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Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off?  

Paint can be messy... especially acrylics! The article describes and explains the various methods for washing off wet and dry acrylic paint.

Assorted colors of tubes of acrylics paints lined up in tray

Acrylic paint is made of pigment that is suspended in a polymer emulsion. This paint is essentially plastic. However, it is water-soluble when wet and does not harden into plastic until it dries. The trouble is it dries very quickly, and it can be difficult to remove once it does so.  So can acrylic paint wash off?

Acrylic paint can be washed out of clothes, skin, hair, leather, and shoes when it is wet and dry. Dishwashing soap and water, isopropyl alcohol, baby oil, and acetone are among the most effective agents used to remove acrylic paint.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Clothes?

People use acrylic paint for all kinds of purposes. If you are an artist or designer, then you probably use it regularly in your work. If you spill acrylic paint on your clothes by mistake, you need not panic. With proper treatment, acrylic paint can be washed out of clothes.

The paint will not likely come out of the clothes in a regular wash, unless the stain is fresh. In the latter case, you can blot the paint out immediately with a wet cloth. If the paint is already dried, you should try scraping away as much as you can off the surface of the cloth. You will then need to apply isopropyl alcohol, ammonia, or vinegar to dissolve the rest of the dried paint.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Your Skin?

It can be hard to get acrylic paint off your skin. If you had a minor mishap, you want to use the right methods for removing the substance. One of the good things about skin is that it is oily and non-permeable, which makes it hard for acrylic paint to stain it. To safely remove acrylic paint from your skin, you should act quickly and with the right substances to dissolve it.

If you have spilled paint on your skin and it has not dried, then you should treat the spot immediately. Once the paint has dried, it will start to solidify and become much harder to remove.

Here are some of the methods for removing acrylic paint from your skin:

Soap and Water

1. Run warm water of the affected area. The heat will loosen paint particles and make it easier to rinse away.

2. You should then apply a mild soap to the wash area. You can mix hand soap in a basin of water until it forms into a lather. You will then need to use a cloth to wash the area thoroughly. Be sure to apply firm pressure.

3. You should repeat and dry as many times as is necessary to get the stain out. The use of soap and water may not take out the paint stain on the first try. You may need to soap up again and again until it does.

Baby Oil

1. You will first need to wash the affected area with soap and warm water. You should get as much paint off as you can as you do so.

2. Dry the affected area with a towel before applying the baby oil. The latter will not be effective if the skin is wet.

3. Rub the baby oil into the skin. You should squeeze an ounce or two of baby oil directly onto the paint spot, and then massage it into the skin. To increase effectiveness, work the paint with your fingertips, a cotton ball, or a sponge.

Baby oil is a gentle and beneficial way of removing paint from the skin. It is much better than some of the harsher chemicals as a primary agent.

4. Once you have applied the baby oil and removed most of the paint, you can rinse away the few remaining flecks. Run warm water over the affected area again to do so.

Rubbing Alcohol

1. Wash the affected area with soap and water, and then pat it down with a towel until it is dry. This will ensure that the alcohol is not diluted, and that it has the maximum possible effect.

2. Apply the rubbing alcohol with a cloth or cotton ball. To do so, douse the material with an ounce of rubbing alcohol. The latter is a solvent for acrylic paint, and it will break down the paint immediately when applied to the skin. You should use pure rubbing alcohol.

3. You will then need to swab the affected area vigorously. Go over the paint spot with your alcohol doused cloth using small circular strokes to get the paint out of your skin’s surfaces. You will need to scrub the area until all the paint is gone, and reapply it as needed.

4. Rinse and dry the skin once you have completed the above. This will remove the final traces of the paint from your face. Keep in mind that isopropyl alcohol is a mild irritant to the skin. It can cause redness and irritation if it is not rinsed away.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Hair?

Washing acrylic paint out of your hair can be a pain, but using the right methods can ease the difficulty. When acrylic paint gets in your hair, it forms clumps on individual hair strands that resist combs and brushes. However, using shampoo and oil can help you remove the paint without doing damage to your scalp or hair.

Here are a couple of ways to get acrylic paint out of your hair:


1. Rinse your hair with warm water. Massage the affected parts of your hair with your fingertips. This is best done when in the shower.

2. Apply a liberal amount of shampoo to your hair and massage it in thoroughly. No special shampoo is required. Just your usual brand.

3. Let the shampoo sit for 10 to 20 minutes before washing it out.

4. Run a fine-toothed comb through your hair. Comb out the sections of your hair softened by the shampoo. You should also clean the comb periodically with your fingers to get residual pieces of paint out of it.

5. Rinse your hair again with warm water. Comb your fingers through your hair to remove lingering pieces of paint.

6. Use conditioner to help restore some of your hair’s moisture. You should let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing to ensure that your hair soaks up all the conditioner.


1. Rub olive oil or baby oil between your palms. Use enough to saturate your hair. If you have long hair, you will need to use a generous amount.

2. Rub your hands through the affected area. Check that the affected part of your hair is coated with the oil. Then allow it to sit for a few minutes. This will soften the paint, and make it easier to flake off.

3. Use a fine-toothed comb to remove the loosened paint. Make sure you do so gently so as not to pull your hair from its scalp.

If your hair gets tangled up, then you should start at the bottom and comb out the last inch. Then move up and comb the inch above that. Do this until you have reached your scalp and can glide a comb from root to tip.

