By Daley Quinn
April 14, 2021
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Accidents happen, we get it. When wet paint lands on your carpet, your first reaction might be to freak out, but getting it out of your new white rug is easier than you might think. Below, Samantha Hodges, Director of Digital Marketing at Rugs.com in Charlotte, North Carolina, explains how to remove paint effortlessly.

Start with proper cleaning supplies:

The key to cleaning anything is to be prepared. "Make sure supplies are stocked so that when a spill happens, and spills do happen, you are ready," says Hodges. Here are a few items she suggests to have on-hand:

•Clean white cloths or paper towels
•Dish soap or detergent
•Putty knife
•Gentle scrub brush
•Water
•All-purpose rug cleaner, like Uni-Cleaner

It's always smart to keep an all-purpose rug cleaner handy when you need to tackle a spill on rugs or carpet. "It safely cleans the toughest stains (like fruit juice, oil, ketchup, wine, coffee, or salsa) from upholstery, carpet, and other water-safe fabrics," explains Hodges. "It protects from oily stains and soil by penetrating the fabric with unique loom soil and stain repellent." Your fabric will resist re-soiling, become easier to clean, and stay soft. 

How to remove water-based paint from carpet:

Hodges' step-by-step tips for removing water-based paint:

Step 1. Be sure to act as quickly as possible when paint spills. Water-based paint spreads relatively quickly, so catching a stain early can prevent further damage from being done to your rug or carpet.

Step 2. Gather what you need to work on the stain. A clean cloth, mild soap or detergent (that doesn't contain bleach), a gentle scrubbing brush, and an all-purpose rug cleaner should be handy in this type of situation.

Step 3. Soak up as much excess paint as possible before working on the stain with paper towels. 

Step 4. Focus on working on the paint that has soaked into the carpet by adding small amounts of water. Be careful not to add too much water, you don't want to make the paint spread further and create a larger stain. 

Step 5. Blot, never rub. Rubbing a stain causes it to spread and could embed it more deeply into the fibers. Blotting helps pull stains up and out of the rug's surface, preventing them from seeping into the binding. This is particularly important with water-based stains, as water in the rug's binding can result in mildew.

Step 6. Repeat by pouring small amounts of water and continue to blot, blot, blot. Be patient. It may take multiple tries to see improvement or get rid of the paint stain completely.

Step 7. Tackle any paint left on the carpet or rug by creating a soap and water solution and continuing to blot. A detergent and water solution can be used as well but before using any detergent on a carpet, make sure there is no bleach in the mix. Don't overdo the dish soap or you will have a bigger mess. Just use small amounts and be sure to mix with water. 

Step 8. If water and soap haven't removed the stain completely, now is the time to try a carpet cleaning solution that is designed specifically to help tackle tough stains. Commercially available cleaners are tested for effectiveness and safety but make sure you follow the step-by-step directions on the bottle. Before you treat any carpet or rug with chemicals or cleaning solution, double-check that the solution is okay to use on your carpet. 

Final Step. If all else fails, don't be afraid to call in a pro. Professional rug and carpet cleaners know the best techniques to remedy staining without damaging your rug or compromising the integrity of the design or pile.

Spilled Paint on Carpet
Credit: Getty Images

How to remove an oil-based paint stain from carpet:

Hodges' tips for removing an oil-based paint.

Step 1. Act fast. Time is of the essence when you are tackling any stain but especially when it comes to oil-based paint. Oil-based stains can cling to the fibers of your rug relatively quickly, so be sure to begin removing the stain as quickly as possible to avoid a lasting stain.

Step 2. Get your cleaning supplies so they are nearby and ready to help treat the paint spill. Water, putty knife, mild soap or detergent (that doesn't contain bleach), a gentle scrubbing brush or cloth, and a rug cleaner are great to have handy in this situation. When choosing a rug cleaner, look for one designed with oil stains in mind. It will help strip the oil from your rug or carpet fibers without stripping color or hurting the integrity of the fibers themselves.

Step 3. Start by removing excess paint from the carpet with a putty knife. Gently place the knife under the spill and scrape up the paint. Repeat until you remove as much excess paint as possible. Do not scrub with the knife as it may make the stain worse. 

Step 4. Once you've gotten rid of the excess paint, it's time to treat the paint left on the carpet. Start with a homemade cleaning solution of a mild detergent or dish soap mixed with cold water to remove the remainder of the stain. Carpets and rugs are made of many different types of materials and some chemicals can damage them. If you don't know the materials used in your carpet, small amounts of soapy water is usually a good, safe place to start but keep in mind that some rug materials such as natural fibers like jute or sisal could be ruined with too much water.

Step 5. Blot small amounts of the soapy water with a clean cloth. Always, always, always blot. Never rub. Rubbing may cause the paint to embed deeper into the rug's fibers and damage your rug further.

Step 6. Remain calm if the paint stain doesn't go away immediately. It may take several rounds of blotting with the soapy water mix. Try not to use too much water on the carpet as it may cause the paint stain to spread. Some carpet materials might also need a soft brush to help with the stain but if you aren't sure, a cloth or paper towels are always the safest choice.

Step 7. If the stain is still present, treat the carpet with a commercial cleaning solution. The best way to clean a rug is to use a purpose-made rug cleaner. Take advantage of the research and science behind cleaners but before using it on your rug, be sure to read the bottle for step-by-step directions and determine if it is safe with the materials in your rug. 

Final Step. Since not all paints, rugs, or spills are created equal, don't rule out calling a professional rug and carpet cleaner. They have seen it all when it comes to spills and carpet stains and know the best techniques to remedy staining without damaging your rug or compromising the integrity of the design or pile.