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How to Get Paint Out of the Carpet

Last Updated on January 2, 2020

How to Get Paint Out of the Carpet

Image credit: CC0 Public Domain, Max Pixel

While finding paint on the carpet can feel like a small crisis, the good news is that there are solutions. In this guide, we explore how you can get paint out of your carpet in a variety of different circumstances. Read on for a walkthrough that will help you get your house back in pristine condition.

If the Paint is Still Wet:

If the paint is still wet, you’re in the sweet spot. You still don’t want wet paint on your carpet, but it’s infinitely more appealing than the alternative.

When the paint is still wet, you’ll be able to lift much of the mess with relative ease simply by blotting it with a paper towel. Do be careful not to wipe, however, as that will likely only rub the paint deeper into the rug.

Remember, this means that time is of the essence when a spill has occurred. For best possible results, it is key to address the area immediately. Once the paint begins to dry, it can complicate the cleanup considerably.

What mess remains after you’ve blotted the problem area may be treated with the steps that are to follow.

wet paint on carpet

Image credit: Stephani Spitzer, Flickr

For Dry Paint:

If the paint has had the opportunity to dry, you’ll have a little more work on your hands before the cleanup is complete.

Begin by preparing a mixture of warm water and dish detergent. Carefully pour the solution onto the stained area, so the paint has the opportunity to soften.

After several minutes, the paint will hopefully have loosened. At this point, you can use a putty knife to (hopefully) scrape off the residual dried paint. It’s very possible that you’ll need to add additional solution as you continue to scrape.

If the paint is so thick that it can’t be scraped off with the help of the solution, additional measures may be necessary. Steam cleaners are an excellent way to loosen and lift dried paint.


In either instance, the type of paint you’re using may necessitate additional steps. If you’re using water-based paints, the above-listed measures should be sufficient.

However, if you’re using oil paint, you may also need stain remover, and the use of an upright carpet cleaner. It may take several passes with the cleaner before you see results, so be patient.

Similarly, if the stain persists after you’ve concluded your removal efforts, the carpet cleaner may be necessary. In any case, it’s a good idea to go over the area with a vacuum cleaner to lift additional debris.

dry paint on the carpet

Image credit: Ben+Sam, Flickr

Prevention Is Always the Path of Least Resistance

When it comes to post-painting cleanup, preventive measures always wind up being your best friend. Laying out tarps, tape, etc. takes a decent amount of time, but it isn’t nearly as labor-intensive as the process highlighted here.

Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. The more thorough you are in preparing your workspace, the less likely it is that catastrophe will ensue. No one has ever gotten themselves into trouble by putting down too many painting tarps.

safety painting on the floor

Image credit: Airman 1st Class Mikaley Kline, Air Combat Command


Unfortunately, there are limits to how successful DIY paint extraction efforts can be. Hopefully, the mess was small, discovered in a timely manner, and treated expertly with the steps illustrated in this guide.
If not, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance.

There are services available that can use industrial-strength techniques to successfully mitigate even very serious messes. It can be pricey, but not as pricey as a new carpet.

With any luck, though, the steps here will be sufficient to get your carpet back in tip-top shape.