How To Clean Paint Out Of Carpet
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How To Clean Paint Out Of Carpet

How to clean paint out of carpet? Will it be easy to do so? These questions are now probably driving you crazy. It was a beautiful day, and you were working on your Picasso masterpiece. Now, all you have got is a gigantic mess on your precious carpet.

There’s no need to cry over spilled paint – I’m here to help. You’ll be relieved to know that the damage can be reversed, although a little patience and elbow grease are required. Are you all set to begin the work? Let’s scroll down!

Spilled Paint On Carpet
Your precious carpet can still be saved even when covered in strokes of paint.

Accidents Will Happen

Painting is an excellent way to unwind after hours of hard work. However, when you or your children happen to knock over a bottle of paint, it becomes hard work – particularly when the paint is now all over your faux fur carpet. Big trouble!

Or, imagine that you are working on a major overhaul for your bedroom. This time, you want something more than just decluttering or buying some new decorations. Then, a clever idea springs to your mind: why don’t you paint the walls?

As you are envisioning the new look of your sleeping zone, history repeats itself: you happen to kick over the bucket, and the paint spills all over the carpet again. Now, the transformation project is postponed – you have something more important to do. 

A Detailed Guide On Removing Paint From Your Carpet

Overall, the process consists of three stages: identify the type, pre-treat, and clean the paint. It is not too difficult but can be quite time-consuming, so be sure that you have plenty of time on your hands.

Determine The Paint Type

Before jumping to the work, it’s essential to know which type of paint is on your carpet. The removal method will vary slightly but overall not too different regarding the tools you use. In general, there are three common kinds of paint:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Water-based paint or latex paint
  • Oil-based paint

Also, you will need to check whether the paint is still fresh or has dried up. Usually, you will find the latter more challenging to remove, but that does not mean you can’t do it. Hence, if you happen to knock over a bottle of paint, don’t be hesitant.

Note: In truth, acrylic paint is categorized as water-based. Still, it contains chemicals and is sometimes referred to as chemical-based paint. Hence, acrylic paint is now considered to be a class on its own.

Pre-Treat The Paint Spill

If the paint is still wet, grab some paper towels and gently dab the paint. The aim here is to soak up as much paint as you can, preventing it from setting in the fibers.

Alternatively, you can use a scraper or a putty knife to scrape off the paint. Prepare a small container to dispose of the paint.

Note: Do not rub at any cost. Rubbing will only cause the paint to penetrate the fibers even more quickly.

If the paint has somewhat solidified, use a utility knife to remove large chunks of paint from the carpet. Be careful, or you will damage the fibers. You can also use needle nose pliers as a substitute. Next, run the vacuum over the stain to remove the excess debris.

Note: To make the job easier, you can loosen the excess paint with steam (from a garment or carpet steamer) or hot water.

Garment Steamer Clothes
A garment steamer should help you lift most of the paint from the surface.

Now, get your gloves and mask on – your carpet can no longer withstand the paint spill!  

Remove The Paint Spill

Once you have extracted as much paint as you can from the carpet, it’s time to get down to work. Depending on the paint type, you will follow the corresponding instructions. Firstly, I’ll start with acrylic paint, which is popular for its versatility.

Acrylic Paint

If you spill a little acrylic paint on the carpet by chance, it will be a race against time since it dries up pretty quickly. Still, success is guaranteed so long as you follow my instructions. To start with, you will need to grab the following tools and supplies.

Easel Bright Acrylic Paints
Give yourself some time to remove acrylic paint since it is tenacious

Tool And Supplies

  • Acetone, nail polish remover that contains acetone, rubbing alcohol, or citrus solvent
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Old washcloths or paper towels
  • Soft brush or old toothbrush
  • Shop-vac


Step 1: Dampen a cloth rag (preferably one that you no longer use) or a paper towel with a sufficient amount of acetone. Remove the excess paint with repeated dabbing motions until it’s faded.

Note: If acetone is not at hand, here are your substitutes: a nail polish remover with acetone, a citrus solvent, or rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Choose the appropriate commercial carpet cleaner that works with your carpet and apply it to the stain as instructed. Then, grab a soft brush or an old toothbrush and work the cleaner into the affected fibers. Let it sit for about 5-6 minutes before moving to the next step.

