How to Remove Latex Paint from Clothes

When you paint your walls, a canvas, or your house, you hope that the paint lasts forever. But that spot of paint that got on your favorite shirt? You want that out right now. Rather than giving up and letting the stain set, learn how to remove a latex paint stain from your clothing in this article.


  1. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 1
    Pour on some rubbing alcohol. Although there are many methods of removing latex paint, by far the most effective seems to be with the use of rubbing alcohol. Grab some regular rubbing alcohol, and pour it onto the fabric, covering the entire spot of latex paint. If the paint has dried, let the alcohol soak for a few minutes to break it up a bit. Then, use a cloth or a fabric brush to scrub off the paint spot. Unless you’re working with a delicate fabric, it should stand up to some vigorous scrubbing. Finish up by throwing your clothing into the laundry and washing/drying it as per usual.[1]
  2. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 2
    Try using hairspray. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand, you can use it in its diluted version - hairspray. Lay your clothes out and douse the paint stain with hairspray, until it is totally soaked through. Leave it for a few minutes so the alcohol can break up the paint, and then come back and do a bit of scrubbing with a cloth or fabric brush. When you’re finished, launder the clothing as you normally would, and finish with a run through the dryer.[2]
  3. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 3
    Use dishwashing detergent. Because certain dish washing detergents are made to break up oils, they can help to dissolve oil/latex paint that has made its way onto clothing. Mix one part dish detergent with one part warm water, and pour it onto the paint stain. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes, and then use a clean cloth or fabric brush to scrub out the stain. You can reapply the detergent mixture and try again, if necessary. Finish up by putting the clothing in the washing machine and laundering it as you normally would.[3]
  4. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 4
    Try using ‘goo-gone’. There are certain cleaners, like ‘goo-gone’, which are made to get rid of the sticky glue left over from labels and other things on fabric and objects. If you have some goo-gone or a similar cleaning product around, try using it on your fabric. This method has mixed results, so know that it may not remove all of the paint. Pour/spray it onto the paint stain and let it set for 5-10 minutes. Scrub it off as best you can afterwards, and then put your clothing through a wash/dry cycle. Repeat the process if not all the paint has been removed.
  5. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 5
    Attempt using lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner, similar to paint thinner, is used for thinning and dissolving latex paint. If the clothing you’re working with is a bit thicker/sturdier (like denim), you may try using lacquer thinner to dissolve the paint. Keep in mind that this may damage the clothing when used in excess. Pour on some of the thinner and use a brush to scrub the fabric. Rinse it with warm water, and then wash the clothing like normal.
  6. Image titled Remove Latex Paint from Clothes Step 6
    Try scratching the paint off with an emery board. If you’re working with a thick fabric and a small amount of paint, you may be able to scratch or rub it off with the aid of a basic emery board or fine grit sandpaper. Carefully scrub at the paint, using your nail to scratch out any ingrained paint. Be gentle as your scrub, otherwise you may accidentally scratch a hole into the fabric along with removing the paint. You might follow up your scrub-down with one of the aforementioned paint-dissolving techniques to make sure your stain is totally removed. Finish with a wash and dry cycle.[4]


  • If you have a 'dot' or splatter of paint, you may be able to peel/scratch it off. If the paint has been smeared, you'll likely need to use a solvent of some sort to rid your clothing of the stain.
  • If you get paint on your shirt don't wait to long to get it off or it will be harder. If you get some at school or work, get it off as soon as you get home.


  • The longer you wait to remove a latex paint stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.
  • Using chemicals like lacquer thinner can be dangerous, as it is extremely flammable as well as toxic to breath/consume. Take necessary safety precautions before using it.

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Categories: Clothing Stains