Skip to Content

How to Get Paint Out of Jeans

No matter how careful we are, getting paint on our clothes while painting anything is almost inevitable. There’s nothing worse than getting paint on your favorite pair of jeans. What’s worse is not realizing that the paint is on your jeans until after it has dried. So how do you get paint out of jeans?

When it comes to getting paint out of jeans, there are several products you can use. First, you’ll want to scrape off as much paint as possible. Then, you can use one of the following to try to get the rest of the paint off:

  • Dish detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nail polish remover/acetone
  • Hairspray
  • Salt, vinegar, and ammonia
  • Laundry detergent
  • Turpentine/paint thinner

The best method will depend on what type of paint you’ve gotten on your jeans and whether the paint is wet or dry. But don’t worry. In this article, I’ll explain what to do and how to use each method to get paint out of your jeans. Continue reading to learn more.

Can You Get Paint Out of Jeans

Can You Get Paint Out of Jeans?

If you have gotten paint on your jeans and are worried about whether it will come out of your jeans or not, the good news is that, usually, it will. However, your success at removing it depends on whether the paint stain is still wet or dry when you try to remove it.

If the paint is still wet, it will be easier to remove. Dried paint may be more difficult, especially if it has been there a while. And you may not be able to get all of it off, at least not without damaging your jeans in the process.

Another key factor to know when trying to remove paint stains from jeans is what kind of paint it is. The type of paint that it is will determine the best methods to use to get it off. Some types of paint can be broken down more easily, for example, water-based paints. Unfortunately, oil-based paints will be harder to remove from clothes and there are fewer methods you can use to do so.

How to Get Paint Out of Jeans

How to Get Paint Out of Jeans

If you haven’t already, determine what type of paint is on your jeans. Many paints today can be removed with just soap and water! But again, it depends on the paint type and how long the stain has been there.

Latex paint is a water-based paint. This type of paint is typically sold in home improvement stores and used for painting your house. Acrylic paint is also water-based and typically used for arts and crafts.

Oil-based paints, which include spray paints, can be used both around the home and for arts and crafts purposes. This type of paint is more durable than water-based paint and is designed to last a long time. That’s why it’s also harder to remove from fabrics, including jeans.

Whether it be house paint, spray paint, or arts and crafts paint, you can figure out the type of paint by looking at the packaging. Without further ado, here are some methods to get paint out of jeans.

1. Scrape Off as Much Paint as Possible

If the paint is still wet, the first thing you’ll want to do is to scrape off as much paint as possible. You can use a spoon, a dull edge knife, or an expired credit card to scrape off what you can. Don’t try to wipe or scrub the paint off because you could cause it to spread. If the paint has already dried, you don’t want to try to scrape it off, as it could damage the jeans. This is because the paint has bonded to the fibers more.

After scraping off as much paint as possible, you can use one or more of the methods below to treat and remove the rest of the stain. If you can’t scrape any of the paint off because it’s already dry, just skip straight to the below methods.

2. Dish Detergent

An easy way to get paint out of jeans is to use dish detergent. But before you begin, keep in mind that this method works best for water-based paints that are still wet. Depending on the size of the stain, you also may be unable to get all the paint out with this method. But you should at least be able to get some of the paint off the surface so you can target what is underneath.

Start by rinsing the stained area under cool, running water. Dab a small amount of dish detergent onto the stain and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Scrub the area with an old toothbrush, then rinse with warm water. Repeat as necessary to get as much paint as possible before moving on to the next step.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing AlcoholRubbing alcohol can work well for paint stains that are wet or dry. But, it works better for latex and acrylic paints than oil-based paints, and it may not work as well for paint stains on jeans that have been washed and put through the dryer.

To use this method, just dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol or soak a clean rag in it, depending on the size of the stain. Scrub the stain until the paint starts to be removed, changing the cotton ball or area of the rag as necessary. Rinse the area under warm water.

4. Hand Sanitizer

Another product you can use is hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer contains alcohol, which can lift wet latex paint off jeans. But this method works best for more minor stains. It doesn’t work well on paint stains that are already dry or have been through the dryer.

All you have to do is squirt a little bit of hand sanitizer directly onto the stain. Scrub the area with an old toothbrush, then rinse the pain stain under warm water. Repeat with the hand sanitizer until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible. If the stain remains, move to the next method.

5. Nail Polish Remover/Acetone

Nail Polish RemoverNail polish remover containing acetone, or just acetone by itself, can be used for both wet and dry paint stains. This method works best for removing latex and acrylic paint just because these paints are easier to remove in the first place. But, since some nail polishes are oil-based, you can also try this method with oil-based paints. You just might have a harder time getting the stain out completely.

Before using this method, be aware that acetone can cause discoloration on certain fabrics. You may wish to test it out first on a hidden part of your jeans, such as inside the back pocket or the waistband. Just dip a cotton swab in acetone and dab it on the fabric, then wait a few minutes to check for discoloration.

If you feel safe about using this method to remove paint from your jeans, then soak a rag in acetone or nail polish remover. Use the rag to blot at the stain. Rinse the area to check the stain. Repeat this method as necessary.

