Effective Ways To Get Paint Out Of Carpet (Tested)


Last week, I watched a video on TikTok where a woman stood on a covered bucket of paint to fix her curtain. Unfortunately, the lid caved in, splashing paint all over her floor and living room carpet. I gasped and reflected on how painful it would be to clean that up.

Paint spilling accidentally on your carpet can be a headache. But thankfully, it can be cleaned thoroughly. Depending on the paint type, you can use warm water and soap mixture or a solvent such as thinner to clean paint stains on your carpet.

For the rest of this article, I will take you through how to completely clean water-based paint, oil-based paint and dried paint stains on your carpet. Keep on reading.

Understanding The Paint Type

In case of an accidental spill, you must first determine what type of paint you are dealing with. The kind of paint will determine what you need to apply or use to get it cleaned. Water-based, latex, oil-based, and acrylic are all types of paint that possess different qualities and are used for different purposes.

Similarly, once these paints stain anything, including carpet, you must use different methods and cleaning solutions to get them out.

You can read the paint pan or bucket to know the type of paint you are working with. Without that, you can do a spot test of the spilled paint by choosing a less obvious spot on the carpet where the paint spilled, testing your selected cleaning solution on it, and waiting to see the results.

Preparing The Area

Emphasizing the importance of prompt response in case you accidentally spill paint on your carpet, you must first avoid further spread. Depending on the quantity of paint spilled, you may need to lay down towels or absorbent cloths around the spill to prevent the paint from spreading even more. Also, remove all furniture and objects from the affected area to prevent further spread of the paint.

Once the area is prepared and barricaded, use paper towels or cloths to blot up as much wet paint as possible from the carpet. Do not rub the paper towels or cloth back and forth to remove the wet paint, as this will only push the stain further into the carpet fibres or to unaffected areas, making it more challenging to get it out completely. Instead, try the scooping motion to get as much paint from the carpet as possible.

How to Remove Water-based and Latex Paints From Carpet

water based paint in bucket with paint brush
  1. After removing as much wet paint as possible, use damp cloths or paper towels to blot up the spilled paint further.
  2. Next, prepare a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing soap. Soak a soft sponge into the soap water and use it to clean the affected areas on the carpet. Rinse the sponge in the soap water when it gets soaked with the paint.
  3. Repeat this step as often as possible to remove the water-based or latex paint from the carpet.
  4. Dip a microfibre cloth in clean water and use it to clean the area to remove any excess soap residue.
  5. Allow to air dry, or use a blow dryer on the lowest setting to dry the area or areas.

How to Remove Oil-based and Acrylic Paints From Carpet

yellow oil based paint in can
  1. Firstly, ensure the space is well-ventilated for oil-based and acrylic paints and wear a nose mask.
  2. After removing as much wet paint as possible, dampen a clean cloth with paint thinner, rubbing alcohol, or mineral spirits, and blot up the affected area or areas. Repeat this step as many times as needed until the paint is cleaned. Never forget to first test the solvent in an inconspicuous area to prevent damage.
  3. Prepare a mixture of warm water and dishwashing soap. Soak a microfiber cloth in the mixture and use it to clean the area to eliminate any smell from the solvent used.
  4. Allow to air dry, or use a blow dryer on the lowest setting to dry the area or areas.

How to Remove Dried Paint From Carpets

I cannot overemphasize how much better it is to immediately remove paint from your carpet if it spills on or stains. However, if for some reason, the paint is not cleaned immediately or the remaining from cleaning it yourself dries up, there are some steps to follow to get it out.

  1. Firstly, try to scrap off the dried paint with a blunt-edged object.
  2. Next, soften the rest of the dried paint. For water-based paints, place a warm towel over the affected area and allow it to sit for a while to soften it. For oil-based paints, dampen a clean cloth with paint thinner or rubbing alcohol, blot the affected area, and leave to soften the dried paint for a while.
  3. Then, use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the stained area in a circular motion to further loosen the dried paint.
  4. After loosening the dried paint completely, use a soft sponge and warm water soap mixture to clean up water-based paint. Use a solvent such as paint thinner and a cloth for oil-based paint to clean the paint. When the sponge or cloth gets soaked with paint, change/rinse it and repeat this process until all the paint is cleaned from the carpet.
  5. If the dried paint is still not out, get a commercial carpet cleaner or a steam cleaner designed for carpets to remove paint stains.

Preventive Measures

On a lighter note, do not use a covered bucket full of paint as a stepping block to reach a certain height. Just in case it caves in like that woman I saw in the video.

The first general rule of thumb is to make sure your carpet is as far away from paint as possible. So, if you must paint the walls of your space or do a craft activity that involves using paint, make sure to roll away all carpets.

Alternatively, if you cannot take the carpets away, cover them with drop cloths or plastic sheets. This way, even in case there is a spill, it does not have contact with the carpets.

If, for some reason, however, paint accidentally spills on your carpet, act immediately. It is much easier to clean wet paint than it is dry paint. Cleaning your carpet immediately after it is stained by paint helps to prevent permanent staining.


It really a headache to get paint on your carpet. However, accidents do occur; if that happens, there are ways to get that paint out of the carpet. The first step is to identify the paint type so you know the appropriate paint removal method. The type of paint will most likely be written on the paint can or container.

If you must use any chemical for paint removal, make sure to test it on an inconspicuous part of the carpet before applying it to the affected area to avoid damage to your carpet if it doesn’t work. Commercial stain removers for carpets and steam cleaners also work to remove paint from carpets.

David A. Morris

Home On Point is owned by David Morris. I am a real estate professional and a huge fan of beautiful homes. I like researching ways to keep homes shining at all times and I am excited to share them as I learn along.

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