How To Easily Get Any Kind Of Paint Out Of Carpeting

Whether it’s wet or dry, oil-based or acrylic—it’s all about the blotting, baby.

Paint on the carpet is a major whoopsie daisy. Whether it was you or your kiddos, no need to point fingers or place blame. Let’s just get straight to the getting it out of the carpet part. And the sooner the better. You want to get to that paint while it’s still wet so you’ve got a chance at removing it.

Before diving into your cleaning, it’s important to know what sort of paint you’re dealing with. Water-based paint (aka latex paint) and oil-based paint behave super differently and are made up of very different ingredients, so you’ll treat their respective stains … well, differently. Generally, water-based paints are used for big projects, like painting walls or ceilings. Because oil-based paints are more durable, they’re often used on smaller, more site-specific stuff like doors, windows or trim. The easiest—and most obvious—way to know which sort of paint you’ve spilled on the carpet is to check the label on the can or bottle. (You’re so welcome for that helpful tip.)

But first, some tips

  • The thing about paint removers is that they’re generally hella abrasive. Acetone, turpentine, paint thinner and even isopropyl alcohol can discolor your carpet. We recommend testing a little spot in an unassuming corner before going ham on the paint stain and potentially ruining your carpet in the process.
  • Also, it’s worth noting that however enthusiastic you are about removing the paint from the carpet, you should strive to use as little of the cleaning product as possible.
  • And never apply the solution straight onto the carpet—apply it to a clean (white!) rag, and then blot at the stain to get the paint out.
  • Using a colored rag to clean the paint may result in transferring dye onto your carpet, amplifying your existing mess.
  • We’re assuming your space is already pretty ventilated (because you’re painting, hello), but be sure to open all the windows and run the fans while cleaning the paint with any sort of potentially harmful products. We’d wear gloves, too.

Okay, here we go. Hopefully your paint stain hasn’t dried while you were reading all those tips. Let’s get down to it.

Start by removing any excess paint from the carpet

  • Use a spoon or putty knife to collect extra gobs of puddling paint from your carpet.
  • Careful not to spread the paint around to any not-yet-stained areas.
  • Try not to rub or push the paint deeper into the carpet while doing this part.
  • Blot excess paint with a dry rag or paper towel.

How to get acrylic paint out of a carpet

These techniques are listed from the most gentle to the most abrasive. Good luck!

  • Dish Soap + Warm Water

    • Blot at the paint stain with a clean, dry rag to clean up any excess paint pooling on top of the carpet.
    • In a spray bottle, combine 1 drop of dish soap (we prefer Dawn) with a cup of warm water. Shake to combine the mixture.
    • Spray soapy water directly onto the paint stain. (Alternatively, you can dip your rag or paper towel directly into the soapy solution.)
    • Wet blot the stain with your rag or paper towel until the stain dissolves.
    • Blot dry with a clean, dry rag or dry paper towels.
    • Let the spot air dry completely.
  • White Vinegar + Cold Water

    • In a spray bottle, mix 1 part distilled white vinegar with 10 parts warm water. Shake it well to mix the solution.
    • Spray the vinegar/water solution directly onto the paint stain.
    • Blot with a damp paper towel or sponge.
    • Afterward, use a sponge with cold water to blot the paint stain.
    • Continue alternatively spraying and blotting until the paint stain has dissolved.
    • Let the spot air dry completely.
  • Rubbing Alcohol

    • Soak a rag in isopropyl alcohol until it is totally saturated.
    • Blot at the stain with the alcohol-soaked rag as needed.
    • Let the paint stain soak in alcohol for about 15–20 minutes.
    • Then use a dry cloth to continue to blot the paint stain and soak up any residual rubbing alcohol.
    • Let the spot air dry completely.
  • Glycerin

    • Moisten a rag with liquid glycerin.
    • Blot the stain with the glycerin rag.
    • Let the glycerin sit on the paint stain for about 30 minutes.
    • Blot up residue with cold water, which will also remove glycerin.
    • Blot with a dry rag, and let the spot air dry.
  • Acetone

    • Blot the paint with an acetone-soaked rag.
    • Let the acetone soak into the stain for about 5 minutes.
    • Blot with cold water.
    • Blot with a dry rag, and let the spot air dry.

