3 Incredible Ways To Clean Paint Out Of Carpet

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated March 14, 2021

You can let your painting creativity run wild – but not on your carpet

3 Incredible Ways To Clean Paint Out Of Carpet

Ever had this mishap of knocking paint over? Or accidentally getting blobs of paint on your carpet?

Ok, and you are not entirely sure if it will come off. Or if the carpet is ruined for good.

Fortunately, in my article, you’ll learn:

Let’s get started!

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Please Note

The steps I will go through in this guide work best for fresh stains but I have also included ways you can clean dry paint off the carpet. Acrylic, Oil-based, and water-based and latex paints (1) dry differently and you may find one harder to remove than the other.
Be sure to identify which type of paint landed on your carpet to do the proper action. This matters so that you will not further damage the carpet by applying an inadequate cleaning process.


Types of Paint

In this guide, I’ll focus on three types of paint that can stain your carpet:  acrylics, oil-based and water-based paints.

These are all commonly used for interior designs and even arts and craft activities. They may appear to look the same but they are made from different ingredients and vary on how long they dry.

Plus, each of these types may require various techniques to remove them from surfaces. So don’t miss out on how to differentiate them.


Acrylic-based paints

This type of acrylic-based paint(2) is made with pigments and coloring suspended in an emulsion of acrylic polymer. It’s water-soluble.

But don’t rejoice yet, because it dries FAST and turns water-resistant after.


Oil-based paints

Meanwhile, oil-based paints(3) are made with either natural linseed or synthetic alkyd oil. It is more durable but takes longer to dry.

If you want to clean it, be sure to get turpentine or thinner to get it done.


Water-based and latex paint

Latex is also made from acrylic resin but water-based. However, do not be confused with its name. This paint does not contain latex from rubber, it just refers to “resin” in its composition.

This is the usual paint most people use for their house and its interior.

Now let’s take a look at the different methods to remove paint out of your carpet.

Methods to Remove Three Types of Fresh Paint Out of Carpets
If you’re in this situation where you have paint on your carpet, I recommend that you act fast.

For this, clean out the paint once it touches the carpet. For instance, if you want to update your wall paint or do minor interior touch-ups, make sure to get the cleaning materials ready.

Indeed, you’ll never know when the paint will land on your carpet. And cleaning it on time will make all the difference.

Read this step-by-step guide on how you can clean paint off your carpet effectively.

1. Getting Rid of Acrylic Paint Spill

First, prepare the following materials:

Step 1
Put on your gloves and mask. Then get a damp rag to moisten the affected area through dabbing. Do not scrub.

Step 2
Add about 0.5 oz of laundry detergent on the rag to loosen the paint.

Do a small spot test to see if the detergent will stain. Blot. Again, do not scrub.  Why? Because scrubbing may cause the paint to spread.

Step 3
On another part of the rag, add acetone and clean the area. This will, in turn, lift more paint from the carpet.

Continue to apply acetone until the paint stain disappears.

Step 4
If the acetone step hasn’t been concluding, you can apply a carpet cleaning solution instead.

However, you should remove all the acetone before following this step.

So, apply the cleaning solution, then use an old toothbrush and gently scrub the carpet.

Let the cleaner sit on the carpet for 6-7 minutes. Finish by rinsing your carpet with water.

Step 5
Finally, vacuum your carpet.

For this, I suggest using a wet vacuum. If you don’t, you may damage your vacuum.

In fact, a regular dry vacuum is not insulated inside and may break if it absorbs the liquids from the carpet.


Repeat steps 3-5 if there is still paint left.

2. Removing Water-based or Latex Paints

For this method, you’ll need the following material:

(*) Towel you are ready to throw away(**) ¼ teaspoon of Dishwashing Detergent

Step 1
Dab the paint stain with a damp rag or towel. At this stage, you just have to blot the area. Do not scrub.

Step 2
Apply a cleaning solution on the stain.

This can be a commercial preparation or your own homemade carpet cleaner. For instance, you can use half vinegar, half of hot water in a spray bottle.

Another great alternative is to add ¼ teaspoon dish-washing detergent. Blot again.

Step 3
If you notice that there is a lot to remove, you can use the pliers to help you out.

​If necessary, do not hesitate to apply for more cleaning solutions. For dry paint parts, you can let the laundry detergent act for at least 5 minutes before using the pliers.

Step 4
Then use a wet vacuum to clean off as much paint as possible.
Another great cleaning machine is a carpet steamer. They are quite efficient to clean carpet. 

3. Clean Up Oil Paint

As usual, prepare all the needed materials:

1.Remove fresh oil

Start with removing the bulk of fresh oil with a putty knife. ​To do so, place the knife under the spill and gently lift or scrape out the paint.

2.Place the collected paint in a container

Repeat the process until you get as much paint on the knife as possible. Please not to not scrub with the knife as it may spread the paint.

3.Soften the paint

If the paint starts to dry or solidify, use a steam cleaner to soften the paint. ​Once the paint softens, dab the area with a rag or paper towel. At this point, again, avoid scrubbing.

