Whether you’re an experienced artist looking to make a statement in your own wardrobe, or an unsteady novice whose exploration of painting has led to more than a few stains on the clothes in your closet, you can learn how to get tempera paint out of clothes.
If you want to be sure that any accidental splotches won’t ruin your favorite shirt or pants forever, this blog post will provide clear instructions for removing tempera paint from clothing quickly and safely.
With these steps as your guide, not even spilled pigment is enough to halt the creative process.
What is Tempera Paint?
Tempera paint is water-based paint used for centuries in various artistic applications. It comprises pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder, often made from egg yolks or other natural materials.
Tempera paint dries quickly and forms a durable, matte finish. It is known for its vibrant colors, smooth application, and versatility on surfaces like paper, wood, and canvas.
Plus, it is commonly used in traditional painting techniques and art projects for children due to its non-toxic nature.
How to Get Tempera Paint Out of Clothes
Step 1: Get rid of any excess from the garment:
Start by gently removing any excess tempera paint from the fabric. Use a blunt tool, such as a spoon or a butter knife, to scrape off the dried or excess paint.
Be careful not to spread the stain further while doing this.
Step 2: Pretreat the stain with heavy-duty liquid detergent
Apply a generous amount of heavy-duty liquid detergent directly to the stained area. Gently rub the detergent into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush.
Allow the detergent to sit on the stain for about 5-10 minutes. This helps to break down the paint and loosen its grip on the fabric fibers.
Step 3: Soak fabric in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach
If the fabric is safe to bleach, create a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach and warm water. Follow the instructions on the bleach packaging to determine the appropriate ratio.
Submerge the stained part of the garment in the solution and let it soak for the recommended time. Check the garment frequently to ensure the fabric isn’t getting damaged.
Step 4: If it is not safe to use bleach, blot the stain with white vinegar
If you are unable to use bleach on the fabric or prefer a bleach alternative, dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar. Gently blot the stain with the cloth, working from the outside of the stain towards the center.
The vinegar helps to break down the paint and lift it from the fabric. Continue blotting until the stain lightens.
Step 5: Wash
After either pretreating with detergent or using vinegar, launder the garment according to the care instructions on the clothing label. Use the warmest water temperature allowed for the fabric.
Add an appropriate amount of laundry detergent and wash the garment as usual. Check the stained area before drying to ensure the paint is fully removed. If any traces remain, repeat the previous steps before drying.
Ways to Remove Tempera Paint Stains Out of Clothes
Dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar and blot the tempera paint stain gently. Vinegar remove paint stains by breaking down the paint, making it easier to remove.
Continue blotting until the stain lightens. Rinse the area with water and launder the garment as usual.
- Natural and non-toxic: Vinegar is a safe option that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
- Readily available: Vinegar can be easily found in most households, making it a convenient stain remover.
- Effective in breaking down stains: The acidic properties of vinegar help to break down and dissolve the paint.
- Safe for most fabrics: Vinegar is generally safe to use on a wide range of fabrics without causing damage.
- Versatile: Vinegar can be used for various cleaning purposes beyond stain removal.
- May not completely remove stubborn stains: Vinegar may not fully eliminate tough or dried paint stains.
- Temporary strong odor: The strong smell of vinegar can be unpleasant, although it dissipates over time.
2. Stain Remover
Apply a commercial stain remover directly to the tempera paint stain. Follow the instructions on the product, allowing it to penetrate the fabric for the recommended time. Then, wash the garment according to the care instructions, checking the stained area before drying.
- Specifically designed for tough stains: Stain removers are formulated to target and remove challenging stains, including tempera paint.
- Convenient and easy to use: Stain removers come in user-friendly packaging and can be applied directly to the stain.
- Effective results: Many stain removers have powerful ingredients that effectively break down and remove stains.
- Wide availability: Stain removers are commonly found in stores and online, making them easily accessible.
- Can be used on various fabrics: Stain removers are designed to be safe for use on most fabric types.
- Harsh chemicals: Some stain removers may contain strong chemicals that can potentially damage or discolor certain fabrics.
- Spot testing required: Due to the potent formulas, it’s important to perform a spot test to ensure compatibility with the fabric.
- May be less effective on old tempera stains: Stain removers are typically most effective on fresh stains rather than dried or set-in ones.
3. Laundry Detergent
Pretreat the tempera paint stain with a heavy-duty liquid detergent. Apply the detergent directly to the stained area and gently rub it in. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then wash the garment in the warmest water temperature allowed for the fabric.
- Effective at pretreating stains: Heavy-duty liquid detergents can help break down and lift tempera paint stains.
- Widely available: Laundry detergents are readily accessible in various brands and formulations.
- Safe for most fabrics: Detergents are generally safe to use on a wide range of fabrics without causing damage.
- Versatile: Laundry detergents can be used for regular laundry cleaning as well as pretreating stains.
