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How To Get Paint Out of Carpet - How to Remove Paint From Carpet

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red paint spilt on a white carpet in a living room
Table of Content
January 2, 2024

Carpet stains are bound to happen from time to time, but thankfully, most of them can be easily addressed with a regular carpet cleaner. However, certain stains, such as those left by paint spills, pose a real nightmare. They often demand considerable effort to remove, and it's not uncommon for commercially available carpet stain removers to fall short of the task.

In this blog post, we will guide you through a set of straightforward steps and effective approaches for removing paint from your carpet on your own.

However, keep in mind that these DIY methods are generally more effective for tackling fresh and smaller paint spills. For larger and dried stains, you will definitely benefit more from the services of skilled and knowledgeable professional carpet cleaners. You may also consider hiring carpet cleaning specialists, if the paint stain persists after attempting DIY solutions or if you are uncertain about the appropriate cleaning methods for your specific carpet and paint type.

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

person trying to scoop up excess paint spilled on a carpet and clean it

Determine the type of paint you are dealing with

In order to choose the most suitable cleaning approach, you will first need to find out what kind of paint you are dealing with. There are various types of paint but some of the most common include:

  • Water-based paint – Also known as latex or acrylic paint, its primary solvent is water. As a result, water-based paints are normally easier to clean, requiring just warm water and dish soap.
  • Oil-based paint – This type utilizes organic solvents. It is typically durable and can provide a smooth finish. However, oil-based paints can be quite difficult to clean if they come into contact with carpets. The good news is that such paints take longer to dry. Therefore, if you address the spills promptly, you stand a better chance of successful removal.

Another crucial factor to consider is the state of the paint - whether it's fresh or dry. This significantly influences the success of the cleaning process. It goes without saying that eliminating fresh, wet paint from carpets is much easier than tackling dried paint.

The longer the paint remains on the carpet before attempting removal, the more it has a chance to set and bond with the fibers. Hence, prompt action is crucial for effective removal.

Get ready for the cleaning process

The type of paint you are dealing with and whether it is fresh or dry will generally determine the cleaning method to use as well as the tools and supplies you will need. For example, if the stain is from water-based paint and is still fresh, you will not need any special cleaners - warm water and dish soap will suffice. On the other hand, tackling dried paint stains or oil-based paint stains on your carpet demands the use of solvent products to effectively thin the paint.

Here is a list of basic items you will need to prepare for the cleaning process:

  • Clean white cloths or paper towels;
  • Dull knife or putty knife;
  • Dish soap or laundry detergent;
  • Warm water;
  • Spray bottle;
  • Latex gloves.

If you're dealing with oil-based paints or dried paint stains, ensure you have a suitable solvent, such as turpentine or another paint thinner. Note that turpentine has a strong odour, so if you choose this product, be sure to ventilate the area adequately.

Remove excess paint

If you are fortunate enough to notice the spill right after it happens, quickly grab a cloth or paper towel (whatever you have on hand) and absorb as much paint as you can. Avoid rubbing the area, as it may push the paint deeper into the carpet fibers. Instead, gently press the rag. Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands.

Next, use a dull knife to scrape away the excess paint. Try to remove as much of it as possible, but be careful not to damage the carpet fibres.

Alright, we've discussed the better scenario when the paint is still fresh. But what steps should you take if the paint spot is old and dry? First, attempt to separate the paint from the carpet using a putty knife or another dull tool. Remove as much dried paint as you can, and then lightly spray the area with warm water to soften any residual pigments. You can also use a steam cleaner to lift the remaining dried paint. Finally, use a clean cloth to gently blot away the residue.

Address the staining area with the appropriate solution

After successfully lifting the paint stain, it's time to treat it with a suitable cleaning solution. As we mentioned earlier, the method you choose will largely depend on the type of paint you need to remove - whether it is water-based or oil-based paint.

For wet water-based paint, use a solution of hot water and dishwashing liquid

To create a cleaning solution, mix equal parts hot water and dish soap (or laundry detergent). Apply the blend to the affected area with a clean cloth, firmly pressing down to absorb the remaining paint. You may also use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the affected area. Repeat the process as needed, washing the cloth between blots until the stain disappears.

For wet oil-based paint stains, use paint thinner or turpentine

Begin by applying paint thinner or turpentine with a damp sponge or white cloth, starting at the edges of the paint stain. It's crucial to work carefully and precisely. The last thing you want is to make the paint spread over a larger area of the carpet. Also, be sure to rinse the cloth or sponge frequently. Repeat the blotting as many times as needed.

Once the paint is gone, treat the area with a mixture of hot water and liquid dish soap. Use a clean towel to apply the solution to your carpet.

For dried paint, try paint thinner

Getting dried paint out of carpet is a more challenging task, no matter if it is oil-based paint, acrylic paint or dried latex paint.

