Home » How To Get Gloss Paint Out Of Clothes In 5 Simple Steps

How To Get Gloss Paint Out Of Clothes In 5 Simple Steps

Washing Check is supported by our audience. When you click our links and make a purchase we may earn an affiliate commission - read more

lower body of female and male with paint on clothes

We’ve all been there – doing a bit of DIY and then the paint or gloss makes an appearance. Those jobs you have been meaning to do for so long and today’s the day!

But you can’t remember where you put your old clothes for painting since the last time you decorated and then it happens – no matter how careful you think you’re being, there always seems to be a bit of paint that gets somewhere on your clothes.

Even more so when you’ve got children who want to help and then it starts to get messy. But don’t worry, we have the perfect guide to explain how to get gloss out of your clothes in five simple steps.

Gloss stains are easy to remove, and if you are careful, you won’t damage the delicate fibres of your clothing.

We’ll start by discussing the different types of paint people use so that you can proceed according to the product.

Types of paints

The most common paint types are water-based and oil-based.

Oil-based paints are used in finishing and protecting woodwork– like furniture. They are more durable than the former and last longer but have a strong smell. They are also used in moulding. Your real problem with them will be bleeding (more details on this are below).

Water-based paints are used while painting walls or ceilings, and in high moisture areas like bathrooms or laundry rooms. They are easy to use, wash off easily, and don’t have a strong smell. You can remove water-based paint stains with just water and soap solution. 

Here are some essential tips if you get paint on your clothing:

  1. Act as soon as the accident happens. Don’t let the paint dry, as it could make the stain more difficult to remove.
  2. Try to remove as much paint as possible right when it drops. You can use a spoon to scoop the excess, restricting it from getting deeper into the fibres.
  3. Know your fabric before you treat the stain. If it is a delicate material like wool, velvet, or silk, you’ll need to be careful. The best thing to do would be to hand it over to a professional. Otherwise, check the labels of any clothes you are dealing with to ensure you don’t damage them.
  4. Never scrub the cleaning cloth vigorously as it can quickly spread the stain, making a bigger mess. By this method, you can also damage the fibres of the fabric. Dab or blot the cleaning material over the area or rub gently.
  5. If the care label mentions dry clean only, never use water, even if the stain is water-based. Use any dry-cleaning solvent, or better still, take it to the dry cleaners.

Removing water-based paint

If you’ve got water-based paint on your clothes, you need not worry much as they’re easy to remove and require less effort. Here’s how you do it:

Things you will need

  • A spoon or blunt knife
  • Warm water
  • Cold water
  • Detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover
  • Separate clean cloth

1. Scrape the excess

First, you need to remove any extra amount of the paint. Use a spoon and scoop up the paint. If you are quick enough, you might have just a light patch of colour, which will make your work much more manageable.

2. Rinse with warm water

Now turn your garment inside out and run the area through warm water. The stream from the opposite side of the stain will push it outwards, cleaning it from the inside. If you are lucky this will be enough to remove the stain, but move on to the next step if some residual paint impressions are still left.

3. Detergent

Take a laundry detergent or cleaning liquid and prepare the solution in cool water. It would be best if you select specific detergents for the particular fabric. For example, use a wool-friendly detergent if dealing with wool clothes. This practice will help maintain fabric quality and ensure fibre integrity.

Afterward, take a clean cloth and soak it in the solution. Now, dab it over the stain to remove it. Be gentle while scrubbing. It would also help if you put a towel underneath the area so as not to transfer the colour to the opposite side of the garment.

4. Stubborn stains

If the paint gloss stains are still visible after the above procedure, try rubbing alcohol on the affected area. You can also use a nail polish remover– free of acetone– but test it first in an inconspicuous area. If it affects the fabric’s dye or damages it, you will know without messing up with the affected area. Soak a cloth in the liquid and softly dab or rub in the area. Gradually, the blemishes will vanish.

5. Final touches

When you are finished, do your regular laundry to clean any remaining chemicals from the fabric. But if the problem persists, it’d be best to take it to a professional.

Removing oil-based paint

Oil-based paints are more durable, so they are harder to remove. You must act swiftly to get them out, or the case would become complicated. The best option is to take it to a professional in the first place. But if you’re in a pinch, here’s how to do it:

Things you will need

  • A Spoon or blunt knife
  • Clean towels
  • Paint thinner
  • Nail polish remover
  • Toothbrush with soft bristles

1. Scrape the excess

Immediately, take a spoon or blunt knife and remove any excess paint. For oil paints, you should be careful as this type smudges and spreads, and you don’t want to make the stain any bigger.

2. Preventing bleeding

The next challenge is the paint’s ability to separate from oil. Oil bleeding is your biggest issue, but you can prevent it easily. Turn it inside out and put a towel against the stain, preventing it from moving to the opposite side. Keep the affected area out of contact with any other part so that you will focus only on one spot.

3. Paint thinners

Step outside in a ventilated place for this step as paint thinners have a strong and lingering smell. It would be best to put on a face mask while dealing with these chemicals.

You can use turpentine, white spirit, or any recommended paint thinner. Ensure to check the label for the suggested one and read the thinner’s usage instructions before proceeding.

Remember to test the thinner first in any unseen area, as many thinners can remove the dye or damage the fibres of the clothes. Once you’re satisfied with the product, soak a cloth or a rag in the solution and blot it over the stain. For best results, do it on both sides of the fabric to remove the paint altogether.

4. Nail polish remover

If you are allergic to the pungent smells of paint thinners, you can also use nail polish remover or even rubbing alcohol. Both are good at removing oil paints. Pour some of the liquid over the stain — you need to dampen the area enough. Then scrub the paint gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Although nail polish removers are a great alternative, thinners still are best for removing oil-based paint gloss. Feel free to use this method if you don’t have thinner to hand.

Make sure to work quickly and close the bottle when you’ve poured it to avoid inhaling too many chemical fumes. Remember to wash the garment after and let it dry after removing the stain. If the stain has not lifted, then consult a professional.

5. Final Touches

As with the water based methods, ensure you use your normal cleaning process to wash away any residue, and if the stain hasn’t been completely cleaned, take it to a professional.


Removing gloss paint from your clothes is not a complex task, and if you are confident enough you can easily remove them by yourself.

A better option is to give clothes to a professional, but if you haven’t got access to a dry cleaner or similar business, using our methods above should be all you need to have your clothes spotless again.

Check the type of paint and follow the instructions both on the paint can and clothes label.

Happy cleaning!

Jimmy profile pic

Meet our reviewer

Jimmy Pearce is our resident expert on domestic cleaning appliances. Having managed a large electrical retail store for over 10 years and with a family that includes 3 kids, there is little Jimmy doesn’t know or hasn’t seen when it comes to domestic cleaning. When he’s not spending time with the family or reviewing domestic appliances, Jimmy is often found in his man cave jamming on his bass guitar.