How to Get Paint Out of Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

By
Gladys K. Connelly
As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a professional 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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Updated April 13, 2022

Become a master artist at removing paint from carpet!

How to Get Paint Out of Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

Did you put a fresh coat of paint on the living room walls and get some on your carpet? Do you have dried paint splatters on your favorite area rug?

It can seem impossible to get paint spills out of fabric, upholstery, and rugs, whether they’re fresh or old.

But don’t worry – it’s not! With our guide on how to get paint out of carpet, we’ll show you easy tips for removing water-based paint, oil-based paint, and latex paint.

How Do You Get Paint Out of Carpet

  • Remove excess wet paint, if any. If there is dried paint, scrape off with a bone scraper and vacuum.
  • Apply a solvent and let it sit.
  • Agitate the carpet fibers.
  • Rinse the solvent, and let it dry.

Before You Start

Identify the Type of Paint Stains

The first step to removing stubborn paint stains is knowing what they are. If you read the label, most containers will tell you if they are water based paint or oil based paint.

Sometimes, however, the stain has dried and you don’t remember what you used.

If that’s the case, you can use a paint-oil-grease remover. This type of remover will work on any kind of paint stain.

You can also use other household solvents, but they work differently on different stains. For example, mineral spirits are best for oil based paint, and acetone and rubbing alcohol are best for water based paint.

Protect Your Carpet and Yourself

Before you start working, take a look at our list of tips to help you out!

Here are the most important ones:

  • Do a spot test! Choose a hidden area to test a cleaning product so you don’t ruin your carpet if it damages the fibers.
  • Protect the carpet backing. To do this, use as little cleaning solution as you can, and never pour chemicals directly on your carpet.
  • Always use a white cloth for cleaning. If you use colored fabric, you can transfer dye from the rag to the carpet as you’re removing paint.
  • Keep yourself safe! As with any chemicals, make sure you wear gloves, eventually a masl, and ventilate the area well.

How to Remove Acrylic, Latex, & Water-Based Paint

Getting paint out of carpet isn’t hard when you follow our step-by-step guide!

What You’ll Need

You just need a few household items to get paint out of carpet:

Warning

Do not use a paint thinner! A paint thinner has the advantage of cleaning up carpet adhesive. So if you use it to remove paint on your carpet, you’ll remove the latex glue that holds the carpet together as well. And damage the carpet’s baking.

That’s it! Now, let’s get to the process.

Instructions

1. Remove Excess Paint

Your first step is to remove excess paint, whether it’s wet latex paint or acrylic oil paint.

So, if it’s fresh paint

  • Use a rag, dry towel or thick paper towel to remove the excess paint. Blot the spot gently so you soak up the paint instead of spreading it around.
  • Avoid scrubbing! That can spread the paint more deeply into the fibers and make the stain worse.
  • Don’t let the spot dry! If you need extra time, put a damp cloth or paper towels over the spot to keep it moist.

If it’s dry paint:

  • Remove as much paint as you can with a scraper.
  • Then, vacuum the spot to pick up any debris.

2. Apply Water

Now, put cold water on the softened paint spot. But be careful not to soak the carpet, especially if you’re pouring directly on it.

Then, gently blot the carpet fibers. After, blot once more with a dry cloth or paper towel, or use a wet dry vacuum to remove excess liquid.

If the stain is now gone, congratulations! Don’t continue to step 3 unless the stain is still visible.

3. Use Liquid Dishwashing Detergent

Water based paints can be easily removed with a homemade cleaning solution.

And you can make your own carpet cleaning solution by dissolving ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap in 1 cup of warm water.

Dip a white cloth or paper towel in the dishwashing detergent, or use a spray bottle and apply the dishwashing liquid. Then blot the paint stain with the soft cloth.

Then, rinse the spot with clean water and blot it dry with paper towels or a clean cloth.

Finally, let the spot air dry, and then run the vacuum over it to remove any remaining debris.

If you don’t see the spot, great job! Don’t continue to step 4 unless the stain is still visible.

4. Prepare and Choose Your Solvent

Before you use any solvent, make sure the carpet is completely dry. So, if you used water or a detergent solution in the steps before, make sure the carpet dries out completely.

If you don’t, the water in the carpet fibers can block the dry solvent from doing its job. Therefore, make sure the carpet is completely dry!

When you’re ready to try a solvent, make a water barrier to keep the stain from spreading when you add the solvent. In other words, put a small amount of water at the edge of the stain in a ring, which will prevent the solvent from seeping outwards when you add it later.

Now you’re ready to use a dry solvent to loosen the stain. And if you need some tips, check out the “Dry Solvent” section of this article.

There are a few different solvents that you can try, and any will work. Common ones are acetone, 99% rubbing alcohol, and paint oil grease remover.

