How to Remove Acrylic Paint

Are you here because you want to learn how to clean acrylic paint? Then we assure you that we will show you the best way to clean acrylic paint.

While acrylic paint is used by many for various purposes, stains are more common and therefore require cleaning.

If you want to clean the acrylic paint stain, you need to look for the best method, regardless of whether the stain was caused by you, your children, or your pets.

Removing acrylic paint from your precious materials will not be a challenge with the myriad of methods that can work effectively.

After reading this post, you will undoubtedly have gathered enough information on how to clean acrylic paint from any material surface effectively.

To get started, let’s first tell you about the solutions that can effectively remove acrylic paint stains.

How to Remove & Clean Acrylic Paint

1. Ammonia solution

Ammonia solution to clean acrylic paint

Ammonia is one of the potent substances that can remove both dry and semi-dry acrylic paint stains. It works best on non-porous surfaces like metal, glass, or plastic.

The solution works by stabilizing the acrylic emulsion by increasing the ph. Another ammonia solution contains detergents that can keep the dissolved particles in suspension with water for easier cleaning.

However, using an ammonia solution requires a certain amount of care. The solution vapors and cleaning process should preferably be carried out outdoors without a hood or chamber. Very rarely, however, the vapors can cause allergic reactions.

It’s also worth noting that ammonia solution is not applied to clean airbrushes or regular paintbrushes. The solution is strong at dissolving brass and can dissolve the brass coating on the brushes.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol bottle

The second substance that you can use to remove acrylic paint from your material is rubbing alcohol. Also known as isopropyl, the solution is very effective at removing dried acrylic paint from material surfaces. Like ammonia, rubbing alcohol is effective for non-porous material surfaces.

Compared to ammonia, rubbing alcohol is readily available and inexpensive. For better results, it is recommended that the rubbing alcohol has a concentration of 99%.

It works with its solvent activity on acrylic binders, which effectively removes acrylic paint stain from cotton or other natural fabrics. Soak the material and rub off the stains with the old brush.

3. Denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol bottle to remove paint

The third substance you can effectively use to remove acrylic paint stains from your precious materials is denatured alcohol. It is slightly stronger than rubbing alcohol but can still be used on materials like plastic.

Unlike rubbing alcohol, denatured alcohol does not contain water and comes with ethyl and methyl alcohol, powerful solvents.

When applying this solution to clean acrylic paint stain from your material, it is important to note that it requires high maintenance. The substance contains methanol, a strong poison and, like any other alcohol, is flammable. Therefore, the cleaning process should be initiated so that there is good ventilation and away from sources of fire.

4. Acetone

Acetone to remove acrylic paint

Acetone is another powerful substance that can effectively remove acrylic paint from hard-to-reach areas that cannot be scrubbed.

The substance is solid and should not be used on plastics or synthetic fabrics. It is only recommended for non-porous material surfaces such as glass or metal.

It is also flammable and can burn if exposed to a source of fire. Acetone solution should be kept in metal cans for safety reasons.

5. Paint thinner

Paint thinner

If you want to remove acrylic paint from glass or metal, you can still use paint thinner. However, it should be noted that paint thinner contains toluene and methanol, which are toxic and should be handled with care.

It is recommended that acrylic paint stain cleaning with paint thinner be carried out outdoors.

6. Dishwashing detergent

Dishwashing detergent bottle

If you don’t have the above-described solutions but still need to clean acrylic paint stains from your precious materials, you can use dishwashing detergent, which is a very common substance that you can hardly miss in any home kitchen.

Dishwashing detergent is a very effective cleaner for wet acrylic paint stain. It may not be effective on dried acrylic paint stain and if you are faced with the dried case, use the other substances that we recommended above.

How to remove acrylic paint stain from common surfaces

acrylic paint removing materials

 After knowing what substances you can use to clean these stubborn acrylic paints stains, now is the time to learn how to use these substances on various material surfaces.

Removing acrylic paint stain from wood

Removing acrylic paint stains from wood shouldn’t be difficult if you use the right cleaners we recommended in the sections above. You can safely and effectively remove water-based acrylic paint stains from the wood surface.

The first option is to clean it with water. However, this should be done immediately after the mess.

But for the most part, we discover the clutter when it has dried, and it becomes a challenge to clean it up.

Even if you’ve spotted the stain while it was dry and found it to be insoluble in water, several other methods can still be used to remove those stubborn acrylic paint stains.

Whether the stain is still wet or dry, the methods to be used are easily accessible and inexpensive. It’s not a must-have for a power tool or sophisticated device to remove acrylic paint stain from wood.

Just follow the steps below.

Remove wet acrylic paint from the wood surface

The cleaning process only works if the paint has not dried and should be started immediately after the paint comes into contact with wood. Regardless of the size of the stain, make sure you have the following;

  • Cleaning rags
  • Mild detergent
  • Bowl of water

Then follow the steps.

