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How To Get Spray Paint Off Clothes

Getting spray paint on your clothes is the worst, but it’s not hard to do. This is especially true if the wind suddenly picks up or the spray doesn’t come out right. And once you do get spray paint on your clothes, it may seem like it’s going to be possible to get out. Although spray paint is one of the more difficult things to remove from clothes, there are ways you can get it off.

Spray paint that is still wet is easier to get out of clothes than spray paint that has dried. But in either case, you will still need to pre-treat the stain before washing it. Whether the paint is wet or dry determines what products you use, but generally, paint thinners or products containing alcohol will be most effective.

Even if you pre-treat the stain, you still may not get spray paint completely out of your clothes. But by using some of the products mentioned in this article, you should be able to get most of it out.

How To Get Spray Paint Off Clothes

Does Spray Paint Come Out of Clothes?

Spray paint and other types of paint can be some of the toughest stains to remove from clothes. That’s because the paint binds to the fibers instead of just remaining on the fabric’s surface. Sometimes you can get the paint off, but not without damaging the clothing.

With that being said, it’s possible to get spray paint out of clothes if you use the right products. But whether or not the paint comes out depends on if it is wet or dry and if you use products that work on wet spray paint vs. dry spray paint.

Wet spray paint is easier to get out than dry spray paint because it hasn’t been able to fully adhere to the fibers yet. But, dry spray can come out provided that you take your time and are careful with the products you use.

You should also be aware that you may not be able to get all of the paint out on light-colored clothing or stains that are large or old. Even if the paint comes off the surface, you may still be left with color underneath. But, you can still try to at least minimize the appearance of the stain.

Does Spray Paint Wash Out of Clothes?

It’s unlikely that spray paint will come out of clothes just by washing them. Remember that spray paint is harder to remove than other stains because the paint bonds to the fibers, especially when dry. If the stain is dry, it’s very likely that it won’t wash out at all. If the paint is still wet, some of it may wash off, but it probably won’t come out completely.

Even if wet spray paint does come out in the wash, you risk it getting on other clothes or staining the inside of the washing machine. You’ll have the best chance at getting spray paint to wash out of clothes if you pretreat the clothing and use products that break down the paint before washing it.

How to Get Spray Paint Off Clothes

How To Remove Spray Paint from Clothes

Before I explain how to get spray paint off clothes, let’s review a couple of things. First, remember that dry spray paint will be harder to remove than wet spray paint, so you may have to work a little harder to get it off. Second, you still may not be able to get it all out regardless of whether it is dry or wet.

With that being said, there are plenty of household products you can try. Some work better for wet spray paint and some work better for dry. Some work well for both. But you’ll also want to know whether the paint you used was water-based or oil-based because that can determine which products will work as well.

Most spray paints are oil-based, but some are water-based. If you’re unsure, check the label to see if it says water or oil-based. If it doesn’t say, read the back to see how it says to clean the spray paint up. Oil-based spray paints will recommend using paint thinner or mineral spirits to clean it up.

Here are the best and most effective ways to get spray paint out of clothes without further ado.

Blot the Excess Paint

If the spray paint is still wet, you’ll first want to blot as much of the excess paint as possible. This will make it easier for any products to break down the paint that has already started to bond to the fibers.

When blotting the paint, make sure that you use a rag or cloth that you don’t mind getting paint on because you will likely throw it away afterward. You also want to be sure not to scrub the stain, as scrubbing it can make it worse or cause the paint to spread. Once you’ve blotted as much of the stain as possible, use another product to break the rest of the paint down.

Scrape Off Excess Paint

If the spray paint has dried, the first thing you’ll want to do is see if you can scrape off any of the paint from the surface of the fabric. Use a blunt edge such as a butter knife to gently scrape the paint. You don’t want to scrape too hard as it can damage the fabric due to the paint pulling the fibers.

If you can scrape some of the paint off, keep in mind that you won’t be able to remove all of the paint this way. It only takes the paint off the surface, not paint embedded into the fibers. You will need to use another product to get dried paint out of the fibers.