Step 3: Run a shop-vac over the treated area to remove the cleaning solution. It is available for rent at any local equipment store, such as Home Depot, but you can consider buying one if accidents often occur at home. With an awe-inspiring versatility, a wet-dry shop vac is your best bet.

Acrylic paint is tenacious, so you are unlikely to achieve success on the first attempt. Hence, repeat the process until the paint spill completely disappears. You will need about two hours, at least, to finish the job. Plan your schedule ahead and be patient.

Say goodbye to the stubborn acrylic paint spill with this fantastic guide:

Watch this video: Remove Acrylic Paint Carpet Stain

Water-Based Or Latex Paint

Water-based paint, or latex paint, is a common choice for interior painting. Even though this kind of paint dries up much faster than the previous one, removing it does not consume way too much time. If you happen to drop your brush while painting the walls, keep reading!

White Latex Paint Tray
Don’t fret if you got some blobs of white latex paint on your carpet

Tools And Supplies

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Warm or hot water
  • Old washcloths or paper towels
  • Shop-vac
  • Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or vinegar (optional)


Step 1: Dilute one tablespoon of dish soap in a cup of water. Stir to dissolve. Make sure that you read the label carefully and skip the products that contain harsh chemicals. 

Note: If the paint has firmed up, use hot instead of lukewarm water.

Step 2: Dip a washcloth or a paper towel into the solution. Next, mop up the remaining paint until it transfers to the cloth or towel. Start from the outer areas and slowly work towards the center to prevent the paint from spreading further.

Step 3: Should the paint persist, apply vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or nail polish remover to the affected area and continue blotting. If you have successfully gotten the paint out, move on to the final step.

Step 4: Rinse the treated area with clean water and blot it dry with a dry cloth. You can also use a shop-vac like the previous method.

Don’t wait until the latex paint sets in – clean it right away.

Watch this video: Cleaning latex paint off carpet

Oil-Based Paint

As per the name, this type of paint uses oil (linseed or alkyd) as the base. It is durable and can resist scratching, scuffing, and other minor damage, making it ideal for painting on different household surfaces. Thus, it can be challenging to remove it once it dries up.

Oil Paint Artist Paintbrushes
Oil paint is a perennial favorite of many professional artists

Option 1: Paint Remover And Dishwashing Soap

A commercial paint remover, such as turpentine, is the best choice for getting oil paint out of the carpet fibers. 

Tools And Supplies

  • Turpentine or mineral spirits
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Cold or hot water
  • Old washcloths or paper towels
  • Garment steamer (optional)


Step 1: Create a sudsy solution using a tablespoon of dish soap and two cups of water. Stir well to dissolve. You can also use a 1:1 dish soap and hot water solution to tackle stubborn paint.

Step 2: Dip a washcloth into the solution and apply it to the paint. Sponge up the liquids as the pigment fades. To speed up the process, use a garment steamer to generate heat. The heat should help you lift the stain more easily.

Step 3: To dissolve the paint entirely, fresh or dried, you need a solvent like turpentine. Moisten a cloth rag or paper towel with the solvent and apply it to the spot.

Note: No turpentine? Mineral spirits will also do the job.

Thanks to these instructions, removing oil paint is no longer a challenge.

Watch this video: How to get paint out of carpet

Option 2: Other Chemical Products

Can’t find a suitable paint remover? Grab a bottle of hydrogen peroxide or acetone instead!

Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
Hydrogen peroxide will keep paint spillage on your carpet at bay.

Tools And Supplies

  • Acetone or hydrogen peroxide
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Shop-vac
  • Old washcloths or paper towels


Step 1: Run a carpet cleaner over the paint until it’s saturated. If you don’t have this device, you can rent one at any local equipment store. It does not matter whether it’s a handheld or upright.

Step 2: Work acetone or hydrogen peroxide into the stain using a clean cloth. Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide can cause discoloration on certain materials. Thus, do a spot test on an inconspicuous area first to prevent undesired results.

Step 3: With continuous blotting motions, the paint pigment has finally disappeared. End the process by cleaning the spot with carpet shampoo and dry it afterward with a shop-vac or towels.

