How to Get Paint Out of Carpet: 2 Step-by-Step Guides
Getting paint out of carpet may seem like an impossible task, but there is hope. For all you do-it-yourselfers out there, we know there’s nothing worse than painting a room or getting creative with the kids only to discover that a few blobs have somehow made it past your protective sheets and coverings. But you can lift these pesky stains more easily than you might think, and it doesn’t have to involve any frantic phone calls to professional carpet cleaning companies.
Our guide on how to get paint out of carpet covers the main types of interior decor and kids paint types: water-based paint and oil-based paint. And you don’t need anything fancy to remove paint from carpet; most of the materials and substances you’ll need should already be lying about your house.
As always, before you wage war on the paint stains, make sure you check the specific care guide for your carpet type. Different types of carpet fibres can react differently to cleaning, and you don’t want to risk causing even more damage to your floor.
Got this checked? Let’s get started.
How to Get Water-Based Paint Out of Carpet
Most childrens paints and many interior decorating paints are water-based. You can check if they are water-based by checking the instructions on the tin or tube for washing brushes. If the instructions tell you to wash your brushes in water then you’ll know the paint is water-based.
What You’ll Need:
- Paper kitchen towels
- White distilled vinegar
- Clean cloth
- Warm soapy water
- Vacuum cleaner
If you’ve spilled a large amount of paint, scoop up as much as you can with a spoon. Then dab up any remaining excess with your paper towels. Make sure you dab rather than rub, as rubbing the stain risks spreading the paint, damaging the carpet and leaving paper fibres stuck in the pile.
Soak your cloth in distilled white vinegar (never use malt vinegar as this will stain) and dab the stained area. Keep soaking clean areas of cloth with vinegar and rotating until you have removed all the paint from the carpet. You may need to rinse your cloth halfway through or use more than one cloth.
Dab the area with warm soapy water to remove any excess vinegar and make sure any soap suds are blotted up completely with a damp cloth.
Vacuum the area to perk up the fibres and leave your carpet looking good as new. Repeat the process as needed if you have a particularly large or stubborn stain.
How to Get Oil-Based Paint Out of Carpet
Oil-based paint is easily identifiable, as the instructions on the tin or tube will tell you to wash your brushes in a solvent such as white spirit. Oil-based paint is much more difficult to remove than water-based paint, but it can be done if you act fast and take great care.
What You’ll Need:
- Paper kitchen towels
- White Spirit – found at all DIY and hardware stores
- Steamer (if the paint is dry)
- Tweezers / Palette knife (if paint is dry)
As with the water-based instructions, carefully scoop up any excess paint with a spoon or palette knife. Take care not to spread the paint any further in the process. Then dab up as much paint as possible with your paper kitchen towels.
Oil-based paint can only be removed using solvents. Soak a clean cloth in white spirit and use this to gently dab at the stain. Be extremely careful and make sure you only use this cloth to dab the paint itself and not the surrounding carpet as this can strip out the colour. This is a good time to double check your carpet care guidelines for tailored advice on how to get paint out of your carpet. Wool carpets are especially sensitive to harsh cleaning products, so be thorough in your research.
If the paint is already dry, removal is trickier still. You can try using a steamer to loosen up the stain first. Turn the appliance on high and let it come to temperature, then steam the area. Then, very carefully attempt to remove the loosened paint using tweezers or a palette knife, moving slowly from fibre to fibre. This is quite a laborious process, but can be effective if you have the patience.
Tried everything to no avail? Unfortunately the nature of oil-based paint does sometimes mean hiring a professional carpet cleaning service is the only remaining course of action.
Being clued up on how to get paint out of carpet can be a real lifesaver if you’ve got kids or if you’re planning a new DIY project. Roll up and store your carpet runners and rugs safely out of the way when you can, keep a bottle of carpet stain remover on hand and always protect your carpets as best you can with sheets and plastic coverings before you break out the paints.