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How to Get Paint Out of Carpet [Easy Guide]

Written by Kaylee Barber |

how to get paint out of carpet

Don’t despair if you’ve spilt paint on a carpet! Here are some simple tips for removing paint and restoring your carpet’s pile.

Is Paint Removable From Carpet?

In most cases, you should be able to remove a paint stain from carpet – at least partially. But the longer the stain has been on the carpet, the more difficult it’ll be to remove.

For this reason, try to clean spilt paint as soon as it happens. Cleaning the paint before it dries makes it much easier to remove all traces of the stain.

You’ll need to use some sort of solvent to remove paint stains. Plain water (or steam cleaning) usually isn’t enough, as water alone won’t break the bonds that bind paint to carpet fibres. Distilled white vinegar and washing up liquid are two great options for this.

It’s also important to vary your cleaning method depending on the type of paint. Cleaning emulsion, for example, requires a different approach than cleaning gloss paint stains.

Safety Tips for Cleaning Carpet Stains

Regardless of which method you are using, never scrub or rub a carpet to remove a stain. Aside from pushing the stain deeper into carpet fibres, this can cause discolouration.

You should also work from the outside of the stain to the inside to avoid spreading it further.

Finally, always test a cleaning product on a small patch of inconspicuous carpet before using it on a stain. You don’t want to find out that a cleaning solution causes discolouration after you’ve used it on a large patch of visible carpet!

How to Remove Emulsion Paint From Carpets

Emulsion paint is water-based. This makes it easier to remove than other types of paint using DIY solutions, such as white vinegar.

Here’s a simple method for removing emulsion paint from carpet fibres:

  1. Test your carpet’s colour safety. When using any new cleaning product, it’s important to check that it won’t cause discolouration. Test white vinegar (diluted to a 1:1 ratio with water) on a small patch of hidden carpet before using it on the stain.
  2. Remove excess paint. If the stain is fresh, use paper towels to blot up as much as possible. Never rub carpet when cleaning a stain, as this pushes the paint deeper into the carpet and may cause discolouration. If the stain has dried, create a solution of warm water and a teaspoon of washing up liquid, then apply it to the solution with a white cloth. Allow it to soften the paint for a few minutes, then gently scrape any excess paint with a plastic knife.
  3. Mix a cleaning solution using white vinegar. Mix one part white vinegar with one part warm water.
  4. Apply the cleaning solution. Use a white cloth to dab at the stain with the cleaning solution. As always, avoid rubbing and start from the outside before working inwards.
  5. Repeat the cleaning process. The paint stain should be gradually transferred to the white cloth. Keep repeating the process until no more paint is coming away.
  6. Rinse the affected area of carpet. Use a clean cloth to apply warm water to the area, then blot it up with a dry cloth to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
  7. Allow the carpet time to fully dry. This may take 24 hours or more. Try not to walk on the carpet during this time.
  8. Give the area a vacuum. There may still be flakes of paint in the carpet, so use a vacuum cleaner to remove them.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Carpets

Acrylic paint is also water-based, but is more difficult to remove from carpets than emulsion. Here’s how to approach this cleaning task:

  1. Blot any paint that hasn’t dried. Blot up any wet paint using paper towels. It the stain has dried, you may be able to remove larger chunks with a blunt knife, but be careful not to damage the carpet fibres. For dry stains, give the area a quick vacuum after removing any chunks to pick up loose paint flakes.
  2. Mix a cleaning solution using washing up liquid. Add a teaspoon of washing up liquid to 250ml of warm water, then use a clean white cloth to apply this to the stain.
  3. Clean with the solution and a white cloth. Wet a white cloth with the solution, then use this to blot the stain. The stain should be transferred to the cloth from the carpet. Remember not to scrub!
  4. Repeat as necessary. For stains that contain lots of paint, you may also need to repeat step 1 as you go.
  5. Rinse the area with warm water. Apply warm water with a clean white cloth, then blot it up with a dry cloth.
  6. Allow the carpet time to fully dry. Once the carpet has completely dried, vacuum the area to remove any loosened flakes of paint.

Tip: The method above is effective for some acrylic paint stains, but you may need a stronger cleaning product if it doesn’t work. Acetone is a great option, but make sure you test this on an inconspicuous patch of carpet first as it can sometimes cause discolouration.

What About Gloss Paints?

It’s common for gloss paints to be oil-based. They contain a resin that makes them more durable, but this can make it difficult to remove this type of paint from carpets.

As with all stains, it’s much easier to remove gloss paint from carpet if you clean the area before it’s dried. Dry stains are much more difficult to remove.

We recommend contacting a professional to remove gloss paint from carpets. While there are DIY methods, there’s a high risk of damaging your carpet when using them. If you still want to give it a go, then an acetone-based cleaner can work well (although make sure you test it on a small patch first.)


Paint stains can be difficult to remove from carpets – but don’t despair. There are plenty of home cleaning tricks that can remove many carpet stains and restore your carpet’s appearance.

With that said, you may need to contact a professional carpet cleaner for more stubborn carpet stains – particularly for gloss paints. You don’t want to damage your carpet during the cleaning process, so sometimes it’s best to call in the professionals.

Do you have any questions about how to get paint out of carpets? Please use the comments form below to get in touch.

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