how to remove acrylic paint from your clothes
A question I get asked over an over again is "how do you remove acrylic paint from your clothes?"

All acrylic paints can be tricky to remove from your clothes once dry, but I have a little method that I'll share with you. While it's not foolproof - it works about 99% of the time. You can always give it a try! Hey your shirt already has paint on it, what's the worst that can happen!?

Here's a jacket sleeve that I got a little bit of purple paint on. This purple is from my Claudine Hellmuth Studio line of paints. These paints were designed to be extra waterproof when dry so you can use them to paint fabrics. Good for painting fabrics. Not good when you get them on something you would rather not have paint on. I was wearing this jacket at the CHA convention and it was in my suitcase a couple of days before I realized I had paint on it. Oops!

Not to worry! Rubbing Alcohol to the rescue! You'll want just regular Rubbing Alcohol that you can get from your drugstore or grocery store.

Using a paper towel completely soak the area with the dried on paint. Use A LOT of Rubbing Alcohol and get the area 100% saturated. The resins in the paint will be broken down by the rubbing alcohol.

With your fingernail (or here I am using a coffee stirrer), scratch at the area gently going with and against the grain of the fabric. Keep applying more Rubbing Alcohol to lift off the stain.

At a certain point you get as far as you can with the stain. Here I can still see it a little bit, but it's much better than what I started off with! Throw it in the wash right away and usually even more of the stain will be removed in the wash cycle.

Here it is after it's been through the wash and dried. Very hard to tell where the stain was and one of my favorite jackets is now ready to wear again!

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Thank you so much, wonderful tip, I always have paint on everything. Peggy
Great tip!! I am always accidentally getting paint on my clothing!
Never thought to use rubbing alcohol, this is wonderful! I'm a teaching artist, and all my favorite denim shirts now have paint on them. Will try this tonight!
This is GREAT info! Thanks for sharing! What a valuable little tidbit to know!
Claudine! I will certainly be giving this a go, got some white acrylic on new black leggings - arrgh!!
Great tip!!! Not that I ever get messy in my studio, honest-lol!
This is one of the greatest tips you've ever shared. Thank you SO much!
WOW! Thanks!
From the world's messiest artist... THANK YOU!!! Okay -- maybe not the messiest, but I'd run a close second! LOL.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I knew alcohol worked on ink stains but I didn't know it would work on acrylic paint.
Thank you, Claudine! Like everyone else here (and you), I have paint spots on a lot of my clothing. Can't wait to try this out.
Wow! Great tip!
Thanks so much. :)
Thanks so much for the tip! No matter how careful I try to be, there always seems to be spots somewhere... :P
owwww good tip! i just happened to get pink paint om my black sweater yesterday. don't know whar rubbbing alcohol is called in Belgium, humm i'll have to go ask my chemist. oh and i can't wait to get my hands on your new extra time! just what i was missing!!! x
you know what! i went to art school and everything and i've never heard this! awesome tip! we used to use rubbing alcohol to get the stubborn paint off our hands too!
great tips Claudine! Thanks!!
Makes perfect sense, thanks!