1. Dish Soap

If the spray paint stain is still wet and the paint itself is water-based, you can use dish soap to remove some of the paint from the surface. After blotting the stain, apply some dish soap to the stain and gently scrub it using a scrub brush. Then, rinse the clothing under warm water.

At the very least, this should at least remove more of the top layer of paint. But depending on how big the stain is and how much it has bonded to the fibers, you may still have to use another product to break down the stain some more.

2. Vinegar

VinegarVinegar can be a very effective stain remover due to its acidic. Although it may not be the best for removing large spray paint stains, it can work very well for small stains. Plus, you can use it for wet or dry spray paint and it can be used for paint that is oil-based or water-based.

You’ll first want to do a spot test to make sure that the vinegar doesn’t discolor the clothing. To do this, dip a cotton swab in vinegar and dab it on a hidden part of the fabric. Let it sit for a few minutes, then check for any discoloration.

If vinegar is safe to use on your clothing, then saturate a cotton ball with vinegar after you have blotted or scraped as much of the paint off as you can. Apply the vinegar to the stain until the stain is soaked. Let the vinegar sit on the stain for about 15-20 minutes, then rinse it off under warm water. If the stain persists, try another product.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing AlcoholRubbing alcohol can be an effective stain remover for wet spray paint, whether oil-based or water-based. It may not be as effective against dry spray paint, but you can certainly give it a shot.

For best results, you’ll want to use rubbing alcohol at least 90% or stronger. You may wish to do a spot test just to be safe, but in general, rubbing alcohol won’t damage your clothing if it gets on it.

After blotting or scraping away as much paint as possible, soak the spray paint stain in rubbing alcohol and let it sit for at least 5 minutes if the paint is still wet and longer if the paint has dried. Then, rinse the alcohol off under warm water and check if the paint has been removed.

4. WD-40

WD 40WD-40 can be effective at removing spray paint from clothing, provided that the paint is oil-based and still wet. WD-40 contains solvents and degreasers that help break down sticky and oily substances, but it works best if those substances are still wet, so it may not be effective at removing dry spray paint.

After blotting the wet paint, you’ll want to spray WD-40 on the area where the paint is and let it soak for a few minutes. Be careful to only spray the paint itself as WD-40 can stain clothes which gives you an additional stain to have to remove. With that being said, this may not be the best method for everyone if you’re worried about creating an additional stain.

Once the stain has had time to soak, rinse the area under warm water using a bit of dish soap to remove both the WD-40 and the paint. If the paint is removed but a stain remains from the WD-40, you will need to use a pre-wash stain treatment and heavy-duty laundry detergent to get the stain out.

5. Turpentine

Turpentine is paint thinner, so it is one of the most effective ways to remove spray paint from clothing. It works best when used on oil-based spray paint, whether it is wet or dry. Be aware that although turpentine shouldn’t leave behind a stain, it can strip the dye from clothing as well. You may want to only use it on white or light-colored clothing.

When using turpentine to remove spray paint, make sure to do it outside as turpentine has a very strong smell. You’ll also want to avoid pouring turpentine directly on the clothing. Instead, dip a rag in turpentine and use it to soak the stained area. You may see some of the paint start to come out onto the cloth.

Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, then rinse under warm water with a little dish soap. You should notice more of the paint running out under the water.

Be aware that turpentine can leave behind a smell on clothing even if the paint is removed. To remove the turpentine smell, you’ll want to soak the clothing in a mixture of water and vinegar for a couple of hours. Add about 2 cups of vinegar to the wash cycle when you wash the clothing.

6. Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits is another type of paint thinner that will remove oil-based spray paint from clothes. However, it is not quite as strong as turpentine, so it works better for fresh, wet spray paint stains than dry ones. But like turpentine, mineral spirits can remove some of the colors from clothes, so it’s best to use it on white or light-colored clothing.

You can use mineral spirits in pretty much the same way as turpentine. Dip a cloth in mineral spirits, then use it to thoroughly soak the paint stain. You may start to see some of the paint come off onto the rag.

Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse under warm water with some dish soap. If an odor from the mineral spirits persists, you can soak it in a mixture of vinegar and water for a couple of hours before washing.

