How to Remove Paint Thinner From Clothes

Updated March 29, 2018

Most people get paint on their clothes or other fabrics while working on a painting project. Paint thinner can help remove paint stains from clothes, but it often leaves an unpleasant odour on the garment. Washing this garment in the washing machine can spread the odour to other clothes, and even into the washing machine itself. If you need to remove the odour of paint thinner from fabric, a few basic household items do the trick.

Rub the liquid detergent or dish soap into the paint thinner stain using a cloth or sponge. Rub in a gentle, circular motion and cover the entire stain.

Allow the detergent to set into the stain for about 10 minutes.

Rinse the spot-treated area thoroughly with hot water, and let air dry.

Repeat the process again as necessary until the paint thinner odour is gone.

Launder the garment once the odour has dissipated in warm water either by hand or in a commercial washer if the garment will allow. If your washing machine has the option of adding an extra rinse cycle, use it to get out all of the extra soap in the garment. If your washing machine does not have the extra rinse option, hand wash the clothing a few times to ensure any residual soap is rinsed out.


If paint spills on your clothes during a painting project, wait until the paint has dried, then scrape off any hardened bits with a plastic fork or a credit card. If stubborn bits of paint are still clinging to the fabric, hold the fabric under warm, running water and gently rub the stain with a soft-bristle toothbrush. If all else fails, apply a small amount of paint thinner to the stain with a cotton swab, and then follow the steps above to remove the paint thinner.


Do not wash the stained garment with other clothing until you are sure that the paint thinner odour has disappeared. This will avoid spreading the smell to other pieces of clothing or to the inside of your washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Liquid dish soap or washing powder
  • Hot water
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About the Author

Ashley Friedman graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Social Sciences. She has experience writing copy for the websites of creative professionals, and regularly contributes to several blogs covering popular culture, travel, food, and social action.