Americans spend millions of dollars on home renovation projects each year, many of which involve paint. While painting the outdoors of your home is something better left to professionals, painting the interior is something anyone can do.
Rolling walls and cutting in corners may not be difficult, but removing paint from your carpet can be. Whether you’re an artist with a penchant for acrylics or have used this water-based paint for interior walls in your home, our guide will teach you how to get rid of acrylic paint on carpet.
All About Acrylic Paint
Before we get to our quick cleaning tips, we want to take a minute to talk about paint. Most paint spills in the home come from oil or acrylic paints. Oil-based paint can soak deeply into fibers and don’t dry as fast as acrylics, which are a water-based paint.
There are dozens of techniques for removing both types of paint in the crafting world. Rubbing alcohol can remove acrylic paint from clothing with some help from a toothbrush and a bit of elbow grease. Hairspray and Windex are two more popular options for reducing or removing paint stains on fabrics.
It’s also common to see homeowners and artists alike use substances like acetone, ammonia mixes, and denatured alcohol when you want to remove wet or dry acrylic paint from a surface. We have even seen people use WD-40 to deal with stains from oil paints as unbelievable as that may sound.
Do you know what all of those techniques have in common? They are used on clothing and surfaces like wood or metal. That means they aren’t necessarily the best option for carpet, especially with the wealth of “safe” cleaning agents available.
You can find thousands of amazing cleaning tricks for acrylic paint stains on YouTube or TikTok, but are they worth potentially ruining your carpet?
Professional Cleaning Advice from Top Manufacturers
A quick Google search will give you dozens of methods to remove acrylic paint on carpet from DIY enthusiasts around the web. While they may work, we took a different approach by providing guidance from the world's top carpet manufacturers. While these tips are brand-specific, they should work with most styles of carpet.
Advices from Mohawk
- 1st Method
Mohawk has a variety of residential carpeting under their brand name and through Karastan. They also have a cleaning guide for consumers that have stains on their carpet, including acrylic paint. For SmartStrand and other high-quality carpets from the company, you’ll need to mix a solution with 1 cup of water and ¼ teaspoon of clear dishwashing detergent.
Apply this mixture with a clean white cloth, but don’t saturate the carpet. Gently wipe the spot while working the mixture into the fibers of the carpet. When you are satisfied, rinse the area with lukewarm water, then blot the area with a white towel. You can place towels over the spot and weigh them down, checking and changing them until your carpet is dry.
- 2nd Method
If that doesn’t work, the company recommends using a mixture of 2 tablespoons of non-bleaching, non-sudsing household ammonia with a cup of lukewarm water. While you will apply and use the same cleaning process with this mixture, do not dry the spot with paper towels. Instead, you need to mix a ½ cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of lukewarm water and apply that to neutralize the ammonia. When complete, you can proceed to dry the carpet.
Advices from Shaw
- Similar Method to Mohawk
Shaw is another company with several popular carpet collections in their arsenal, and one of their processes to remove acrylic paint from carpet is similar to Mohawks. That means you’ll need white towels or paper towels, clear dishwashing detergent, and plenty of lukewarm water.
They also recommend using a heavy object like a jug of water or a gallon of paint inside of a smooth bottom baking dish to help dry the spot after cleaning. The weight will help speed the drying process, while the smooth bottom of the dish keeps indentations out of the carpet.
They don’t mention using ammonia or other natural methods, however, if the paint doesn’t come up, you’ll want to consider something from our carpet cleaning tools section.
- How to Clean DreamWeaver PureColor carpet
If the carpet is from Shaw’s Dream Weaver collection, the company says you can try a 25% solution of bleach and water (1:3) in a spray bottle. The mixture will need to sit on the carpet for at least 15 minutes before rinsing with water to remove the residue. This process is only suitable for Dream Weaver PureColor carpet, however.
