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How to Get Kids Paint Out of Carpet


Allowing a budding child artist to fully explore and get messy is enough to make the best of us cringe.  Inevitably at some point paint is likely to splash over onto the carpet, but there’s no need to panic! Whether you catch it while it’s still wet, or the paint has already dried, we have suggestions on how to remove kids paint from the carpet without leaving lasting damage.

If the thought of a messy art project is stressful, we also offer suggestions for the best materials to help contain the mess and make cleanup a piece of cake. So go ahead and set up that art station and let your children tap into their creative side.

How to Remove Kids Paint from Carpet While it’s Still Wet

If you catch a spill when it happens, you want to address the wet paint before it has a chance to dry and set.  Grab some paper towels and absorb as much paint as you can. Don’t rub or scrub it, which could press the paint further into the fibers of the carpet.

Once you have absorbed as much of the liquid as possible, you can follow any of the below methods for removing what is left of the stain.  

How to Remove Dried Paint From Carpet

1. Powdered Tide

Powdered Tide contains enzymes that naturally break down and remove stains.  This is why it’s so great for removing stains from food and grass that are on clothing.  To start, you want to make a very diluted mixture of 1 teaspoon powdered tide (we recommend powdered over liquid due to its ability to dissolve) to 1 cup very hot water.  Grab a microfiber cloth, or a cleaning rag, dip it into your mixture and gently rub it over your stain.  You should quickly see the paint start to lift and transfer onto your cloth.

If it’s a big paint stain, fold your cloth over or switch out cloths frequently.  Once the paint starts to lift, you want to avoid rubbing it back onto your carpet.  If the stain has really set in, you can make a paste with more Tide and water.  Allow your paste to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away. You want to be careful not to add too much soap since you won’t be rinsing out your carpet like you would a piece of clothing in a washing machine.

After you have cleaned the stain, allow your carpet to fully dry.  If needed, use a dry brush to soften up your carpet; too much dried soap can leave it feeling crunchy. This solution is perfect for new and old stains.  If you’re making up a batch for a recent spill, hit a couple of old stains while you’re at it.  Stand back and enjoy a brand new looking carpet!  

2. Folex – Carpet Spot Remover

Folex is a great product for removing stains from carpets, clothes, and upholstery.  It’s non-toxic and odor-free, making it a safe option for when kids are around.  There is no need to dilute or rinse afterward and you can see results almost instantly which can help ease your worried mind.

Surfactants in Folex work quickly to break down stains and you can use it to spot clean paint that is still wet or paint that has already dried into your carpet.  Folex works well on grease and oil so if the paint isn’t water-based, all hope isn’t lost. 

Carpet spot removers like Folex are great products to have on hand to help clean up a variety of messes kids can leave behind.  Kids aren’t the only ones to make messes; Folex will even remove red wine from your carpets.  It’s a multipurpose product that can save the day!

3. Acetone Nail Polish Remover

Acetone nail polish remover is a good option but make sure it contains acetone to really break down dried paint.  We don’t recommend using this with small children around. Wait until they are in bed or out of the house and crack a window to help diffuse fumes.

Wet a cleaning cloth with Acetone Nail Polish remover, but don’t oversaturate it so that it’s dripping.  Dab the cloth into the paint stain and allow it to work its magic. We don’t recommend rubbing too firmly as you don’t want to damage the carpet further but gently blot at the stain.  Once you have dissolved and broken down most of the stain, you may want to follow with Tide and water or steam clean it to fully remove any residue and scent from the nail polish remover.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing (Isopropyl) Alcohol can be used to help break down and dissolve many types of paint.  If your paint is fully dried, wet a paper towel in rubbing alcohol and allow it to soak into the stain for several minutes.  For peace of mind, walk away while it works its magic!

After the alcohol has had a chance to soften and break down the paint, use a soft brush (like an old toothbrush) and gently scrub the paint off of the carpet.  Be careful not to press too hard. Apply more alcohol with a damp cloth if needed.

You should soon see your paint stain lift away.  Once the majority of the paint is gone, you may want to follow with a detergent-based cleaner or spot remover.

