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How to remove paint from carpet

How can you get rid of paint on carpet?



Have you ever gotten paint on your carpet? It happens more often than you think. Sometimes it happens after you (or your painter) repaints a room. Sometimes, the paint could be from one of your kids’ projects. Regardless of the cause, most people would like to get rid of the paint and get their carpet back to normal.


Before getting started, there are 2 things you want to establish: 1) Is the paint still wet or is it dry? 2) What type of paint is it? Is it 1) water based paint (the easiest to remove), acrylic paint, latex paint or oil based paint (the most difficult to remove). If you still have the paint can, check the label for the type of paint, as well as cleaning instructions.


Before I forget, any time you are using any chemicals on carpet, you run the risk of staining or bleaching the carpet. So, I always recommend that you test first. Where to test? Ideally test in a section of the carpet that you won’t see if it gets ruined. It’s ideal to test either in a closet or in an area that is typically covered by furniture (e.g. under your bed or a couch). You also could trying calling the manufacturer for their advice.

Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.

First Step for removing paint from carpet: If the paint is still wet…

Contain the spill and blot with paper towels. Use dry paper towels around the paint to make sure the spill doesn’t spread and then blot, blot, blot. Gently blot and do not rub in (as this will make it sink further into the carpet fibers.


First Step for removing paint from carpet: If the paint is already dry…

how can you remove paint from carpet - dawn dish soaphow can you remove paint from carpet - stanley putty knifeIf the paint is already dry, use hot water and a bit of dish detergent such as Dawn. Make sure it’s a mild soap. Let the solution sit for around 5 minutes to soften the paint. After the paint has softened, then use a knife (or ideally a putty knife). You can also try Goo Gone (which is sometimes a miracle product…but this will depend on what type of paint you have. It tends to work best on water based paint.
how can you remove paint from carpet - goo gone


Once the paint has softened, use the putty knife to loosen as much of the paint as you can. You may want to repeat this steps a couple of times. Make sure the water is hot.


If the paint comes off fairly easily, chances are you have a water based paint, and this is the easiest to remove. Do not over spray or saturate, as then this could seap into the carpet cushion below and cause mildew. Then dab with a clean cloth so the paint transfers to the cloth.


Repeat as necessary (you may need multiple cloths. Keep dabbing to make sure that you remove ALL of the soap. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners is make when it comes to stains (any type of stain) is that they don’t remove all of the soap. Soap is an emulsifier which means that it will attract dirt in the future (from your feet or socks) when you walk over the area. This is the #1 reason that many stains appear to “reappear.”


If you have acrylic paint…

how can you remove paint from carpet -  glycerinYou can usually tell if you have acrylic paint by looking at the paint can. Use glycerin on dry paper towels to blot the carpet with the paint spill. Glyercin is an excellent solvent. Keep blotting until the paint comes up. Then, use nail polish remover or acetone to clean up any residue. Blot this up with paper towels.


If you have latex paint…

Latex paint is water based but usually has vinyl resin mix (rather than an acrylic mix that you find in acrylic paints). Check the can to see what type you have. Mix one teaspoon of a neutral detergent (Dawn should be fine) with 1 cup of tepid water. Make sure the detergent doesn’t have bleach or alkalines in it. Vinegar can also work.


If you have oil based paint…

how can you remove paint from carpet - wd-40Oil paint is the most challenging type of paint to remove from carpet. You will need a strong cleaning agent such as WD-40. (By the way, WD-40 is a great miracle product to have on hand as it can be used for lot of problems around the house. Also, you’ll want to have a putty knife on handy and maybe even a razor blade or other sharp knife and a tweezer.


You will definitely want to spot test this on your carpet (either in a closet or under where some furniture will be) as this could discolor your carpet.


Start by scraping off whatever paint you can with the putty knife and tweezers. Spray the WD-40 (or other citrus based cleaner). Dab lightly with a rag. Let this sit for 20 minutes. Then, dab at it again and lift whatever comes off easily. The tweezers will probably come in handy. After the paint has been fully removed, was with soap and water. Repeat as needed. It may take 4-5 tries, pending on how long the paint has been there.


After the paint stain has been removed…

Regardless of type of paint used, the steps after the paint have been removed are the same. Wash well with a warm soap and water mixture. Do not over spray or saturate, as then this could seep into the carpet cushion below and cause mildew. Then dab with a clean cloth. Keep dabbing to make sure that you remove ALL of the soap (otherwise, you may get another stain it’s place – see above.


how can you remove paint from carpet - bissel powerlifterThen vacuum the area. If you’re looking for a new vacuum cleaner, I’d recommend the Bissell Powerlifter. It does a great job and it’s very reasonably priced. (Note: you don’t need to spend a ton to get an a great vacuum). You can even buy it Amazon and have it shipped for free.



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