6. Hairspray

One method you might not think would work is hairspray. Like hand sanitizer, hairspray contains a small amount of alcohol. But that also means it only works well for water-based paint stains on the smaller side.

To use this method, you’ll want to spray the stain with hairspray. Then, scrub the stain with a toothbrush. Work quickly since we know that hairspray can dry quickly. After scrubbing, rinse the area with warm water. Repeat as necessary until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible.

7. Salt, Vinegar, and Ammonia

VinegarMixing salt, vinegar, and ammonia is another way to remove water-based paint stains, both wet and dry. But, this method will be the most effective if the paint is still wet. You’ll want to create a solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of ammonia, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of salt. Soak a rag or a toothbrush in the solution and use it to scrub the stain, rinsing and repeating as necessary until the stain comes out.

If you aren’t having much luck getting the stain out, or the stain is very large, you can also soak the jeans in the mixture overnight. To do this:

  1. Fill a sink or wash tub with water.
  2. Add in vinegar, ammonium, and salt using the same 2 parts vinegar and ammonia to 1 part salt ratio as before.
  3. Place the jeans in the solution and let them soak for several hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the jeans from the solution and scrub the stain before rinsing and washing.

8. Laundry Detergent

You can use laundry detergent directly on clothes without washing the clothes fully. Using laundry detergent to remove paint from jeans works well for wet latex and acrylic paint stains. It can even work well for spray paint, provided it is still wet. Heavy-duty laundry detergents will work best, but you can use any type of laundry detergent if you don’t have heavy-duty laundry detergent.

To use this method, just soak a rag in laundry detergent and use it to scrub the stain. Move to a clean area of the rag until you’ve removed as much paint as possible. Then, rinse out the detergent under warm water. Repeat as necessary before washing the jeans.

9. Turpentine/Paint Thinner

If you’re dealing with paint stains from oil-based paint, including spray paint, you will need something stronger to remove them. You can use turpentine or another type of paint thinner, such as mineral spirits, to remove oil-based paint stains from jeans. And this method can work regardless of whether the paint is wet or dry.

Before using this method, there are a couple of things that you want to keep in mind. First, you should always work outdoors or in a well-ventilated room or area. This is because turpentine and other paint thinners produce a strong odor that can make you sick if you inhale too much.

Second, be aware that turpentine can cause the color of your jeans to fade. This is another method you’ll want to test before using it to remove paint, just to ensure that it can remove the paint without causing damage. Dip a cotton swab or ball in turpentine or paint thinner and dab it on a hidden place on the jeans. Wait a few minutes to check for damage.

If no damage occurred, soak a few paper towels in turpentine or paint thinner and spread the paper towels out on the ground. Place the stained area face down on the paper towels. Press gently on the stained area from behind to dab at the stain, and you should start to see the paint come off. Replace the paper towels as necessary.

When you’ve removed as much paint as possible, rinse the stained area under warm water to remove the turpentine. Treat the stain with a commercial stain remover of your choice, which will help remove any stain that may have been left behind by the turpentine. Then, wash the jeans.

10. Washing the Jeans

After treating the stain with one or more of the above methods, you’ll want to wash the jeans to remove any product and paint residue. When washing the jeans, you’ll want to use warm or hot water, especially if you’re dealing with an oil-based paint stain.

It’s also recommended to use a heavy-duty laundry detergent to remove tougher stains. But again, regular laundry detergent will work if you don’t have heavy-duty detergent. After washing, make sure the paint has been removed completely before putting the jeans in the dryer.

If the stain is still there, repeat the methods above before washing the jeans again. Don’t put them in the dryer until the stain is completely gone. Otherwise, it could cause the stain to set permanently. If the stain doesn’t come out after washing the jeans the first time, you can also take them to a professional cleaner to try to remove them.

How to Get Dry Paint Out of Jeans

Remove Dry Paint from Jeans

If the paint has dried on your jeans, it’s going to be a little bit harder to remove. There are a few things you can use to remove dry paint; it depends again on the paint type and the stain size.

Your best bet is to start by using nail polish remover or acetone. Since these products are designed to remove dry nail polish, they can also work well for removing dry paint as long as the stain is on the smaller side.

If that doesn’t work, you can try using paint thinner or turpentine, especially if the stain is larger. Use this method by following the steps mentioned above. But remember to do a spot test first to make sure that the turpentine isn’t going to damage or discolor your jeans.

How to Remove Paint from Jeans That Have Been Washed?

Getting paint out of jeans that have been washed is trickier, especially if the paint has already gone through the dryer. In some cases, you may not be able to get the paint out. This is especially true if it was oil-based paint that got on your jeans. But you can still try to remove it just to see if you can get it out.

The best way to do this is to try using acetone, paint thinner, or turpentine. These are the most effective at removing dried paint stains. Or, you can try taking them to a professional cleaner to have the paint removed. If you (or the cleaners) can’t get the paint out, you may just have to make those your new painting jeans.


Getting paint on your jeans seems inevitable, no matter how careful you are. The good news is that if you start treating the stain while it’s still wet, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it out. If the paint dries, you’ll have a harder time getting the paint out without using products specifically designed for paint removal. In the worst-case scenario, you can use those jeans to paint in from here on out. If you found this article helpful, share it with others!