How to get acrylic paint out of the carpet?

Spilled acrylic paint on your carpet? Don’t panic! While a splash of vibrant color might not be the aesthetic you were going for, you can restore your carpet to its former glory with the right approach. Unlike oil-based paints, acrylics are water-soluble, making them easier to remove. 

This guide equips you with practical methods to tackle fresh and dried acrylic paint mishaps, ensuring your carpet stays pristine.

practical methods to tackle fresh and dried acrylic paint mishaps

Addressing Wet Acrylic Paint Spills

The key to successful acrylic paint removal lies in swift action. Here’s what to do when you encounter a fresh spill:

Blot, Don’t Rub

Grab a clean, absorbent cloth (white is ideal to avoid dye transfer) and gently blot the paint stain. Rubbing can spread the paint further, making it harder to remove.

Scrape Away Excess Paint

If there’s a thick layer of paint, use a blunt knife or spoon to carefully scrape away as much as possible without damaging the carpet fibers.

Effective Cleaning Solutions

Once you’ve contained the initial spill, it’s time to tackle the remaining paint. Here are several effective cleaning methods you can try, starting with the gentlest and progressing to more potent solutions if needed:

Warm Water and Dish Soap

This is a great first line of defense, especially for fresh spills. Mix a teaspoon of mild dish soap in a cup of warm water. Dip a clean cloth into the solution, wring it out so it’s damp but not dripping, and gently blot the stain. Rinse the cloth frequently and work from outside the stain towards the center to prevent spreading.

White Vinegar Solution

Try white vinegar if the soap and water remove the paint altogether. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the affected area and blot with a clean cloth.

Be mindful not to saturate the carpet. Rinse the area with clean water afterward.

Rubbing Alcohol

For stubborn paint stains, rubbing alcohol can work as a stain remover. However, testing it on an inconspicuous carpet area is crucial to ensure it doesn’t cause staining. If the test area remains unaffected, dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and blot the stain. Work in small sections and rinse thoroughly with clean water afterward.


For dried paint, glycerin can be a lifesaver. Apply a small amount of glycerin directly to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, allowing it to loosen the paint. Blot the area with a clean cloth and rinse with warm water. You should repeat this process for stubborn stains.

Important Note: Always test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous carpet area first to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or staining.

Dealing with Dried Acrylic Paint

Dried acrylic paint requires a more vigorous approach. Here’s how to tackle it:

Dry Scraping

Before applying any cleaning solutions, try scraping off as much dried paint as possible with a dull knife or spoon. Be gentle to avoid damaging the carpet fibers.

Double Down on Cleaning Techniques 

You should combine several cleaning methods for dried paint. Start with the gentlest option (warm water and soap) and progress to stronger solutions like rubbing alcohol or glycerin if needed. Be patient and persistent, and repeat the process as necessary.

Bonus Tip: Dealing with Tempera Paint

In schools, tempera paints are a common choice for art projects. It also resembles water-based paint, which people can remove from carpets using methods similar to those for acrylic paint. However, since tempera paint can contain additional ingredients, it’s even more crucial to first test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area.

When DIY Methods Fail: Calling in the Professionals

If your best efforts have yet to yield the desired results, or if you’re dealing with a large or deeply ingrained paint stain, it’s time to call in professional carpet cleaners. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to remove stubborn paint while minimizing the risk of damage to your carpet.

How To Remove Other Paint Types

This guide focused primarily on acrylic paint removal. However, here’s a quick reference for dealing with other types of paint that might land on your carpet:

Washable Paint

Thankfully, washable paints usually come off with warm water and soap.

Latex Paint

You can remove fresh latex paint using similar methods to acrylic paint. However, dried latex paint might require professional cleaning.

Oil-Based Paint

Oil-based paints, heavy-body acrylics, or water-resistant paints require a different approach as they are difficult to remove. Consult a professional for proper removal methods to avoid damaging your carpet.

How To Prevent Paint Disasters

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some proactive steps you can take to minimize the risk of paint mishaps on your carpet:

prevent acrylic paint spillage
  1. Protect Your Work Area: When painting indoors, lay down drop cloths or plastic sheeting to create a barrier between your carpet and potential paint spills.
  2. Utilize Paint Trays with Liners: Use a paint tray with a disposable liner. This allows you to remove and discard dried paint after your project quickly.
  3. Keep Supplies Close: Make clean rags available to address spills immediately. The faster you act, the easier it is to remove the paint.
  4. Close Paint Containers Tightly: Ensure you seal all paint containers properly after use to prevent accidental spills.
  5. Consider Wearing Smocks: If you’re prone to spills, wear a smock or apron to shield your clothes and carpet while painting.
  6. Supervise Children and Pets: If you have little artists or curious pets, supervise them closely during painting projects to minimize the risk of paint-related accidents.
  7. Choose Washable Paints for Children’s Activities: When selecting paints for your child’s art projects, opt for washable paints that are easier to clean up in case of spills.

Following these simple precautions can significantly reduce the chances of paint on your carpet. Remember, a little prevention can save you much cleaning time and frustration!


With the knowledge and techniques outlined in this guide, you’re well-equipped to tackle acrylic paint spills on your carpet, both fresh and dried. Remember to act swiftly, test cleaning solutions beforehand, and use the gentlest method that gets the job done. For stubborn stains or when dealing with other types of paint, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. By following these tips and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your carpet remains a beautiful and paint-free zone.

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