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I’ve got blue paint on my shirt. Can you help?

By Dr. Laundry January 27, 2016

Q: I’ve got blue paint on my shirt. Can you help?   A:  I hope I can help!  A lot depends on the paint.  Washable paints like children’s craft paint can often come out with a little pretreating.  But other paints, like the acrylics that artists use or household paint generally don’t come out if they dry out on the fabric.  So if you’ve got washable crafty paint, try the following:  
  1. First, scrape away as much of the paint as you can.  You won’t scrape away as much when the paint is dry, but you still want to reduce the amount of stain you have to remove!
  2. Next, pretreat by applying liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain and rubbing it in, saturating the stain.  Wait a few minutes, and then rinse with warm water.
  3. Repeat the pretreating and rinsing step until the stain is all the way out.
  4. Air dry (it’s good to confirm the stain is all the way out before putting the shirt in a hot dryer).
  Paints labeled washable have the best chance of coming out, especially if you start working on them before the paint dries.  You may still be able to get the stain out (although it does depend a lot on the paint, even if it is “washable”) if the paint has dried; just be prepared to repeat the pretreatment step several times. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!   –Dr. Laundry