- Can be used for machine washing: Detergents are compatible with washing machines, allowing for convenient stain removal.
- May not completely remove stubborn stains: Some tempera paint stains may require additional treatment or repetition for full removal.
- Effectiveness may vary: The effectiveness of the detergent may vary depending on the brand, formulation, and fabric type.
- Precautions for delicate fabrics: Delicate fabrics may require a milder detergent or gentler treatment to avoid damage.
If the fabric is bleach-safe, create a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach and warm water. Submerge the stained part of the garment in the solution and let it soak for the recommended time. Rinse thoroughly and launder the garment as usual.
- Highly effective on certain fabrics: Bleach can be particularly effective in removing tempera paint stains from white or color-safe fabrics.
- Whitening and brightening properties: Bleach can help restore the original brightness of the fabric.
- Fast-acting: Bleach works quickly to break down and remove stains from fabrics.
- Kills germs and bacteria: Bleach has disinfecting properties, making it beneficial for certain fabrics.
- Versatile: Bleach can be used for stain removal on clothing as well as for other cleaning purposes.
- Not suitable for all fabrics: Bleach should only be used on bleach-safe fabrics to avoid discoloration or damage.
- Harsh chemical composition: Bleach contains strong chemicals that can be harmful if not used properly, and it may emit strong fumes.
5. Rubbing Alcohol
Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and blot the tempera paint stain gently. The alcohol helps dissolve the paint. Continue blotting until the stain lightens. Rinse the area with water and wash the garment according to the care instructions.
- Effective in breaking down stains: Rubbing alcohol can dissolve and lift tempera paint stains from fabrics.
- Readily available: Rubbing alcohol is commonly found in households, making it a convenient stain remover.
- Versatile: Rubbing alcohol can be used for stain removal on various surfaces, including fabrics.
- Fast drying: Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, which can help expedite the stain removal process.
- Can be used on fresh stains: Rubbing alcohol is particularly effective on fresh tempera paint stains.
- May not fully remove paint stains: Stubborn or dried paint stain persists and may require additional treatment or a different method.
- Potential fabric damage: Rubbing alcohol can cause discoloration or damage on delicate fabrics, so spot testing is important.
- Strong odor: Rubbing alcohol has a distinct smell that may be unpleasant for some.
6. Nail Polish Remover
Apply a small amount of non-acetone nail polish remover to a cloth or paper towel. Gently dab the tempera paint stain, avoiding excessive rubbing. Rinse the area with water and launder the garment as usual.
- Effective on certain fabrics: Non-acetone nail polish removers can break down and remove tempera paint stains.
- Easily accessible: Nail polish removers are commonly found in households and beauty supply stores.
- Convenient application: Nail polish removers usually come in bottles with applicators for easy use.
- Can be used on small areas: Nail polish remover is useful for spot treatment of paint stains.
- Fast-acting: Nail polish remover works quickly to dissolve the paint.
- Acetone-based removers can damage fabrics: Acetone-based removers should be avoided as they can cause discoloration or damage to fabrics.
- Non-acetone variants may not fully remove all stains: Non-acetone nail polish removers may not be as effective on stubborn or dried paint stains.
7. Baking Soda
Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Apply the paste to the tempera paint stain and gently rub it in using a soft brush or cloth. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then rinse and launder the garment.
- Natural and gentle: Baking soda is a non-toxic option that is safe for most fabrics.
- Versatile: Baking soda can be used for various cleaning purposes, including stain removal.
- Easily accessible: Baking soda is commonly found in households.
- Can create a paste for stain removal: Mixing baking soda with water creates a paste that can be applied to stains.
- Safe for use on delicate fabrics: Baking soda is generally gentle and unlikely to cause damage.
- May not be as effective on tough stains: Baking soda may not completely remove stubborn or dried paint stains.
- Requires additional treatment or repetition: Difficult stains may require multiple applications or combination with other methods.
8. Dish Soap
Apply a small amount of dish soap directly to the tempera paint stain. Gently rub it in with your fingers or a soft brush. Let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse the stained area thoroughly. Launder the garment as usual.
- Readily available: Dish soap is commonly found in households, making it a convenient option for stain removal.
- Safe for most fabrics: Dish soap is generally safe to use on a wide range of fabrics.
- Effective on fresh stains: Dish soap can be particularly useful for pretreating fresh tempera paint stains.
- Versatile: Dish soap can be used for regular dishwashing as well as stain removal on clothing.
- Can be used in combination with other methods: Dish soap can be combined with other stain removal techniques for enhanced effectiveness.
- May not fully remove all stains: Stubborn or set-in paint stains may require additional treatment or repetition.
- Effectiveness may vary: The effectiveness of dish soap may depend on the brand and formulation.
Additional Tips and Precautions For Getting Tempera Out
Handling stubborn stains or dried paint
For stubborn stains or dried tempera paint, it’s recommended to soak the affected area in a mixture of water and mild dish soap or laundry detergent. Gently scrub the stain with a soft brush or sponge to loosen the paint. Rinse thoroughly and repeat the process if necessary. Avoid vigorous scrubbing to prevent damaging the fabric.
