How to get paint out of the carpet in 3 easy steps

A paintbrush with pink paint which has spilled on the carpet
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re frantically searching for how to get paint out of the carpet, odds are the obvious has happened. Whether you’re painting the walls, learning how to paint a ceiling, or getting creative with the kids, it’s all too easy for drops of paint to splatter across the carpet pile. And once it’s dried-on, it can be a tough customer to remove.  

Don’t panic though, getting paint out of carpet is not impossible and can be achieved with just a few household products and some elbow grease. Here, we will take you through exactly what you need to do to get your carpet looking like new again. Here’s how to get paint out of the carpet. 

But if you do decide to go with wallpaper for your rooms, here's how to wallpaper a room like a pro. Remember, you can always rent or buy a carpet cleaner as well if all else fails. Also, if you have stains on leather, here's how to clean leather to restore its shine

How to get paint out of the carpet 

You’ll need to act quickly if you’re dealing with a fresh spill — the faster you clean it, the easier it will be to remove. Don’t worry if your paint has dried-on though, here we cover how to remove both fresh and dried-in stains. 

A selection of tins of paint with paintbrushes surrounding them

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

1. First, you need to identify the type of paint on your carpet. The type will vary the cleaning method and tools required so this is important. Check the tin or packaging it came from to confirm. You need to clarify whether it’s latex, acrylic or water-based paint, or oil-based paint. 

2. Now, you’ll want to remove the excess paint from your carpet. If you’re dealing with a fresh spill, carefully remove the top layer of the puddle using a spoon or dry towel, although be very careful not to further spread it. Pick it up with a scooping motion or gently blot, until you’re left with paint on the fibers of the carpet. Whatever you do, don’t scrub the stain as this will further embed the paint. 

If you’re dealing with dried paint, use a utility knife to chip away at the excess. Be careful you don’t damage your carpet while you do this. Then, use one of the best vacuum cleaners to pick up the dried flakes of paint once you’ve removed what you can.

3. Next, comes the tricky part, removing the remaining paint. The best method for this will depend on the type of paint: 

Latex, acrylic or water-based paint 

A small dog surrounded by spilled paint pots on the carpet and markers

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If this is the type of paint you’re dealing with, the good news is it’s much easier to clean. The answer to removing this is simple: soap and water.

Apply warm soapy water directly to the stain using a clean microfiber cloth. Try to blot rather than scrub so you don’t press in the stain and work your way from the outside in. The paint should start to soften if it’s dried-in and dissolve. You can use a dull knife to remove it at this stage or blot it away. Be careful not to over-saturate your carpet — pat the excess moisture away with a dry towel if necessary. 

If the stain remains you can also go over it with a carpet cleaner, such as the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Full Size Upright Carpet Cleaner ($196, Amazon), or you can try using rubbing alcohol to shift it with the same blotting method, but be sure to test this on an inconspicuous area first.   

Once the stain is removed, simply rinse the area with a clean, damp microfiber cloth, and then blot dry as best you can using a dry cloth or towel. 

Oil-based paint 

Tins of oil-based paint next to paintbrushes and rollers

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Oil-based paint naturally contains oils, which makes it resistant to moisture and therefore very difficult to remove. But, it’s not impossible to clean this off. 

First, if you’re dealing with a fresh stain, be sure to continue blotting with a dry towel until you’ve removed as much as possible. Remember — blot, don’t scrub. Next, you need to apply a solvent to help break up the paint. Use the one recommended on the tin, be it paint thinner, turpentine or mineral spirits. If no guidance is given, go with turpentine ($14.99, Amazon). Be sure to ear gloves and open a window before continuing. 

Test your solvent on an inconspicuous area first to be sure it won’t discolor your carpet. Once you’re happy, apply it to the paint stain using a clean microfiber cloth and a dabbing motion. As the paint transfers onto the cloth, you will need to use fresh sections of the cloth to avoid reapplying. Continue doing this until the color stops transferring onto your cloth and the stain is removed. This method takes time, but it is effective. 

If you’ve picked up as much as you can, but some discoloration remains, blot the area with hot soapy water or pass over it with a carpet cleaner for a final touch. 

Now rinse and dry your carpet, removing as much of the excess moisture as possible. 

Your carpet should now be looking good as new. If the above method has failed to remove the paint stain, you might have to resort to a professional. Or alternatively, depending on the size of the stain, you can lay down some fresh carpet and give your floors a new lease of life. 

For more home and DIY tips check out our guides on how to remove red wine stains, how to clean painted walls to remove stains and how to grout tiles in 5 simple steps

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.