If you’re big into DIY and craft projects, you may be familiar with spray paint. It can give any project a quick and even coat of paint that looks professional and neat. However, if you use spray paint inside the house, it’s definitely going to get messy. If you forget to put tarping down, spray paint can (and will) go everywhere, and it’s only a matter of time before those paint particles hit your carpet!
The method you need to use in order to get spray paint out of carpet depends on the kind of spray paint you use. Some require harsh chemicals like hydrogen peroxide or paint thinner to break down the paint, while others can be washed away with dish soap. To remove dried spray paint from your carpet, you’ll need to dampen a towel with the correct cleaning agent and dab at the dry paint.
We have five easy methods to get spray paint out of carpet to introduce today, including methods for both oil-based spray paints and water-based spray paints (otherwise known as latex paint). Read on to remove paint from your carpet with one of our best removal methods today!
- Is Spray Paint Hard to Remove out of Carpet?
- Things You Need to Remove Spray Paint From Carpet
- 5 Easy Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Carpet
- How to Get Dried Spray Paint off Carpet?
- Precautions to Follow When Cleaning Spray Paint Stains
Is Spray Paint Hard to Remove out of Carpet?
If you want a quick answer to that question, we’ll have to say an enigmatic: It depends. However, if you want to know exactly what to expect when you set out to clean your carpet, let’s dive into the topic of different paint types.
Spray paint (or aerosol paint) is a type of liquid paint stored in an aerosol can. It is used for all sorts of things, from graffiti art to applying the paint job on a car. Household spray-paint mostly comes in two different types: water-based paint (latex paint or acrylic paint), and oil-based paint (enamel paints). All the paint types do a similar job, but they have different strengths and weaknesses such as what surfaces they best adhere to or how long they last.
Typically, water-based latex paint is easier to remove from carpets than paints with an oil base, but most spray paints are oil-based. If you’re not sure which type you have, you can check the label to find out. If you don’t find the information you’re looking for, you can also check the guidance on the can for cleaning up the paint. If mineral spirits or solvents are recommended, then your spray paint is oil-based.
Another problematic property of spray paint is how quickly it dries. This may be great for your DIY project, but it’s definitely not so great for your carpet. It’s generally a lot quicker and a lot less effort to clean up wet paints, but with spray paint, even if you start to clean straight away, the paint will be at least semi-dry.
Things You Need to Remove Spray Paint From Carpet
Before you get down to it, it’s important to collect the right tools for the job.
For all the methods listed in this article, you will need these basic items:
- Clean towels for dabbing (preferably white)
- Clean towels for drying (preferably white)
- Warm water and dish detergent
- A scraping tool (such as a putty knife)
For water-based paints, you will also need:
- More water and dish soap
- Rubbing alcohol
For oil-based paints, you will also need:
- Acetone and a spray bottle
- Paint thinner
- Rubbing alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
5 Easy Ways to Remove Spray Paint from Carpet
It might seem hopeless right now, but trust us, it’s completely possible to bring your carpet back to perfection. Read on to pick your favorite method from our quick guide.
Method 1 – Dish Soap to Remove Water-based Spray Paint
Although latex paint is less common, it is the easiest to clean, so we’re covering it first. You may think this sounds too easy, but to remove latex paint, all you really need is warm water and dishwashing detergent (in other words, any liquid dish soap).
The best way to remove dried spray paint is to work carefully, patiently, and quickly. That might seem a little bit contradictory, but as the water-based spray paint dries, it gets harder to remove. So although your movements should be precise and careful, you should be quick to act and start cleaning the stain, and shouldn’t take breaks and wander off without finishing the job. You can also try letting vinegar remove spray paint from your carpeted surface.
To facilitate an efficient cleaning process, it’s a good idea to set up all the items you’ll be needing next to your carpet. You’ll also be dirtying a lot of towels with water-based spray paint, so grab a trash bag to keep soiled towels in once they’ve been used.
