How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet Without Bleaching Fibers

Need to know how to get paint out of carpet? It’s something that happens to the best of us. Maybe you have kids, and they were messing around and spilled some paint onto your carpet.

Maybe you were painting something and did the same. When it first happened, you probably freaked out, thinking there is no possible way you’re going to be able to remove it.


While paint can be difficult to remove, it’s not the end of the world. It should be quite obvious that paint can completely ruin the appearance of your carpet. This is especially true if the color of your carpet is white or another very light color.

Keep in mind that it’s easier to remove dry paint from your carpet than wet paint. It’s also much easier to remove latex paint than to remove oil-based paint.

What Type Of Paint Is It?

Before you can remove it, you need to know what type of paint it is because different techniques are required to remove different types of paint. The three major types of paint are acrylic, latex and oil-based. It’s also useful to know if the paint is wet or dry.

Removing Acrylic Paint

If acrylic paint has spilled onto your carpet, don’t worry because it’s water-based. It’s usually mixed with acrylic resins. The technique discussed below will work for virtually any carpet, which includes nylon and synthetic blends.

All you need to do is check the label of the paint and make sure it’s acrylic. If the spill just occurred, then you’ll first want to contain it. Grab some paper towels and place them around the paint to stop it from spreading into more carpet fibers.

Blot the spill with a paper towel and never rub it. Do this until you’ve removed as much of the paint as possible. Next, add some glycerin to dry paper towels and begin to blot the spill. Just keep blotting the spill until the paint comes off of the carpet.

You can use acetone to remove any paint residue that is left over. You’ll find that most nail polish removers are made from acetone. Blot the paint spill with an acetone-soaked paper towel.

Next, mix some standard detergent in a bucket with some water, according to the instructions on the detergent bottle.

You’ll want to grab a sponge and finish the paint clean up. Just get the sponge somewhat damp and make sure to not use too much water. When you’re finished with this last step, use a paper towel to dry the area and vacuum the area.

Removing Latex Paint

Most latex paints are similar to acrylic because they’re usually water-based. However, they might have a vinyl mix instead of acrylic resin. The content of the latex paint depends on the price because it’s cheaper to use vinyl in it. Like what you would do before cleaning acrylic paint, you’ll want to contain the spill. Use some paper towels to blot and remove as much of the wet paint as you can.

If the paint has already dried onto your carpet, you can just start cleaning it immediately. First, mix 240ml of water with 1 teaspoon of neutral detergent. It’s important that the detergent is neutral and free of bleaches and alkalies.

Use a paper towel to blot the detergent onto the paint spill. Repeat until most of the paint is gone; grab a sponge and proceed to clean the spill with clean water.

Repeat these steps until the pain spill is completely removed. Another method that you can use, which works best on wet paint, is spraying the spill with water and using a shop vacuum to suck up the paint as you’re spraying it.

Next, spray some Spot Shot or a similar solvent on the spill and scrub it with a brush. It will foam; sprinkle water onto it and use a water-friendly vacuum to suck everything up.

Removing Water-based Paints with Vinegar

It’s true that vinegar is an incredibly versatile liquid. It can be used on almost anything, and it works surprisingly well for water-based paints.

Most water based paints include powder, eggshell, latex, acrylic and emulsion. If you’re not sure about the paint you’ve spilt, just call the manufacturer and ask. If the instructions for the paint say you should wash the brushes with soapy water, then it’s very likely a water based paint.

As usual, remove as much of the paint as possible by blotching it with a paper towel. Next, grab a cloth and pour a little bit of white distilled vinegar onto it. Blot the stain with the cloth and never rub it, or you’ll make the stain worse.

As you begin to blot the paint, you’ll see it coming off of the carpet and onto the cloth. Continuously rotate the cloth, so you’ll be able to get more paint off of the carpet. Once the paint is all gone, use a sponge to clean the area with warm soapy water.

Remove Dry Latex or Acrylic Paint from Carpet

It is common sense that dried on paint is harder to remove than wet paint. It’s harder because the paint has had ample time to ‘set’ into the carpet fibers.

To remove dry paint from carpeting, you’ll need a strong cleaning agent to get the job done. Something like WD-40 should do the trick. However, you can also use citrus based cleaners.

Before cleaning with any cleaning agent, always test it on an inconspicuous portion of your carpet beforehand. You’ll want to remove as much paint as possible before you apply a liquid cleaner. Grab a butter knife, paint scraper or razor blade and scrap off as much of the dried paint as possible.

Next, spray some WD-40 or citrus cleaner onto the paint. Use a clean, uncolored rag to blot the stain. Allow the cleaner to soak into the paint for about 20 minutes.

Next, grab your cloth and remove the softened paint. You can use a knife or tweezers. You can clean what’s leftover with a neutral detergent and some warm water.

Make sure to blot the stain and never rub it. The last step involves blot rinsing the stain with clear water. Give it time to dry. If you need to, you can repeat any of the above steps to make sure all of the paint is removed.

Remove Oil Paint

A lot of people have trouble removing oil paint. It can be trickier to remove than the other paints discussed. However, with the right technique, it doesn’t have to be hard. If oil paint has had time to dry onto your carpet, it’s probably best to get professional cleaning assistance.

If the instructions on the paint say brushes should be cleaned with white spirits, mineral spirits, turpentine or similar solvents, then it’s probably oil based paint. The problem with removing this type of paint with solvents is that you run the risk of lightening or bleaching your carpet.

First, start by removing as much of the paint as possible with a paper towel. Next, grab a sponge and put a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent onto it. You’ll want to only use a small amount because it will help you to avoid damaging the fibers.

Mix 240ml of tepid water with a neutral detergent and proceed to blot the stain. Next, blot the stain with a sponge and clean water. Repeat these steps as needed.

The second option to remove oil paint involves using lacquer thinner, acetone or mineral spirits. You should wet a no-dye cleaning cloth with one of the agents mentioned above.

Make sure you only dab the stain with these agents, and you should also understand that all of these cleaning agents can bleach or discolor your carpet. The last option to remove wet oil based paint stains is the use of a steam cleaner.

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