How to Get Paint Out of Carpet

Painting a room can be a great way to make things feel new and different. Best of all, it takes no more than a brush and gallon of paint to get the job done. It can also be a quick way to a huge mess if you are not careful.

Without proper floor covering, you run the risk of dripping paint everywhere. And one of the worst situations is getting paint on carpet. There are different ways of getting paint out of different surfaces. It depends on the type of paint as well as how fresh the paint is. If you can get to it while it is wet, you stand a much better chance of removing it.

Save Yourself  Trouble by Covering the Floors

Before you do any painting, there should be requisite prep work done. By doing a little bit of prep work, you can do a lot to save yourself time and the hassle of cleanup. Drop cloths will be your best friend when you paint.

plastic drop cloth
9 ft. x 12 ft. 0.7 mil Drop Cloth (homedepot)

Make sure that you lay down and properly tape drop sheets before painting. These big sheets of plastic are meant to protect the surfaces that they cover so that you don’t have to go through the process of cleaning up spots like this.

Spot Removal Test

Another important thing to remember is that you should be doing a spot removal test first. The spot removal test should be done on a portion of the carpet that is not necessarily visible at all times.

The goal of the spot removal test is to ensure that your cleaning method will work. There are some methods out there that will only worsen the stain, spreading or smudging it instead. Should this happen, at least it won’t be seen and you can avoid doing it on a major area of the carpet.

Removing Paint from Carpeting

Before we start to break down the ways of getting paint out, there are a few things to clarify. For one, your cleaning method depends on the type of paint used. Using one cleaning method may not work for all three types of paint.

You need to attack each situation with a different cleaning method. Because there are water-based paints, latex paints, and oil-based paints, each one requires its own cleaning method. Using an improper method may result in worsening the stain

How to Remove Water-Based Paint Stains from Carpeting

The first method that we are going to tackle is removing water-based paint stains from carpeting. Water-based paints are quite a bit thinner and can be easier to remove if you know what you are doing. Here is how to get rid of stains from water-based paints.

Step 1: Paint is Wet

Ideally, you will get to the paint when it is wet. If you do, use a wet paper towel to blot out the stain. It is imperative that you blot and do not scrub. Scrubbing will just rub the paint into the carpet, making your job a lot tougher in the process.

Step 2: Paint is Dry

Perhaps you don’t notice the splotches of paint until after it has dried. Don’t panic, though. Get some hot water and a little bit of dish detergent. Mix together a solution and then spray it vigorously over the paint.

You will have to allow the solution more than a few minutes to properly soften the dried paint. If you act too quickly, the paint won’t soften and you will not have a much easier time getting it out of your carpeting.

paint roller on paint can
(Ksenia Chernaya, Pexels)

Step 3: Scraping

With dried paint, the goal is to soften it to make it more pliable. That is why, in the previous step, you used your solution to soften up the paint. After a few minutes, you should be able to go to work on the paint.

Use a pin or knife to scrape at the stain; it really depends on how big the stain is. As you scrape, add more solution to soften it up even further. You may have to apply multiple applications of solution in order to see an impact.

Step 4: Steamer

Perhaps you have applied layer after layer of your solution to no avail. As a last resort, you can try using a handheld steamer. The heat and moisture should be enough to loosen and soften the paint from the threads of carpet.

As you hold the steam cleaner in one hand, you would then scrape with the other. Eventually, the paint should come up. It also depends on the severity of the stain. The worse the stain, the more work that it will take to be rid of it.

How to Remove Latex Paint from Carpeting

Latex is a different beast than water-based paints. Latex tends to be more durable and resistant when applied which can make it more difficult to remove when it gets spilled on carpeting. Here is how to remove latex paint stains from carpeting.

Step 1: Blot

In a similar fashion to removing water-based paint stains, you want to start by blotting the impacted area. Do not scrub. Doing so just pushes the paint even further into the carpet threads, which means a more difficult cleaning experience.

If you get to the paint right away, you may be lucky enough to blot the stain out. But if it sits for more than a few minutes, you will have to continue reading.

Step 2: Creating a Cleaning Mixture

Maybe you have gotten to the stain too late and now face a tougher clean. The good news is that you can use a cleaning solution to help get those latex paint stains up. Even better, it is a mixture of household items.

With a cup of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, you can create an effective cleaning solution. Just be sure that the detergent is mild otherwise you could wind up damaging your carpet even further.

(Dids, Pexels)

Step 3: Blotting Again

With your mixture in tow, start working from the outside of the stain towards the middle. Use a rag or cloth to gently blot the area with your cleaning solution. Even with the solution, you still should not scrub the area as it can just push the paint into the fibers.

Take your time to ensure that you cover the entire area. You want to gently but firmly blot the entirety of the stain and even go over it again just to be thorough.

Step 4: Vacuum

When you are done blotting the area and are confident that the stain has been removed, give it time to air dry. When enough time has passed – usually a few hours – you can inspect the area again to ensure that the paint is gone.

It is also a good idea to vacuum when you are finished. There may be loose paint particles and fabric from where you were working. The vacuum should get both of them, leaving your carpet totally clean once again.

How to Remove Oil-Based Paint Stains from Carpeting

Oily paint has its purposes but can be extremely frustrating to clean out of a carpet. Though, to be fair, no paint is really easy to clean out of carpeting. It is all a process to get the results that you are looking for.

Step 1: Steamer

The first step to getting oil-based paint stains out of your carpeting is to assess whether it is wet or dry. Oil-based paints can dry relatively quickly, so you are more than likely dealing with a dry stain in this situation.

The steam cleaner will use heat and moisture to loosen up the spots. Whenever we are cleaning paint from carpet, soft paint is much more easily dealt with than dry paint.

Step 2: Continue Applying Steam

You will want to continuously apply steam to the stain while also picking at it. For smaller stains, you can use a needle to pick at the stains. Anything larger and you want to go with a small scraper to get the paint up.

The goal here is to try to break apart the stain so that you can vacuum up the loose bits without putting the carpet through any additional wear and tear.

Step 3: Vacuum

After working over the area for a while, you should determine that the paint has separated from the fibers of the carpet. You should have several loose pieces of paint debris leftover. That is where vacuuming comes into play.

The Bottom Line

There are a few rules of thumb when it comes to cleaning your carpet after a paint spill. Dealing with dry paint is much tougher. You will need to find a method for softening the paint, whether that is through a cleaning solution or a steamer.

You also need to blot, not wipe where applicable because rubbing simply makes the stain worse and pushes it down into the fibers. Gentle scraping and blotting are the keys to getting even the toughest of paint stains out.

But you could ultimately save yourself a lot of trouble by just using drop cloths. They cost a few bucks and can save you a ton of time and hassle along the way.