Avoiding the use of hot water or heat sources
To prevent tempera paint from setting into the fabric, it is important to avoid using hot water or exposing the stained garment to heat sources like irons or dryers.
Stick to using cold or lukewarm water when rinsing and washing the stained area, as high temperatures can make the paint more difficult to remove.
Seeking professional cleaning for delicate or valuable garments
If you have delicate or valuable garments with tempera paint stains, it’s advisable to consult a professional cleaner.
They have specialized knowledge and tools to handle such stains without causing damage to the fabric. Inform them about the type of paint used and any specific care instructions for the garment.
Removing Tempera Paint From a Cotton T-Shirt
When dealing with tempera paint stains on a cotton t-shirt, prompt action is key. Start by gently scraping off any excess paint using a blunt knife or spoon. Rinse the stained area under cold running water to dilute the paint.
Next, pretreat the stain by applying a small amount of liquid laundry detergent directly onto it. Gently rub the fabric together to work the detergent into the stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then, wash the t-shirt in the washing machine using the hottest water temperature suitable for the fabric.
Check if the stain is completely gone before drying the garment, as heat can set the stain. If necessary, repeat the process or consider using a stain remover specifically designed for paint stains.
Getting Tempera Paint Out of a Polyester Blouse
Removing tempera paint from a polyester blouse requires a gentle approach. Begin by scraping off any excess paint with a spoon or dull knife. Blot the stained area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb any wet paint.
Avoid rubbing, as it may push the paint deeper into the fabric. Mix a solution of mild dish soap and cool water. Dab the stain with this solution using a clean cloth, working from the outer edges towards the center to prevent spreading. Rinse the blouse under cold running water to remove the soap solution.
If the stain persists, apply a stain remover suitable for polyester fabric and let it sit for a few minutes before laundering the blouse according to the care instructions.
Treating Tempera Paint Stains on a Silk Scarf
Silk requires delicate care, especially when dealing with paint stains. Begin by gently blotting the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess paint. Do not rub or scrub the fabric, as it may damage the silk fibers.
Next, place the stained area between two clean, white paper towels and lightly press to absorb any remaining wet paint. Avoid using colored towels, as the dye may transfer to the silk. To treat the stain, mix a solution of lukewarm water and a gentle silk detergent.
Dip a clean cloth or sponge into the solution and gently dab the stained area, working from the outer edges towards the center. Rinse the scarf with cool water to remove the detergent. If the stain persists, consult a professional dry cleaner experienced in handling silk garments for further assistance.
Is tempera washable?
Tempera paint is washable to a certain extent. While it can be easily cleaned from many surfaces with soap and water, it may leave behind slight stains on porous materials like fabric. Prompt action and pre-treatment with stain removers increase the chances of successfully removing tempera paint from washable surfaces.
Does Tempera Paint Wash Off Clothes?
Yes, tempera paint washes off clothes, but it may require some effort. For best results, treat the stained area as soon as possible by rinsing it under cold water and then pre-treating it with a stain remover or liquid detergent. Follow the care instructions on the clothing label and wash it accordingly.
Is tempera paint permanent on fabric?
Tempera paint is not permanent on fabric. It is a water-based paint that can be washed out with proper cleaning methods. However, removing wet paint is easier; if the paint has been left to dry for an extended period or has undergone heat setting, it may become more challenging to remove completely from fabric.
Do you need to seal tempera paint?
Tempera paint does not require sealing. Once it has dried, it forms a durable and matte finish on various surfaces. However, if you wish to protect the paint from potential smudging or provide additional longevity, you can apply a clear sealant or varnish specifically designed for tempera paints.
What’s the Difference Between Acrylic and Tempera Paint?
Acrylic paint is water-resistant when dry and has a more flexible and permanent finish. It adheres well to a variety of surfaces, including canvas and wood. On the other hand, tempera paint is water-based, dries quickly, and is suitable for various art projects, especially those involving children.
To learn further, check out our published article on the difference between acrylic and tempera paint.
Can you get dried paint out of your clothes?
Removing dried paint from clothes can be challenging but not impossible. Start by scraping off excess dried paint gently using a blunt tool. Next, apply a commercial paint remover or a mixture of dish soap and warm water to the stained area. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a brush or sponge. Repeat the process until the paint is removed, and then wash the garment as usual.
Tempera paint accidents don’t have to spell the end of your favorite clothes. With the right approach and products, you can get that paint off in no time.
By following some quick steps outlined here, you can take any amount of paint off with relative ease as long as you act fast.
Also, depending on what type of fabric you are dealing with, there may be specialty products such as spot removers or oxy cleaners which should help you get rid of the stain completely.
Above all, remember, prevention is still key – think of preventing splash of paint next time or wear an apron for extra protection from any messes.