When I was teaching, my colleague wrote her entire list of music on our whiteboard in Sharpie. (I wasn't mad for that, but I was a little mad that she didn't seem to care.) Rubbing alcohol + time + lots of elbow grease got it all off. Thank goodness I had a very patient student who offered to do it for me. It took her 45 minutes, but it worked. Rubbing alcohol is awesome. :)
Good tip, thanks! I've used rubbing alcohol to get pen ink marks out of the pockets of my nurse's uniforms, but never thought about it for acrylic paints.
I found your blog via Craft... what a great idea, thank you so much! Especially since I've got a ring-shaped acrylic paint stain on the chest of my favorite sweater =( Can't wait to try this!
Having a 6 year old who likes to craft with acrylics, this is an awesome tip! Thanks!!
Great, thank you!!! I am going to give it a try!
Even using an apron, I get paint on my clothes. I can hardly wait to try this!!! Thanks so much.
WOW!! Thanx for the tip! I think 1/2 of all my clothes have paint, or glue, or something crusty on them!!
Hi Claudine, what a great post! I am always getting paint on myself when I paint. I posted a link to this post in my blog because I think it is very helpful to a lot of crafters.
What a helpful solution to a problem I run into more often than I like to admit....
Thank you SO much. Maybe I can save that pair of jeans after all!
This also works for paintbrushes that dried up before you got a chance to rinse them out. I usually put about an inch of rubbing alcohol in a cup and put my brushes in there to soak overnight. I've managed to save quite a few brushes this way!
WOW what a great tip! Thank you!
So helpful! Since you are amazing, would you know what to do about crayons that sneak into a load of laundry? Some things have been fixed after a LOT of effort, but I have been sans khaki skirts for ages now, still trying to figure out how to clean off the obnoxiously bright orange stains.
Another helpful hint: vodka workks well too if you are desperate and have no rubbing alcohol.
Wow! This is good to know! Can't even tell you how many things I own with paint on them! Thanks for sharing!
oh boy!i am running to the store to get rubbing alcohol! i hope it works on older stains!!!thanks
You should submit THIS to Martha Stewart! Ha1
LOL i'm seriously passing this along to my daughter who is attending art school (of course if she'd had this tip last year she wouldn't own the coolest pair of jeans on the planet - but they do weigh about 10 pounds on their own from layers of paint)
This is GREAT!!! Im in a highschool art class and the other day I went home to find bright yellow paint all over my favourtie jeans!!!

farewell yellow :)


- Jacquie
Maybe this will put an end to all those new "studio clothes" I keep making(from when I tell myself "I'll stay clean. This will be fast and neat).

Oh wow this is so helpful!! Bookmarking for later. Thanks so much.
Great tip Claudine! I just know I got some paint on my sleeve last night but was too busy having fun to do anything about it. Sure glad I came by here to check out your blog and happened upon this tip :)
Thank you SO much! I have a pair of pants that is almost covered in paint from when I was taking a painting class. Every so often I find other items with paint I had no idea was even there. They may be salvageable after all!
Had no rubbing alcohol, but Vodka worked like a charm!!!
I am so greatful for this tip and can't wait to try it. I recently got some acrylic paint on one of my favorite shirts, too. Had decided to never wear it out of the house again until I read this tip. Really hope it works.
Alberta Johnson
What do you do if it is colored fabric, wont it affect it or change the color?
Thank you for sharing! This is something that will come in very handy! :)

Super helpful! Thanks... (msdixie)
yes it worked!!
YAYYYYY! Thank you so much1 Instant success! Removed dried white acrylic paint from a turquoise shirt, which was of a course a favorite!
I just tried this with a sundress I wore to an art class. It worked! I got probably 90% out. It probably would have worked better if I had addressed it sooner (I initially used a Tide To Go pen and then stain stick in the wash). I'm impressed! Thanks for the tip!
I had this stain of my favorite sweater for like a year, so I used the rubbing alcohol, at fist it seemed like nothing happened but when I mixed it with my brush cleaning soap (The Masters) and scrubbed with a toothbrush, I got 70% out. Neither of the substances worked alone but when combined it worked! Thanks for the tip
Didn't have alcohol, but had Oops! which worked fairly well, then tries GermX hand sanitizer. It worked better than the Oops! And smells so much better.
Great tip! My 'go to' method is Mr Muscle..yep, the oven cleaner. My mom was a tole instructor and picked up this idea from a class she took from one of the biggies..wish I could remember her name to give her credit. Anyway, it works like a charm. Just spray it on then wash. Its worth a shot if the alcohol doesn't work!
THANK YOU!! My daughter got green paint on her school uniform last spring and nothing got it out. I just ran across your post on Pintrest and IT WORK!! THANK YOU!!!!
THANK YOU!! It totally worked on my daughter's school uniform.
Well, it took the black out of my leather coat... but it got rid of the paint as well. Net gain, if you ask me.
My husband got paint on a new pair of jeans, he wanted to throw them away. Found you on Pinterest and I immediately went for the alcohol. Did exactly what you said, and it came out without any trouble. Needless to say he was happy and so was I. Thanks so much for this great tip.
This worked like a charm and I just saved one of my favourite sweaters (that I should not have been art journaling in, in the first place). Thank you Claudine!
I never thought acrylic could be this easy to take out from clothes. Thank you for your tips!
I never thought acrylic could be this easy to take out from clothes. Thank you for your tips!
My life's problem. SOLVED. Thank you!!!
Hi:) I was wondering if I could use this on a black 100% silk top that is hand wash/ mild detergent only... Thank you!
Annon- I would rec testing the rubbing alcohol on a teeny tiny area on a hem or some place inconspicuous first. I am not that we'll versed in fabrics so I can't say for sure it won't damage silk but give a test first.
Thankyou so much,my little one puts paint all over her cloths and this has worked a treat.
My daughter spilled white paint all over her new windbreaker jacket...I did not have alcohol, but we had nail polish remover....It worked. Thanks
Thanks so much! My daughter wore her beautiful flower girl dress when she dressed as an autumn princess for Halloween. At our church party they painted pumpkins and yes there was paint all over the dress. We were both sick! She so much wanted to wear it again Christmas eve. The rubbing alcohol worked! So happy
awsome tip!
Rubbing alcohol not available in my neck of the woods, at least everyone I ask shakes their heads. Is carbontetrachloride the same sort of thing? This is what's used in dry cleaners and that IS available.
you should be able to find rubbing alcohol at your drug store. i have never been to a drug store and not seen it. in the US, Italy, Germany England etc. here's the wikipeida description of rubbing alcohol that may help you

