How to Remove Old Paint From Clothing

Written by constance barker
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How to Remove Old Paint From Clothing
Remove paint stains from clothing with turpentine. (shirt and tie image by Christopher Hall from

Dried paint stains on clothing are one of the most aggravating stains to remove. When paint dries, it hardens, making it difficult to clean from fabric. First, the paint needs softened. Then, use a chemical solvent to fight the stain and help remove the paint. Remove paint stains as soon as you can because the longer they are left on clothes, the harder they are to remove.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Butter knife
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Clean rag
  • Turpentine or rubbing alcohol
  • Stain remover
  • Heavy-duty washing powder

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  1. 1

    Scrape the dried paint with a butter knife. A portion of the paint will flake off from the scraping. Use caution not to rip the fabric.

  2. 2

    Fill a sink with warm water and dish soap. Place the paint-stained clothing into the sink and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. This softens the paint, making it easier to remove.

  3. 3

    Remove the clothes from the sink and wring out the excess water.

  4. 4

    Pour turpentine or rubbing alcohol onto a clean rag and dab at the stain. As the paint comes off onto the cloth, keep turning the rag to wipe with a clean section. Continue using the rag to lift paint from the garment until no more paint comes up.

  5. 5

    Spray any remaining paint with a stain remover. Saturate the stain before placing the garment in the washer.

  6. 6

    Wash the garment in hot water if the care instructions allow it. Use a heavy-duty detergent. Wash the garment on a regular cycle and inspect it before placing it in the dryer. If the stain remains, repeat the procedure.

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