In a home filled with do-it-yourself people and imaginative, creative individuals, I am constantly dealing with stains on clothing. One stain that I do dread dealing with is a paint stain. Depending on the type of fabric, a paint stain can ruin a garment taking it from everyday wear to a “working on home improvements” outfit. If the paint is on a garment that is delicate, embellished or dry clean only, you must be cautious of what methods you use for removing a paint stain – – in this instance professional assistance may be your best option. However, if you have read the laundering instructions for the garment and you feel comfortable with trying to remove the paint stain, these methods have worked for our family in the past.
If the paint is dried, there are a few tricks you can use to pre-treat the paint stain and then launder as normal. After scraping off as much of the paint as possible, spring the entire stain thoroughly with hair spray until completely saturated. Rub the area with the hairspray and continue applying hair spray until the stain is gone then launder as normal. Another good pre-treatment for a paint stain is rubbing alcohol. Saturate the paint stain with alcohol and rub until the stain is gone. Nail polish remover and window cleaner have also worked in the past; however, we always try it first on a hidden spot on the garment to make sure it will not damage the clothing.
A water-based paint stain is pretty easy to deal with provided you have the right laundry detergent and stain treatment and the paint is not completely dry. Quickly rinse the paint stain with warm water and apply a stain treatment that contains enzymes. Allow the stain treatment to set according to the directions on the container, and then rinse well with warm water before washing with a stain removing laundry detergent. Do not put the garment in the dryer – allow to air dry to make sure that the paint stain is completely gone. If the stain remains, try one of the methods above to remove the remaining paint from the garment.
Good Housekeeping advises that hand washing with dishwashing detergent and liquid hand soap removes most paint stains. After scraping off any excess paint, flush the fabric from the back with warm water. Mix equal parts of liquid hand soap, dishwashing detergent and water and apply directly to the paint stain. Rub the mixture into the paint stain with a sponge then rinse with warm water. Continue to repeat until the paint stain is removed. They also advise that treating any remaining stain with acetone (nail polish remover) should remove the stain; however, if the fabric contains acetate or triacetate the nail polish remover will damage the garment.
Removing paint stains are actually not as difficult as you may think; however, it is important to realize that the fabric is the most important part of the equation. Read the care instructions carefully and try any methods on a hidden area first to make sure they will not ruin the garment.