How To Get Paint Out of Carpet

How To Get Paint Out of Carpet

The carpets in an average home have seen it all, spills and stains, mud, and juice. With a little bit of elbow grease, most stains are easily removed, and the carpet is as good as new. 

Spilled paint is often another story. Hiring expert carpet cleaners are always a good idea.

Despite the drop cloths and extra caution, accidents happen and the carefully chosen, new color for the walls can end up on the carpet.

It’s not necessarily the disaster it seems. Before calling it a loss and shopping for new carpet, try these tips to get paint out of the carpet. 


Don’t Panic

An ounce of prevention isn’t always enough when it comes to DIY projects. There’s still a good chance the paint can be removed from the carpet. 

Typically it will be easier to get out when it’s still wet. It is also important to consider the size of the spill and how much paint was spilled. Removing paint from a dropped brush is considerably easier than doing so because of a spilled bucket. 

Begin by gathering supplies. Paper towels, old rags, dish soap, and warm water will usually do the trick. 

Blot, Don’t Wipe

Before the stain can be removed all of the excess paint must first be cleaned up. If the spill is noticed quickly, begin with a lot of paper towels to absorb excess paint. Place paper towels on the spill and gently press down.

Though it’s tempting to scrub, don’t. Scrubbing the paint will press it into the fibers of the carpet, creating a stain that is more difficult to remove. 

Use the paper towels to gently blot the paint up. Don’t be surprised if it takes a significant amount of paper towels. Continue to blot until all of the excess paint is gone, leaving only the stain. 

Removing The Stain

With most of the paint gone, the focus can be on the carpet stain. Begin with mild dish soap and a bowl of warm water, and a clean rag.

Dip just the corner of the rag into a bowl with warm water and dish soap. Use the corner to continue to blot the stain. 

It is best to start at the outside of the stain and gradually work to the middle. Use paper towels to absorb any excess water that occurs. Continue this process until the stain is gone. 

What If It Doesn’t Work?

Generally, warm water, dish soap, and rags will remove most latex or water-based paint. If after continuous blotting, the stain is still there, consider other methods.

There are a variety of commercial carpet stain removers available that may get the stain out. When selecting a stain remover, pay careful attention to the instructions and recommendations, also consider the type of carpet and manufacturer’s recommendations for stain removal.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint may be more difficult to remove than water-based or latex paint, but it can be done. In addition to warm water and rags, acetone and detergent may also be needed.

Like other types of pain, begin by cleaning up as much of the paint as possible. Using a small amount of detergent, blot, don’t scrub at the stain. Using a different rag, do the same with acetone until the paint is gone.

It may be helpful to test a small spot on the carpet to ensure that the detergent and acetone don’t stain the carpet further. 

Dried Paint

Catching a spill immediately increases the likelihood that the paint will clean up easily. However, sometimes, the paint has dried before it is noticed.

This isn’t necessarily a lost cause. Though much harder, the paint may still be removed and the carpet still salvageable. 

Cleaning dried paint will require many of the same supplies as a fresh spill, water, dish soap, rags, and paper towels, with the addition of a knife. 

The knife should be sharp enough to cut through dried paint but not so sharp that it will cause damage to the fibers of the carpet. 

Begin by using the knife to scrape away bits of dried paint, leaving only the stain.  The next step is to soften the paint. 

This can be done by using a solution of hot water and a small amount of dish soap poured onto the stain. Let the water soak for several minutes, moistening the paint.

When the paint is softened, continue to use the knife to scrape off the paint, blotting with a damp rag or paper towel when necessary. 

If the soapy water was unsuccessful in softening the paint, consider using steam. A handheld steamer is the best option, in a pinch placing a rag between the carpet and iron set on “steam” will do. Once the paint is softened, continue with scraping and blotting until the entire stain is removed.

Call A Professional

Spilled paint can put a damper on any DYI project. Precautions such as a drop cloth can go a long way to preventing a stained carpet.

Getting paint, fresh or dried, out of a carpet isn’t impossible with the proper supplies and a little bit of elbow grease.

Of course, the best efforts aren’t always successful. If soaking and blotting and scraping aren’t successful, there are other options. 

Calling in a professional to clean the carpet and remove stains can be an efficient way to clean up paint stills, and a much more affordable option than replacing carpet. 

For best results, a professional should be called in as soon as possible after the paint has spilled. 



Accidents happen, especially with DIY projects. Spilled paint doesn’t’ have to mean replacing the carpet.

Like most projects, prevention is key. Make sure to use drop cloths, and keep paint cans closed tightly when not in use. 

In the event of a spill, simple supplies, time, and elbow grease are all that is needed to remove most stains efficiently.  In more difficult cases, a little bit of steam or commercial cleaner solution may be needed.

When all else fails, calling in a professional to clean the carpets, can remove the stain, saving money in the process. 

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