Easy Tips on How to Remove Oil Paint from Clothes

Being an artist can be messy, and there could be circumstances when you accidentally spill or splatter some oil paint over your clothes. So how would you get rid of this? Does regular washing work for clothes with oil paint stain? Do you need anything special to get rid of the same?

Well, the answer might not be quite as simple as you think it to be. There are several factors you need to keep in mind when looking for tips to remove oil paint from clothes. Oil paint can be tough to remove. But, don’t just throw away your clothes. There sure are ways to clean up your clothes the right way. 

Let us learn more about these tips to help you remove oil paint from clothes while completing your painting projects.

Remove Oil Paint from Clothes


With so many things taking a toll on your daily life, you wouldn’t want to spend your time scrubbing your cloth stained with oil paint. Yes, scrubbing might work to some extent, but it won’t get all the stains off from the cloth. The key is to first determine whether the stain is fresh or old. It could be easy to clean a fresh stain as opposed to a dried one that is way too old.

First things first, oil paint contains oil that can seep into porous surfaces, and clothes are highly porous, especially the ones made of cotton.Remember, it would be difficult to clean oil paint stain from materials such as cotton as opposed to polyester or other material with less porosity.

The cleaning method you plan on using would also affect the final results post-cleaning. If you wash off the stain right after you get it, you have the highest chances of getting your cloth clean. The longer you let the stain stay, the harder it is to clean the stain.

Types of Oil Paint Stains

1. Dry Stains or Old Stains

When working with oil paint, the best thing is that you get a lot of time to clean up the stains before it dries out. On the other hand, acrylic stains can dry out too fast.

So, it is important to work fast when removing acrylic stains. You can enjoy a longer window before you initiate the cleaning process. A dry or old stain can adhere to the porous surface, and the stain can be difficult to get rid of.

The colors can seep into the grooves and ridges in the fabric and dry out inside it. You might require certain solvents to get rid of the stain properly without destroying the fabric. 

So, it is better not to let your oil paint stains dry or age out only to spend hours getting rid of the stain, which in certain cases might not be reversible.

2. Wet Stains or Fresh Stains

Wet or fresh oil paint stains can be very easy to get rid of from your cloth. You might simply need to scrape off the stain from the cloth and then soak up the rest in a soapy solution and rub off any remnants. Make sure you isolate the stain from other parts of the cloth to ensure there aren’t any smudging issues while you are cleaning.

Ways to Remove Oil Paint from Clothes

Now that you are aware of the basics of oil paint stains on clothes let us check out the best way to clean it off from your favorite fabric.

Step 1: Scrape Off

The first thing you need to do is determine the kind of stain that has spoiled your cloth. Check whether it is dry or wet. To do this, simply touch the oil paint stain and check whether it smudges on your finger. If it does, the stain is wet.

And, if it doesn’t, the stain has dried off. If your oil paint stain is dry, you can use a butter knife or spoon to gently scrape off the paint from the cloth.

However, if the paint is still wet, just scrape the paint carefully so as to avoid it from spreading to other parts of the cloth. 

Step 2: Pre-Treat the Stain

This step is important if the stain has dried out. The key is to pre-treat the excess paint stain with the help of mineral spirits or cleaning solutions such as white spirit, paint thinner, or turpentine. Soak the stained portion of the cloth depending on the fabric material. Certain fabrics can be treated to obtain different colors and designs.

Make sure you check the label to ensure it won’t come off when you pre-treat the stain.Another way you can resolve this issue is by soaking an insignificant part of the fabric in the spirit.

If the fabric isn’t affected, you can opt for this method for cleaning oil paint stains. Once you are done soaking, use fresh paper towels and blot the stain as much as possible.

Step 3: Soak the Cloth

Once you are done pre-treating the stain, you need to soak it for clearing off the remnants. Select a high-quality liquid laundry detergent that isn’t too harsh on the fabric and mix it in warm water.

Now, let the stain sit in this soapy water solution for at least an hour. This will help loosen all the remaining stains from the cloth. 

Step 4: Wash Off the Stain

Finally, wash off the stain in your washing machine post soaking. Make sure you don’t put it in with other clothes to avoid contact staining. You can use popular stain-cleaning solutions such as Oxiclean or Amodex to get the final clean results.

Preventing Future Stains

In order to avoid any future stains from oil paint, make sure you wear an old cloth when painting with oil paint. Additionally, you can make use of an artist apron to ensure that stains don’t make their way to your clothes. 

Even if you do get a stain on your cloth, make sure you act fast and get rid of the wet paint as soon as possible.


  • When scraping wet oil paint stains, make sure you avoid smudging it to other areas.
  • Check whether the fabric can be soaked in mineral spirits or paint solvents before pre-treating.
  • Always wear an artist apron to avoid any stains from happening in the first place.
  • Make sure you use lukewarm water to get rid of the excess oil paint stain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: How do you get dried oil paint off?

First, start by scraping off the dried paint as much as possible from the cloth. Next, soak the stain in mineral oils such as turpentine to loosen the remaining paint. Now, soak the cloth in warm water and a detergent solution. Finally, wash it in the machine or give it a good rinse. Here is a quick video that will help you learn more about the process.

Q: Is oil paint hard to get off clothes?

Oil paint can be very difficult to get rid of from basically every surface, including clothes. Make sure you act quickly and get rid of the paint while it is wet. 

Q: Does vinegar remove paint from clothing?

Yes, hot vinegar can help remove paint stains from your clothing. Allow the solution to sit on the stain for 15 minutes or so. However, you might also have to practice caution in this method as the warm vinegar solution might damage your fabric. 

Q: Will rubbing alcohol remove oil-based paint?

Yes, oil paints contain non-polar particles which can easily be dissolved with the help of highly concentrated non-polar particles found in the isopropyl alcohol. Given that oil paint is known to dry slowly, it can also be removed without having to worry about time running out.

Final Word

Remember, when using water-based paint such as acrylic paint, you might have to act as fast as possible.

However, with oil-based paint, you get a good window to clean off the paint from clothing before it dries off completely. The drier your stains, the stronger it bonds with the fabric.

So, your best bet is to act as fast as possible. Make sure you study the fabric used and opt for a cleaning method accordingly to avoid fabric damage. 

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Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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