If the paint is still too much for a towel, use the putty knife again to scrape off the softened paint off.

4.Add turpentine to your towel

Add turpentine to your towel or rag and keep blotting. Again, no scrubbing.

The turpentine works wonders on paint and is an excellent solvent that separates the paint from your fabrics.

For safety reasons, do not hesitate to use gloves and glasses when using turpentine. 

5.Mix cold water solution

Step 5 – Mix cold water solution
Now, mix a solution of cold water and dishwashing liquid. Sponge the affected area with the solution to clean off the last bits of paints and turpentine.

6.Dry It Out

Dry the area with paper towels. You can also vacuum the area with a wet vacuum.


How to Remove Dry Paint from Carpet

Should you notice the paint stain on your carpet a little bit too late, do not be discouraged. With this method, you’ll be able to remove dry paint from your carpet.

Since the paint may be already too dry, let’s prepare the following materials to clean off dry paint (no matter the type)

Let us start with oil-based paint stains. Why? Simply because they prove to be a little bit more challenging.

Instructions for oil-based paint stains:

Step 1
Hover a carpet steamer to soften the paint.

Step 2
Mix ¼ teaspoon of dishwashing detergent or warm water/vinegar solution in a spray bottle.

Step 3
Spray the solution on the carpet and let sit for 5 minutes

Step 4
Cut parts with paints that do not come off.

For acrylic and latex or water-based paint stains, you may refer to this guide:

Step 1
Use your putty knife or real knife to scrape off the paint. With this step, be careful not to damage the carpet fibers.

Step 2
Use needle-nose pliers to take off bigger blobs of paint. Dab water over remaining paint stains and let it sit for a few minutes to soften it.

Step 3
Vacuum it off with a wet vacuum. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you get off most of the paint.

Step 4
Spray the affected part with the vinegar or dishwashing detergent solution. Then, use the brush to scrub the area sprayed with the solution. Keep brushing until the paint is taken care of.

Step 5
Use a wet vacuum to get the paint, solution, and other moisture off the carpet.


  • Before using vinegar, dishwashing detergents, or carpet cleaners, always do a spot test first.You don’t want another kind of stain, right?To put it simply, spot testing is good so you’ll know the solution you will use will not add any other jab on the already stained carpet
  • If you have Persian carpets(4), fur, and other unusual or expensive carpet material, I recommend calling for a professional carpet cleaner. Indeed, these kinds of rugs are delicate fabric. You surely want to avoid damaging them.
  • Blot out and clean the paint stain as soon as you spot it.
  • If you have time to go out, you can also get products like Goo Gone or WD-40 which are popular among reviewers that used them to remove stubborn paint.
  • If all else fails, the last resort is to cut a piece of the carpet and replace it with a strip of cloth of the same make, material, and color of the removed part. You may call for professional help with the stretching or stitching of the carpet for the best finish.



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  • It is best not to RUB nor scrub excessively. Especially if it’s fresh paint. If you rub it, the other parts of the carpet will be stained, too. You wouldn’t want that, right?
  • Read the labels of the carpet carefully to see if using detergent, steam, or vacuum is ok. This is to avoid further irreparable damage.
  • Handle sharp blades and knives with caution.


Frequently Asked Questions

How To Remove Hardened Water-Based Paints Off Of A Carpet?

Based on the users experience, it is more challenging to clean paints once it hardens. Whether it is oil, water, or acrylics paints, you still have to take all the steps listed above to get off as much of the paint as possible.

In this case, what worked best for them was mixing dishwashing detergent and hot water either on a spray bottle or in a container then dab it on the affected area. Then let it soak on the carpet for about five minutes. Next, as soon as the paint softens, scrape off the paint with a paint scraper, a knife, or any flat tool I find. Repeat until the paint is completely off.

Is There A Way To Remove Enamel Paint From A Carpet?

For this type of stain, get a used toothbrush or any brush you have. Mix laundry detergent and water and apply the solution using the brush. Let it soak for five minutes. Scrap off the paint once it loosens.  You may also use dishwashing detergent for this stain if you feel that the laundry detergent is a bit too strong.

How To Remove Spray Paint Stains From A Light-Colored Carpet?

Spray paint can be tougher to remove as it does not harden thick enough to scrape off without damaging the fabric easily. If the steps to remove dried paint listed above do not work, you may try scraping off as many of the paint as possible.

Then use an alcohol-based cleaner or a nail polish remover on the affected area to help soften the bonds of the paint and scrape them off. Dab the area with a wet towel after.

I Recently Just Discovered A Paint Stain On My Carpet From My Repainting Project A Week Ago. How Do I Get It Off?

If it took you a week to notice that there was a paint blob on your carpet, then it is probably too small to notice.

You may either just cut off the part that is stained (if it’s only on the tips or the edges, where hardly anyone can know you’ve cut the damaged part). Should you not want to cut, follows the steps listed in the guide.


Now It’s Your Turn…

I hope you enjoyed my guide on how to clean paint out of carpet. 

Now it’s your turn:

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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