How to Remove Latex Paint

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What You'll Need
Lukewarm Water
Dish-washing Detergent
Putty Knife

Knowing how to remove latex paint can be important. Latex paint is easy to accidentally get on surfaces where you are working. Because latex paint is water-based, you will find that there are several things that you will be able to do that will help you remove it from surfaces. Just remember, the sooner that you can get to the paint the better. This is because it is easier to clean while it is still wet. However, it is not impossible to get rid of dried paint on most surfaces. Here is how to get latex paint off a few common surfaces.

Woodwork or Glass

Whenever you have latex paint on woodwork or glass, you will find that the best way to remove the paint is with a little bit of turpentine. Use only a small amount as turpentine is extremely strong. Simply get a cloth and wipe at the paint until it is gone. The turpentine will soften any dried paint and it will eventually be able to be wiped clean. Try not to use a sharp instrument to get rid of the paint as it can scratch up the surface. You may also want to test it in an inconspicuous area to see if the turpentine discolors the wood finish.

a paintbrush with pink paint on a gray carpet


Whenever you are working with carpet, you will need to make sure that you are able to soak up as much paint as possible before it has a chance to completely dry. A simple detergent will typically work wonders when it comes to getting rid of the spill that you have caused with the paint. Get a clean ragout and attempt to blot up as much of the paint as you can. You will need to keep doing this until you can get no more paint with the rag. Dampen the area with a sponge to make it go faster and easier. If these stains are older, then you may need to get lukewarm water mixed with dishwashing detergent. Apply this mixture onto the stain and give it time to soak in. Blot it dry with a clean cloth after you have done this. Repeat as needed. After the carpet has completely dried, use your vacuum.


As long as the clothing with latex paint on it is not dry clean only, you will usually be able to use a putty knife to try and scrape off as much of the paint as you can. Once you have done this, rinse the clothing underneath warm water right away. After you have rinsed it, put it into a washing machine as soon as possible. Check the article after washing and rewash if the paint is not gone. The dryer will set the stain making it more difficult to remove.

paint remover and brushes

Other Options

If worse comes to worse you may need to go to your local home improvement store and purchase specially made paint removal products. It is important that you read the instructions carefully before you purchase it to make sure that it will work with what you have. Some paint removers may only remove certain types of paint or only work on specific surfaces.