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How to Get Paint Out of Carpet (11 Different Ways)

A photo collage depicting the different carpet dirt and stains.

Spilling paint on carpet doesn't have to be a disaster. Here are some great tips on how to get all kinds of paint out of the carpet, including water based paint; red, white, and black paint; fabric paint; tempera paint; gloss paint; and even enamel paint.

Many people enjoy doing their own painting projects instead of hiring a professional. Not only do you save money by doing it yourself, but it’s also actually a lot of fun, especially if you do it with friends or family. For the most part, there aren’t very many mistakes you can make while painting that is disastrous.

If you try to do your own electrical work or plumbing, you could end up with some very hefty bills if you make things worse, and even end up getting seriously injured. When it comes to painting, the worst thing that can happen is that you do a messy job and have to paint over what you’ve already done, or if you manage to spill the paint onto your carpet and can’t figure out how to get it out.

A good carpet can be expensive, but if treated well, it can last for many years. If you want to get the most use out of your carpet:

  • Use the right kind of rug pad under the carpet, which will not only make it more comfortable to walk on, but it will also keep the carpet in place.
  • Put protectors on any chairs, tables, or beds placed on the carpet, to cut down on permanent indentations.
  • Keep your carpet clean, and vacuum at least twice a week in busy areas even if it doesn’t look as though the floor is dirty.
  • If you tear your carpet, get help from an expert to repair it.
  • If you have spilled paint on your carpet, use these tips to remove the paint safely and effectively.

Different Kinds of Products

You will have to know what kind of paint you’re dealing with before you decide what kinds of products to use on it. Depending on how you want to approach the problem, and on what kind of spill you have, you will probably have a choice as to what kind of products to use when cleaning the stain out of your carpet. No matter what kind of product you choose, the number one rule is to clean the stain right away and scrape up excess paint before you get started. If you are going to be painting, make sure you have the right materials on hand so you can deal with the spill immediately. Also, if you are able to try multiple methods, try the gentlest method first to protect your carpet.

Commercial products

The biggest advantage of using commercial products is that the products are generally already prepared and ready to use. The products have usually also already been tested, so you will have an idea of whether or not the product you choose is the right one for the job. You can read reviews online to see the difference between brands and choose based on customer satisfaction, availability, and price. Even if you are using a commercial product, it is vital that you follow the instructions to get the best results.

All-natural products

People who choose all-natural products usually do so based on their own beliefs. All-natural products go through different manufacturing processes that will likely have less of an effect later, such as a strong smell or skin irritation.

Eco-friendly products

These may or may not be all-natural, because eco-friendly products focus on the effect the product will have on the environment. Getting into the habit of using eco-friendly products will help you do your part to reduce pollution and minimize the effects of ozone depletion. It is a critical time to be thinking of issues like this, but it is easier than it seems to find eco-friendly products that work well and are affordable.

Tank paint sprayer

Wagner 0580678 Control Pro 130 Power Tank Paint Sprayer, High Efficiency Airless with Low Overspray
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Depending on how fancy you want to be, you may decide to use a tank paint sprayer. You can get fast coverage without sacrificing neatness, as there will be little extraneous spray. If you use a paint tank, you have better control of the volume of paint you are spraying. This can lead to better, more even results too.

How to get latex or water-based paint out of carpet

A gloved woman cleaning the carpet with the use of a rag and a spritzer.

Water-based paint is the most common type of paint, and will likely be the kind of paint you work with if you do a big project at home. In order to get latex paint out of carpet, start by using a thick paper towel or cloth to blot as much of the wet paint as possible. Do not scrub or rub the paint, as you will only be forcing it further into the carpet.

If the paint has already dried, prepare the area by taking out as much of the dried paint as possible with needle-nose pliers or a putty knife, cleaning the loose bits off afterward. Then pour some hot water over the stain and spray a mixture made of water and just a small amount of gentle dish soap onto the area. Use a stiff-bristled brush to work the soap into a lather, which will cause the paint to start coming loose from the carpet. Scrub the area gently until you have dissolved all the paint.