it's usually in the medical type area with the cotton balls and the hydrogen peroxide
I just wanna say thank you sooo much!!! I was clicking on every link on Google to try and find a good solution and I found yours and tried it immediately. I had a bright red softball hoodie and i'm in an art class at school. We were doing pop art paintings with acrylic paint and somehow I ended getting a HUGE bright yellow spot on it! I was so mad because my teacher said it's permanent and will NOT come out and it was one of my favorite hoodies. I just sat here for maybe 20 min with 91% rubbing alcohol and some paper towel and got ALL of it out!!! It's in the wash right now but i'm so thankful someone posted this! So thank you so much again! <3
I messed up a pretty chair and will try your tip today. Thanks from Hawaii!!
Thank you so much for saving my favorite pajama pants from the paint streak I accidentally got on them!!!!

If this works my husband will be one very happy man. Our daughter got orange paint on his $300 personalized jersey. I am going to give it a shot.
Thank youu so much! I was just in school and i laid my arm in red paint! Just now, my jacket sleeve had a lot of acrylic paint on it and it had looked like a assassinated someone, but now it's clean! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you"
Thanks, you just saved some of my wardrobe!
Thank you for this great tip. My 10 year od son just came home from his private art lesson with paint on his shirt. I tried your tip and it worked!
... This is brilliant. I have my favorite black sweater that I always used to wear in my clay class, and with a black sweater I accidentally got white acrylic paint on it. It made me so mad! I tried stain removers and no luck. So what I eventually did was I took black acrylic paint and covered the white acrylic paint. LOL I'm definitely going to try this!
didn't work on a linen tableclothsollowit
Fantastic! I had mine on dark-coloured pants. And it disappeared almost without a trace. I used detergent and alcohol rub and let it soak for about a minute and scrubbed it out using my fingernails. The lather from the detergent provided some lather... Thanks for the great tip!
I wonder, will this work for latex paint too?
Thank you!! I was designing a cosplay for next year's A-con, and I dabbed a bit of black acrylic in the wrong place on the shirt. :( I'll try this right now~!
THANK YOU!! I got some black acrylic dabbed in the wrong place while I was making a cosplay today... :( I'll try this right now~!
Thank you so much! The alcohol worked to remove black acrylic paint from my olive green sweater. I had a great time at a "Paint with a Twist" party, but almost ruined one of my favorite sweaters. I used the alcohol, a qtip, and then washed it, and you can barely see the stain. Janet -Houston, TX
I had a HUGE bright green stain in my gray tshirt and I had pretty much no hope but I tried this and it worked like a charm!! One of my faveorite tshirts is now back to looking like new!!
Thank you so much! You just saved one of my favorite outfits!