If all else fails, your last hope is to give the damaged fibers a snip. This trick can be applied so long as you have a high-pile carpet, which can make the cut less noticeable. Alternatively, replace the damaged sections of your carpet with patches from a similar one.

Should the damage be too substantial (to illustrate, you drop a whole bucket of paint on your carpet), my advice is to contact a professional carpet cleaner. Don’t bother to get your hands on it, or things will turn out even worse.

More Tips To Make Your Cleaning Job Go Smoothly

Don’t skip these tips – you are closer to success when you have them at your fingertips!

  • Wear protective gear: Exposure to chemical products like acetone or paint remover is hazardous to your health. Hence, remember to put on a mask and a pair of gloves to protect yourself.
  • Check the paint label: The label will tell you everything you need to know about the paint, such as its base and sometimes the instructions on how to remove it as well.
  • Do a patch test: Even when the product you choose has clearly stated that it is safe for most carpets, it’s worth testing in advance for colorfastness. Apply the solution to a hidden area of the carpet and wait for a minimum of 24 hours.
  • Rubbing is your enemy: I can’t stress this enough. No matter what you do, rubbing will only make matters worse. The paint will spread even further or be pushed down into the deepest fibers.
  • Resort to commercial products: Homemade remedies do not always live up to the expectations, mainly when you have a set-in or stubborn stains. If that’s the situation, you will need to employ something more potent, such as WD-40 or Goo Gone.
  • Improve air circulation: Vapor concentrations caused by acetone or other chemical products can make you feel nauseous, dizzy, or even breathless. (1) That said, make sure the working space is well-ventilated by opening the windows or running a fan. 
  • Dry your carpet properly: If your carpet is not fully dry, trapped moisture will lead to a mold colony in the future. Not only does mold ruin your carpet’s curb appeal, but it also poses several risks to your health, namely irritations or breathing issues. (2)

Provided that you don’t want to take the risk or the mess blows out of proportion, contact an expert for help immediately. If time is on your side, the issue can be resolved. If not, you will have no other choice but to say goodbye to it. I’m genuinely sorry, though.

Wd40 Lubricant
WD-40 is a lubricant that can combat all sorts of stains, including paint.


You’ve got questions, I’ve got the answers! The following section is a must-read, particularly if you are under a cloud of confusion.

Can I soften the paint spill on my carpet with dish soap?

Yes, you can. However, you should consider using steam or hot water first since they cause the least damage to your carpet.

Can I follow the same instructions to remove enamel paint from my carpet?

Yes, you can. Most enamel paints are oil-based, but recent products can be water-based as well. Go over the label to see which one you have and proceed to remove it accordingly.

Should I use a white cloth or a colored cloth to apply/blot the solution?

You should only use white cloths since colored ones may transfer the dye to the carpet.

What can I use to remove black paint from my carpet?

The instructions to remove paint from your carpet do not depend on the paint pigment but the type of paint. For example, the method used to clean blue acrylic paint is the same as its black counterpart.

Can I use bleach to get a blob of paint out of my carpet?

No, you can’t. It’s a harsh chemical that can cause your carpet to lose its natural color.

Will the instructions vary based on the paint finish?

Like pigment, the paint finish does not have a say in how you remove paint from your carpet, whether it’s matte, flat, or satin.

Some flecks of oil paint have stuck on my carpet fibers. What should I do?

If the steam or hot water method has failed, use needle-nose pliers or a pin and take them out, one by one. It’s quite time-consuming, but at least it works.

I have accidentally sprayed some paint on my carpet. How can I remove it?

Most spray paints are water-based, but you may come across old-based products as well. If you have spray paint on your carpet, clean it as per the instructions given.

Prevent A Mess In The Future

That’s all about how to clean paint out of carpet. It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? I’m certain that you will obtain the desired result. tTo avoid such accidents in the future, it’s best to keep the carpeted area off-limits. You don’t want to stretch your back again!

As usual, I’m looking forward to seeing your comments. Go ahead if you have additional tips or questions – I’m all ears. Finally, don’t forget to share this post with your loved ones. Maybe they are in the same situation and will find my post helpful. Thanks a lot!

How To Clean Paint Out Of Carpet


  1. 2021. [online] Available at:
  2. 2021. Mold 101: Effects on Human Health. [online] Available at:

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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