Make a warm water and dish soap mixture. The water should be warm, but not hot, and only a few drops of liquid dish soap need to be added. Too much dish soap will be difficult to rinse out of the carpet, and you could end up causing moisture damage or creating dish soap stains.
To remove dried paint, you may be able to use a scraper tool or a pair of tweezers to dislodge paint from the surface. To do this, gently scrape up from underneath the paint. If you’re too rough, you could end up pulling out the carpet fibers, so try not to do that.
To remove wet paint, you should be able to blot it up with a clean, dry towel or clean rag. Make sure to dab the surface carefully and avoid rubbing the paint into the carpet, as this will make it harder to remove.
Get a new thick towel and dip it into the detergent solution. Use the cloth dampened with soap mixture to carefully dab up the remainder of the paint from your carpet.
If the water-based spray paint doesn’t lift up very well, you could try soaking a towel in the detergent solution and pressing it into the paint stain. After leaving this to sit for five minutes, spray paint should come off more easily.
When you’re done removing all the paint, use a new bowl of clean water and a damp cloth to dab the wet area and remove the soap.
To dry the carpet, lay a dry clean cloth over the wet area to absorb the excess water. You can also stand on the towel to help it absorb liquids quickly. If there’s a lot of liquid, you may need to use more than one towel. After that, you can leave the rug to air dry overnight.
Method 2 – Acetone to Remove Oil-based Spray Paint
The first solvent we will cover for removing oil-based spray paint is acetone. It can be a little more difficult to remove oil-based paints because they need stronger chemicals. The most common way to get your hands on acetone is to buy some acetone nail polish remover.
Note: Using acetone on your carpet could cause discoloration. Generally speaking, it should be fine as long as you thoroughly rinse the carpeted area after use, but different carpets will be quicker to stain than others. If you’re unsure, it can be helpful to do a spot test on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first.
Collect all of the items you’ll need to clean the carpet: acetone, a spray bottle, clean towels, and a scraper. Take them to the area where you’ll be cleaning, and also set up a trash bag to dispose of any paint-soaked towels easily and safely.
Make the warm water and dish soap mixture that you’ll use to rinse the carpet once the stain has been removed. You only need to add a few drops of liquid dish soap, as too much will be problematic to get out of the carpet.
Make a cleaning solution of three parts water to one part acetone nail polish remover and pour it into a spray bottle.
You’ll need to start by removing any excess paint from your carpet. If the spray paint is still wet, you can do this by carefully blotting the paint with a dry, clean towel. You’ll be doing a lot of blotting to remove the spray paint stain, so make sure you have your technique down!
When blotting, you shouldn’t apply much pressure at all, as this will only serve to push the paint deeper into the carpet rather than lifting it up. You should also avoid rubbing or scrubbing the carpet because this will have the same effect. To effectively remove dried spray paint from carpet, you should take your time and dab it gently.
To remove dried paint, you can use a scraper instead. You’ll also need to be careful when doing this, because if you push down with too much pressure, you’ll push the paint further into the carpeted area. Equally, if you pull at the paint too roughly, you could end up pulling out your carpet fibers. Both of those things should be avoided!
Once you’ve removed all the excess paint you can, you’ll need to remove the rest with the acetone nail polish remover. Use the spray bottle full of nail polish remover and water to completely cover the paint stain.
You can then immediately begin to blot the spray paint away with a fresh towel. You can also add a small amount of acetone to the towel to help the process along. Keep this up until all of the paint has been removed.
To protect your carpet from the adverse effects of the acetone, you’ll need to rinse it as soon as you’re done removing the spray paint stain.
When your carpet is spray paint-free and acetone-free, you’ll need to dry it. Just use a dry towel to absorb the excess water, and then let it dry naturally overnight.
Method 3 – Paint Thinner to Remove Oil-based Spray Paint
Paint thinner (also known as turpentine or paint remover) is a very common solvent that is often used to clean paintbrushes. Paint thinner is a great way to get paint out of carpet because it breaks down paints very effectively and allows them to be washed away with water.