5. Portable Carpet Cleaner

If you have a portable carpet cleaner, now would be a great time to put it to use.  Whether you choose to use a commercial carpet cleaning solution or your own, fill the carpet cleaner, and hit your stain.  The powerful suction and cleaning solution will remove the paint so that your carpet is not left too wet which could cause further damage. 

If you do choose to use your steam cleaner, make sure all the paint has fully been removed before the next time you clean your carpets.  You don’t want to accidentally spread more paint around!

Products We Love

Splat Mat

Splat Mat for Under High Chair/Arts/Crafts, WOMUMON Washable Baby Spill Mat Waterproof Anti-slip Floor Splash Mat, Portable Play Mat and Table Cloth (Star, 51
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

A waterproof splat mat is a perfect solution for putting under a table and chairs to avoid messy art projects damaging your carpets.  After your child is done with their craft time, you can easily clean up any spilled paint without worry.  This is great for mealtimes as well!

Crayola Washable Paint

Crayola Washable Kids Paint, 6 Count, Kids At Home Activities, Painting Supplies, Gift, Assorted
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

While there is no guarantee, Crayola washable paints are more likely to easily come out of carpet than other paint products.  Stock your child’s art area with materials that are water-based and advertised as washable for the best results.

Tempera Paint Sticks

Tempera Paint Sticks, 32 Colors Solid Tempera Paint for Kids, Super Quick Drying, Works Great on Paper Wood Glass Ceramic Canvas
Price$$$$
Quality

Tempura Paint Sticks are a great alternative to liquid paint if you’re looking to proactively avoid potential paint spills.  These look like glue sticks but have a creamy texture and feature bright colors of paint.  Avoid water, brushes, and accidental spills with these excellent paint alternatives.

Plastic Activity Trays

Activity Plastic Tray - Art & Crafts Organizer Tray, Serving Tray, Great for Crafts, Beads, Orbeez Water Beads, Painting (Set of 4 Colors - Pink, Yellow, Green, Orange)
Quality
Popularity

Sit your kid’s art projects on plastic trays to help cut down on the opportunity for paint spills.  You can easily gather materials and paintbrushes and keep projects contained in one easy-to-clean area with these trays.  Once a project is complete, your kids can carry their trays safely without worrying about accidental spills.

No-Spill Paint Cups

U.S. Art Supply 10 Piece Children's No Spill Paint Cups with Colored Lids and 10 Piece Large Round Brush Set with Plastic Handles
Price$$$
Quality

While it’s not a guarantee, no-spill paint cups can help cut down on the chances of paint accidentally being tipped over and spilling on the carpet.  Great for toddlers and older, these cups have lids that allow room for dipping a paintbrush, but not much else.  If they accidentally tip over they can be retrieved before any paint has an opportunity to spill out.

All out of paint? Check out our picks for the best art supplies for kids!

Final Thoughts

Messes happen! It comes with the territory of having children but we can still be prepared for when they do.  Try designating an area for art where you know messes will be contained and you can keep your floors protected.

However, if a spill does happen, know that you are equipped with how to remove kids paint from the carpet. Many times you don’t need a fancy product to save the day.  Household products you already have at home, like powdered Tide or rubbing alcohol are all valid options.

If you want to stay prepared for battling the toughest kid stains, keep a product like Folex on hand to help ease your mind.  For days when you stumble upon a paint stain after it’s happened, something like Folex can be your best option. As with any stain remover, it’s best to try it out on a small inconspicuous area of your carpet first.

Some carpet may need a professional cleaning service, however, it doesn’t always take a professional to safely remove stains.  If you’ve exhausted all options and your stain persists, then calling in a professional might be a good idea.  However, from one mom to another, we can handle even the biggest messes life throws our ways!


Jennifer Caffelle is an Early Education professional and blogger, but by far her favorite job is being a Mama to two littles. Jennifer completed a Masters in Education from Concordia University and has worked professionally in the field of Early Education for over 13 years.

Through professional and personal experiences, Jennifer easily relates to the extreme highs and lows that come with parenting. There is nothing better than being a part of a child's growth and education and watching parents revel in their children's success.



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