Thank you for this! It helped me save a pair of shorts today. I really appreciate it!
I didn't have rubbing alcohol, so I used an alcohol based gel hand sanitizer. It worked great!! Since its thicker than rubbing alcohol it sat on the surface of the fabric. I also used a credit card to scrape off the paint.
Really effective... I've just tried it... Tnx a lot...
You just saved me about a $100 in kids clothes. My sister was watching my kids for me and brought them home with paint all over their new school pants. Thanks for the tip!
Simply put: it works!
My daughter just splattered red acrylic paint on her new Nike pullover. I thought it was done. Your trick worke like a charm! The paint is completely gone. Thanks a ton!
Great tip - I just used this on my daughter's jacket - long story how the paint got there - and it worked exactly as you suggested. Thanks!
Thank you so much. Had some dried latex paint on a tote bag. It had been picked up from the inside of my closet, pushed against a wall. One application took off 99% and the second took off the remaining. Used a papertowel and my thumbnail.
Thank you so much for this tip!! I just got home from a friend's house who was painting with her young son. I accidentally knelt in some paint... i got off what I could while there, but didn't want to have to throw out one of my fave pairs of jeans. I searched on Google and found your tip of using the rubbing alcohol. it totally worked wonders, and I can't wait to have a closer look when they get out of the wash! I shared the tip with my friend also! :)
And here I thought that there was no hope at all for acrylic paint stains--especially when dry! Thank you for sharing this great tip! xoxo
Thank you for this tip. My daughter came home with a colorful jacket which was white in the morning!
Thank you so much for this great tip!!!
You just saved a favorite pr of jeans which had a blob of
barn red paint on one leg.
It is 99% gone and I can
wear my jeans again!!!
Again, thanks much for sharing.
Thanks for sharing that. My daughter had acrylic paint over her school blazer today and the rubbing alcohol (which I believe is what we in the UK call meths or methylated spirit) worked a treat. I sprayed a perfumed fabric refresher spray over her blazer so she won't go in to school tomorrow smelling of meths.
my Granddaughters got into acrylic paint in my bedroom & splattered it on my new comforter and bedset so am trying this asap.
Thanks! I just tried it and it worked! I dropped a paintbrush and it landed on my boyfriend's sweatshirt.
Anyone know if this removes the color from the fabric? I've had color from clothing that messed the color in the fabric up. I threw something with wet paint into the wash and it grazed across some hot pink lingerie. Obviously delicate fabric which is why I'm concerned.
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I'm a painter and I got the paint all over my favorite shirt. Now I can wear my shirt all day and not try to rub the stain off it. Can thank you enough.
THANK YOU! You saved my daughter's cute, long-sleeved shirt. :-)
great tip - i ruined a shirt my daughter just gave me before I even wore it getting something on it in my suitcase!
FANTASTIC My daughter got a large area of dark purple acrylic paint on her new graduation dress. The alcohol took it out 100% ( The paint was dry before I worked on it, also I used totally saturated large cotton balls) Thanks
Who knew that alcohol would take the color out of a pair of pink shorts. Now they have two white spots much larger than the small dots of green paint..............
will it fade colored jeans if you use rubbing alcohol on those.?
OOPS. I rubbed so hard , NOW I have a hole where the paint was. But, yes, the rubbing alcohol did take out the paint.
Dear Claudine,
thanks a lot! I will try. Your advice reached me in Slovakia, Europe!!!
Oh thank you so much! I ruined my favorite shirt with paint and thought it was lost forever. I am so grateful I found your blog. Thank you thank you thank you
Just wondering if it works on thin cotton or if it might take some color out too?
Absolutely no effect whatsoever on dried acrylic paint on my son's white school shirts, the paint simply didn't budge. Has anyone else had this happen?
Fire brigade red on white fabric will rubbing alcohol remove all the red too please
Does anyone know how this method works when the paint is also on a graphic on a t shirt?
Oh my G-