  • Acetone, like nail polish remover, is very cheap and easy to find, but you shouldn’t use it on rayon, wool, or silk. And if the fabric has acetate in it, the acetone can melt the acetate and destroy your carpet.
  • Rubbing alcohol is also cheap and ubiquitous, but you’ll need to be patient and go over the paint stain several times until it’s out.
  • Paint oil grease remover (POG) or paint ink grease remover (PIG) is very effective, but it will take some time to work. Also, if you get it in gel form, you don’t have to worry about damaging your carpet’s backing because it won’t seep through.

5. Use Your Solvent

Once you’ve chosen your solvent, you’re ready to go! Dampen a white cloth, dab some solvent on it, and then blot the paint stain.

Let the solvent sit on the carpet fibers for about 15 minutes, and then add a bit more solvent.

Next, agitate the carpet fibers, but don’t scrub. To agitate, use a bone scraper or tamp the spot with the back of a brush over a cloth.

As you agitate, take out as much of the solvent as you can. If the stain is still visible, repeat this step from the beginning.

6. Rinse the Solvent and Let Dry

Make sure you always rinse the solvent out of the carpet after use. Above all, this is important for POG and PIG solvents because they can leave a residue on your carpet.

When you rinse, follow the instructions on the solvent bottle.

Be careful to fully rinse out the solvent. This can sometimes take time, so make sure you rinse for 5 to 10 minutes to loosen and remove the product.

If the carpet still feels oily after that, rinse again. Then you can clean the affected area with a soap and water solution.

If you don’t rinse carefully, the solvent can form a ring around the paint stain.

After you rinse, let the spot dry. And if the carpet texture is off, run the vacuum over it.

How to Remove Oil-Based Paint

Even oil based paint isn’t a problem when you follow these steps!

What You’ll Need

Similar to what we said above, you just need a few things to get rid of your oil based paint stains.

Once you’ve got these items, you’re ready to tackle the oil based paint stain!

Before You Start

As we mentioned before, make sure the carpet is completely dry before you add a dry solvent. If you add the solvent when the carpet is wet, the solvent won’t do its job properly.

Instructions

1. Blot or Scrape the Paint

For wet paint stains, remove as much paint as possible with a damp rag, towel or cloth.

Make sure you use a blotting motion instead of rubbing. If you push too hard or rub back and forth, you can spread the stain.

For dried paint stains, scrape the dry paint off with a scraper or dull knife. Once you’ve done that, use the vacuum to remove any extra bits of dried paint.

2. Use a Solvent

Before you put solvent on an oil paint spill, make a water barrier. As described above, you put a ring of water around the spot so that the solvent and stain can’t spread.

Then, you’re ready to use a solvent. And just as there are different solvents for water-based, latex, and acrylic paint stains, there are different ones that work on oil based paints.

  • D-Limonene is relatively expensive, but it’s very effective for oil based paints. In addition, it usually won’t soak into the carpet and affect the backing.
  • A PIG remover, such as Bridgeton, works on any kind of paint, including oil based stains. Just make sure to choose a gel version that won’t soak through and ruin the carpet backing.
  • Odorless mineral spirits dissolve oil paint well, rinse easily, and are quite cheap.

Once you’ve chosen your solvent, put some on a clean cloth and dab it on to the spot. Wait about 15 minutes for the solvent to work.

Next, agitate the carpet fibers. As above, you can use the back of a brush to tamp the spot, or you can use a bone scraper.

3. Rinse the Solvent and Let Dry

Whenever you use a solvent, always make sure to rinse it off the carpet afterward. POG removers, PIG removers, and D-Limonene products all leave residues behind, so you need to make sure to get them completely off the carpet.

To rinse, follow the product manufacturer’s instructions. And keep rinsing until you don’t feel anything oily on the carpet.

Finally, let the carpet dry completely, and then run the vacuum over the spot to remove residue and even out the fibers.

FAQ

If you still have questions on how to get paint out of carpet, keep reading!

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Will Hydrogen Peroxide Get Paint Out of Carpet?

No! Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t remove paint, but solvent will.

Hydrogen peroxide bleaches stains, which means that it hides them rather than removing them. So you want to use a solvent first to actually take the remaining paint out of the carpet.

But if you have stubborn stains that won’t go away even after using and rinsing a solvent, you can try hydrogen peroxide.

However, since hydrogen peroxide bleaches fabric, it may affect the carpet’s dye. Therefore, use it carefully, and generally only use it on light-colored carpet.

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Will Oxiclean Get Paint Out of Carpet?

No, you can’t get paint out of carpet with Oxiclean. To remove paint, you need a solvent.

Oxiclean, on the other hand, is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, sodium carbonate, and sodium percarbonate. None of these are solvents, so they won’t get spilled paint out.

In addition, professional cleaners and carpet manufacturers advise against using Oxiclean on carpet. Oxiclean can change the color of the dye in your carpet by bleaching action.

And it’s often misused or overused. Plus you may void your carpet’s warranty.

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