Advice from StainMaster
Our last piece of professional advice comes from the minds at StainMaster, a company well-known for their stain-resistant carpeting. While their products are certainly resilient, they are not resistant to acrylic paint. The easiest method from the company involves the same mixture of clear dish soap and warm water, which is rinsed with cold water. They also mention dry cleaning fluid and liquid spot removers but do not provide further details.
Recommended Cleaning Tools for Acrylic Paint
In our research, we found that 90% of carpet manufacturers recommend that homeowners use dishwashing detergent for acrylic paint stains. Sometimes that just won’t cut it, which can leave you in a lurch searching for aftermarket cleaning solutions. In this part of our guide, we’re going to touch on some of the more popular choices available to consumers today.
The first two cleaners we want to recommend are produced by carpet manufacturers. If you have carpet from Shaw, you’ll want to consider picking up a bottle of their R2X Carpet Stain & Soil Remover. It’s sold in a 32-ounce spray bottle, making application a breeze, and does not leave residue behind.
While Anderson Tuftex is also owned by Shaw, they have their own eco-friendly Green Carpet Stain Remover. Both of those products are safe to use on any type of carpet but far from the only options. Simple Green has a number of biodegradable cleaning products, including this nonionic carpet cleaner.
EnivrOx’s H2Orange2 cleaning solution is a hydrogen peroxide-based formula designed for carpet, but versatile enough to be used on a wide variety of surfaces . If you just need a small bottle of cleaner instead of concentrate, Spot Shot Professional is an excellent option that can remove substances like paint and red wine. We’re also fans of Carpet Stain Extinguisher, a carbonated spot remover designed to lift stains from deep within the fibers.
If you have thick wool carpet in your home, there are plenty of options, including ForceField’s SoilBlaster Carpet Cleaner and this carpet and rug Dry Cleaning Kit from Capture. All of these cleaners in this section have been certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute. That means they are safe to use on carpets as they won’t affect the color and contain no optical brighteners.
We highly recommend using certified products if you want to keep your carpet in great shape, but realize that may not always be an option. With that in mind, there are dozens of highly-rated spot cleaners capable of removing water-based stains like acrylic paint from carpet.
Bissell is a brand our readers will be familiar with as they make some of the best carpet cleaners for residential use. They also have a comprehensive line of carpet cleaning accessories, including the Professional Power Shot Oxy Spot Cleaner. This aerosol-based solution features StainLife technology and is biodegradable with no VOCs.
While it’s a great all-around cleaner for carpets, Goo Gone’s Latex Paint Cleaner is designed for acrylics and other water-based paints. The final product we want to touch on will be of particular interest if you have wool carpet in your home. The WoolClean Spot Removal Kit is a complete system geared for both water and oil-based stains on wool carpets and rugs. It’s recommended by companies like Karastan and great to have on hand in case a carpet emergency arises.
Cleaning Tips for Carpet with Acrylic Paint
Whenever you spill paint on the carpet, whether it’s a splatter or puddle, the first thing you need to do is act quickly as time is of the essence. While “most” carpet manufacturers have a similar process behind stain removal, the overall condition and style of carpet in your home can also impact how easy it is to clean. Regardless of the fiber type, here are a few rules to remember when removing stains from carpet.
- Blot stains lightly with clean white cloths or paper towels.
- Work from the center of the stain towards the center.
- Test cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous spot beforehand.
- Consult your manual or the manufacturer before using third-party cleaners that aren’t recommended.
- Scrub stains as that can damage fibers and will only work the paint deeper into the carpet.
- Oversaturate your carpet with any type of cleaning solution, natural or commercial.
- Use anything sharp to remove excess paint. Spoons, spatulas, and putty knives work well.
- Place heavy objects that are not colorfast on towels during the drying process.
As our guide shows, you’ll never need to panic over an acrylic paint spill if you know how to remove it from carpet. Remember to keep our tips in mind, and don’t hesitate to call in a professional for stubborn stains before they set. Be sure to check out our guide if you’d like to learn more about stain removal and keeping your carpet clean.