How to Remove Gouache Paint

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Things You'll Need

  • Cloth or sponge

  • Water

  • Dry cloth

  • Fan

Artists can re-wet dry Gouache paint with a moistened brush.

A water-based mixture of gum arabic and pigment, Gouache paint is favored by many artists because it flows smoothly, dries quickly, provides bright opaque colors and has a matte finish. Gouache paint is re-wettable and does not resist water when dry, unless the artist mixes it with acrylic paint. Since Gouache paint is water-based and re-wettable, it can be removed from most surfaces with a damp cloth or sponge.


Step 1

Wet a clean cloth or sponge with cool tap water.

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Step 2

Blot the Gouache paint with the wet cloth or sponge. Work from the edge of the paint. If the paint is dry, it will take some time to moisten before it will lift from the surface.


Step 3

Ring out the cloth or sponge when the paint is wet enough for the color to begin showing on the blotting material.

Step 4

A moist sponge will absorb pigment better than a wet one.

Rinse the cloth or sponge periodically to release the lifted paint color. Ring it out after rinsing, so it is moist rather than wet.

Step 5

Dry the clean surface. Dab the moisture from a hard surface with a clean, dry cloth. Use a fan to dry carpet or fabric.


It takes less time and energy to remove paint spills before they dry. A sponge paintbrush works well to remove Gouache from small areas.


Do not rub the paint to try to remove it; rubbing will push pigments deeper into most materials.


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