Skip to Content

How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet

A freshly painted room or accent wall can make your whole house feel new and fancier. But there’s nothing worse than finishing your paint job only to find that there’s a huge blue splatter on your light grey carpet. But don’t lose heart! Whether the stain is wet or dry, knowing how to get paint out of carpet is essential.

how to get paint out of carpet
Pink paint spilled on cream coloured carpet with brush.

This article will tell you how to remove water-based, oil-based, or any other kind of paint from your carpet so you can get back to admiring your new walls and clean carpets. Is the spill on a wool, cowhide, or seagrass rug? No problem. We’ve got you covered!

How to Get Wet Paint Out of Carpet

The sooner you can tackle a paint spill, the better, because the longer it has to dry, the more challenging it will be to get it all the way out of your carpet. If you see a paint splatter on your carpet, remove it right away to save yourself the time and effort of fighting it after it has dried.

The first step in removing wet paint from carpet is determining whether it is water-based or oil-based paint. Both kinds have different chemical makeups, so each requires different materials to clean up. If you aren’t sure whether your paint is water-based or oil-based, take a look at the label. It will probably state on the front of the label which kind it is, but if not, Google the paint brand and color or call the store you bought it from to find out.

If you still aren’t able to get a sure answer, you can perform a test to find out. Drop some cool or room-temperature water onto the stain and watch what happens. Does it soak into the paint? Then you probably have water-based paint. Or does it roll off the paint or pool on it? If that’s the case, then you probably have oil-based paint.

What if your paint stain is from a whole other type of paint? If the paint stain is from washable paint, the methods described below for water-based paint will do the trick. If the paint stain is from acrylic paint or emulsion paint, our methods for removing oil-based paint will also work for those.

How to Remove Wet Water-Based Paint from Carpet

To get wet water-based paint out of carpet, you’ll need paper towels, disposable rags, hot water, dish soap, and a vacuum or hairdryer to dry the carpet when you’re done.

Soak Up Excess Paint

First, use a paper towel or cloth you don’t mind staining or throwing away to dab at the paint spot. This is not the time to scrub, as that will only spread the stain around further. Just soak up as much spilled paint as you can from your carpet with paper towels or disposable rags until you’ve removed as much excess paint as possible.

Dilute and Wash

Next, pour a little hot water over the stain. This will dilute the paint and help free the remaining paint from the carpet fibers. While the hot water soaks into the area, make a mixture of approximately sixteen parts hot water to one part dish soap.

Scrub the Area

Add some of your soap and water mixture to the stained area. Now you can start scrubbing. Begin on the outside of the stain and work your way toward the center to avoid pushing the remaining paint off onto the clean carpet surrounding the stain.

Use a scrub brush for large spills and a rag for smaller spills. Avoid paper towels at this phase as they will disintegrate and leave little bits of paper all through the carpet. Scrub the area until a sudsy lather forms. You should see the color of the paint in the suds as a sign that it is finally lifting from the carpet fibers.

Repeat as Needed

Once you’ve lifted color from the carpet to the suds, wipe away the suds and pour a little warm water over the area so you can see if any paint remains. Repeat the scrubbing step until all the paint is removed from the carpet.

Thoroughly Dry the Area

If carpet is left wet, it is at risk of growing mold or mildew, which is a whole other beast to remove from carpet. To prevent these unpleasant growths, make sure to thoroughly dry the wet carpet. Running a vacuum over the spot a few times should do the trick. A hairdryer would also work for corners or other places where maneuvering a vacuum may be difficult

How to Remove Wet Oil-Based Paint from Carpet

Oil Paint In Carpet

Oil-based paint has the perk of being more durable than water-based paint, but this also means it’s more of a challenge to remove from carpet. Since oil and water don’t mix, you’ll need to use chemicals rather than just hot water and soap to get this paint out of your carpet. You’ll need a scraping utensil, paper towels, a disposable clean white cloth, acetone or paint thinner, hot water, dish soap, and something to dry the area when you’re done.

Scrape Off Excess Paint

Oil-based paint tends to be thicker and won’t just soak into a paper towel or rag. So start instead with a scraper or butter knife and literally scrape off as much paint as you possibly can. The more you remove this way, the less scrubbing you’ll have to do later and the more likely you’ll be able to remove the entire stain. So take your time and really get as much as you can off this way.

Once there’s no more paint to be removed this way, use a cloth to wipe off any paint you can. Avoid pressing paint deeper into the carpet as much as possible.

Dilute with Chemicals

Wearing latex, nitrile, or rubber gloves for this part would be a good idea to protect your skin. On a new cloth or clean area of your cloth, dab a little acetone or paint thinner. You can now use this to blot the paint spot. The chemicals in the acetone or paint thinner will dissolve the oil-based paint the same way that the hot water and soap would dissolve water-based paint.

