Paint Stain Removal
~Pooja Chakrabarty

The Basics of Paint Stain Removal

The various kinds of paints available in the market today make it difficult to pinpoint one single method of paint stain removal. Different paints require different methods of treatment. Paints fall into two broad categories: water-based and oil-based. Both have to be dealt with in separate ways.

Before going about the job of paint stain removal, make it a point to read the garment care instructions thoroughly.

There are several kinds of paints on the market today, each with different chemical compositions. Hence, treatments differ for each of these different types of paints. However, in general, there are mainly two kinds of paints: oil-based and water-based.

Dried paint stains are very difficult to remove. If the paint is already dry glycerine can be used to soften it.

Rubbing would only make  your job of paint stain removal more difficult by making the paint stain set onto the fabric

Before tackling any paint use a blunt knife to scrape off solid particles first, taking care not to further spread the paint stain.

For oil-based paint stain removal, (oil paints, enamel, alkyd type paints) you must tackle the stain while it is still fresh. The first step is to blot the stain with white absorbent paper towels. Take care to see to it that you do not rub the stain.

Rubbing would only make your job of paint stain removal more difficult by making the paint stain set onto the fabric.

Thereafter, for oil-based stains, you could use a thinner for that particular paint. Common oil-based paint solvents are alcohol and turpentine. However before using any such solvent, test an inconspicuous area of the garment for colorfastness, or some other kind of damage. Treat only the stained areas so as to soften the paint, so that it can be easily washed away with a detergent solution. Follow this up by regular laundering.

For water-based paints, such as acrylic paints, after the initial blotting, you could soak the cloth in cold water. The paint stain removal in this case would be relatively easy because water-based paints dissolve rather easily in water.

Thereafter, you could soak the affected area with a suitable stain remover, and let it remain for about 5 minutes. This would allow the stain remover to seep in and loosen the paint from the fabric. After that rub the stain with a strong detergent and then launder it with hot water.

Residual paint stains can be treated with bleach. However, do this only after checking to see that the fabric is bleach-safe. Even wood alcohol can be used to remove residual stains. Here too check first with a test application on some hidden portion of the fabric first.

For very heavy paint stain removal, lay the stained surface down on absorbent towels, and apply a fluid used for dry-cleaning to the other side of the stain. Let the fabric dry naturally. Finally follow it up with a thorough rinse and wash.

Armed with these hints I hope your task of paint stain removal becomes a little less daunting. All the best in your battle against the paint stains.

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]