How To Get Spray Paint Out Of Clothes


Last updated: February 14, 2024

Ideally, protective clothing is part of the gear you require …

Ideally, protective clothing is part of the gear you require when working on a spray painting project. However, at times, you might get caught up working and think to yourself, maybe the paint won’t get to my clothes and ruin them this time. 

Then the winds don’t work in your favor, and spray paint ends up on your clothing. When that happens, it’s not the end of the world. 

There are ways by which you can salvage the situation and not dispose of your favorite top, t-shirt, shorts, or pants. In this post, we inform you of the various ways how to get spray paint out of clothes if you are in such a predicament.   

F.s Does Spray Paint Come Out Of Clothes?

Spray paint stains from water-based paints come off easily by washing the affected area with water and soap. Dry stains from oil-based spray paint can be frustratingly difficult to eliminate. Because the paint embeds itself within the fabric, making it challenging to break the paint bonds. However, with the assistance of products like turpentine, rubbing alcohol, mineral spirits, acetone, hairspray, and hand sanitizer, the paint can flake off the clothing. The flip side is some of the solvents can strip the dye in the fabric, which is why you need to test the product prior. 

How To Remove Dried Spray Paint Out Of Clothes

Dry spray paint stains are a pain in the neck. Nevertheless, there are ways to remove them without damaging your clothes. Below is a detailed procedure on how to go about it:


  • Butter knife
  • Alcohol-based cleaners
  • Paint removers
  • Laundry detergent


Step 1: Scrape Off the Excess Paint

Scrape off the extra-dried paint with a butter knife or using your fingers. It’s much easier to remove the excess paint before you soak the fabric in any liquid. Apply force and be gentle at the same time to avoid damaging your clothing.  

Step 2: Apply an Alcohol-Based Cleaner or Paint Remover to the Area

The remaining paint is embedded in the fabric, and basic cleaners can’t break the paint bonds. Start with alcohol-based cleaners like hairspray or acetone nail polish remover and apply to the affected area. Vigorously rub the cleaner onto the stains with a piece of cloth. 

If the stains persist, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Apply a heavy-duty paint remover on the stains and rub with a cloth. You’ll need to be careful, though, as most paint removers contain tough chemicals that can bleach the dye from your clothes.     

Step 3: Wash the Cloth and Let it Dry

Launder the clothes to confirm whether the stains have come off or if you need to repeat the procedure. If the stain remains after the wash, try covering it up. Also, the stains can wear off with subsequent washes.  

How To Get Spray Paint Out Of Clothes

How to Get Rustoleum Spray Paint Out of Clothes

Rustoleum is a reputable brand of spray paint used for both interior and exterior décor. Here is a detailed procedure on how to remove the paint that gets to your clothing;


  • Dull or butter knife
  • Paper towers
  • Alcohol-based cleaners
  • Cleaning detergent 


Step 1: Blot up any excess wet paint with paper towers 

Blot as much wet paint as possible with an absorbent paper towel. This step is crucial as rubbing or scrubbing tends to embed the paint into the fabric, making it much harder to remove. 

You need to work on each spray paint spot fast and move on to the next before the paint dries. Also, exercise caution to prevent the paint from spreading and creating a bigger stain. 

Step 2: Rinse the stained fabric with warm water 

Rinse the spray paint stains with warm water to break the paint bonds. Gently scrub off the stain and get as much of the paint as you can. Rinsing makes work easier, especially if the stains are from a water-based spray paint

Step 3: Rub the area with acetone, alcohol, xylene, or mineral spirits 

If the stain persists, use products like acetone, mineral spirits, xylene alcohol, or Goof Off. Soak the product in cotton pads or swabs and apply to the stain. Be careful, as some of these cleaners are strong and can damage your clothes. 

Step 3: Soak the clothes in detergent and warm water 

Give the clothes a little soak in detergent and some warm water. Read the care label and choose a suitable stain remover and detergent depending on the type of fabric. 

Step 5: Give the clothes a regular wash

Launder the clothes as you would on a typical wash day. Use the correct stain remover and detergent depending on the type and color of the fabric. If you are unsure of the products, test them beforehand on a discrete spot and check for compatibility.  

Check if the stains are still visible after the wash and repeat the cycle. 

How to Remove Wet Spray Paint Out Of Clothes

When removing spray paint from clothes, wet paint is the lesser evil than dried paint. Below is a detailed procedure on how to remove wet spray paint from clothes;


  • Paper towels
  • Stain remover
  • Strong laundry detergent
  • Dry cloth


Step 1: Blot the excess wet paint

Blotting lets you transfer the spray paint from the clothes onto the paper towel. The more paint the paper towels can absorb, the better. 

Move quickly and blot as much of the spray paint as you possibly can before the paint dries. Switch paper towels or use a different area of the paper towel to avoid transferring paint to other spots. 

Blotting before rubbing absorbs a considerable amount of the spray paint before it gets meshed into the fabric.

Step 2: Spray the area with a stain remover

If you are working with a water-based spray paint, blotting will get your job half done. However, oil-based spray paint will demand you spray the paint spots with a stain remover. 

