How Can I Clean Up Paint That Fell on My Carpet?

Carpet Cleaning

Doing a bit of interior painting can be a great way of giving your house new life or transforming the property you just bought into your dream home. But then the moment you dread occurs: you see a giant blob of paint fall off your paint brush and hit an uncovered space on your carpet. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways that you can remove paint from carpet before it stains. The right method, however, depends on the type of paint you were using.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint, also called water-based paint, is easy to clean up if it hasn’t dried. Simply take a damp paper towel and blot the spill. Don’t scrub it since that will only spread the paint around. If the stain has dried, though, you’re going to need to get some dish soap and hot water. Mix the two together and apply the mixture to the stain. Let it sit for several minutes or until you can tell that the paint has softened. Next, take a pin or a knife and begin scraping the stain away from the carpet. You may need to apply more of the soap and water solution as you work. If you still can’t get the stain off the carpet, you may need to use a steamer.

Oil Paint

While you may not think to reach for oil paint for your house, you may need it if you live in a historic home. Oil paint is trickier to work with than water-based paint, but removing it from carpet is actually quite similar. You should blot at the paint stain if it hasn’t dried, but if it has, you’ll need a carpet steamer. Use the steamer directly on the area that is stained. As you’re hitting it with the hot steam, use a pin or needle to break the stain into several pieces. Continue to do this until you’ve broken up the stain. The more you break it apart, the less noticeable it will become.


Like water-based and oil paints, wet latex paint should be blotted up with a damp paper towel or other cloth. Scrubbing at the area only pushes the paint down into the fibers of the carpet, making it much more difficult to ever get the area clean. For dried latex paint, you will need to create a solution of one teaspoon dishwashing soap and one cup lukewarm water. Make certain you’re using mild detergent. Next, apply the mixture to the paint stain. This should moisten it so that you can blot the paint up.

Work your way into the stain from the edges, gently blotting as you go. You may also use a steam iron to help loosen the dried paint. Once you’ve gotten up as much paint as you can, let the area dry. Finally, vacuum the stained part of the carpet. The remaining paint should come off under the suction. If it doesn’t, repeat the process.

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