Acrylic paint is arguably the best paint around for arts and crafts. It is accessible for users of different ages and experience levels and leads to some great artworks and craft items. However, it can also be a pain to deal with when it gets somewhere it shouldn’t. Kids can easily get paint on their clothes and even adults can slip cause accidents. What should you do when this happens? How can you get acrylic out of clothing effectively with the best results?
The short answer here is that you need to act fast and flood the material with water to get the worst out. Once it is mostly gone, you can scrub with detergent and launder as normal. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for dried acrylic, so you will need to use the right solvents to break up the dried plastic and then wash out as much as possible. Of course, the best course of action is to never wear items that you can’t afford to mess up. But this is easier said than done and mistakes happen.
Because of the delicate operations needed for both wet and dry acrylic paint, it is important to know what to use, and what not to use. Here are some tips for dealing with acrylic paint laundry issues at home.
How To Get Wet Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes?
Let’s start with wet acrylic paint as this isn’t always that big a disaster. The first thing you need to do here is to catch the problem early enough while the paint is as wet as it can be. Don’t wait until you’ve finished painting to deal with the issue. Take off the garment and start on the steps below. This will make it much more likely that you will wash out the paint before it has a chance to set and bond with the material.
Flooding Clothing After Acrylic Paint Accidents
The first step here is to try and flood the material and flush out as much of the wet paint as possible. It is all about soaking the fibers as best you can to displace the paint and remove the risk of it setting. Some people will do this by soaking the item in cold water for a while. However, this isn’t the best option as the garment ends up soaking in discolored water. It is better to hold the area under running water until the water runs clear and all the paint is completely displaced.
Scrub The Garment with Detergent and a Good Brush
Next, you want to work at deep cleaning the area to remove anything that is left behind. The first step is to treat the area with detergent so that there is no risk of staining. Get a good quality stain removing detergent and apply it directly to the affected area. This will help to lift the paint and block further staining.
You have a choice on how to rub this solution into the material. Some people just use their fingers and dig in where needed with their fingernails. However, this might not be enough to get into the fibers for the best result. You need to choose a tool that won’t cause any damage to the material. But you shouldn’t go too wrong with an old toothbrush. The soft dense bristles will help dislodge any stubborn paint.
Repeat The Process Until the Paint Is Gone
You may find that after scrubbing the detergent into the material, there is more paint than you’d like to see. Don’t be afraid to go back to step one here instead of going to the washing machine. It is better to be safe than sorry. When you go to flood the item again after scrubbing, you may see a little bit of coloration in the water. This shows that you were right to try again and that more paint is lifting out. After this process. Scrub again with detergent and that soft brush to get the last bits out.
Launder The Item as Normal
Once you think that the worst of the paint is out, or at least nicely lifted from the fibers by the detergent, you can wash in the washing machine. Don’t use too high or rough a setting here. 30 degrees is fine to stop any negative reactions. Let the machine do its thing and wait and see how the garment looks at the other end. You may be surprised at how much comes out as long as you carried out the first steps quickly and effectively enough.
How To Get Dried Acrylic Paint Out of Clothes?
A bigger problem comes when you have dried acrylic paint on your clothes. Dried paint is a trickier issue because it can’t wash out in the same way as wet paint. It has dried into a plastic and bonded with the fabric. Washing the material with detergent and water won’t help. But that doesn’t mean that all is lost. There are ways to compromise the structure and get at least some of the paint off.
Using The Right Alcohol-Based Products to Lift Dried Acrylic
It is a good idea to use an alcohol-based product on dried acrylic paint. These substances are effective in breaking down the plastic that has bonded with the material. If you have rubbing alcohol in the house, then this is great. You can dab it on the paint with cotton and spot treat the problem. Alcohol-based nail varnish removers work well too, especially in those pre-soaked pads. Just make sure to avoid anything industrial that is too flammable or has dangerous fumes. You should start to see some color on the pad once it gets to work. Work gently until you have broken down as much as possible.
Laundering Clothing After Treatment with Alcohol
Now that the paint is no longer in that bonded state and is lifting from the fabric, it will be easier to clean. Start with the detergent pre-treatment mentioned above to scrub the cleaning agent into the material. This should help clean the paint off now it is loose. From there, you can put the item in the washing machine on a low heat and gentle settings and hope for the best. The results may not be perfect, but they could be a lot better than before.
Be Careful with Temperature Settings When Dried Clothes After Acrylic Paint Accidents
A final point to make here about the cleaning process is what to do when drying clothes after washing them. You may want to get things in the dryer so they are ready to wear again, and you can see the results of the process. However, high heat could be a problem if there is any paint left in the material. It could dry it out too much and melt the plastics back into the material. It is best to let clothes air dry until you are sure all the paint is out.
What Should You Do If Acrylic Paint Won’t Come Out?
You may come to a point where you can’t do anymore, and the paint is dried in for good. It is an unfortunate mistake, especially if it is an item of clothing, you are particularly fond of. But you can learn from the mistake. You now know not to wear clothing you love when painting as it isn’t worth the risk.
So, what do you do with the “ruined” piece of clothing? There are options here depending on how you view the situation. You could throw the item out if there is no practical use or sentimental purpose. Or, if you can’t bear to throw it away, you can still hang it up and admire it. The other option is to lean into the mistake and add more paint. This could be more acrylic or some fabric paint. Create patterns and paint splatter effects and turn the item into the perfect thing to wear whenever you paint.
How To Prevent Acrylic Paint Getting on Clothes
Lesson learned, the final thing you can do here is change your habits to stop this from happening again. This could be as simple as making sure to wear old clothes when you paint or investing in some good aprons for the kids. It also helps to teach kids to be careful with their paints. This means keeping lids and caps on tubes, washing brushes straight after they are used, and treating wet paintings with care.
Can You Can Acrylic Out of Clothes?
To summarize, it is possible to get acrylic out of clothes in most cases. But there is no guarantee. It all depends on the severity of the situation, such as the extent the paint has soaked into the fibers, the pigments used, and how well it has dried. There is no harm in trying with dried acrylic and the methods above. However, it does pay to treat acrylic accidents as quickly as possible while the paint is wet.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.