How To Clean Acrylic Paint (Off Brushes, Clothes, and More!)

Chad Kilpatrick
by Chad Kilpatrick

Cleaning paint can be a headache. When acrylic paint dries, it dries hard, into an almost plastic-like form. This can make it hard to restore a brush that has dried or get paint out of something like clothing.

To clean acrylic paint off a brush or clothing, begin by gently scraping off any excess, dry paint from the material. Next, fill a bucket with warm soapy water. For a brush, soak the brush in the bucket for several hours, and rinse with warm water. For clothing, use a cloth to dampen the paint spots.

Hopefully, you have not let the acrylic paint dry so much that it has become hard to remove. To avoid this, always keep your paint and brush wet. In some cases, you may have to toss the brush, if the acrylic has dried into a solid.

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Types of Acrylic Paint

There are multiple types of acrylic paint. Acrylic paints are water-based and will dry up fast, and become hard. You may be using acrylic paints for art, or acrylic house paints, either way, you need to know how to clean up.

Many artists use acrylic paint for their paintings. It’s a versatile paint, that cleans up with water. This is good for any artist, who is constantly getting paint everywhere. The key to keeping your artist brushes clean is to keep the brush wet, when using it, and when cleaning up after.

The same trick works with acrylic house paint as well. Keep your paintbrush wet with paint, and after you are done, clean it up immediately, with water. Some people prefer to soak their house painting brushes in water for a while, after use, to keep them soft.

Is Acrylic Paint Easy to Clean Up?

The key to cleaning up acrylic paint is cleaning the brush right after use. Acrylic paint dries hard, and fast. If it dries onto the bristles of your brushes, it will be hard to remove. You may even have to toss the brush away.

The same goes for paint cans and palettes. You should clean them out immediately after use, and not let the paint dry hard. Nothing is worse than cleaning hard paint out of a can. Or trying to get hard paint out of a brush.

It can be easy to clean up if you spot clean right away. You may have gotten some acrylic paint on something that needs to be cleaned. If this is the case, make sure you spot clean it immediately. If it is fabric, then blot the stain with a wet rag, be careful not to rub it into the area.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Roller

Acrylic paint is water-based, so you can clean up the roller with water. Use a 5-gallon bucket filled with water, to wash the paint from the roller nap. You can use a 5in1 tool to scrape the paint away from the nap, with the half-moon edge of the tool.

This helps the paint ooze out of the roller. Rinse the roller pad multiple times, and run water over it with a water hose. Eventually, the water should run clean, out of the roller nap. This is a good sign that it is fully cleaned.

Next, soak your roller handle in the water and let the paint get nice and soft. After that rinse the paint away with a wet rag. Let the handle, and the nap dry in the sun.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Off Brushes

Since acrylic paint dries hard, you will want to clean your brushes extra well. This process is easy since you can just use soap and water. This works the same for artist brushes and house painting brushes.

When you are using the brush, make sure to keep it wet with paint. Do not let any of the paint dry up onto the brush. If you have ever painted the exterior of a house, when it is hot outside, then you know how hard it can be to keep the brush from drying out.

Tip – Keep a bucket with water nearby, and wash out your brush every few hours, while you are using it, just to keep it clean and wet.

Artist brushes should also be kept wet with paint, or in a cup with water. Using acrylic paint can be an easy way to paint. Cleanup can be quick and easy if you make sure to keep the brushes wet.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint From Clothes

If acrylic paint gets onto your clothing, and you need to clean it off, make sure to do it immediately. The longer it has to set, and dry, the harder it will be to remove. Spot clean the stain right away, dab it, don’t rub it in. Rubbing it in may just make the stain worse.

I’ve been guilty of painting in my favorite shirt, once or twice. Cleaning the paint out of clothing can be hard to do after it has dried. Whenever I get water-based paint on my clothing, I spot clean the stain and then wash it immediately.

If you cannot wash it, then soak it in water, or water with a light laundry detergent solution. Even water with dish soap can be useful if you’re in a jam. The chances of you getting acrylic paint out of clothing after the paint has dried, are slim to none.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint From Carpet

Your worst nightmare has happened, your acrylic paint has spilled a little bit, onto your carpet. Don’t panic, we’re going to show you how to clean it.

  • Dry blot the stain. Use dry paper towels to blot the stain. This will help remove any of the paint sitting on top of the carpet.
  • Spray the stain with soap and hot water. Next, mix some dish soap, and hot water, into a spray bottle and spray the stain.
  • Dab the carpet with a wet rag. Use a washcloth, with warm water and dish soap, to dab the carpet. Be careful not to scrub the carpet.
  • Finally, blot it with dry paper towels. This should help soak up more of the color, and the rest of the water.

Make sure to start cleaning it up immediately. Getting dried acrylic paint out of carpet is almost impossible. You will most likely have to replace it.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Off Glass

If you have let some acrylic paint dry onto glass accidentally, fret not, you can remove it pretty easily. You may be able to use a razor blade to cut the paint off of the glass. Acrylic paint dries into an almost plastic-like form. This makes it easy to remove from the glass with a razor blade.

Use a sponge, or a rag, with warm water, to lightly clean the dried paint. The paint should get soft enough to wipe away or remove it with a razor blade. If you are worried about scratching the glass, use a soft sponge, to softly wet the paint, and loosen it.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Off a Palette

If you are an artist, chances are you use a palette when you are painting. Cleaning a palette can be easy with acrylic paints because they are water-based. You can clean your palette with warm water, and dish soap.

Rinse all of the wet paint off of the palette, then let it soak in warm water. This will soften any of the dried paint. Then use a rag, to wipe it down thoroughly. Let it dry when you are done. You can use an abrasive pad to scrub if you have trouble getting the dried paint off.

Since acrylic paint dries hard, it can be rubbery at first. This makes it easy to peel off of glass, and plastic surfaces. If you have hard acrylic paint dried to your palette, try soaking it in water, to make the paint soft. Then, peel it off.

We do not recommend using a wood palette with acrylic paint. The paint soaks into the wood, and it can be very hard to remove. Using glass, plastic, or ceramic, is the best choice for a palette, using acrylic paint.

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Related Questions

Can I pour acrylic paint water down the drain?

You should not pour acrylic paint water down the drain. The paint dries hard and will clog a drain. You should not pour it down street drains either. The best way to get rid of it is to lay it out on an old tarp, or piece of plastic. It will dry, and you can throw it away.

Is it OK to clean paint brushes in the sink?

We recommend cleaning paint brushes in a bucket with water. This is the best solution. Letting acrylic paint water go down the sink drain, can cause it to dry, and clog up the drain. If this happens, you could be looking at a large bill, to fix it.

Chad Kilpatrick
Chad Kilpatrick

I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.

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