Make sure to open a window if possible to allow fresh air to dilute the irritating smell of the chemicals.

Repeat as Needed

Depending on how big the stain is and how long the carpet fibers are, you may need to repeat the above step several times with a new area of the cloth each time in order to remove all of the paint.

Remove the Paint Thinner/Acetone

Once you’ve gotten all the paint out of your carpet, you’ll need to remove the chemical residue. For this, mix sixteen parts hot water with one part dish soap and pour a small amount over the spot. Using a clean cloth or paper towel, gently scrub the area to remove the chemicals.

Thoroughly Dry the Area

Lastly, use a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer to remove any remaining moisture from the area. This will help prevent mold and mildew growth.

How to Get Dry Paint Out of Carpet

Dry paint can be a little trickier than wet paint to remove from carpet since it’s had time to really set into the fibers. But don’t worry! You can still get dry paint stains out.

First, identify whether your dry paint stain is from water-based or oil-based paint. See the section above for how to find out which kind of paint you have.

How to Remove Dry Water-Based Paint from Carpet

To get dry water-based paint out of carpet, you’ll need a scraping tool such as a butter knife, paper towels, disposable rags, hot water, dish soap, and a vacuum or hairdryer to dry the carpet when you’re done.

Break Up Dried Paint

Begin by using a butter knife or similar tool to break up and scrape off all the dry paint that you can. Use your hands or a vacuum if possible to remove all the dried flecks.

Dilute Remaining Paint

Since this is water-based paint, it can be re-wetting and diluted ever after it has dried. So make a mixture of sixteen parts hot water to one part dish soap and after pouring some on the stain, leave it to soak for several minutes.

Scrub the Area

Once the dried paint has had time to liquify again, scrub the area with a paper towel or clean cloth. Repeat the soaking and scrubbing process until no more paint color shows up in the suds as you scrub. The paint should be gone by this point.

You may need to wet the area with plain hot water to remove the soap once you’ve removed the paint.

Thoroughly Dry the Area

Once you’ve successfully removed the paint stain from your carpet, use a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer to dry the area and prevent mold or mildew.

How to Remove Dry Oil-Based Paint from Carpet

Dried oil-based paint tends to be even more challenging than dried water-based paint because it tends to be somewhat flexible rather than brittle after drying. This can make the removal process a little tricky. But we’ve got the best method for you right here.

For this process, you’ll need a scraping utensil like a butter knife, a finer scraping utensil like a fork or sturdy needle, paper towels, a disposable and clean white cloth, acetone or paint thinner, hot water, dish soap, and something to dry the area when you’re done.

Scrape Dried Paint

Usually, the top layer of a dried oil-based paint stain can be easily pried or scraped off with a butter knife or similar tool. Once this is done, you can use a sturdy needle or even the tines of a fork to scrape smaller pieces from carpet fibers.

Using your hands or a vacuum if you can, remove all of the flecks of dried paint.

Dilute Remaining Paint

Wearing gloves is a good idea when working with these chemicals. Dab some paint thinner or acetone onto a clean cloth and blot the stain. You may need to repeat this process a few times with a new, clean section of cloth each time.

Remove Paint Thinner/Acetone

Once the paint stain is removed, use a sixteen parts hot water to one part dish soap solution to scrub the area and remove the chemical residue.

Thoroughly Dry the Area

Once the area is completely clean, use a vacuum or hairdryer to dry the carpet and prevent mold and mildew from growing.

Tips for Removing Paint from Rare Carpet and Rug Types

How to Remove Paint from a Wool Rug

As you probably know, wool comes from sheep or alpacas. What you may not know is that wool is designed to naturally repel water to keep these animals dry and warm. The good news for you is that means paint doesn’t soak in as well and is, therefore, easier to clean.

Follow our instructions above for wet or dry water-based or oil-based paint and you’ll have an easier time removing a paint stain from wool than most will have removing a stain from carpet.

How to Remove Paint from an Animal Skin Rug

If there’s a paint stain on your favorite cowhide rug, don’t worry. Follow our steps above for whichever kind of paint was spilled, and use dog shampoo instead of dish soap.

If the stain is older and you’re not sure what kind of paint it was, try the steps for water-based paint first since that process doesn’t require chemicals. If a few rounds of that doesn’t do the trick, then try the oil-based process instead.

How to Remove Paint from a Seagrass Rug

Seagrass rugs are easier to damage than most other rug materials because they are made of plant material. For this reason, it’s very important that you are gentle with the rug as you work. Follow the steps above for whichever kind of paint was spilled and be extra careful with chemical use.

Wrapping Up How To Get Paint Out Of Carpet

No matter the paint stain, you can have clean carpet again! Do you know of another carpet type or cleaning method? Let us know in the comments