How to Remove Paint from a Shirt


When painting, a little paint on your shirt is inevitable. You could take your shirt to the dry cleaners to remove the paint, or you could try an at-home simple and inexpensive treatment to get rid of the paint and make your shirt as good as new. All you need is a few household items.

Things You'll Need

  • Erasable laundry marker
  • Spoon
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft scrub brush
  • Hair spray, nail polish remover or window cleaner
  • Lay the shirt on a table. Using an erasable laundry marker, lightly circle the areas, which are stained. Lightly scrape as much of the paint as possible off using the spoon.

  • Take the cotton ball or swab, depending on the size of the stain, and moisten with rubbing alcohol. Dab gently to the area to be cleaned. Wait about 10 minutes and repeat.

  • Scrub gently with a soft scrub brush. Rinse with cool water. Allow drying for about 20 minutes.

  • See how much of the stain remains. If it does, take a cotton ball, apply hairspray and follow the procedure in Steps 2 and 3. Rinse with cool water and assess the stain. If it is still there, try using nail polish remover or window cleaner following the directions in Steps 2 and 3. Always rinse in cool water after each step.

  • Determine that the stain is gone. Rinse the shirt well to remove all the chemicals. Allow to air dry. Then the shirt can be laundered in the way the fabric care label states.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test a small hidden area to be sure the various chemicals do not harm the fabric.
  • Allow the piece to air-dry first to ensure no stain remains. Once you are sure the stain is gone, it is safe to dry it in the dryer.
  • Do not combine any detergents with bleach with window cleaner because the mixture of ammonia and bleach will produce toxic fumes.

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  • Photo Credit Paint can with brush image by Sergey Kolesnikov from
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