How to remove dried paint from clothes in a few steps

Life is messy, hands get dirty and at some point, someone is going to splatter their shirt or jeans with paint.

And with all you’ve got going on, the last thing you want to do is try to remove dried paint. But you don’t have to toss your favorite outfit just yet. Although it may take a little bit of work, it’s possible to get dried paint out of clothes in just a few steps.

Removing water-based paints (like acrylic and latex)

Between weekend crafts and school projects, these paints are probably as common in your household as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And even though the kids tend to finger paint their papers and their clothes, the good news is that water-based paint is relatively easy to remove.

Now you both can breathe a sigh of relief because her unicorn dress is not destined for the trash.

Removing water-based paint from clothes

Step 1

Scrape off as much excess dried paint as you can with a spoon, dull knife or brush.

Step 2

Flush the back side of the stain with warm running water. (With Whirlpool brand’s built-in water faucet, you can do this right in the washer.) Or, you can blot it with a clean rag or paper towel to absorb as much of the remaining paint as possible.

Whirlpool® washers help get dried paint out of jeans

Step 3

Saturate the stain with a mix of half detergent, half warm water and blot it vigorously with a rag or paper towel. Rinse and repeat until the paint is gone or no longer coming up.

Care Tip

Spot test a small, hidden part of the garment first to ensure that none of these agents ruin/discolor the fabric.

Get dried paints out of clothes with Whirlpool® Washers

Step 4

Apply stain remover if necessary and wash the clothing item on the cycle recommended by its care label.

Step 5

If any of the paint remains, try blotting gently with nail polish remover, hairspray or rubbing alcohol and then rewash.

Step 6

And if the stain is still there, consider bringing the item to a professional dry cleaner.

Removing oil-based paints (like emulsions)

Although many wall paints are now acrylic, oil-based paint is still a popular choice for woodwork, doors, furniture and other surfaces that demand a glossy finish or durability, like floors. This type of paint might be a little bit difficult to remove and requires more aggressive cleaning agents — and a little more elbow grease.


But even when your spouse accidentally sits on a still-wet mudroom bench, getting dried paint out of his jeans doesn’t have to be a lost cause.

Stain removal tip

Step 1

Turn the garment inside out on a thick stack of clean rags or paper towels. Blot the stain from the back with turpentine or the paint-thinner recommended on the paint can label until no more paint comes up.

Care Tip

Spot test a small, hidden part of the garment first to ensure that the paint thinner doesn’t ruin/discolor the fabric.

Stain removal tip

Step 2

Rinse it out. (With Whirlpool brand’s built-in water faucet, you can do this right in the washer.) Then apply dishwasher detergent to the stain and soak the garment in hot, soapy water overnight.

Care Tip

Check the item’s care label for recommended water temp.

Removing oil-based paints from clothes

Step 3

Rinse thoroughly and then wash it as you normally would. If the stain remains, treat with a stain remover and wash the item again.

Step 4

If the stain proves permanent, turn it into a tie-dye work of art!

Whirlpool® washers can help remove dried paint from clothes

Whirlpool® washers to take on paint stains, spills and splatters

No matter who’s painting in your house (the kids who don’t roll up their sleeves, the teenagers who insist on re-doing their own rooms, your DIY-minded spouse), spills and splatters are inevitable. Luckily, you can get dried paint out of clothes — with the help of our innovative washer features, like the built-in water faucet. Check out our complete line-up of washers to make stain removal — and the rest of laundry day — run more smoothly.

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