How to Get Paint Primer Off of Clothes

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol or hair spray

  • Cotton balls

  • Old, small toothbrush


If the primer has settled for a permanent stay on your clothing, chalk it up to a learning experience and make the best of it. Even some “weekend warrior” painters consign some of their clothing to the “painting pile,” or those clothes that they wear only when they paint.

There's no use in crying over spilled primer; in most cases, it can be removed.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

You're not alone if you've ever watched in wonder as people on home improvement programs apply primer in their "good" clothes without worrying about unfortunate splashes. The fact is, primer is an equal-opportunity spoiler, but you face an excellent chance at removing it if it's still wet or less than 24 hours have elapsed since the accident. Most primers are latex-based, meaning that they're made with water, and this will increase your chance of success.


Step 1

Turn the water in your sink to warm, then hold the clothing with the wet primer underneath the stream. Rub the area gently with your fingers to remove all traces of the primer.

Step 2

Wash the area with warm, sudsy water.

Step 3

Scrape off the dry primer with your fingers or a spoon. No flakes of the primer should remain -- only the stain itself.

Step 4

Soak the spot with rubbing alcohol or hair spray, either by spraying it on or applying it to a cotton ball first.


Step 5

Rub the area gently with an old toothbrush. Let the solution sit for 20 minutes.

Step 6

Run the spot under warm water, then wash the area with warm, sudsy water.

Step 7

Launder your clothing only when a wet spot remains where the primer was spilled.
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Repeat the steps, if necessary, but toss the clothing in the washing machine only after you have completely removed the primer. If you don't, remnants of the primer may remain after laundering.


references & resources

M.T. Wroblewski

M.T. Wroblewski

With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.