How to Get Enamel Paint Out of Fabric

Written by jenni wiltz
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The trick to getting any paint out of fabric is to know whether it's an oil-based paint or a water-based paint. Unlike latex paint, enamel paint can be manufactured with oil or water as a base. To tell which you have, look at the manufacturer label on the paint container; if clean-up instructions tell you to use soap and water, it's a water-based enamel. If they tell you to use turpentine or white spirit to clean up a spill, you've got an oil-based paint.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper towels
  • Undyed sponge
  • Turpentine
  • Stain remover
  • Toothbrush

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Instructions

    Removing Oil-Based Enamel Paint

  1. 1

    Lay the stained fabric on a clean paper towel with the stained side facing down. The paper towel will absorb any colour that's leached from the stain and keep your work surface from getting stained.

  2. 2

    Dip a corner of the sponge into the turpentine and gently pat the stain. Do not press, rub or grind the sponge against the fabric.

  3. 3

    Work from the outside of the stain toward the inside. This will keep the stain from spreading as it gets wet.

  4. 4

    Check the paper towels beneath the fabric to make sure they aren't soaked through. If the paint stain has soaked through and stained the paper towel, move the fabric to a clear spot and keep dabbing.

  5. 5

    Continue dabbing until the stain is removed.

  6. 6

    Wash the fabric according to the care label.

    Removing Water-Based Enamel Paint

  1. 1

    Rinse the stained fabric in warm water.

  2. 2

    Dab a stain remover on the paint spot.

  3. 3

    Work the stain remover into the fabric with a toothbrush. Be gentle---you don't want to damage the fabric; you're just making sure the stain remover's enzymes get down into the fabric's fibres.

  4. 4

    Let the stain sit for a few minutes. Read the stain remover's label for precise timing instructions.

  5. 5

    Rinse the fabric in warm water.

  6. 6

    Repeat if necessary until the stain is no longer visible.

  7. 7

    Wash the fabric according to the care label.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear cotton or other natural-fibre clothing when using oil-based enamel paint. Natural fibres are less susceptible to oil-based stains because their surfaces haven't been artificially treated during the manufacturing process. (See Reference 2)
  • Never attempt to remove paint from clothing that's labelled "dry clean only" on the care label.
  • Never use a coloured sponge to remove a stain. The cleaning agent may cause the sponge dye may come off on your fabric.

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