You can try to remove dried paint stains from the carpet using paint thinner. Just use the same technique as for fresh oil-based paint. Keep in mind that you may need to repeat it multiple times to achieve results.

If this method proves ineffective and the stain persists, consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning service.

Rinse the area and repeat the process if necessary

As a last step, use a clean, damp cloth to blot the area, rinsing away any remaining soapy solution or loosened paint. After that, allow the carpet to air-dry or use a wet vacuum cleaner to speed up the process.

If needed, repeat these steps several times. Removing paint from carpet may require repeated attempts - especially oil paint stains - so be patient and persistent.

You may be interested in reading our guide on the different types of carpet cleaning methods and which one is best for each type of carpet.

If all else fails, enlist the assistance of professional carpet cleaners

professional cleaner cleaning red paint stain from a white carpet

While DIY methods may work for minor and fresh paint stains, addressing substantial paint spills, dried paint, or valuable carpets often requires the expertise and resources of professional carpet cleaners.

The specialist cleaners can offer a more reliable and efficient solution for both water-based and oil-based stains. They have the knowledge and experience to assess the type of paint and the carpet material. This, in turn, allows them to choose the most effective and safe cleaning methods.

Professional cleaners typically customize their cleaning solutions to the specific type of paint and the condition of the carpet, guaranteeing a precise and effective approach. They not only address the paint-stained area but also ensure the cleanliness of the entire carpet, leaving it refreshed and inviting.

Want to learn more? Read our article on why you should hire professional carpet cleaning services in London for more information instead of opting for DIY cleaning.

Frequently asked questions

What home remedy will get paint out of carpet?

There are various home remedies available for cleaning paint from the carpet, including soapy water, vinegar solutions, baking soda paste, rubbing alcohol, and more. However, their effectiveness largely depends on the type of paint, whether the paint spill is fresh or dried, as well as the type of carpet you have.

Water-based paints, such as acrylic or latex paint, typically respond well to home remedies, especially if the spill is still wet. A simple cleaning solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid can often address these spills. However, removing dry paint and oil-based paint stains may require more effort. Rubbing alcohol may sometimes help break the pigments of such kind of paint. However, it is usually not recommended to use over dark-colored carpets as it may damage them.

How does rubbing alcohol get paint out of carpet?

Rubbing alcohol is a solvent, which means it can break down and dissolve substances like paint. It works by weakening the paint's bonds with the carpet fibres. When you apply rubbing alcohol to a paint stain, it softens the paint, making it easier to lift and remove from the carpet. It can be effective for both water-based and oil stains.

The recommended method is to blot the paint stain with a clean cloth or sponge dampened with rubbing alcohol. Blotting helps lift the paint without spreading it further into the carpet. Depending on the severity of the paint stain, you may need to apply the solution multiple times, using a clean section of the cloth for each application.

It's essential to note that while this cleaning method is effective, it may not be suitable for dark-coloured carpets, as it has the potential to cause damage or discolouration.

Does vinegar remove paint from a carpet?

Vinegar can be used to attempt to remove paint from a carpet, but its effectiveness may vary depending on the type of paint and how long the paint has been on the carpet. It is more likely to work on fresh acrylic or latex paint. Here's a general guideline on how to use it:

  • Blot excess paint. Use a clean, dry cloth or paper towel to blot wet paint.
  • Create a vinegar solution. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water.
  • Treat the paint stain. Dampen a clean cloth with the vinegar solution and gently blot the paint stain.
  • Rinse the treated area. Rinse the treated area with cold water to remove any remaining residue and blot with dry paper towels. Allow the carpet to air dry.

Will nail polish remover remove paint?

Since nail polish remover contains acetone, it can be effective for eliminating dried and wet paint stains from carpets. Here is how to use it:

  • Get rid of excess paint. If it is dry, use a putty knife to gently scrape it from the carpet. If the paint is wet, use paper towels or a cloth to absorb it.
  • Address the paint stain. Dampen a clean, white cloth with the nail polish remover and start blotting the affected area.
  • Clean the area with water. Use a damp rag to remove any remaining nail polish remover and paint residue. Let the treated area air dry.

Repeat the process if there is still paint left on the carpet.

Will carpet stain remover remove paint?

Carpet cleaners may help you get rid of the paint stain particularly if it is still fresh and hasn't deeply penetrated into the carpet. Oil-based paint stains, on the other hand, pose a greater challenge for these commercial cleaners. The complexity of these paint types often demands more specialized and targeted solutions for successful removal. In such cases, considering professional advice or seeking specialized cleaning services becomes paramount to ensure a thorough and effective treatment tailored to the specific characteristics of oil-based paints and their impact on carpets.

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