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

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Reviewed by
Eral Kadrija

Tony Adams

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

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

You can also use rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and mineral spirits as an alternative to the mild solvent.

Is it Possible?

You can remove latex paint from fabric easily. That’s because latex is water-based and doesn’t have VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or strong chemicals that make removing it harder.

Latex or water-based paints include flat, chalk, satin, craft, poster, and acrylic latex. Water-based paints use water as their solvent. The water-based nature makes it easier to remove it from different surfaces. Also, they are thin and don’t have good adhesion qualities, so you can remove them with ease.

Water-based paints don’t have a glossy sheen that repels water. Instead, it has a dry and textured finish that is water-soluble. So, when you apply a mild solvent over them, the solvent will soak into the coating and dissolve the particles. Once the particles aren’t bonded anymore, you can wipe off the paint. 

Removing Dried Latex Paint

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

If the paint has dried, it means the solvent (water) has evaporated, and the particles have hardened. Once the particles harden, the paint will bond to a surface and you can’t wipe it off.

So, to wipe dry latex paint, you must first break the bond between particles and then wipe it off. The only way to break particles’ bond is to use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol.

However, you must scrape the paint off first. After scraping the dried paint off, apply the needed solvent to the remaining. You can use white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, or hairspray for this.

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.

  • 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. The paint on the inner part of your material is the one that has soaked in the fabric the most.

2. Scrape It Off

Start by scraping the latex paint off the clothes.

Using a plastic scraper, scrape as much paint as possible. Start by scraping the inner parts of the clothes, then the other side. You won’t be able to scrape all the paint off, there will still be leftovers 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 a Solvent

Now, apply a solvent to the painted surface.

After you have scrapped most of the paint, apply a solvent (such as rubbing alcohol) over the leftovers. Mineral spirits and paint thinners are stronger than rubbing alcohol, so only use them if the stains won’t come off. Also, you must dilute mineral spirits with water to prevent it from staining the fabric.

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

After you apply the solvent over the affected spot, wait 10 minutes for it to soak into the fabric. Then, use a soft brush (or sponge) to scrub it off. 

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 the paint, wash the cloth with laundry detergent. The laundry detergent will remove the leftover stains and solvent. If you don’t remove the solvent residue from the fabric, it can get discolored. After you wash it, leave it to dry.

Related Read: 5 Things That Can Remove Latex Paint?

Different Products To Use

Hair Spray

You can use a hair sprayer to remove water-based paint from fabrics. That’s because hairspray products have a lot of alcohol content (25-50%). This method works best for small 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 do it:

  1. Lay The Cloth On A Flat Surface – Lay it on a flat moisture-resistant surface like concrete.
  2. Apply Hairspray On The Affected Spot – Apply hairspray on the affected spot. Hairspray works because it contains a lot of alcohol. The alcohol will break down the solvent, making it easier to remove it.
  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.
  4. Leave To Dry 


White vinegar is a mild acid that will dissolve and remove latex paint. White vinegar is gentler on clothes and is more efficient in removing stubborn paint.

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

Here’s how to use it:

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

If you leave white vinegar over the fabric for a long time, the white vinegar will discolor them. 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 materials are too sensitive and soft for paint strippers.

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

But, the stripping compound is too harsh on 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 and ruin them.

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 to apply a strong mild solvent over the affected spot, and use a scraper to scrape it off. Once the stain is gone, wash the clothes with laundry detergent.

You can use white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or a hair sprayer as a solvent. 

Tony Adams

Tony Adams

Woodworker, Interior and Exterior Painter, Flooring Specialist

Tony is a professional painter and an author of DIY Geeks. Tony has completed over 1,000 painting projects for his clients. It's safe to say he knows what he Is talking about.

Eral Kadrija

Eral Kadrija

Lead Editor, Home Renovator

Eral has a passion for home renovation and repair. Over the years, he has bought, renovated, and sold 7 old homes. Using his experience from different DIY projects he created DIY Geeks.

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