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How to get painting off the carpet

Spilling paint on the carpet is a big whoops. And if you’ve been where we’re been – completely frozen in poignant fear when you see a gallon of green paint slipping onto the carpet in your new rental – you know that acting quickly is a must when it comes to saving your carpet from paint stains.

Knowing how to get color off the carpet should be a preventative skill that you learn. Everyone who paints something in the home should know the basics before putting the lid on the jar of paint for something DIY – whether it is painting the walls or repainting a dresser in the living room.

We learned this tip from a professional painter a few years ago (see the incident with a gallon of green paint in a rental): the best way to get paint off the carpet involves boiling water, a spray bottle, a Shop-vac and rags.

Method one: The Shop-Vac method

shop vac cleaning carpet

If you have paint on the carpet, you need to act fast. The first step is to get very hot water, if not boiling water, and put it in a spray bottle. The most effective spray bottles are those with nozzles that have a very strong, sharp spray setting. The stronger and more direct the spray, the better. Spray the water directly into the carpet fibers so that the paint lifts up. When the paint lifts, grab Shop-Vac and soak up the paint water.

This process can be long, but it removes the paint from the carpet as long as it has not dried. You can also use an old cloth to soak up the paint water if you are working to clean up a large amount of paint.

If you do not own a Shop-Vac, there are places where you can rent one. But whether the vacuum is your own or rented, it is important to clean the paint after you are done. Hot soapy water works well and leaves the vacuum ready for other use.

Method two: Blot It

If you have only spilled a small amount of paint, you should bare. You can also use a hot water spray bottle with this method. The trick here is to not just scrub or rub. Blotting helps you soak up the paint without rubbing it into the carpet fibers.

hands spraying and drying to clean a carpet

Use old t-shirts and towels to soak up the mess. Microfiber cloths and other special cloths do not work well. Be sure to rinse the paint off the cloths you are using to expose, and change to a new cloth when the cloth you are using is too moist to absorb more paint.

Remove dry paint

Removing dried paint is your own animal. To begin, soak the stain in warm, warm water with a little detergent or powdered tide. Work the mixture into the stain and let it sit.

When the paint softens, use a butter knife to start pulling out lumps of paint. You can also use Shop-Vac (or another wet-dry vacuum cleaner) to soak up the paint and water mixture when you vacuum and scrape.

This process takes a long time and you will probably lose a rug or two. If you do not seem to be lucky with your water and soap mixture, mix vinegar and a small amount of detergent together and try to deal with the same method. You can also add lemon essential oil to this mixture for a little more stain removing power.

As a last resort, you can attack the stain with WD-40. And even though we have seen this DIY measure for removing wonders, it can damage the carpet under the paint.

wd-40 lubricant cans in a row

When the paint is out of the carpet, the threads can still be dyed. Use your favorite stain remover and see if the paint color disappears. We also recommend that you use lemon essential oil to remove stains and, if you are unsure, a highly rated carpet treatment.

If you discover that your painting adventures make you need a new rug, we have you covered there. If your painting adventures make you need a good carpet cleaning, we have also covered you there.

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