  • Put a mild detergent in your bowl of water
  • Then soak your rag in the resulting solution
  • Wipe the acrylic stain off your wooden surface

The method should work if initiated within 20 minutes of spilling acrylic paint on wood. If it takes more than 20 minutes, these steps are not effective, and you most likely need a tougher solution, which is explained in the section below.

Remove dry acrylic paint stain from the wood surface

Acrylic paint dries quickly, and after 20 minutes in contact with wood, it would have dried. There is no doubt that removing dried acrylic paint stains from the wood surface is challenging, but we have effective solutions.

Many people are more likely to have the problem of removing dried acrylic paint from the wood surface than wet acrylic paint. This is because it dries out quickly, and in most cases, the clutter is discovered when it is already dry.

There is a minimal chance that water and dish soap can effectively remove dried acrylic paint stains. Use the following substances for efficient cleaning.

Use acetone or rubbing alcohol to remove dry acrylic paint stain from the wood surface

The best substance to remove dried acrylic paint from the wood surface is acetone or rubbing alcohol.

Acetone has been used effectively to remove nail polish, and it can also be used effectively to remove acrylic paint stains from the surface of the wood. Rubbing alcohol can be used where acetone is not available.

While either of these two substances works effectively, some additional tips are needed to make the entire cleaning process easier. The added tip is to soften the paint stain before applying acetone or rubbing alcohol.

What you will need

  • Bottle of acetone / rubbing alcohol
  • Cleaning rags
  • Paint scraper/spatula knife
  • Damp cloth
  • Soap

How to soften acrylic paint stains

how to clean acrylic paint

Just put a few drops of olive oil on the stain and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Then use a spatula or paint scraper to scrape off the stains as much as possible. Then apply your removal substance. Adding olive oil to the stain will make it softer and make it easier to remove the stain.

If you skipped the step of softening the stains, use the paint scraper to remove the stains as much as possible. However, be careful not to use too much force, which can damage the surface itself. Remember, our goal is the stain, not the surface.

Then pour your acetone or grating oil onto your cleaning rag.

Start gently wiping the area. There is no doubt that you should see the stain peel off since acrylic paint is water-based.

 Repeat the steps two to three times to see that most, if not all, of the stains are removed. After wiping to your satisfaction, use a damp cloth to clean the area. You can also put a little soap on the damp cloth and remove any paint or solution residue.

If acetone or rubbing alcohol is left on the wood, it can damage the surface and should be wiped off with a damp cloth and a little soap.

Use a heat gun to clean dried acrylic paint stain from the wood surface

You can also use a heat gun and effectively remove dried acrylic paint stain from the wood surface. The method works by exposing the stain to a high temperature.

A heat gun can generate a temperature over a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, which causes the stained area to puff and thus peel off in seconds.

 To use this method, you will need the following:

  • Heat gun
  • Cleaning rags
  • Respiratory protection
  • Pair of thick gloves
  • Soft brush

Put on your thick gloves before anything else. They protect you from the high temperatures generated by your heat gun, which can cause burns.

After putting on your thick gloves, first clean the target area with a clean rag. This step removes any dirt or debris that may be on the target site.

Then plug your heat gun into a power source and turn it on. Aim your heat gun at the target point and slowly move it around. Within a few seconds, you should see the stain bubbling.

The moment the stain starts bubbling, stop and use a soft brush to remove the stain.

The method must work and must not use force to remove the acrylic paint stains from the wood surface.

Remember not to use your heat gun on wood for more than a minute. Long use can damage your wooden surface.

Removing acrylic paint stain from Clothing

There are several ways to remove acrylic paint stain from clothing. Here we give some of the effective steps to follow.

Removing acrylic paint from the clothing surface with ammonia solution

What you need

  • Dry brush/spoon
  • Water
  • Ammonia solution
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sponge

To remove acrylic paint stain from clothing, first, scrape it off as much as possible with a dry brush. You can also use a spoon.

Then soak the affected clothing for a few minutes in a bowl of water and empty it by pressing out the water. To do this easily, you can press the cloth onto a hard surface such as a sink. This will ensure that the cloth is damp and not wet.

It would help if you then prepared a solution combination of white vinegar, ammonia, and salt. Gently rub the solution on the target area with a sponge.

Rinse the clothes and see if the stains have been removed. If not, repeat the steps until you are satisfied.

After confirming that most, if not all, of the acrylic paint stain, has been removed, either hand or machine wash your clothes as usual.

However, be sure to remove all the stains before putting your cloth in a dryer.

Remove acrylic paint stain from the cloth surface with rubbing alcohol

What you need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Butter knife / old toothbrush

Start by soaking the affected cloth in rubbing alcohol. The solution should have a higher concentration to work effectively. It’s also worth testing the rubbing alcohol on a cloth first to ensure it doesn’t bleach. However, it’s uncommon for rubbing alcohol to bleach your cloth, but test first to be sure.

