Cleaning Paint Stains

We’ve all seen the stereotype. An artist so focused, so obsessed with his work that he neglects the simple task of cleaning up after himself as he tries to complete his latest work. This is probably true in some cases, but not all.

Some artists clean up as they go about their work. Whether they make sketches or digital illustrations, some creative types like to have a clean space. It helps them think, especially if it’s part of their rituals before they try to exercise their minds.

Of course, for painters, cleaning can be an extra challenge. After all, paint stains can be so hard to get rid of if you don’t know how.

There are two areas where you’re likely to get paint stains after a brisk day of painting. Your environment and your clothes. Cleaning these up will take different procedures, but similar principles.

If you’ve managed to get water-based paints on clothing, there’s a simple procedure for it. You just need to make sure to get to it while it’s still wet.

First, don’t put the entire piece of clothing in water. Instead, you’ll want to run warm water through the underside of the stained area. This flushes it out. After that, you’ll want to do a spot treatment using soap and running water. Bar soap works, but I usually prefer dish or laundry detergent.

After a few repetitions, the stain should go away. This also works for indoor and outdoor paints, acrylic, or even poster paints.

If the stain persists like the grime in a gutter that you have to call professionals to clean, use acetone nail polish remover. You can also try a commercial stain remover before laundering as normal. Don’t place anything in the garment until the stain is gone.

On the other hand, if you have an old stain, that can be more of a problem. Scraping it off might work, but that risks damaging things. Scrape carefully, then apply alcohol or acetone like above. If the stain doesn’t go away, do not machine-dry. Air-dry the whole thing and get a pro on the job.

If upholstery got the stain, lightly scrape away immediately. Then blot the area with something damp and soapy. Once again, dish detergent or laundry detergent can help. Keep this up until the area is clear of any paint.

However, avoid using too much water. That can dilute the paint and cause the stain to spread.

As noted above, acetone nail polish remover can help remove the stain if it persists. Be sure to test this out on an inconspicuous area first, in case it damages the upholstery.

If you have paint stains on the carpet, the process remains the same. Remove the excess with a blunt knife, and blot the area. Use an upward motion and twist the pile as you lift, squeezing the paint out of the fibres. Repeat this until everything is gone.

With a carpet, you’ll want a professional on the job. Paint stains can be impossible to remove without professional-grade products and tools.

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