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How to Get Paint Out of Carpet

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Determine the Paint Type
A paint roller soaked in blue paint sitting on top of white paint bucket next to paint brush and towels.
  • Before you start trying to get paint out of your carpet, you must first determine what kind of paint has been spilled.
  • Oil-based paint is made using synthetic or natural oils as foundation of the formula. This kind of paint is resistant to moisture and considered very durable.
  • Water-based paint, also known as latex paint, is a low-VOC alternative to oil-based paint. The odor is faint, and it’s an option that dries fast and is easier to clean up.
  • Read the ingredients label to establish which kind of paint you’re working with since the removal process depends on the formula. If you are unsure, take the container to your local Home Depot for verification. 
Prepare a Wet Stain for Removal
A blotch of pink paint spilled on white carpet.
  • If possible, it is best to clean paint spills as soon as they happen. 
  • Use a thick paper towel or cleaning cloth to lightly blot the area and soak up the excess liquid. 
  • Make sure not to scrub the area. This will likely press the stain deeper into the carpet fibers.
Prepare a Dried Stain for Removal
A paint brush soaked in blue paint next to dried paint stain on carpet.
  • Dried paint is more difficult to remove, but with a bit of extra effort, it can be done. 
  • Start by clearing the immediate area and using a utility knife or a pair of needle nose pliers to scrape away the thicker paint chunks. 
  • Vacuum the carpet to remove any excess debris.
How to Remove Paint from Carpet
A yellow rubber gloved hand blotting paint stain on white carpet with blue towel.

Once the area is prepped, follow the steps below based on the type of paint stain.

For oil-based paint:

  • Start by cleaning the area with an upright or handheld carpet cleaner and cleaning solution. Pass over the stain multiple times until the spot is fully saturated. 
  • Wet a cleaning cloth with a bit of paint cleaner and start blotting the area. 100% acetone or hydrogen peroxide are suitable alternatives if you do not have paint cleaner available.
  • Continue blotting until the stain begins to break down and dissolve. Open a window or turn on a fan to keep the fumes at a minimum. 
  • Oil-based paint stains are more difficult to remove, so it may take a while to fully dissolve the pigment.

For water-based or latex paint:

  • Pour some hot water over the stain to moisten the area. 
  • Add a bit of mild dish soap and start scrubbing the area with a stiff-bristled scrub brush until it mixes into a light lather.
  • Keep scrubbing until it begins to dissolve. For stubborn stains, go over the area with an upright or handheld carpet cleaner.

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