White Pants and Paint

May 24, 2022

I’ve started a list of questions I get from painters and others interested in art.

The most common question is, “When’s the next paint class?”

The most random question is “Are those natural curls?” *

The answer to the first question is not so easy as my in-person teaching has decreased as my online teaching has increased. I love helping so many people who are looking to start to paint via my online presence so in-person classes and workshops are less frequent. Recently, I announced here in my weekly email, my upcoming 3-day oil workshop in June. It filled up very quickly and I am very thankful for all your support!

OK. Back to the questions.

So, I’ve got the list and I’m going through it. I figure if one person wants to know, I bet many more do too.  Let’s dive in:

“How do I get paint out of my clothes?!”

In one of my first oil workshops at CHROMA, a friend wore her favorite white pants. Paint got on the pants. I rushed to the bathroom and got some liquid dish soap and rubbed in into the pants. It wasn’t pretty. The paint did not come out fully, but I was hoping the dish soap would keep the paint from drying into her pants. She went home and washed the pants, and the stain did not completely come out. Now what?

Before I tell you the end of the story, here’s what I’ve found to be true:

I have better luck getting oil paint out than acrylic paint. I wear an apron when painting so that gets most of the spots of paint but if I do see a spot of oil paint on my shirt or pants, I immediately try to get it out with dish soap and water and then throw it into the washing machine as soon as I get home. This generally works, especially because oil paint is not fast drying and in the hours from when I get it on my clothes to the time it goes in the washing machine, it doesn’t start to dry.

Acrylic paint is a different story. Acrylic paint consists of pigment suspended in an acrylic emulsion (instead of an oil base like oil paints). The paint is water-soluble while wet but becomes plasticky when dry…. and it dries very quickly. You can try to pick it off.  But there is one other thing – alcohol, isopropyl alcohol to be exact.  When applied to acrylic paint, it starts to break it down and within a minute or so you will be able to get some/all off. This works best before it completely dries in the fabric but I’ve seen it work incredibly well.

Back to the story:

After many attempts to wash the stain out of her white pants, with no luck, my friend visited the studio and I painted over the stain with white paint. Voilà. Do you have any other tips for getting paint out of your clothes? Let me know in the comments below!