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How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet

It’s a really common occurrence. You’re at home and you look at your walls and think that they could do with a new lick of paint. Great idea, right?

So, you go to the hardware store or your local store and buy some paint ready for the walls, and as soon as you start – there’s paint all over the carpet! Dang!

How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet

Paint on the carpet can be problematic, it’s not as simple as cleaning a coffee stain or some playdough out. So, what’s the answer?

We’ve got this covered. Today’s guide will examine what you can do when you get paint on the carpet and what steps you can take to prevent it next time! 

Know Your Paint 

Okay, so before you go straight for throwing water on the carpet or blotting it, you’ll have to know which paint you’ve used (e.g. latex vs acrylic paint etc.)and what it’s gone on to. 

If you look at the label on the back of the tin of paint, it will normally tell you if the paint is oil based or water-based. If your label informs you that the paint on the carpet is water based, you can normally use rubbing alcohol or acetone to get the stubborn stain out. 

If your paint is oil based, you should be looking for a mineral spirit. Mineral spirit is often known as white spirit and is based in petroleum, so be careful when applying it. Be sure to wear a face mask and gloves and do not have an open flame nearby! 

Sometimes though, you’ll have dried paint covering the tin and you can’t see which type of paint you’ve got on the carpet – or you simply forgot! 

If that’s the case, you can use a paint oil grease remover which is normally universal and can get out the majority of paint stains in the carpet. 

Removing Water Based Paint From The Carpet 

Removing water-based paint from the carpet is normally easier than removing oil based paint stains. The process is pretty simple, you should simply do the following steps, but you’ll need these items first:

  • Water 
  • Liquid soap
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • A carpet vacuum 
  • Paper towel or cloth 
  • Scraper 

Once you’ve got all of these, you’re ready to go. Remember though, you can use paint oil grease remover instead of rubbing alcohol if you don’t have any. Also, don’t use liquid soap that is too strong or is colored. 

So, here’s what you need to do:

Excess Paint 

If your paint has just been dropped, you’ll need to get rid of any paint that’s still wet. Avoid moving the paint around and try to blot it in one place so you don’t spread the stain. Use a rag or paper towels for this step. 

Don’t press hard or scrub the area, as the stain will push deep into the carpet, making matters work. Avoid letting the area get too dry. If you’re taking time, consider wetting your rag or paper towels. 

If however, your paint has already dried, use the scraper to scratch up as much of the paint as possible and then vacuum the area to pick up leftover dried paint. 

Water Is Needed 

You’re going to need to dampen the area, but you must avoid making the area too wet as it can make matters worse still. A good idea is to use a spray bottle if you can, but if that’s not possible – you can simply damp the rag. 

Blot on the carpet where the stain is and make sure you’re not moving too much up or down, continue until you have either got rid of the stain entirely, or got rid of a lot of it. 

Liquid Soap For The Stubborn Stain 

If your stain has not come out entirely after the water step, you should now add a small spoon’s worth of liquid soap in warm water and carefully apply this to the area of the stain. Blot the area as you did in the previous step and then, whilst wet – vacuum the area which should remove any excess paint. 

Still A Problem? Use The Rubbing Oil! 

If your carpet is still slightly stained, or the paint fell onto a white carpet, you might now need to add your solvent, one of which is rubbing oil. 

Ensure that you’ve prepared your area by making yourself an enclosed space, like a fort around the stain. Use a water circle to prevent the rubbing oil travelling too far away and into areas that it doesn’t need to be. 

Allow it to soak for around 10 minutes and then use your scraper after it’s dry to scratch the paint away. Remember to use the vacuum straight away and you should have a clean carpet once again. 

It’s wise to rinse out the rubbing alcohol, even when it’s clean, to ensure the carpet does not stain and is completely clean overall. 

How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet

What About Oil Based Paint?

You’ll need to have the same tools but replace rubbing alcohol with mineral spirit. You’ll need to ensure that any excess paint is removed before you begin. 

Ensure that the area is damp and then use your scraper to get some of the excess paint away from the carpet and vacuum it away. 

Before you add your white spirit, as in water based stains, you should create a water circle to ensure it does not travel too far and remember your safety (no flames, wear gloves and a mask). 

After it has soaked in, you’ll likely notice the stain has gone without the need for blotting. It’s now important that you rinse the area and get rid of any excess spirit. 

Lastly, you’ll vacuum the area to get any excess paint away and let the carpet dry. It’s wise to keep pets and children away from the area for around 24 hours. 

The next day – your carpet is as good as new!


Whether you’re having a fun painting date, redesigning your interior or moving into a house that has prior paint stains – getting paint off of the carpet is a real drag but don’t worry – it can be solved with these above tips. To avoid the situation in future, consider using new brushes before you start and cover the carpet with plastic sheets. 

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