How to Remove Water-Based Paint

Written by elizabeth chaplin | 13/05/2017
How to Remove Water-Based Paint
Remove water-based paints like acrylics from your skin, clothing and carpet with water and elbow grease. (An image of a tube with spilt paint 54hj image by Mykola Velychko from

Water-based paint is a type of paint that can be cleaned with water and soap, unlike oil-based paints, which require mineral spirits. Types of water-based paint include acrylics, latex and tempera, which is often used for children's painting. Removing water-based paint from things like clothing and skin is a much more straightforward process than removing paint from carpeting, which requires a carpet cleaning machine. Because these types of paints require only water for cleaning, avoid the harmful effects of mineral spirits on your skin or clothing.

How to Remove Water-Based Paint
Remove paint from clothing while it is still wet. (kid paint image by Andrey Kiselev from

Immediately remove the clothing that the paint has spilt on, being careful not to spread the wet paint on more parts of the fabric.

Rinse the clothing in warm water. Use a kitchen sink sprayer if possible to focus directly on the paint stains.

Put the clothing in the washing machine by itself and insert laundry detergent into the designated compartment. Wash the garment normally in warm water.

How to Remove Water-Based Paint
Remove paint from skin with regular hand soap. (Girl and paint image by Trevor Goodwin from

Soak a washcloth in warm water.

Pour some hand soap into the wash cloth and rub the cloth to create a lather.

Rub your skin where the paint has spilt. If the paint is wet, it will come off immediately. Scrub the areas on your skin in a circular motion where paint has dried until it is removed.

Use your hands to scoop up as much of the wet paint as possible. Dump the paint in a paint tray or garbage can.

Soak the area with water, then use a clean rag to blot the area. Repeat this process until the majority of the paint has been removed.

Vacuum over the area with a wet/dry vacuum, which can be rented from most home improvement stores. Make sure to follow the directions when using a wet/dry vacuum, which is used much like a standard vacuum cleaner.


Use a washcloth with texture when cleaning dried paint from your skin, as this will pick up the paint particles.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a washcloth with texture when cleaning dried paint from your skin, as this will pick up the paint particles.

Things you need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Wash cloth
  • Hand soap
  • Rags
  • Wet/dry vacuum

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