How to Clean Face Paint off Furniture

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Things You'll Need

  • Clean rags

  • Warm water

  • Dish/leather/wood soap

  • Upholstery/carpet stain remover (optional)

  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Most face paint can be removed from furniture with soap and warm water.

If you've recently made up your child for a school play at home or volunteered to do face painting for a Halloween party, you may have smudged or spilled a bit of face paint on a table or other piece of furniture in the process. If you used true FDA-approved face paint, the substance is water-based, and you'll be able to remove it with soap. Other paints, such as tempera, acrylic and craft paint, are not considered face paints.

Removing Paint from Solid Furniture

Step 1

Place a warm rag over the paint if it's already dry and you're removing the stain from a solid piece of furniture (not upholstery). Let it sit for about 30 seconds. Lift the rag from the stained area. Dip it into warm water with a mild dish soap or leather or wood cleaner for their respective surfaces.

Step 2

Wring out the rag, and wipe down the stained area. If there is still some dry paint left, lay the rag over it again (make sure it's still warm). Repeat the wiping process. Do this until all the paint has been removed.

Step 3

Wipe down the surface with a dry cloth. Use a leather conditioner for leather furniture per manufacturer instructions. If your furniture is wood, polish it with wood treatment per manufacturer instructions.

Removal from Upholstered Furniture

Step 1

Dip a clean rag in very cold water with mild dish soap or gentle laundry stain remover, if the paint is still wet and has not set. Wring it out.

Step 2

Blot (do not rub) the stain, picking up the paint with the rag. Rinse the rag as needed. If caught immediately, this may be the only step you need to take to remove the face paint. If not, proceed to the next step.

Step 3

Spray a carpet or upholstery stain remover on the affected spot if it hasn't come out completely with the cold water blotting or if the paint has dried. Follow spray/remover instructions on the bottle. Remember to check for colorfastness if you haven't used the remover on this upholstery before. Allow the cleaned area to dry or vacuum per manufacturer instructions.

references & resources

Emily Pate

Emily Pate holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts and government from New Mexico State University. She has worked as a dance and substitute teacher, administrative assistant and in film and videogame production. She has more than 16 years of theatrical experience as an actor, director and playwright.