Products like WD-40, turpentine, rubbing alcohol, or hairspray help break down oil-based paints. Before spraying the product, confirm that it won’t bleach the dye on your clothes.

Step 3: Use a dry cloth to rub the area

This step requires a bit of force and gentleness to ensure the dry cloth soaks up the paint without damaging the fabric. If one zone of the cloth gets soaked, use a different part to avoid transferring paint from one spot to another. 

Work on every spray paint spot on your clothes until you are satisfied with the amount of paint removed. 

Step 4: Wash the garment and check for stains before it dries

Launder the clothes and hope the remaining paint stains come off during the wash. If the clothes still come off with the stains, give them a second wash. Sometimes, the stains come off, and other times, you need creative ways to cover up the stains. 

How To Get Spray Paint Out of Clothes Using Products

Stain removers come in handy, especially when dealing with oil-based spray paint. Oil-based stains are notorious and require a lot more effort to remove than water-based stains. However, most spray paints are acrylic, hence water-based, making the stains easier to remove. 

In case you are working with stubborn stains, here are products you can use;    

Using Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover can be a lifesaver when dealing with latex spray paint stains. The polish contains acetone, which breaks down the paint, making it easier to remove. 

Soak cotton balls or a clean rag with the remover and rub it over the paint stains. Keep applying pressure till the paint comes off. 

Remember to check if the clothes you are working on contain triacetate, modacrylic, or acetate. The acetone present in the nail polish remover tends to deteriorate the fabric. 

Using Vinegar 

Vinegar is effective for removing smaller stains. The advantage is it works on either wet or dry stains from both oil and water-based spray paints. 

To achieve maximum results,

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar, ammonia, and salt in a sink or bucket filled with water.
  • Soak the stained clothes in the solution for 24 hours.
  • Scrub the affected area with a laundry scrubbing brush or an old toothbrush and watch the stain come off. 

Another effective way is soaking cotton balls or a dry rag in the vinegar and applying it to the stains. Rub the vinegar and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse the clothes with warm water. 

Make a point of testing the vinegar on an inconspicuous spot on the cloth and check for discoloration. If the vinegar doesn’t work, try other products. 

Using Dish Soap

Dish soap or detergent gets the job done when working on wet paint stains. After blotting as much paint as possible, apply a few drops of dish soap directly on the stained areas. Scrub the soap with a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush using circular motions. 

Rinse and repeat the process if the stain is still persistent. You might need a stronger product after using dish soap if the stain won’t budge. 

Using Rubbing Alcohol

If the dish soap doesn’t work, rubbing alcohol is a great alternative. Rubbing alcohol works on both oil and water-based stains. For better results, use it at 90% or even stronger. 

When working on wet spray paint stains,

  • Rinse off as much of the paint as you can.
  • Then, soak the affected area with rubbing alcohol and let it sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing.
  • Use a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush to scrub off the paint vigorously.
  • Rinse the cloth with cold water and check if the stain has come off. Repeat the process if necessary. 

If you are dealing with dry spray paint stains,

  • Scrape off any excess paint on the clothes.
  • Use warm water to wet the stain.
  • Soak cotton balls or a rag in rubbing alcohol and apply to the affected areas.
  • Let the product sit for more than 15 minutes before scrubbing the stain.
  • Rinse off with cold water and repeat the steps if needed. 

Using Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are effective when removing wet oil-based spray paint stains from clothes. 

The product is a type of paint thinner and can bleach the dye on some fabric. It’s best to use it on white or light-colored. 

Soak a dry rag in mineral spirits and dup it over the stained zones. Saturate the affected areas of the cloth with mineral spirits and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your garment under warm water and check if the paint has come off. 

To deal with the after smell of mineral spirits on your cloth, soak it in vinegar and water. Launder the cloth and use a fabric softener to improve the smell.      

Using Turpentine

Turpentine is another reliable method of removing spray paint from clothes. Similar to mineral spirits, turpentine is a much stronger paint thinner. Use it on white or light-colored clothes, as it can strip the dye from the fabric. 

When working with turpentine:

  • First, move outside or work in a well-ventilated area because turpentine has a strong scent.
  • Put on gloves to avoid direct contact with the product.
  • Soak cotton wool or a dry rag in turpentine and rub the stained areas. Avoid pouring the product directly into your clothing.
  • Let the turpentine sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Apply dish soap before rinsing the stains under warm water, and watch as the paint comes off.
  • To remove the smell, soak the clothing in water and vinegar or add vinegar to your laundry cycle. 

Using WD-40

Spray WD-40 on the spray paint stains and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Take a clean rag and wipe off the paint. Repeat till all the stains come off before you launder the clothing. 

Using Hairspray

Hairspray works on either water or oil-based paint stains as it contains alcohol. The alcohol helps remove the paint stains without damaging the fabric underneath. 

Saturate the affected areas with hairspray and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Scrub the stain with a soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush till the paint is loose. Rinse off the cloth under cold water before laundering.  

