How to Get Paint Off Leggings

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Avoid painting in leggings; opt for paint clothes instead.
Avoid painting in leggings; opt for paint clothes instead. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Spilling or dripping paint on your favorite pair of leggings can be a bummer, and create a discouraging image of tossing them in the trash. Avoid the trash by treating the stain according to the type of paint base. Leggings consist of Lycra and/or spandex typically combined with another material such as cotton. The comfortable blend of materials will soak up paint, but will not hold it permanently if treated effectively and quickly. Work carefully and slowly to avoid color staining of the paint on fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • White towel
  • Laundry detergent
  • Paint solvent
  • Toothbrush

Soak up the paint by blotting, not rubbing, the paint using a clean, white towel. Press the towel directly on the paint stain and count to 30. Repeat, until no more paint will transfer to the towel.

Determine what type of paint is on the leggings. The removal method for latex-based paints will be different from the removal method for oil-based paints. If the paint is latex-based, soak the area in laundry detergent for 10 minutes. This will help to loosen the paint from the fibers of the leggings. Use an old toothbrush to rub the area in a circular motion until you remove the paint. Stubborn areas can be flushed with cold water while scrubbing with a toothbrush.

Rub a small amount of paint solvent on the area for oil-based paint. Use an old toothbrush or white towel to rub the paint area in a circular motion. The paint will slowly start to dissolve from the fabric. Run the leggings under warm water to help break the paint away from the fibers while rubbing the area with a toothbrush.

Use a laundry stain-remover to pretreat the area before washing. Let the remover sit on the leggings up to 30 minutes and then wash in cold water. Hang the leggings to dry and check for any missed paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Test an area of the leggings before applying the solvent to avoid discoloration.
  • Do not use hot water on paint stains because this will set the stain into the fabric.

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