How to get dried acrylic paint out of clothes

Updated May 10, 2017

When using acrylic paint, you should protect your clothing with a smock or apron, but you may occasionally drip or splatter paint on your clothes. Stain removal is easier if the paint is still wet, but you may not notice until after the paint has dried. Like all stains, acrylic paint stains are more likely to be removed if you detect them before the item has gone through a cycle in the dryer, as the heat may set the stain. With patience and perseverance, you may be able to get most or all of the dried acrylic paint out of your clothes.

Use the dull side of a butter knife or the side of a credit card to carefully scrape the excess dried paint off of the clothing. Be careful not to pull or snag the fabric.

Run the fabric under warm running water. Let the water hit the back of the fabric first so it can flush the stain out.

Mix dish washing liquid with the water. Use a sponge to work the solution into the fabric, then rinse it out. Check the fabric and repeat as many times as necessary to remove all of the paint.

Run the item through the wash cycle after you have removed all of the paint.


Good Housekeeping recommends using acetone as a last resort to remove the stain if the water and dish washing liquid does not take it out. If the fabric contains acetate or triacetate, however, don't try this, as it will damage the fibres.

Things You'll Need

  • Dull butter knife or credit card
  • 1/4 cup dish washing liquid
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Sponge
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About the Author

Michelle Kulas worked in the health-care field for 10 years, serving as a certified nurses' assistant, dental assistant and dental insurance billing coordinator. Her areas of expertise include health and dental topics, parenting, nutrition, homeschooling and travel.