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How to remove paint off sofa fabric when you are at home

Updated November 21, 2016

Paint can easily spill on sofa fabric during home improvement and painting projects. There are two different types of paint that are commonly used: latex paint and oil-based paint. Both require varying steps for removal. Latex paints are reduced with water during their production, while oil-based paint contains white spirit as a coalescing agent. Therefore, oil-based paint stains are more difficult to get out than their water-based counterparts.

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Latex-paint stain

  1. Dab at the paint stain with a white towel if it is still wet. Refrain from making a rubbing movement, or the paint stain will spread to the surrounding fabric.

  2. Spray the area with cool water from a spray bottle. Mix 1 tbsp of liquid detergent with 237 ml (1 cup) of cool water and dab at the stain with a moist towel.

  3. Rinse the soapy detergent off the sofa by spraying the area with water until it runs clear. Press the area with a clean, white towel or paper towels to dry. Place a fan next to the sofa to help dry the wet area.

Oil-based stain

  1. Apply a small amount of paint thinner to the stain using a cotton swab. Continue to dab at the stain with the swab until the paint begins to lift.

  2. Scrape some of the paint off with a knife or spoon as you are dabbing at the stain. Spray the stained area with warm water from a spray bottle.

  3. Mix 1 tsp of liquid detergent with 237 ml (1 cup) of warm water. Dip a towel in the mixture and dab at the area. Rinse with warm water and press down with a towel to dry.

  4. Tip

    Use a clear liquid detergent when cleaning fabrics because some detergents with dye can stain clothing.


    Check the label on the sofa for the manufacturer's cleaning instructions and follow any recommended instructions. Avoid using a cleaning product that has not been recommended. Test a hard-to-see area of the sofa before using any cleaning product.

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Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Liquid detergent
  • Spray bottle
  • Paint thinner
  • Cotton swab
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Towels

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