint particles’ bond is to use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol.

However, you must scrape the paint off first. The good thing about removing dried latex paint is that it can be chipped off with a plastic knife. After scraping the dried latex paint off, apply the needed solvent to the remaining paint stain. You can use white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, or hairspray on the paint stain. Any of these will work fine.

Related Read: Can You Use Nail Polish To Remove Paint?

How To Remove Latex Paint From Clothing?

Removing latex paint from clothes is easy. There are several ways to go about it. But for this post, we will check out the two most effective ways to get latex paint out of clothes:

  • Using a solvent
  • Using Hair Spray

Here are the tools you need:

  • A Plastic Knife Or Razor
  • Duct Tape
  • A Solvent (preferably White Vinegar)
  •  Laundry Detergent
  • A Soft Sponge
  •  Clean Rag
  •  Lots of Water

Now let’s get to work.

1. Turn The Cloth Inside-Out

First, turn the cloth inside-out. This helps expose the paint’s underside, which serves as the base coat in this case. Latex paint on the inner part of your cloth is the one that has soaked in the fabric the most.

2. Scrape The Latex Paint Off

Start by scraping the latex paint off the clothes.

You must use a plastic knife to scrape as much paint as possible off the cloth. Start by scraping paint off the inner parts of the clothes, then the other side. You won’t be able to scrape all the latex paint off the cloth. There will still be leftover paint in the fabric after you have scrapped it. 

You shouldn’t use a metallic knife or scrape as it can pool the threads of the fabric off. 

3. Apply The Solvent On The Paint Stain

Now, apply a solvent to the painted surface.

After you have scrapped most of the latex paint off the clothes, you must apply a solvent (such as white vinegar or rubbing alcohol) over the paint stain. 

Mineral spirits and paint thinners are stronger than rubbing alcohol, so only use them if latex paint won’t come off. Also, you must dilute mineral spirits with water to prevent it from staining the clothes or fabric. 

For sensitive fabrics such as wool and silk, don’t use rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits. Instead, use ordinary laundry detergent for sensitive fabrics. 

After you apply the solvent over the latex paint, wait 10 minutes for it to soak into the fabric. Then, use a soft brush (or sponge) to scrub the painted surface. This helps to remove paint from the cloth. 

4. Wash And Rinse The Cloth

After applying rubbing alcohol and using a soft sponge the remove the latex paint, you have to wash the clothes.

After you remove latex paint from the clothes, you must wash the cloth with laundry detergent. The laundry detergent will remove the left-over paint stains and the leftover solvent. If you don’t remove the solvent residue from the clothes, they can get discolored. 

After you wash the clothes, rinse them with clean warm water and let them dry. 

5. Leave To Dry

Let the clothes dry. And, that's how you remove latex paint from clothes.

Let the clothes dry. Then, check the clothes to see if there’s left-over paint or if the solvent left any stains behind.

Related Read: 5 Things That Can Remove Latex Paint?

Different Products To Use

Hair Spray

You can remove latex paint from clothes by using a hair spray. That’s because hairspray products have a lot of alcohol content (25-50%), and alcohol can remove latex paints. This method works best for small painted spots. 

Here are the tools you need:

  • Hairspray (Preferably One With A High alcohol content)
  • A Flat Moisture-Resistant Surface
  • A fabric Brush Or Soft Sponge
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Lots Of Water

Here’s how to use hair spray to remove latex paint:

  1. Lay The Cloth On A Flat Surface – Lay the cloth on a flat moisture-resistant surface like concrete.
  2. Apply Hairspray On The Affected Spot – Apply hairspray on the affected spot. Hairspray works on latex paints because hairspray products contain a lot of alcohol. The alcohol will break down the paint pigments, making removing the paint easier.
  3. Scrub The Paint Off – After a few minutes, use a soft sponge to scrub the paint off. Then wash the cloth in warm soapy water. This will remove the paint before you rinse the cloth.
  4. Leave To Dry 

Vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid that will dissolve and remove latex paint from clothing. However, you must use white vinegar. That’s because white vinegar is gentler on clothes and is more efficient in removing stubborn latex paint from clothes.

The vinegar will penetrate the latex paint coating and dissolve the polymer from the paint pigment. Once the polymer is dissolved, the paint will lose its bond to the clothes and wash off. Vinegar will also remove dry latex paint from clothes.

Here’s how to use vinegar to remove latex paint:

  1. Pour the white vinegar over the latex paint. 
  2. Wait a few minutes for the fabric to absorb the vinegar.
  3. Use a soft brush to scrub the paint coating. 
  4. Once the latex paint is removed, use warm soapy water to remove vinegar residue from clothes. 

If you leave white vinegar over the fabric for a long time, the white vinegar will discolor the clothes. So, you must remove the white vinegar residue. 

Paint Stripper

You shouldn’t use a paint stripper on clothing or fabric. That’s because the paint stripping compound is designed to be used on hard surfaces like wood, concrete, and plastic. Fabric material or clothes are too sensitive and soft for paint strippers.

After you apply the paint stripping compound to a surface, the compound attaches to the surface by soaking into the paint. After a while, the paint stripping compound dries with the paint soaked into it. Once this happens, you can scrape the paint stripping compound off the surface (together with the paint) using a paint scraper. 

But, the paint stripping compound is too harsh on clothes or fabric. Also, the clothes aren’t flat enough for the stripping compound to be applied evenly. This means uneven application and subsequently, uneven results. Using paint strippers on clothes will stain the cloth and ruin the fabric.

Instead, use mild solvents like rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and hairspray. You can even use baking soda but ensure to follow all instructions.

Final Words

Removing latex paint from fabric is easy. All you need is a strong mild solvent, a paint scraper, and laundry detergent. You can use white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or a hair sprayer as a solvent to remove latex paint. 

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