How To Remove Fabric Paint From Carpet Or Rugs

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Fabric paint can create beautiful designs on cloth and accidental spills on carpets. The bottle the paint came in may have instructions for fast removal, so check the label first to see if there's a certain cleaner that is recommended. If not, removing fabric paint from carpets or rugs depends on whether the paint is still wet or has set and is dry.

How To Remove Fabric Paint From Carpet Or Rugs
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Use Detergent and Blotting

It's easier to remove wet fabric paint from carpet and rugs before it has set and dried. Depending on the amount of paint that spilled on your carpet or rug, you may first need a spoon to scoop up as much excess paint as possible when still wet. After the excess is removed, use an old cloth and blot the paint. Don't rub or press too hard. The trick is to keep the paint from setting further. After blotting, mix one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with one to two cups of cold water. Use a different cloth to dip into the detergent solution and blot the stain. This is what should be absorbed and set into the carpet – not the paint. Patience is a virtue, so continue to soak the cloth and blot until the stain is faded or removed. Rinse the area with cold water by blotting to remove the soapy mix.

Use Alcohol

If the stain is stubborn, you may have to use an alcohol-based mix to remove it. Rubbing alcohol, wet wipes which contain alcohol or even hand sanitizer that's alcohol based can work. Rubbing alcohol works best, and all alcohol-based solutions should be tested on part of the rug or carpet before use to ensure that it doesn't damage or stain the carpet.

After testing, use one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol on an old cloth to blot the stain. Like using the detergent mix, blotting is the trick to picking up the paint without pushing it further into the rug. Repeat as many times as needed, adding a tablespoon at a time. When the paint is absorbed, use another clean cloth to rub the stained area. At this point, you can actually scrub since any residual paint has already set into the carpet. Rub until gone.


Fabric paint is made to be permanent, so removing dry paint can be tricky. Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover and is good at removing colors and breaking up paint. Always test acetone on an area of carpet or rug before applying it to the stain. If you have a very dark rug, acetone may lighten the area too much. Scrape as much of the dry paint off the rug as possible without pulling or further damaging the textured fabric. Use a dull butter knife, the edge of an old credit card or your fingers to remove as much as possible.

Using a cloth, rub acetone into the stain. No blotting this time – rub and repeat to break up the paint. Dab away hardened paint pieces as they're removed. After the stain is removed, rinse gently with cold water to absorb the rest of the acetone.


Nat Howard is a writer, editor, journalist, and jack-of-all-trades, covering topics from home improvement and design to healthcare and career advice.

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