How to get oil-based or gloss paint out of carpet

Getting an oil-based paint out of carpet is similar to the process for getting out a water-based paint. Remove as much paint as possible by blotting if it is still wet or using a putty knife if the paint is dry. Then saturate the area by going over it with a carpet cleaner and cleaning solution.

Put paint cleaner, hydrogen peroxide, or 100% acetone on a cloth and use the cloth to blot the area. Be patient and blot the area until the paint breaks up. It may take a while but the mixture will eventually cause the paint to dissolve. Because of the chemicals are using, it is better to keep a window open while cleaning gloss paint out of the carpet, and turn on a fan if you want.

How to get acrylic paint out of carpet

A gloved hand cleaning the carpet stain with a sponge.

There are a few ways to get acrylic paint out of the carpet. After you have scraped up any excess wet paint, use a soft brush to loosen the dried paint. Tear the dried paint clumps apart with pliers if necessary, and use a dustpan or vacuum extension to get rid of the loose paint bits.

If the paint is really stuck, use a putty knife with a commercial treatment like Goo Gone to break and tear it apart. If the paint has dried, spray WD-40 on it and let it sit for about half an hour before trying again. Hopefully, it will loosen the paint and make it possible to get up later.

You can try a more natural method if you want. Make your own mixture by adding a teaspoon of gentle liquid soap to a cup of warm water, then either spray or blot the solution onto the stain. Work the solution into the carpet with a firm brush, and blot as much of the paint out as you can. Then make a solution with one part vinegar to ten parts cold water and use a sponge to blot the area.

Another more natural method starts by blotting alcohol on the stain and then pouring glycerin onto paper towels and using the paper towels to blot the stain. Let the glycerin sit for a few hours before blotting the area with a solution of acetone and then steam cleaning the area.

How to get spray paint out of carpet

Gloved hands cleaning the carpet with a sponge and a spritzer.

It can be especially difficult to control spray paint, so it is best to be as careful and try to protect anything you don’t want to get paint on it. If you do, however, you can get spray paint out of carpet by using one of several methods. If the spray paint is oil-based, you can use a cloth to blot the area with paint thinner, taking up the color a little at a time.

You can remove a latex spray paint by blotting a cleaning solution made of mostly water with a small amount of gentle dish soap until the paint is gone. If the paint has dried, use hydrogen peroxide to make the paint pliable again before removing it. Water-based spray paint can be removed by applying turpentine and a soap solution to the area and blotting it until all the stains are gone.

How to get black paint out of carpet

Especially if you have a light carpet or one with designs on it, black paint may seem like a nightmare to get out. However, you will be able to get the paint out as long as you use a method based on what the paint is made of.

For instance, you can remove black acrylic paint from carpet by soaking it in alcohol, letting it soak, and then blot the area with a cloth before steam cleaning it. If there is still some paint left, soak it in glycerine and then clean it with acetone.

How to get red paint out of carpet

Bright red paint being spilled onto a surface.

Red is a beautiful vibrant color but it is unlikely you want to paint your carpet with it. If you are painting with red, pay attention beforehand to what the paint is made from so you can be prepared in case of a spill. You will need to follow the directions, as explained here, based on what kind of paint you are using.

The most home painting uses latex paint, which is one of the easier kinds of paint to remove. After removing any excess wet and dry paint, use hot water to moisten the area and then scrub the paint out with a gentle dish soap and water solution and brush.

How to get white paint out of carpet

Like with the other colors, make sure you know what kind of paint you have and keep on hand the materials you will need to deal with a spill. Color paints are usually oil or water-based but you have to use the correct method to get the best results. Otherwise, you could end up making the stain worse.

How to get fabric paint out of carpet

Various bottles of paint staining the carpet.

Fabric paint is usually made from fabric dye and a binder. Unfortunately, it can be more difficult to remove than other paints. If you have the fabric paint in a bottle, check the instructions first to see if there is any advice on how to clean up the product after a spill. In order to remove fabric paint from carpet. Get to work as soon as you notice the spill by gently blotting up any extra paint.

