How to Get Paint Out of Carpet With 2 Easy Methods

Grey carpet stained with lavender paint with paint brush

severija/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 30 mins - 8 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10-20

Whether it's a paint spill or splatter, it doesn't belong on carpet. Fortunately, you can get most paint stains out of carpet with a few supplies and a bit of time. There are some tips you should follow to successfully get paint out of carpet:

  • Don't wait. Treat paint stains on carpet as soon as possible. Fresh paint is easier to remove than dried paint.
  • Don't rub wet paint on carpet. Rubbing only pushes the paint deeper into the fibers. Blot wet paint.
  • Don't start working until you know what type of paint stain you are treating. Latex paint and oil-based paints require different removal techniques.
Stain Type Latex or oil-based paint
Detergent Type Dishwashing liquid, carpet stain remover, paint thinner
Water Temperature Hot to warm

Before You Begin

If the paint stain on the carpet is oil-based paint, you will need to use strong solvents to remove it. These can discolor the carpet and must be used in a well-ventilated room away from any open flames.

Always test the solvent in a hidden spot to see if there is color change to the carpet before attempting to remove the paint stain. If you see color transfer or the paint stain is large, it's best to consult a professional carpet cleaning service.

Warning

If you are attempting to remove paint from an area rug located over hardwood floors, place plastic sheeting underneath or move the rug to a tile or vinyl floor. The cleaning process can cause water stains to appear on the wood floor.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 pair disposable or nitrile gloves
  • 2 to 4 disposable white cleaning cloths
  • 1 soft-bristled nylon brush
  • 1 vacuum
  • 1 putty knife or plastic scraper
  • 2 small bowls or buckets

Materials

  • 1 bottle dishwashing liquid
  • 1 container paint remover or paint thinner
  • 1 roll paper towels
  • 1 bottle isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol

Instructions

How to Get Latex Paint Out of Carpet

  1. Blot Away Wet Paint

    Use paper towels to blot up the wet paint from the carpet. Keep moving to fresh towels as the paint is transferred. DO NOT RUB!

  2. Gently Scrape Away Dried Paint

    • If the paint is dry, use a putty knife or plastic scraper to gently scrape away the paint from the carpet fibers. Use a light hand and chip the paint away from the surface.
    • Use a vacuum to suction away the flecks of paint.
    • Keep working until no more paint comes loose from the fibers.
  3. Mix a Cleaning Solution

    • In a small bowl or bucket, mix a solution of one part dishwashing liquid and one part hot water.
    • Fill a second bowl or bucket with fresh warm water.
  4. Clean the Paint Stain

    • Dip a white cloth in the soapy solution.
    • Starting from the outside edge, saturate the carpet with the solution and blot the paint stain.
    • Keep moving to a clean area of the towel as the paint transfers.
    • Once most of the paint is gone, switch to a soft-bristled brush dipped in the soapy solution to reach the fibers close to the backing of the carpet.
    • When the paint is gone, blot the area with a cloth dipped in fresh water to remove any soapy residue.
  5. Tackle Remaining Traces of Stain

    • If there are traces of paint left on the carpet, wet a clean cloth with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
    • Dab the stains with the cloth until all of the paint is removed.
  6. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    • Allow the freshly cleaned areas to air-dry away from direct heat. Avoid walking on the wet carpet and keep pets away.
    • When the carpet is dry, vacuum it to lift the fibers.

How to Get Oil-Based Paint Out of Carpet

  1. Blot Wet Paint or Scrape Dried Paint

    Follow the guidelines for removing wet or dried latex paint when discovering oil-based paint stains on carpet.

  2. Blot Away the Oil-Based Paint

    • Increase ventilation in the room by opening doors or windows.
    • Extinguish all open flames.
    • Wearing protective gloves, dampen a small area of a clean white cloth with paint thinner, paint remover, or turpentine.
    • Blot the oil paint stain. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the paint transfers to the cloth.
    • Repeat with additional paint remover as needed until the stain is gone.
  3. Mix a Soapy Solution to Clean the Carpet

    • In a small bowl or bucket, mix a solution of one part dishwashing liquid and one part hot water.
    • Fill a second bowl or bucket with fresh warm water.
  4. Clean and Rinse the Carpet

    • Dip a white cloth in the soapy solution.
    • Saturate the carpet with the solution to remove traces of the paint remover then blot the solution away.
    • Finally, blot the area with a cloth dipped in fresh water to remove any soapy residue.
  5. Air-Dry and Vacuum

    • Allow the freshly cleaned areas to air-dry away from direct heat. Avoid walking on the wet carpet and keep pets away.
    • When the carpet is dry, vacuum it to lift the fibers.

Additional Tips to Get Paint Out of Carpet

  • Always test any cleaning solution in a hidden spot to make sure it does not change the color of the carpet.
  • Always use a white cloth for cleaning. Colored towels can transfer dye to the carpet when using solvents.
  • If the paint stain is large, cover the stain with an area rug until the carpet can be replaced, or consider cutting out the ruined area of the carpet and piecing it with remnants.