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How to Remove Paint Stains From Carpet and Upholstery

Trying to remove stubborn paint stains from carpet can feel like an impossible task. However, wet or dry, a paint stain on carpet or any other kind of fabric doesn’t have to be the end of the world. If you know the right way to treat it, the stain will be gone in a snap. Read on to find the best carpet cleaning tips for getting out tough paint stains.

If Wet, Just Blot

The best way to treat a paint stain on carpet or furniture upholstery is to get it while it’s still fresh. If you know the stain has just occurred and the paint is still wet, apply a moistened paper towel and be sure to gently blot the surface, making sure that you don’t apply too much pressure and sink the stain deeper into the carpet fibers. If the paint is oil-based, it’s even more important that you try to remove it while it’s still wet. If an oil-based or water-based paint stain has already dried by the time you’ve gotten to it, it’s time to call the professionals. Consider carpet cleaning from Palmetto Chem-Dry for those especially tough stains.


If you’re dealing with latex, acrylic, or model paint that’s already dried–have no fear. Use a small, blunt knife or the edge of a sharper object to carefully scrape the paint up where it’s clotted. Be careful not to scrape too hard, or the paint could penetrate the carpet fibers more deeply. If you’re dealing with upholstery, always check the label to make sure you can use a specific cleaner on the fabric. Most pieces of furniture will have a tag with instructions about approved cleaners. For carpet, try small amounts of dish detergent, or water-based laundry detergent to loosen the stain.

Use Heat

When it comes to certain paint types, heat can be your friend. For example, with acrylic and oil paint stains, holding a hand-held steamer over the area can help loosen up the clot. Be sure to place something between the steamer and the direct stain to avoid overheating. Once the paint has loosened, continue to scrape off the paint clot with a gentle hand, avoiding any kind of over-pressing. If you’re still not getting anywhere, take a break and repeat these steps later. It may take some time and several applications to sufficiently loosen more stubborn paint stains. Depending on the type of paint, you may even want to try dipping a paper towel in turpentine or another type of paint thinner.

Vacuum Up Debris

When you’ve scraped off all of the stain, you’ll be left with a dry pile of debris on your carpet or at the bottom of your upholstery. Try to vacuum this up without causing any further damage or staining to the fabric fibers. For this task, it’s best to use a more gentle type of cleaning device like a handheld vacuum or smaller model. If you still end up with a stain left, it’s time to contact a professional.

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