How to get oil-based paint out of a carpet

You’ll need to be a bit more extreme with this stuff. For oil-based paint stains on the carpet, it could take several tries to fully dissolve that stubborn pigment. Just keep on blotting, baby.

Ready-Made Carpet Cleaner, Then Paint Remover

  • As with all ready-made cleaning products, best to read and follow the directions on the label.
  • Soak a clean rag with the ready-made cleaning solution.
  • Blot the stain thoroughly with the rag until the spot is saturated.
  • Wet another clean rag with paint remover, and blot the area until the paint stain lifts.
  • Finish by blotting with (another!) rag soaked with cold water to remove cleaner and paint remover residue.
  • Okay, one more rag, though. Using a dry rag, blot the spot to soak up the water, and let the spot air dry.

If you don’t have paint remover on hand,

  • 100% acetone or hydrogen peroxide are solid alternatives.
  • Heads up: You’re definitely risking bleaching your carpet. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. We said it earlier, but in case you skimmed over that part: Best to test these products on a discreet section of carpet before applying to the paint stain.

And finally,

  • You’ll want to shampoo your carpet once you’ve got the paint stain out, since you’ve just drenched it with chemicals. (It probably stinks a bit, too.)
  • Once your carpet dries, hit it with a vacuum.

How to get water-based paint out of a carpet

This one’s easy.

  • Dish Soap + Warm Water
    • Blot at the paint stain with a clean, dry rag to clean up any excess paint pooling on top of the carpet.
    • Soak a rag or paper towel directly into the soapy solution.
    • Wet blot the stain with your rag or paper towel until the stain dissolves.
    • Blot dry with a clean, dry rag or dry paper towels.
    • Let the spot air dry completely.
  • If the paint stain is still visible on your carpet, try hitting the spot with a handheld steamer, and continue to blot with your soapy rag until the stain dissolves.

How to get latex paint out of a carpet

(Hint: Latex paint is water-based paint. But for the sake of redundancy, we’ve listed them separately.)

  • Dish Soap + Warm Water
    • Blot at the paint stain with a clean, dry rag to clean up any excess paint pooling on top of the carpet.
    • Soak a rag or paper towel directly into the soapy solution.
    • Wet blot the stain with your rag or paper towel until the stain dissolves.
    • Blot dry with a clean, dry rag or dry paper towels.
    • Let the spot air dry completely.
  • If the paint stain is still visible on your carpet, try hitting the spot with a handheld steamer, and continue to blot with your soapy rag until the stain dissolves.

How to get dried paint out of a carpet

Ah, no. The stain dried out while you were reading this article, didn’t it? We were afraid of that.

Step 1: Scrape

  • Scrape off as much dried paint as possible with a knife or using needle-nose pliers.
  • Vacuum up the dried paint chip bits.

Step 2: Steam

  • Using a handheld steamer, steam over the remaining dried paint for a few minutes to soften the paint. The steam will dampen the paint stain, softening up the dried paint and making it easier to remove.
  • No steamer? (So how do you get the wrinkles out of your silks?!) Try pouring a bit of hot (like, boiling hot) water onto the dried paint.
  • Let the hot water soak into the paint stain for a couple minutes to get it to soften.
  • Blot at the newly wet paint stain with a damp rag to remove as much paint as you can before moving onto the next step.

Step 3: Blot with soapy water

  • Add 1 drop of dish soap to 1 cup of water.
  • Blot at the paint stain with the soapy water solution until the stain lifts.
  • Blot the spot with a clean, wet rag to remove soapy residue.

Step 4: Paint stain still there? Try rubbing alcohol.

  • Soak a rag in isopropyl alcohol until it’s saturated.
  • Blot the stain with the alcohol soaked rag as needed.
  • Let the paint stain soak in the alcohol for 15–20 minutes.
  • Dry blot the area with a clean rag to soak up residual rubbing alcohol.

Wow, that was a lot of blotting. Hopefully it paid off and the paint stain is gone. But does your carpet smell kinda funky now? Like, oh, say paint and acetone? We’ve also got some suggestions for how to deodorize your carpet.

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