Latex Paint Stain Removal

To purchase Motsenbocker's Lift Off #5, click here.

NEW Method

Motsenbocker's Lift Off #5 is biodegradable and water based paint removal product. It removes the following: latex low gloss, latex semi gloss, latex high gloss, paint overspray, sealer/primer stain, latex aerosol, wood stains, latex enamels, acrylic enamel, latex acrylic, water bases sealers, lacquer overspray, latex rustic stain, boiled linseed oils and latex solid/clear body stains. The product can be used on: street signs, tiles, carpets, brick, metal/alloys, formica, freeway signs, aluminum, vinyl, plastic, fabric, stainless steel, concrete, slate, vehicles and fiberglass. It works better than existing products; it works in the same reactionary time; it does not harm or stain surfaces applied on; it costs the same or less than other products and it is safe for the user.

Old Method


  1. Mix one teaspoon of a mild pH balanced detergent (a mild non alkaline non bleaching detergent) with a cup of lukewarm water
  2. Blot
  3. Sponge with clean water
  4. Blot

A commercial product, Goof Off is available however you must test an inconspicuous area. It can discolor carpet and fabrics, and is flammable.


A dry major spill isn't hopeless but there is only a little chance it can be resolved. Latex acrylic paints are basically water, pigment, and polymer resins. Although quite easy to remove when fresh, (steam extraction methods,) they do become almost impossible to remove once dried. The first thing to do is to try to remove as much as you can mechanically before using a chemical. Either squeezing and pulverizing the dried paint with pliers and/or pulling at it and cutting carpet fiber (from underneath) as close to the paint as possible and doing the least amount of damage to the carpeting. Be concerned about leaving a bald spot in carpeting if this procedure is not performed properly. Vacuum any loose debris regularly that you have loosened from the area.

By removing as much as possible before liquefying the stain with chemicals, you are making the job less messy as you proceed with the following steps. Then, purchase a WATER-SOLUBLE (means that it is compatible with water which is different than standard solvent-type) paint and varnish removers. Most hardware stores, paint stores, or home center stores should have one. Before applying on the entire stain, check product out only in a corner of the stain to determine if this paint remover will "budge" the stain. If so, work the stain from the outside in towards the center. The reason for this approach is that most staining materials are concentrated in the middle. By hitting the middle with the paint remover, you may spread the stain by liquefying the most concentrated area of staining material first. If it is the "right" type of paint and varnish remover, the paint should soften and become a goo. With the edge of a butter knife, gentle scrape away the paint as it softens, and use additional paint remover, if necessary. Do not overuse paint remover but use only amounts necessary to get job done. In fact, build a "dam" around stained area with absorbent rags weighted down with flat objects to prevent the paint remover from becoming your next staining problem. If the paint remains, smear with glycerin and let soak in for several hours. Then proceed to the next step. If the above procedure is successful, sponge the area with a mild solution of dishwashing detergent. Scrub with a fingernail brush or old toothbrush. Blot area (do not rub) with an old towel. Then, flush area with a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts water. Blot again. Allow area to dry.

Note: Always test an inconspicuous area for colorfastness, etc. before treating the exposed area. Also note that certain stains are permanent.

For more cleaning and stain removal tips and hints, please visit our cleaning community forum where experts are ready to help answer your questions.

This article has been contributed in part by Michigan State University Extension