7. Hairspray

Hairspray is another option for removing wet or dry oil-based spray paint from clothes. The reason is that hairspray contains alcohol that helps break down the paint and unbind it from the fabric. As with other methods, hairspray may stain the clothing as well, so make sure to test it in a hidden area on the clothing first and only apply it to the paint stain.

After you’ve blotted or scraped away the paint:

  1. Spray hairspray liberally over the paint stain.
  2. Rub it with a clean, dry cloth. You should start to see the paint transfer to the cloth.
  3. Repeat spraying and rubbing the stain with the cloth until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible.

8. Acetone

Acetone is the main chemical used to remove nail polish, so it should also be effective at removing spray paint. You can use it for wet or dry oil-based spray paint because it works similarly to paint thinner. The only thing is that while acetone shouldn’t stain clothes, it can break down synthetic fibers such as polyester, so you’ll want to test it elsewhere on the fabric first.

To use it:

  1. Saturate a clean rag with acetone and dab it on the stained area. You may start to see some of the paint come off onto the rag.
  2. Once the area is soaked, let the acetone sit on the paint for about 10 minutes to continue breaking it down.
  3. Rinse the clothing under warm water with dish soap to remove the acetone and more paint.

9. Wash and Dry

After using one or more of the pre-treatments above to get spray paint off your clothing, you should be able to wash the fabric and remove most of the paint. If the fabric can handle it, wash the clothing in warm water by itself so that any paint that does come out doesn’t get on your other clothes.

You can use your normal laundry detergent. But if you used a product such as WD-40, turpentine, mineral spirits, or hairspray, then you may want to use heavy-duty laundry detergent to remove any stain or odor that may have been left behind by one of those products.

If the paint doesn’t come out after the first wash, you can repeat the pre-treatment process and wash it again before drying it. You don’t want to dry the clothing until you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible because the heat from the dryer can cause the stain to set even more.

If you’ve repeated the pre-treatment and washing process two or three times and the paint still hasn’t came out, then you may not be able to get it out. If this is the case, one option is to color in the stained area with a fabric pen or permanent marker. Or, you can just use that particular clothing as your new painting shirt when you need to spray paint something.

How to Remove Dried Spray Paint

The best way to remove dried spray paint is by using a paint thinner, such as turpentine, mineral spirits, or acetone, after trying to scrape off as much of the paint as possible. These products contain the strongest chemicals that break the bonds between the paint and the fabric.

The risks associated with using them are that they can discolor, damage, or leave behind an odor on your clothing. You have to be careful when using them because of this.

Discoloration can be fixed with fabric dye or coloring in the area with a fabric pen and odors can usually be removed with vinegar. But if the chemical breaks down the fibers too, you may not be able to reverse the damage. Avoid using them on delicate fabrics to prevent this and always do a spot test first.

How to Prevent Spray Paint from Getting on Your Clothing

If you’ve attempted to remove spray paint from clothing, you probably don’t want to have to go through that process again. Luckily, there are some ways to prevent spray paint from getting on your clothing the next time you paint.

The easiest way is to wear a smock or old clothing that you don’t mind getting paint on, such as a shirt that already has a paint stain on it. That way, if the wind shifts or there’s a malfunction with the spray paint can, the paint will get on the smock or old clothing instead of your favorite shirt.

Another thing you can do is to make sure that you spray away from yourself and make sure that the can is pointed the right way before you spray it. It may sound obvious, but sometimes we just get into a hurry and don’t pay attention, especially if we’re trying to get a project done quickly.

Make sure to shake the can frequently so that the paint comes out with the right consistency. Spray in short bursts instead of long streams and make sure you spray the object from a distance to prevent the paint from splashing back on you. Finally, give your spray paint project plenty of time to dry before touching it.


I hope you found this guide helpful for removing spray paint from your clothes. It can be difficult to remove, especially when it’s dry. You’re going to want to remove as much of it as possible while it’s still wet using a pre-treatment product before washing if you want the best chance of getting it off. If you enjoyed this article, share it with others and leave a comment. Thanks for reading!