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How to Get Paint Out of Carpet — The Genius Shop-Vac Hack That Makes It So Easy

Plus, everything you need to know about removing old and new, latex and oil paint stains

Nothing brightens a room more than a fresh coat of paint, but the excitement of giving your walls a facelift can quickly fade when you realize some of that paint got onto the room’s carpet. A paint splatter is worrisome when it gets onto any type of flooring, but carpet fibers are absorbent, which makes the “whoops” seem more “whoa.” The good news: paint on your carpet doesn’t have to turn into a pricey fix, say cleaning pros. They share how to get paint out of carpet using everyday items, whether it’s a recent mishap or a dried-on mess. Your carpet will look good as new in no time!

Related: The $1 DIY Carpet Cleaner Solution That One Carpet Pro Swears By

How to get fresh paint out of your carpet

The key to avoiding any permanent stains when faced with a new splatter of paint on your carpet: act quickly. “This is because wet paint is much easier to remove compared to dried paint,” says Emily Barron, cleaning expert at Property Rescue.

  • Step 1: “You need to try and get rid of as much wet paint as possible,” says Barron. The simplest way to do that, she advises: using a clean paper towel, blot the stain. “Take care not to rub it in since that will just work the paint into the carpet further and could also affect the carpet’s fibers.”
  • Step 2: Once you’ve blotted up as much of the fresh paint as possible, it’s time to use a spot cleaner to remove what’s remaining on the carpet. Thankfully, there are a number of household items that can get the job done!

For water and latex-based paints: “When it comes to removing paint from carpet, white vinegar emerges as a standout cleaner due to its dual action of effectiveness and safety,” shares Ralph Abundo, operations specialist at Canberra Bond Cleaning. “Vinegar’s natural acidity aids in breaking down paint particles, making them easier to lift from carpet fibers. Plus, its gentle yet potent cleaning properties help preserve the carpet’s integrity.”

To do: Mix equal parts vinegar and water together, then use a clean sponge to blot it onto the stain. Rinse with cool water and allow the area to dry.

For oil-based paints: Barron recommends rubbing alcohol. Just dab a small amount onto a clean cloth, then use it to blot the stain. Since the alcohol has degreasing properties, it helps dissolve the oily paint.

Regardless of what method you use, Baron advises: “Be sure to not oversaturate your carpet as this can lead to bacteria and mold growth” So, instead of pouring water onto the stain to rinse away cleaner, use a clean cloth or sponge dampened with water (then rung out) to pat the carpet. Then follow up by dabbing the wet patch with a paper towel to remove excess water so the carpet can fully dry.

When it comes to how to get paint out of carpet, both experts also emphasize the importance of testing your cleaner on a small area of carpet before treating the stained area. The last thing you want to do is ruin your carpet while getting it spotless!

(Click through for the secret to getting paint out of clothes).

Another easy way to remove paint? Using water and a shop vacuum! “This combo works because the suction of the vacuum can be very effective at removing both the stain and any excess water in the carpet,” shares Barron. “This type of technique will likely work best with water and latex-based paint stains. Watch how to get paint out of carpet in the video below:

Dried paint? Grab some nail polish remover

“If the paint has already dried on your carpet, you will need to use a stronger solvent to remove it,” says Abundo. Acetone or nail polish remover can be used for oil and latex based paint stains, but you’ll want to use only on carpets that aren’t colorfast (Abundo says you can check this by using the vinegar solution above in a small, inconspicuous area to ensure no color bleeding or damage occurs. If neither happens, then proceed with the acetone). The same chemicals that lift polish from fingernails will dissolve the paint on your carpet.

Related: The $1 DIY Carpet Cleaner Solution That One Carpet Pro Swears By

To do: First, apply the solvent to the affected area with a clean cloth, then blot the area with a clean, dry cloth to remove the solvent and the paint. “Repeat the process as needed until the paint is removed,” she adds.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to call in a professional carpet cleaner.

To avoid future hassle, cover your work area with a drop cloth or tarp before you begin painting. This will protect your carpet from unexpected spills and splatters.

Related: How To Get Rid of Paint Smell + Why Experts Say To Do It ASAP

For more carpet cleaning advice, keep reading!

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13 Carpet Cleaners That Will Banish All Your Spill Worries

How to Remove Play-Doh From Rugs and Carpet

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