Like acetone, it could be damaging if your carpet is exposed to paint thinner for too long, so you’ll also need to take care to rinse the carpet well with this method and perform a spot test beforehand.
Gather the items you’ll need to clean the oil-based paints: paint thinner, clean towels or paper towels, warm water, and soap. Also prepare a garbage bag to keep soiled towels in once you’re finished with them.
Make a soap solution with water and a few drops of dish soap to rinse the paint remover from the carpet with later on.
Use a fresh towel to dab away excess wet paints from the carpet. To remove dried spray paint, use a scraper tool to pull the spray paint away from the carpet fibers. Make sure to work carefully and avoid damaging your carpet. Remove as much paint as you can.
Apply a small amount of paint thinner to a clean towel and use it to blot the paint out of carpet. The process will take some time, and you will have to keep switching out the towels and adding more paint remover when they get too dirty, but the paint thinner will quickly and effectively break down the paint so that it comes off the carpet. Continue this process until all of the spray paint is gone.
Lastly, you’ll need to rinse and dry the carpet. Use the water and dish soap solution to rinse the paint thinner from the carpet fibers. Just dip a clean towel into the water and blot the affected area.
To dry the carpet, lay a dry towel over the wet area and soak up any excess water. Once you’ve removed all the water you can, you can leave the carpet to dry naturally overnight.
Method 4 – Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Oil-based Spray Paint
Hydrogen peroxide is the strongest type of paint remover we’ve included on this list. We recommend using hydrogen peroxide if you’re dealing with a lot of paint, or if you’ve already tried and had trouble with a different solvent.
Be extra careful when using hydrogen peroxide so that it doesn’t bleach your carpet. We highly recommend doing a spot test when using hydrogen peroxide.
Gather the items you’ll need to clean your carpet: hydrogen peroxide, clean towels, a scraper, water, and dish soap. Make sure to have a trash bag or some kind of bin to keep dirtied towels in after use.
Make the soap and water solution by combining lukewarm water with a few drops of liquid detergent. You can keep this in a bowl or in a spray bottle if you’d prefer.
The first step is always to remove spray paint from the surface of your rug. Using hydrogen peroxide to get paint out of carpet can be risky for your carpet fibers, so it’s best to remove what you can without it and only apply the peroxide when necessary.
Use a towel to carefully blot away at wet paint, or use the scraper to lift off dry paint. Make sure to work carefully and slowly to avoid spreading the wet paint or pulling out carpet fibers with the scraper tool.
To remove the remainder of the paint, simply apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to a towel and dab the paint to slowly remove it. It’s important not to use a lot of hydrogen peroxide to avoid putting your carpeted surface at more risk than is necessary.
Make sure to only dab at the paint, and always avoid scrubbing the carpets! Switch to a fresh piece of the towel or get a new towel when it becomes too dirty, and carry on to get all the paint out of carpet.
To rinse away the hydrogen peroxide from your carpet, use a damp cloth or paper towel and wet it with the soap mixture prepared earlier. Carefully blot at the affected area with the soap and water to lift away the hydrogen peroxide.
Make sure to be thorough with this process because you will likely end up with discoloration if the hydrogen peroxide is allowed to sit on your carpet overnight.
To dry the carpet, use a dry clean towel to soak up all the excess water and then leave the carpet to air dry overnight.
Method 5 – Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Water-based and Oil-based Spray Paint
This method can be used to get both latex paint (water-based paint) and oil-based spray paint out of carpet. Rubbing alcohol is a very easy paint remover to buy and use, and is less dangerous for your carpets than most other solvents. However, we still heavily recommend doing a spot test and rinsing your carpets thoroughly after using it!
Gather all the things you need to remove the dried spray paint stain from your carpet: rubbing alcohol, paper towels, clean cloth/towels, water, soap, and a scraper. Prepare a place to easily and quickly dispose of dirtied towels so that you don’t accidentally get paint on any other surfaces.
Mix a small amount of liquid dish soap with lukewarm water to make the soap solution you will use to rinse the carpet later on.