If it’s a big spill, you may be able to start gathering the excess in a spoon. Start by trying to blot the paint out by using several cloths in a dish soap solution. If the stain is stubborn, you can try alcohol to work the paint out. You have several choices here, including rubbing alcohol, wet wipes, or hand sanitizer with alcohol. If the stain is very stubborn, which fabric paint often is, use the same method but with acetone to blot the paint from the area.

How to get enamel paint out of carpet

Pink paint staining the cream-colored carpet with a brush.

Enamel paint is another paint that can dry very quickly, and it is more durable than other paints. To most effectively remove enamel paint from a carpet, start by blotting the area before preparing a mixture of warm water with a small amount of gentle dish soap. Then dab the stain, using a mixture, with a white cloth, until the paint is removed from the surface. You will then need to use cold water to blot the area until you have finished removing the cleaning mixture.

How to get tempera paint out of carpet

Magicfly 18 Colors Tempera Paint Set for Kids, Large Volume, Non-Toxic Washable Color (Basic, Neon, Glitter, Metallic Colors), Perfect for Finger Paint, Sponge and Poster Paint(12.85 fl oz./380 ml)
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Using tempera paint is a great way to get bright, vibrant colors that are easy to apply. Usually it’s a good thing that tempera paint dries so fast, but not if you spill it on the carpet. To make sure you get the tempera paint out of the carpet, start by blotting the wet paint and scraping off any bits that have dried with a spoon or butter knife.

Then use a spray bottle with water and white vinegar to first get the area wet and then blot it, repeating until the paint fades and then finally disappears. If there is still a stain, use Resolve or another carpet cleaner and blot and dry the area.

How to get nail polish out of carpet

Red nail polish staining the cream-colored carpet.

Who hasn’t spilled while nail painting at some point? A relaxing, enjoyable activity can feel like a catastrophe when you spill bright enamel, especially on a much lighter carpet.

It looks like it will be impossible to get out. Fortunately, it isn’t that hard to take care of it yourself. Even the most careful people make mistakes. If you want to get nail polish out of carpet, take care of it right away. This kind of coloring is harder to get out if you wait. First, use a paper towel to blot up any excess moisture. When the paper towel comes up dry, scrape up the nail paint with a dull surface, like a dull knife or file.

Next use either rubbing alcohol or a non-oily nail polish remover to blot the stain. If you choose the polish remover, be careful to only use a small amount, so it won’t soak through to the carpet backing and ruin it. Create a watery mixture with just a little gentle dishwashing soap in a spray bottle, and use a cloth to blot the area again. Dab the area until you can’t see any more of the nail polish, then rinse the area with warm water.

Final steps

A man lying the carpet tired from cleaning.

When you have finished the other steps, and you are left with a damp area, pile some paper towels directly over that location. Then put something heavy, like a box or a stack of books, on top of the paper towels. After about an hour, the area should be dry again and you can spray it with carpet freshener so it smells nice again.

Are there any types of products or interventions that should be avoided when it comes to getting paint out of carpet?

Sometimes you read something online or a friend tries to give you helpful advice about an issue you’re having. Even with the best of intentions, people often give advice that turns out to be worse than doing nothing at all. In the case of carpet cleaning, here are some things you should never put on the carpet:

  • Many people try to use bleach to get dark paint out of carpets, believing that it will help because it is such a potent substance. However, bleach is actually a disinfectant, not a cleaner. You can use bleach to whiten clothes if you care for them properly, but if you put bleach on a carpet you will strip the color from that section, leaving a large, obvious hole in the carpet.
  • You aren’t completely wrong if you think you can neutralize a red wine stain by applying white wine to the area. There are better ways to get red wine out of the carpet, and frankly, it is a waste of the wine.
  • It feels natural to want to use the toughest cleaning product you have on what looks like an impossible stain, but abrasive cleaners are more likely to damage the carpet and fade the color than take care of the stain.
  • Soap seems safe and harmless until you have tried to use it on carpeting. It may or may not get out tough stains, but then you have the problem of trying to get the soap out of the carpet, which can be quite difficult.

It is also important to remember that even if your carpet is small you should never put your carpeting into a clothes dryer. Carpeting is made differently from clothing and you could destroy the backing.

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