Thank you oh so very much~
I just wanted to say thanks so much!!! I accidentally got paint on a new dress, my mom JUST bought me, when painting the art club float today. I was so stressed for a while there, thanks you so much!! CX
My 5 year old girl came home from school with spots of paint all over her dress... arghhhh... will try this tonight since I've done all the rubbing I could with soap and water and no results.
Thanks, Lisa
Thank you for your help with removing acrylic paint from clothing. My grandson decided to paint and got paint all over his new Carhart winter coat. I used your solution and it worked beautifully. Thank you again.
You just saved my favorite pair of jeans! Can't thank you enough!
What works even better on magic marker stains is to go over the stain with an erasable marker. Then wipe off. This works on solid objects. Haven't tried it on clothes though.
Tried it on my kids school uniforms - this was my last resort! Voila - it worked!!!! You da best!!! :)
Hello Claudine,
My friend needy a hippie banner in a jiffy, so all I had was a king size sheet. I painted one of the peace symbols orange, green and yellow. Looked real good. Friend called next day didn't need banner anymore, but it ruined my sheet. I have tried so many ways, including the one on your site, without even a little paint coming out. Anyone out there who has an answer or the same problem, please let me know. I am desperate. Thank you
I had a black baseball hat that had A LOT of dried WHITE paint on it for 4 years. Thought it was done, almost through it out. Soaked it in rubbing alcohol for a minute rubbed with a dish scrubby, came out right away.. AMAZING.. THANK YOU
Can I do this with wet paint that I literally just got on a sweatshirt?
Does this work if you get black paint on a white shirt?? I am so worried I will not be able to get the paint out of a shirt I borrowed! :(
This tip is pure genius!!!!
White paint + red velour Hanna Andersson dress = one very unhappy mom but Claudine to the rescue!!!! I had washed and dried the dress with paint on it before I noticed the stain. I soaked in rubbing alcohol, scraped the reconstituted paint off and popped it in the washer. Dress looks like new!!!!
Thanks a million!!!!!!!
This worked for me. I had dark green paint on my denim jeans and mixed fabric shirt that had dried for a couple of hours. I got home and tried this and it worked very well. Thanks.
Just tried this...worked for Me! White paint on blue jeans...was dried on for 3 days...came right out! Thanks!
my daughter is an art student and is running out of uniforms due to the paint stains. i just read your blog and tried it immediately and it worked. my daughter can use her uniforms again and you saved me from buying new ones. thanks a lot.
xmas tablecloth I thought was ruined. alcohol tip worked . . . I blotted and blotted until color was faint on papertowel . . . in the washer now. thanks for this great tip!
Looks like one of the other people used this on a turquoise shirt snd said it worked like a charm, so it must be fine on colours, good luck!
This totally worked, I really had my doubts. Thank you,thank you, thank you for the tip!!!!!
thanks so much for the tip I recently got acrylic paint allover my favorite red sweater I will try this tonight maybe i can still save my jeans every pair has paint on them i really need to get out of my habit of wiping my hands on my colthing
Thank you very much for good advice - it worked for me!
I will try this tip out. I accidentally splattered brown paint all over the front of my whit school shirt in art and now it is covered in brown spots. Thanks for the tip :)
This worked PERFECTLY!! Thank you soooo much! I thought I had ruined my new blouse with acrylic paint after just one wear, but this awesome tip saved my blouse. Thanks again!!
It worked amazing! Thanks for your help!
Dear Claudine, Hi I'm 11 years old and love painting! But I hate when it gets on my clothes. I never use permanent paint like EVER!! But this time I didn't know it WAS permanent. I was painting my converse and my friend texted me. I like to answer right away. So when I tried to text him back I put the paintbrush in my mouth (paint side down of course!) and since my IPad was charging I had to look down. I had my favorite WHITE minion shirt on and the paintbrush had black paint. So I could guess you would know what happend next. I read the back to make sure it wasn't permanent but I skipped the sentence that said 'Permanent and non-toxic' I was like thanks god it's not permanent so I relaxed. I reread the bottle and realized it WAS permanent. I got so mad at myself and him for some weird reason and tried to take the paint off with soap and water like the bottle said to, but the paint was already a little dry. I went online and saw this website and tried to take it off with alcohol and did not succeed. What should I do?! I don't want to throw away one of my favorite shirts so please help me!
I got paint on my favorite shirt and this tip is very useful!!!
This is a great tip and it might work on woven cotton. However, it had no effect on the nylon shorts I tried it on. The paint was dried and visible on both sides of the fabric. Perhaps the permeability of the fabric was the reason it didn't work. Any other suggestions would be appreciated...
Thanks so much! Save saved the price of a school uniform shirt due to your remedy! Basically, our son had a black uniform shirt several days ago and a girl accidently slung fluorescent orange acrylic paint off of her paint brush and on his back. We didn't find out nor seen the shirt until today (2 days later) after the paint set and harden. Couldn't even peel the paint with an ice pick. Found your remedy at the top of my google search, read it, followed your instructions and it worked like a charm! Thanks again! To return the favor, if you have "ANY" rust stains, anywhere, use "Whink" Rust Stain Remover (comes in a copper colored plastic 10 or 16oz bottle. Works like a charm too! You can find it at Ace Hardware stores.
Have you ever tried this on carpet? My daughter got paint on her foot then walked down the carpeted hallway and left paint prints along the way! I'm thinking that it might work if I use this trick then go over it with my carpet cleaner.
You're a lifesaver!!!
I have tried both the hairspray and alcohol method, to no avail on various clothes. I am not sure if I'm doing something wrong or what, but I have seen VERY little change.... (note: all clothes have gone through a wash and dry cycle and still no change, either)

