Painting your home can be a fun, therapeutic, creative activity.
Whether you’re painting peaceful natural landscapes, redoing the walls of your house, or adding some accent colors to a room, two things are for sure: it will be a fun project…and it will be messy.
As much fun as painting is, cleaning up the mess afterward is always a drag.
This can be especially true when dealing with oil-based paints, which can seem impossible to clean off of surfaces (like carpet) at times.
It’s true that oil paint can be difficult if not impossible to remove but, in most cases, you can clean up just about any oil paint mess with the right tools and enough effort.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes oil paint so difficult to remove and what products you can use to clean it up in various situations.
How Long Oil Based Paint Dry?
The biggest factor in cleaning up oil-based paint is time. The sooner you clean up the paint, the easier it is because the paint has not had enough time to dry into the material.
While it can take several hours to days for oil paint to fully dry, the process begins pretty much as soon as it has adhered to a surface.
So as soon as paint gets onto a surface you don’t want it on, it is important to immediately begin trying to remove it.
That means it’s smart to have cleaning materials on hand before you start painting.
The last thing you want is to have to run to the store to grab cleaner after a mess has been made—wasting precious time while the paint sets in.
So, what cleaners do you need to purchase before you paint so you can be ready?
What Removes Oil-Based Paint?
When it’s about cleaning the oil paint out of carpet, you should know what products to use.
For cleaning the carpet fast and avoiding the stains it’s good that you use some household agents that are easily available and can be used conveniently without any hassle.
I found turpentine, paint thinner and mineral spirits very useful when used in small quantities.
These are usually the go-to products for cleaning out oil-based paints from a variety of surfaces.
These are all strong chemicals designed to thin out the paint to the point that it can be removed with soap and water.
However, when using mineral spirits on rugs remember that you should use it only in very small quantity to avoid the fabric from getting damaged.
After you have put some, clean it with water immediately.
If you don’t want to deal with the hazards and chemical fumes of turpentine and spirits, a more natural solution is a citrus solvent.
Let it set into the paint for about 15-20 minutes before scrubbing it out.
You can even use it safely to clean oil off carpet like the spills that may happen when applying teak oil to your wood furniture.
Depending on what surface the paint has adhered to, you might also be able to use essential oils and coconut oil to remove fresh paint.
This is typically most useful when removing paint from skin, hair, and hands, though, and less useful in other situations.
How to Get Oil Based Paint Out Of Carpet?
Now, let’s get into the specifics.
Let’s say you (or your child) got a little carried away while painting and spilled some on your beautiful carpet.
There’s no time to panic, you have to act quickly if you want to save your house.
Step # One
Immediately dab a paper towel or rag with a paint remover of your choice and blot it onto the wet paint stain.
Make sure not to rub or smear the cleaner into the carpet, as this will just spread the paint and rub it deeper into the carpet fibers.
The solvent should work well to remove wet paint stains, but you may have some paint that has set and dried into the carpet fibers.
For this, let’s move to step two.
Step # Two
Soften the dry paint using a carpet steamer.
Steaming the carpet will rehydrate the paint and help it separate from the carpet fibers, making step three possible.
When you are steaming, a good rule of thumb is to heat the spot up to 285 degrees Fahrenheit as this will be hot enough to loosen the paint without damaging most types of carpets.
Still, use caution when steaming.
If you are unsure about whether the steamer will damage your carpet, try it out on a small, unnoticeable patch first.
Step # Three
As the paint softens, get down there and pick it away with a pin or needle.
The soft paint should come away with a little effort without damaging the carpet fibers.
If you find that the paint is still too dry to pick it out of the carpet, try steaming it for some more time.
Other Home Remedies to Remove Dried Paint from Carpet
Soapy water, dishwashing liquid or mild detergent can be good to remove the chalk paint or dried acrylic paint.
But to remove dried oil paint you need something extra.
Rubbing alcohol can do the paint removing job well on your carpet.
Apply a bit of alcohol to the cotton cloth and gently rub against the spill followed by rubbing it with soapy water.
Repeat the process 1-2 times until you see the glossy paint gone. Vacuum the rug properly once its dry.
If you do not want to use chemicals such as acetone and alcohol, you can use products like WD-40, nail polish remover (non-acetone), and vinegar.
Avoid using bleach for your carpet. As it’s too harsh it can damage or cause discoloration to your carpet.
The Bottom Line
Spilled oil-based paint or even the spills of kid’s paint (used for their oil painting) can ruin your carpet finish if dried.
Especially if its a dark paint color (like black, brown, red or blue) on the light colored rugs.
It’s better to get them removed as soon as possible to avoid getting the stains tough.
Use your preferred product to remove the paint and follow the guidelines mentioned above.
Certainly, you will be getting your carpet restored within no time.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls. He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.