Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off of Clothes? Tips and Tricks for Removing Stains

Acrylic paint is a popular medium used by artists, hobbyists, and even children. It is easy to use and provides vibrant colors that can make any artwork pop. However, accidents happen, and paint can end up on clothes, causing a huge mess. If you are wondering whether acrylic paint washes off clothes or not, the answer is both yes and no.

Acrylic paint is water-based and dries quickly, making it an ideal choice for painting on various surfaces, including clothes. However, the fast-drying property can also make it difficult to remove stains once they happen. So, does acrylic paint wash off of clothes? It depends on how fast you act and the materials you use to clean the stain.

In this article, we will discuss how to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes and some tips and tricks to prevent them in the first place.

Understanding Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a polymer-based paint that contains pigments suspended in an acrylic emulsion. It dries quickly, is water-resistant, and can be used on a variety of surfaces, including canvas, wood, plastic, and fabrics. Unlike oil paint, acrylic paint is water-based, making it easier to clean up with soap and water. However, once it dries, it can be challenging to remove from clothes.

How Acrylic Paint Behaves on Clothes

When acrylic paint gets on clothes, it can penetrate the fabric fibers and bond with them. The longer the paint stays on the clothes, the harder it is to remove. The amount of paint and the color can also affect how difficult it is to remove the stain. For example, darker colors like red or blue can be more challenging to remove than lighter colors like yellow or green.

Precautions to Take Before Painting

Before you start painting with acrylics, take some precautions to prevent stains on clothes. Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting acrylic paint on your clothes:

  • Wear old clothes or an apron to protect your clothing.
  • Cover your work area with a plastic sheet or newspaper.
  • Use a drop cloth to catch any drips or spills.
  • Keep a clean rag or paper towel handy to wipe your hands or brushes.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint Stains from Clothes

If you do get acrylic paint on your clothes, don’t worry. Here are some steps you can take to remove the stain:

  1. Blot the Stain – Remove any excess paint from the fabric by blotting it with a clean cloth or paper towel. Be careful not to rub the paint into the fabric.
  2. Rinse the Stain – Rinse the stain under cold water. Hot water can set the stain, making it harder to remove.
  3. Pre-treat the Stain – Apply a pre-treatment stain remover to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
  4. Wash the Clothes – Wash the clothes in cold water with a laundry detergent that contains enzymes. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners as they can damage the fabric or set the stain further. Check the clothes before putting them in the dryer to ensure that the stain is gone. If it is still there, repeat the process until it is removed.

Tips and Tricks to Prevent Acrylic Paint Stains

Prevention is the key to avoiding acrylic paint stains on clothes. Here are some tips to help you prevent stains in the first place:

  1. Wear Protective Clothing – Wear old clothes or an apron to protect your clothing.
  2. Cover Surfaces and Work Area – Cover your work area with a plastic sheet or newspaper to prevent paint from getting on surfaces.
  3. Use Acrylic Paint Mediums – Acrylic paint mediums can help you achieve different effects and also make it easier to clean up. Use a medium to extend the drying time of the paint, so it doesn’t dry too fast and becomes difficult to remove.


Acrylic paint can be a fun and versatile medium to work with, but it can also be challenging to remove from clothes if you aren’t careful. By taking precautions before painting and acting quickly if a spill happens, you can avoid or remove stains effectively. Remember to blot, rinse, pre-treat, and wash the clothes to remove the stain. If you follow these tips and tricks, you can enjoy painting without worrying about ruining your clothes.


Can you remove dried acrylic paint from clothes?

Yes, it is possible to remove dried acrylic paint from clothes, but it can be more challenging than removing wet paint. You may need to use a specialized paint remover or follow a more extended cleaning process.

Can vinegar remove acrylic paint stains from clothes?

Yes, vinegar can help remove acrylic paint stains from clothes. Mix equal parts vinegar and water and soak the stained fabric for several hours before washing it with a laundry detergent.

Can rubbing alcohol remove acrylic paint stains from clothes?

Yes, rubbing alcohol can help remove acrylic paint stains from clothes. Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and blot the stain until it is removed.

Can bleach be used to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes?

No, bleach should not be used to remove acrylic paint stains from clothes. It can damage the fabric and set the stain further.

How can I prevent acrylic paint from getting on my clothes?

Wear protective clothing, cover your work area, and use acrylic paint mediums to prevent paint from getting on your clothes.

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