For the hairspray I will spray a very, very good amount and then start to vigorously scrub with both a toothbrush and Scotch-Brite Scrub Sponge, sometimes use my nail. In between I will wash super hot water over the area and re-spray. I did this more than 20 times and saw VERY little, if any change.

For the alcohol I poor a very good amount until the paint stain is soaked in it and let it sit a bit, after I scrub with the same tools as I did for the hairspray. Alcohol was applied MANY times and little came off, if any paint.

As a last resort I tried both hairspray and alcohol at the same time, spraying hairspray and then pouring alcohol on, still little to no change.... (when both were applied the pants had been soaked in very hot water thinking it may create a stronger reaction of removal, nope)
It sounds like your paint might be oil based instead of latex based. That's probably why it's not working.
OMG, this worked on 1 week old dried on acrylic paint on my husband's black silk camp shirt. The only thing I did different was instead of using something to scrape the paint off, I used a brush for cleaning under fingernails. THANKS SO MUCH!
I had decorated a white t-shirt around the neck line and sleeves with acrylic paints to semi match the designs on a pair of pants. I dripped a tiny drop of yellow on the front of the white cotton shirt. I found out that bleach does not work. I'm going to try your way now! Haven't worn the outfit yet.
i hope this works I am 11 and got blue acrylic paint on my new black french shirt and my mum would kill me if she saw it I used some anti col and scrubbed it. It was nearly invisible but not quite now going to wash it and see results thanks for the info also do you know how to get yellow acrylic paint off a white/yellow lounge
I used this technique on a bright pink t-shirt that I'd managed to smear tan paint on. I was working in it and despairing, because it didn't seem to be working, so I rinsed the alcohol out and went to bed. When I got up the next morning I discovered that the stain was much less noticable dry, than it had been wet! So my recommendation, is stop once in a while, rinse out the alcohol and let it rest overnight, you may be pleasantly surprised! I was able to save one of my favorite shirts! Thanks!!!
Very useful information, but my clothes are often contaminated with fruit juice, such stains are difficult to clean, is there any way to solve this problem?
Hey! iWm from Israel and I thank you for your advice, I didn't understand what percentage should be the alcohol.
medical Alcohol is Okay?
thank you so much!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yes! Medical rubbing alcohol is what you want.
Thank you for the step by step instructions with pictures. That is far better than just giving us written directions.
Thanks this saved my PE shorts! 😅
My brother is an art student and is running out of uniforms due to the paint stains. I just read your blog and tried it immediately and it worked. Thank you so much.
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