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How can I Remove Latex Paint?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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Anyone who uses paint at work or around the house knows that it is easy to get paint on woodwork, window glass or the floor. Paint also finds its way onto clothing from time to time. When there is a need to remove latex paint from any material or surface, there are basic methods that are often very effective. Here are a few examples.

When it is necessary to remove latex paint from glass or woodwork, it is often a good idea to apply a small amount of turpentine to the spill. Keep in mind that turpentine is strong and very little is required to soften the dried paint. This makes it possible to use a clean cloth to gently remove the paint splatter, without having to use a sharp edged instrument that could leave behind a scratch in the surface.

Latex paint removal may also be necessary after painting a room that is carpeted. Even when drop cloths are placed properly, there is still the chance for the paint to find its way to some obscure corner of the carpeting. Removing as much of the paint as possible while it is still wet will minimize the problem, and also make it possible to use a simple detergent to remove the remainder of the spill.

After getting up as much of the paint as possible by blotting with a clean cloth, continue to remove latex paint from the carpet by dampening the area with a sponge. Blot the area again and see if there is still paint residue present. If so, repeat the process a few more times to see if all the remaining paint stain comes up.

For stubborn stains on the carpeting, create a mixture of dish washing detergent and lukewarm water. Allow the mixture to soak into the stain, then blot with a clean cloth. Vacuum the area thoroughly once the carpeting is dry.

It is often necessary to remove latex paint from clothing as well. If the clothing is not dry clean only, a good approach is to use a putty knife to remove as much of the paint as possible, then rinse in warm water at once. To complete the latex paint stain removal, launder the garment in a washing machine at once.

When it seems impossible to remove latex paint using homemade solutions, it may be necessary to visit your local home store and purchase one of the several paint removal products on the market. Make sure to read the usage instructions thoroughly before making the purchase. Some of these products to remove latex paint are multi-purpose, but there are brands that are especially formulated for use on carpeting, woodwork, or clothing.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments
By Sporkasia — On Mar 01, 2014

I agree with the article. When it comes to removing paint, turpentine is the way to go. The fumes can be a bit much, but the stuff works great.

By Drentel — On Feb 28, 2014

I have heard horror stories about people spilling paint on various surfaces and ruining a floor, counter top or piece of furniture while painting. However, I have always found that paint is not too difficult to remove. If you see the drip or spill immediately, a cloth will generally do the trick.

The article mentioned turpentine as a good paint remover. You might also want to try paint thinner. I have found this product to work well. On wood and laminate surfaces, you can remove dried paint with a pocket knife or some other scraping tool.

As far as clothes go, my advice is don't paint in anything you want to keep. I have yet to do any significant amount of painting without getting a few drops on my clothes.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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