Spray paint stains on clothing look so intimidating that you might be resigned to throwing the stuff out without even trying to clean them, but fortunately, there are ways to remove spray paint from clothes depending on the type of paint and fabric. So, instead of heading for the trash or recycling bin, take a few minutes to see if you may be able to save that favorite shirt or sweater.
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How to Remove Spray Paint From Clothes
It is hard to remove spray paint from clothes, especially once it is dry. The key is to act quickly, but obviously, this is not always possible. If the paint is still wet, try blotting it with paper towels or a clean rag. Do not rub the fabric because this will only make it worse.
Next, check the spray can to determine whether the paint is water-based. If so, try some liquid dish soap and rub it in gently. For oil-based paints, look for some WD-40, paint remover or turpentine. Some people claim that spraying hair spray on the stains can work, but the jury is still out on that one.
If it looks like the spray paint stains are gone, you can try washing the garments in warm water. When you take them out of the washer, though, do not toss them in the dryer. Allow them to air dry instead and check for any remaining signs of the stain. If you don't, put the clothes on air dry and check again. Try repeating the cleaning process if necessary.
Methods for Dried or Tough Stains
If you were not able to tackle the stains right away, get a dull knife and see if you can scrape off some of the stains. Do not use a sharp knife since this can cut right through the fabric and then you will most likely need to throw out the garment.
After using the dull knife, you can try some stronger cleaners. You can try to remove the paint with rubbing alcohol, acetone, hand sanitizer or a mixture consisting of 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons each of ammonia and vinegar. Scrub gently with a toothbrush. You can keep adding a little more of the cleaners as you work, but these could end up damaging the fabric.
Should you want to try other methods, Goof Off may remove Rust-Oleum paint. You can also try using hydrogen peroxide and then soaking the garments in Tide. You can try diluting this or adding vinegar. Do not soak the clothing in strong chemicals, like ammonia. These can destroy the clothing and be harmful to the eyes and skin.
Removing Spray Paint From Skin
If the spray paint got on your skin, you should be able to remove it. There are different methods for water- and oil-based paints. For the former, wash with warm or hot water and dish soap using a toothbrush or abrasive household sponge if needed.
For oil-based paints, pour on some olive oil or another gentle oil and rub it back and forth over the stains. Rinse and wash with water and be sure to clean the sink well afterward using the same method.