Using Mineral oil/ Lavender Essential Oil

Add a few drops of mineral oil or lavender oil to the stains till the clothing is saturated. Let the oil sit for 10-30 minutes. 

Use a blunt knife, an upside-down spoon, or a clean cloth to remove as much paint as possible. If some stains are still visible, repeat the process and give the clothing a normal wash. 

Using Hand Sanitizer 

Hand sanitizer is equivalent to hairspray as both contain alcohol. You can use them together for maximum results.  

Cover the area with hand sanitizer and let it soak for a while. Scrub the paint with a toothbrush before you throw the cloth in the wash. Repeat the process as needed. 

Using Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is a simple product, yet effective. Soak the cloth in a liquid detergent, or dilute the laundry detergent with water. Rub the stain with a clean rag to loosen the pain. Rinse off the cloth and wash normally.

Alternatively, boil the cloth in water and laundry detergent for 5-10 minutes. First, check if the fabric can endure high temperatures beforehand.  

Tips on How to Prevent Spray Paint Stain from Your Clothing

When you paint in your normal clothing, the likelihood of getting paint stains in your clothing is high. The only way to prevent that from happening is by taking some precautions. Here are some useful tips on how to prevent paint stains outright:

Wear Old Clothing, Paint Poncho or Smock 

Put on a paint poncho, smock, or old clothes to avoid the stress of removing paint stains from your favorite shirt or jeans after a paint job. You can DIY protective clothing by cutting arm holes in a trash bag. 

Spray Away from Yourself 

As you work with the spray, ensure the nozzle is directed away from you constantly. Sometimes we forget to check, and once you press the nozzle, the paint comes right on your clothes or face. 

Pay Attention to the Weather

Avoid spray painting on a windy day. However, sometimes, there is a strong draft that can redirect the paint. That’s why you need protective clothing. Create a spray painting booth with old cartons to prevent wind interference.  

Use the Proper Spray Painting Technique

Before spray painting, shake the can and frequently shake it as you go. Paint in short bursts and stand at a reasonable distance away from the item you are painting. If you use long streams of paint, there is a higher probability of the paint landing or splashing on your clothes or skin. 

FAQs: How To Get Spray Paint Out Of Clothes

Below are well-researched answers to some of the commonly asked questions on how to get spray paint out of clothes:

Do Spray Paint Stain Clothes Permanently?

Yes, sometimes it does. If the spray paint dries, it binds to the fabric and is sometimes impossible to remove. You can hide permanent stains by adding creative art designs to the stain with fabric pens. 

Does Spray Paint Wash Off Clothes?

Yes, water-based spray paint easily washes off clothes if you rinse it with soap and water while it’s still wet. Applying the right products helps break down dry spray paint stains before washing your clothes. 

What Removes Spray Paint Stains?

Products like acetone, turpentine, mineral spirits, dish soap, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, and mineral oils help remove spray paint stains. The products contain ingredients that can break the paint bonds, enabling it to wash off clothing. 

Is Spray Paint Hard to Get Off Clothes?

Dried spray paint is particularly challenging to remove as the paint is meshed into the fabric. However, with the use of the products discussed above, the process of removing the stains is much easier. Some products are too strong, and they strip the dye off the fabric.  

Does Vinegar Dissolve Spray Paint?

No vinegar isn’t strong enough to dissolve spray paint. If you are trying to dissolve paint, effective solvents are graffiti remover, paint thinner, acetone, and denatured alcohol. The flip side is these products can damage the clothing. Test the solvents beforehand to avoid irreversible damage.  

Can we Remove Puffy Paint from Clothes?

If you are working on dried puffy paint, you’ll need products like turpentine, rubbing alcohol, white spirit, or varnish remover to help loosen the paint particles. Wet puffy paint requires blotting and washing the stained areas with soap and warm water. Apply product if the stains are persistent, and launder the clothes. 

Can Rubbing Alcohol Remove Spray Paint from Clothes?

Rubbing alcohol is effective against latex spray paint stains. Dampen the paint stains with warm water. Soak cotton balls or a clean rag in rubbing alcohol and rub on the stain. You can use an old toothbrush to apply more force. Rinse the stain with warm water and check if the clothes are stain-free. Repeat the process if needed.  

How Do You Get the Spray Paint Smell Out of Clothes?

A normal wash can fail to deodorize the strong scent of strong paint from your clothes. Try using borax, vinegar, bleach, and baking powder to eliminate the odors. Add the products to your wash cycle to help eliminate the paint smell from your clothing. 

Summary: How To Get Spray Paint Out Of Clothes

Getting spray paint on your favorite clothing is upsetting, and we understand that. This article details how to remove dry or wet clothing stains from oil and water-based spray paints. Also, there is additional information on useful products that have proved effective when dealing with spray paint stains on clothes. If one product doesn’t work, feel free to try other products.

It is best to take precautions before any paint job, like wearing old clothes, a paint poncho, or a smock to prevent spray paint from getting to your clothes. 

If worse comes to worst, you can always consult your dry cleaners for professional advice. The other alternative is getting creative with a fabric-colored pen by blending or covering the stains with various art designs.

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