After soaking the affected area in rubbing alcohol for about 15 minutes, use a butter knife or old toothbrush to scrape off the paint stain. If you’ve waited a long time, it shouldn’t be difficult to scrape the stains off the cloth.

Repeat the steps until all stains are scraped off the cloth. It’s not worth the fact that it takes a while to remove all of the acrylic paint stains from the cloth. It would take a minimum of three repetitions of these procedures to remove most of the stain with rubbing alcohol.

Remove acrylic paint from the cloth surface with dishwashing detergent

As the most common substance that should not be missing in any home kitchen, dishwashing detergent can also clean acrylic paint stains on clothes.

To start, make sure you have:

  • warm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Sponge / lint-free cloth

make a proportional solution of dishwashing detergent and warm water. Then turn the affected garment inside out and rinse with warm water. The step is ideal for dislodging and removing some of the acrylic paint stains as much as possible.

Rub the mixture you made on the affected area with something like a sponge. A lint-free cloth can also be sufficient. It would help if you used some force at this step, but with a little caution to not rub too hard. If you overdo it, the stain can spread to other areas, which we don’t want.

After you’ve removed most, if not all, of the stain, rinse your cloth with water and see if you are happy with the results. If you don’t, repeat the steps until you have removed the acrylic paint stain as much as possible to your satisfaction.

Finally, wash and dry your cloth as usual. There is no doubt that the stains should have gone.

Removing acrylic paint stain from cloth surface using Acetone

If you are struggling to remove acrylic paint stains from your clothing, you can use acetone, which is a more effective solution that works more effectively. Just like rubbing alcohol, this solution is not recommended for plastics or synthetic fabrics.

Aside from removing acrylic paint stains from the cloth, it can be used to remove stains on hard-to-reach places that aren’t particularly possible to scratch.

As mentioned earlier, this substance can work well on non-porous surfaces like glass and metal.

One advantage of this solution over other materials is that it is easy to find. You can visit any hardware store or home improvement store and see if this substance is on their shelves.

Remove acrylic paint stains from fabric or carpet

It’s not that difficult to remove the acrylic paint stain from the carpet or other fabric. Tools such as needle-nosed pliers or spatula knives can be used to remove the stain as much as possible from the carpet, even when it is dry.

Then, you can soak a clean rag in rubbing alcohol solution and rub the target area to the soaking point. Leave it on for a few minutes. Then use a dry cloth to clean the area to remove the stain. Repeat the steps until all stains have been removed.

Removing acrylic paint stains from glass

You can use a sponge, ideally, one with two sides and is rougher, to scrub the affected area hard after soaking it in soapy water.

Rubbing the affected area with a rougher sponge soaked in soapy water should soften the paint and then be scrubbed off.

If the stain is still stubborn, you can easily scrape it off with something like a small knife. Then rinse off any scratches with water and dry the surface with a dry, clean cloth.

Removing acrylic paint stains from the skin

You can only use baby oil and rubbing alcohol to remove acrylic paint from the surface of your skin. Just start by rubbing baby oil on the affected area. This will help dissolve the stains for the cleaning process.

Then, put some rubbing alcohol on a clean rag and remove the stains.

Remove acrylic paint stain from canvas

Place a cloth soaked in denatured alcohol on the target area. The cloth should be left there for a few minutes until it dries. Check to see if the stains have been removed. If not, repeat the steps until all stains are removed. Then use dish soap and warm water to brush the affected area. Rinse off the soapy water and let your canvas dry.

Removing acrylic paint stains from brushes

 Dip your brush in a jar of rubbing alcohol and let it sit there for about five minutes. Then wear gloves and remove the loosened paint stains from the brush bristles. Finish by refurbishing your brushes.

Additional tips for cleaning acrylic paint stain

how to clean acrylic paint

While it is now clear that removing acrylic paint stains from any material substance will not be a challenge, there are a few additional tips to keep in mind for a successful cleaning process. This includes

  • Always read the instructions first before using any detergent. Instructions are included with each detergent container. It is the manual that will guide you in using the product safely. Failure to read the instructions can expose you to fire, irritation, and poisoning.
  • Always apply a specific detergent to a recommended material surface. This will ensure that you do not damage your valuable material.
  • Never try to mix cleaning substances on a material surface. Mixing solutions can cause a chemical reaction that can be harmful to you or your material.
  • Do not apply the detergent beyond the affected area or target area. This can damage or discolor your valuable material.


So here you have all the solutions on how to remove acrylic paint stains from any material surface. Choose the effective and perfect solution according to the recommended material surface. Also, always keep a few additional tips in mind when initiating the cleaning process.

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