4. You will then need to shampoo and rinse your hair. This is the best way to remove the oil. And you will want to remove this substance from your hair.

5. Use conditioner to moisturize your hair.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Leather?

Leather is a very durable material. It is also less absorbent than fabrics. Genuine leather can withstand permanent damage from stains and spills. And it can also survive an accidental spill of acrylic on it. It is better to deal with the spill when fresh. Once acrylic dries, it becomes harder to wash off.

Here are some tips for washing away wet and dry paint:

Wet Paint

1. Blot off the paint gently with paper towels or old rags. Take care to avoid smearing it all over the leather surface.

2. Fill a bucket with hot water and a mild bleach=free liquid soap.

3. Soak a sponge in the mixture. Wring out excess liquid and press the sponge on the affected area. Try to absorb as much of the paint as you can.

4. Rinse the sponge and repeat the above process until all the paint is removed.

5. Dry the leather with a clean cloth.

Dry Paint

1. Soak a small section of a paper towel or clean rage with olive oil and dab it onto the dried paint. Be sure to cover the entire stain with a generous layer of oil.

2. Allow this to sit for several minutes, which will soften the paint.

3. Wash away the spots of paint with cotton swabs or the edge of a dull knife. Ensure that you do not scratch the leather.

4. Scrub away any remaining paint with a toothbrush.

5. Then fill a bucket with hot water and a few drops of a mild bleach-free soap. Dip a sponge in the mixture and wipe over the stain. This should dissolve any remaining acrylic residue, and it will also absorb the olive oil.

6. Rinse the sponge and repeat until all paint and olive oil have been removed from the couch.

7. Wipe down the leather with a clean dry cloth or rag.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Shoes?

The last place you want acrylic paint is on your shoes. Unfortunately, accidents happen and you may have to remove such paint spots after a spill. Although it is easier to deal with the matter if the paint is wet, there are ways you can remove even dried acrylic paint from your canvas, suede, and leather shoes.

Here are a few tips:

Get Acrylic Out of Canvas

In the case of wet paint, grab a blunt knife and gently guide the paint off your shoes before it dries. Then rinse off your shoe with water to get rid of any residue.

In the case of dried acrylic paint, follow these instructions:

1. Scape off the dried paint with a blunt knife and toothbrush. Coax as much off with the knife. Anything left should be scrubbed off with a toothbrush. Try not to put too much pressure on the canvas or you will damage it.

2. Soak the freshly scraped shoe with warm tap water to get rid of the dried paint.

3. Grab a paper towel and soak up leftover paint.

4. Keep rinsing and blotting your canvas until all of the paint is gone.

5. You will then want to scrub the soles of your shoes with soapy water from a basin filled with it. You should feel free to scrub the sole of your shoe as hard as you can, as it is usually the tougher part of it.

6. If you still see paint, you should go over the affected area with acetone. You can do this by dipping a cotton ball in acetone and pressing it over the paint stain. Then rinse the canvas with warm water to get rid of leftover acetone.

Get Acrylic Out of Suade

7. When all this is done, let your shoes air-dry for several hours. Avoid sticking the shoes in the dryer, as that will only make them shrink. Be sure to let your shoes dry in a sunny and well-ventilated area. You can turn on a fan to help them dry faster.

Use a cotton swab to clean off any wet acrylic paint. You can wipe or scoop it.

If the paint has dried, do the following:

1. Scrape it off with a blunt knife. Handle the knife gently so as not to damage the suede.

2. Then mix a few drops of dish soap in a bowl of warm water until you see suds.

3. Pick up some of the soap suds with your hands and place them directly on the stain.

4. Wipe down the leftover paint with a clean rag.

5. Dry off the suds with a dry rug.

6. Blot away any leftover water and soap suds so that your suede shoes are mostly dry.

7. You should then use suede cleaner to restore your shoes.

8. Place the shoes in a well-ventilated area and let them air-dry.

9. Be sure to place a shoe tree in your suede shoes or else they will lose their shape.

Get Acrylic Out of Leather

Blot wet acrylic paint with a clean cloth or cotton swab. Press the cloth tight to the paint and scoop it off as possible. In other words, try not to rub the acrylic into the leather. Dab and pick up as much paint as you can without rubbing it into your shoes.

If the paint has dried, do the following:

1. Place the edge of a scraping knife on top of the dried paint. Gently scrape off as much paint as you. Be sure to keep your blade centered on the paint and not the leather. As a rule of thumb: always scrape on top the paint, never through the paint and onto your shoes.

2. Dip a clean cotton swab into olive oil and spread it around the paint stain.

3. Let the oil sit for 15 minutes or so., which will give the oil time to soak into the acrylic paint and loosen it up.

4. Use a dull knife to work away the remaining paint. Use smooth, gentle, circular motions to do so. If the paint is loose enough in some places, it may be better to scrape it off with a fingernail.

5. Soak a cloth in tap water until it is nice and damp.

6. Rub over the leather to get rid of leftover oil stuck to the surface.

7. Find a spot in your home that is airy and well-ventilated, and keep your shoes there for a few hours or until dry to the touch. Do not place your leather shoes near a heating vent, as it could dry out and damage them.


A spill accident with acrylic is not the end of the world. Wet acrylic paint is easily washed off. If you do not notice until some time later that you have spilled acrylic on your clothes, skin, leather, or shoes, it is still possible to remove it. Using the right removal agents and techniques will ensure you get the paint stains out without doing any damage to your item.