Use a clean towel to blot away any excess wet paints, or use a scraper to loosen and remove as much dry spray paint as possible. Take your time and work with care to avoid pushing the wet spray paint further into the carpet, or damaging the carpet fibers with the scraper.
To remove spray paint from carpet, you’ll first need to loosen it up with the rubbing alcohol. To do this, soak a piece of paper towel in rubbing alcohol and place it over the paint-stained area.
To get spray paint out of carpets with rubbing alcohol, you’ll need to let it soak into the paint for around 5 minutes. This will give the rubbing alcohol time to break down the paint and make it easier to remove. Apply some pressure to the rubbing alcohol-soaked paper towel to make sure it’s making contact with as much spray paint as possible.
After 5 minutes have passed, you can remove the paper towel. Use a clean normal towel soaked with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to start blotting the carpet stain and remove spray paint from carpet.
Be patient and avoid scrubbing to get the best results. If the paint stops coming up off the rug at any point, you can soak it in rubbing alcohol again. Repeat the process until all of the paint is completely gone.
To rinse the carpet, use a new towel dipped in the water and soap solution to dab away the rubbing alcohol.
To dry the carpet, use a dry towel to soak up as much water as you can, and then leave the carpet to air dry overnight. You can also turn on a fan, air conditioning, or a dehumidifier to speed up the process.
How to Get Dried Spray Paint off Carpet?
To get dried spray paint out of carpet, you can use any of the methods listed above. If you struggle to remove the paint using the methods abve, you can add in one extra step to make things easier:
Extra step – Softening Dried Paint Using Carpet Steamer
Spray paint dries quickly, so there’s a high chance that you’ll be dealing with it. The removal methods listed above should work with both wet and dry paint, but if dried paint is causing you trouble, the best thing you can do is try to make it not so dry anymore!
To do this, you’ll need to reinject some moisture into the dried paint to help it come off the carpets easier. We recommend using a carpet steamer as the easiest and quickest way to do this. If you don’t have one, you can get one for cheap on Amazon.
Simply use a precision attachment to apply steam to the stained area on the lowest steam setting. If you’re afraid of dried paint transferring to your steamer, you can lay a towel over the dried paint stain first.
Softening the Paint Without a Carpet Steamer
If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can also try softening the dried spray paint with hot water. The temperature of the water needs to be very hot, but it shouldn’t be boiling. While you can pour the hot water directly onto the carpet, it’s always a good idea to avoid completely soaking your carpet when possible, so we recommend soaking a towel in the hot water and applying that to the carpet instead.
You can apply a small amount of pressure to make sure the water makes contact with as much paint as possible. You’ll need to leave the towel on the paint for five minutes or so to allow it to soften, and depending on how well it works, you may need to repeat the process again to get better results.
Once the paints are softened, you should be able to remove wet and dry paint with the removal methods listed above.
Precautions to Follow When Cleaning Spray Paint Stains
- Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning, especially when working with toxic chemicals like solvents.
- Always make sure to dab and blot to remove paint. Never scrub the carpet!
- Always rinse the carpet thoroughly after using a solvent or harsh chemical to avoid damaging your carpet.
- If you notice the paint stain as soon as it happens, make sure to start cleaning and removing spray paint as soon as possible.
- When using stronger chemicals like paint thinner and hydrogen peroxide to remove spray paint from carpet, it’s best to wear goggles and a mask as well as gloves.
Getting spray paint out of carpets can be a bit of a long process, but care and patience is an absolute requirement for getting the job done well. You’ll be able to remove the paint stain no matter what state it’s in (wet or dry), so although we recommend beginning the cleaning process as quickly as possible, we do not recommend carrying out the process as quickly as possible. Always take your time and don’t panic!
When removing spray paint from your carpet, make sure to check what kind it is first, and if you can’t find out, you can try using the last method we covered which is good for removing both latex paint and oil-based paint. We hope this article helps you get your carpet clean again nice and easily!