It’s very common for airbrush artists, whether working with paint, makeup, inks, or dyes to end up with the medium on their clothing. Either the medium is spilled on their clothes or smeared on to the garment due to un-noticed prior spills.
Either way, it is a regular occurrence and undesirable to say the least. Especially when you forget your wearing your nice clothes until it’s too late…
I’m sure you can relate.
Today I’m going to share with you some of the tricks, or tactics I’ve used over the years to get airbrush paint and other airbrush mediums out of my clothes.
Note: I must preface this by stating, It is recommended that you test these paint removal methods on a small corner of your clothing to ensure your clothing will not react strangely with the cleaners or paint removal methods on this list.
As well, it’s a good idea to know the base product of the medium spilled on your clothing. For instance, many airbrush ready paint and makeup products are water-based, or alcohol-based. But there are some airbrush paints that are solvent based. As you can commonly use a chemically similar product for removal of the medium.
How to Remove Paint From Clothing
Now this task of removing paint from your clothing will very in complexity depending on the current state of the paint / medium, and the base product that makes up the paint.
Obviously, Wet (Non-dried) paint is far easier to remove from clothing then fully dried crusty paint. So if you can, get the paint off your clothes before it has time to dry (the sooner the better). This will save you a significant amount of time and increases the odds your able to get the paint out of your clothes.
If it’s too late and the paint has already had time to dry, start by picking at, and agitating as much of it off as you can without the use of liquids / cleaners. Not all, but some paints will flake, or peel off when dry.
Anyway, let’s get started!
- Scrub brush – Many suggest using an old toothbrush, but any brush will work as long as it’s not going to damage the clothing. This one (Available on Amazon) is a popular one for stain removal, at a good price. But odds are you’ve got a brush laying around the house that will work plenty fine.
1. Warm Water & Dish Soap
It’s very common for water based airbrush mediums to come out of clothing by simply rinsing it under some water. Run the exposed area under some warm water while scrubbing to agitate the paint lose from the fibers. If water alone is not working to your satisfaction, you can try adding a dab of dish soap to the affected area and scrub some more.
2. Laundry Detergent
This one is obvious, I know, but commonly overlooked. Modern day laundry detergents are packed with aggressive additives specifically designed to target stains. There is a chance your laundry detergent will have the strength to remove paint and/or other airbrush mediums from your clothing. Best if done by hand using the following method: Rinse the affected area under some water to soak the garment. Then sprinkle some laundry detergent over the stained area and scrub, then rinse. Try this a couple of times if it does not work instantly.
3. Paint Thinner
Commonly the paint reducer specifically made to thin out the paint of your choice will work as a great cleaner. Though its more common to use the reducer as a cleaner with solvent-based paints, it can work very well for water-based mediums as well. Simply dampen the affected area with the reducer designed for said paint, then agitate. Rinse with water when satisfied. It’s recommended to then wash the garment by hand in the affected area using the laundry detergent of your choice.
4. Hair Spray
A popular option for removing airbrush medium from clothing is by using hair spray and warm water. Firstly, you need to mix two parts of water and one part of hair spray in a cup. Stir well, and then soak your garment into the mixture for ten minutes. After that, brush the fabric against the grain and let it dry outside or in a well-ventilated area.
5. Hand Sanitizer
Alcohol-based cleaner and hand sanitizer’s contain rubbing alcohol that can dissolve most special paints like those used in airbrush makeup. Dampen the affected area with the hand sanitizer, wait a minute or two, and gently rub the fabric against the grain. Once the affected area is stain free, rinse using clean water then let the garment dry.
6. Shaving Cream
If other methods are ineffective, you might want to try shaving cream as it works similarly to dishwashing soap by breaking down oil-based paints. Simply put some shaving cream onto the affected area and rub it to agitate the area until it’s gone then rinse the fabric with cold water and hang to dry. You should note that this method is not recommended for silk or wool fabrics.
7. Baking Soda
Baking soda is known for its ability to remove dirt, oil, and grease so it can also be used to get rid of airbrush paint from clothes. Make a paste out of baking soda and warm water then apply it to the paint stain. Rub it in well then let it sit for 5 – 20 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Then hang to dry.
8. Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)
Another method on how to remove airbrush paint from clothes is by using acetone which melts away paints quickly, leaving almost no trace behind. It removes paint stains caused by acrylic or urethane paints and latex paints. But it can be very hard on skin. So wear protection. Nail polish remover can also be used to remove paint from clothes as it contains acetone. Simply put some nail polish remover / acetone onto a cloth and rub it on the paint stain until it’s gone then rinse the fabric with cold water and blot dry.
Note: Before giving this a go, you should first spot test the fabric because acetone can cause color loss, discoloration or even damage the fabric depending on the fabric type.
If the airbrush paint is made from acrylic, then you should soak your clothes in a mixture of one tablespoon of Bleach and one cup of hair shampoo with warm water for about an hour. However if the color is made from dye, then you need to use high percentage hypochlorite (bleach powder with no special additives). After removing the garment from the mixture wash it thoroughly with detergent and then dry it in sunlight or tumble dry at medium heat setting.
WD-40 is an all-purpose lubricant that can help remove paint from clothes, especially when combined with other methods like nail polish remover or alcohol-based cleaner. It also works for cleaning paint off of plastic and vinyl. Simply spray the solvent onto the paint stain and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a brush or sponge. Rinse with water and repeat if needed then let the garment dry outside or in a well-ventilated area.
11. Vegetable Oil
If you don’t have any of the solvents mentioned above, then you can try using vegetable oil as it is also effective in removing paint from clothes. Simply pour a small amount of oil onto the paint stain and allow it to soak for about an hour before blotting with a clean cloth. Wash the garment in warm water with detergent then let it dry outside or in a well-ventilated area.
12. Goo Gone
Goo Gone is a product that can be used to remove adhesive, tar, and even paint from clothes. Simply put some Goo Gone onto a cloth and rub it on the paint stain until it’s gone then rinse the fabric with cold water and blot dry.
12. Commercial Grade Paint Removal Products
There are also products available in hardware shops specifically made for removing paint from clothes like Jasco Premium Paint and Epoxy Remover (contains hydrofluoric acid) and Klean-Strip Ready-to-Use Graffiti Remover (contains methylene chloride). To use, simply follow the instructions on the label then wash with detergent before letting it dry outside or in a well ventilated area.
Protect Your Skin When Handling Cleaners & Paint Removers
Use Rubber Gloves
To protect your skin from the cleaners and products used in the methods mentioned above, it is recommended you wear a pair of cheap throwaway gloves, such as these (Available on Amazon for cheap) Follow link to see current pricing.
Some of the products suggested above can be very hard on your skin, causing your hands to dry out and crack.
It’s best you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself so not to have lasting effects.
You don’t have to throw away your clothes after an accidental paint spill. Clothing can be expensive, so before you go throwing them out, condemning them done for. Give some of the above ideas a try.
Though there is no guarantee the airbrush medium will come out of your clothing, it is worth the try. Odds are high you’ll be able to get it out using one or multiple of the methods above.
The key to removing paint or any other airbrush medium from your clothing is by locating a cleaner that can break down the paint without harming the garment. Commonly water-based paints and other mediums can be removed using simply water, or a soapy water mix.
Though solvent-based and oil-based paints such as enamels commonly require something more aggressive, such as a solvent-based paint thinner or commercial grade paint remover. But these pose a lot of risk on damaging the fibers of the clothing.
Anyway, I hope you were able to find some value here! If you have any further questions regarding the airbrush do be sure to take a look around the website. Airbrush Insider is dedicated to helping all in the airbrush community!
This is Colt signing off!
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