How to Remove Dried Paint From Clothing

Alicia W
by Alicia W
2 Materials
2 Hours

If you are a DIYer, you probably have some clothing with dried paint on them. Here's how to remove it - for real!

I had this sweatshirt for 30 years and I love it because it's comfy and because it was my father-in-law's. I can't wear it out of the house because about 17 years ago I was painting my daughter's room and got blue paint on the front. At the time I wasn't that concerned but after all of these years, I wanted to see if I could remove the paint.

You will need 91% rubbing alcohol and an old toothbrush.

Pour the rubbing alcohol directly onto the paint and scrub. And scrub and scrub.

Flip the garment over to expose the back side, pour rubbing alcohol onto the paint and scrub, scrub, scrub. Even if the paint didn't seep through to the other side, add the alcohol and scrub the area.

Once the paint has faded, grab your blue Dawn. It must be blue!

Pour blue Dawn directly onto the paint and scrub, scrub, scrub. Add water to your brush and continue to scrub.

Flip the garment over, pour on blue Dawn and scrub, scrub.

Wash the garment with other clothing as you would normally do.

Here is the sweatshirt after the first washing. I removed it from the washer and saw that the paint was still there, it was faded but still visable.

If you can still see the paint on your garment, DO NOT PUT IT INTO THE DRYER.

Start the process over again.

Pour rubbing alcohol onto the paint and scrub.

Pour blue Dawn onto the paint and scrub.

Make sure you scrub the back side too.

The stain should begin to disappear.

Wash the garment again as you would normally do.

After pretreating the sweatshirt with rubbing alcohol and blue Dawn twice, and washing it twice, the paint is gone!!!

Remember - this paint had been on this sweatshirt for 17 years and it's gone!

I seriously couldn't believe it.

Give this a try if you have a beloved article of clothing that has paint on it. It really works - you've seen it with your own eyes.

Suggested materials:
  • Blue Dawn   (Grocery store)
  • 91% Rubbing Alcohol   (Grocery store)
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 31 questions
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Dec 25, 2017

    Do you know if this would work on enamel paint??

  • Kirsten M Everett Kirsten M Everett on Jan 29, 2019

    Why not acetone or paint thinner? Wouldn't that work better? And what in the blue Dawn that's different then the other colors I wonder?

  • DC DC on Feb 06, 2020

    Great job .. a lot of scrubbing on a old shirt... just wondering did the scrubbing ruin or weaken the material at all?

Join the conversation
2 of 80 comments
  • Bronfoth Bronfoth on Nov 05, 2018

    Thank you

    Scrubbing sounded like tough work, but very worthwhile when the result is so great!

  • Heather Minish Heather Minish on Aug 05, 2021

    Looking around my home to see if there’s something I can try this out on…. Thx for sharing!