It’s happened to virtually everyone who has been brave enough to paint a room on their own. You set down newspaper or plastic all over the floor, use painter’s tape to protect baseboard and crown molding, and take every precaution possible to paint the walls and the walls alone. You paint your walls, watch as the plastic or newspaper coverings keep your carpets safe from falling semi-gloss, and then as you clean up, you see it: a glob of paint on your clean carpet. Somehow, despite your best efforts, you managed to leave a small patch of carpet exposed. And wouldn’t you know it, you happened to spill paint on that exact spot. What are the odds?
If you’ve ever painted on your own, you know the odds are somehow very good. It’s like Murphy’s Law: if you forgot to cover one speck of carpet, it’s virtually guaranteed it’s getting paint on it. So what do you do after that practically inevitable spill? Read this fast, and then go clean it up!
Quick disclaimer: These methods will work for water-based paint. If you’re dealing with an oil-based paint, it’s recommended that you seek professional assistance to remove it.
- Key First Step: Don’t Let it Dry!
You probably guessed this, but letting the paint dry would be a huge mistake. The paint will harden and become much harder to remove if that happens.
- If the Spill is Big…
You may want to save the paint, or at least some of it. You can use two small pieces of cardboard to scoop up the paint and dump it back in the can.
- Pick a Cleaning Solution
Even though paint is one of the toughest stains out there, you’ve got some options. Again, work quickly, because the paint can definitely stain the carpet. Here are some ways you can fight the problem:
- Simple Soap and Water: Make a solution of water mixed with a spoonful of natural detergent. Then spray the solution on the painted area and pat with a towel. Switch to a water-soaked sponge and blot some more. Repeat the spray/sponge process as needed to eliminate the problem.
- Glycerin and Acetone: Wet some paper towels with glycerin and use them to blot the stain, then dump a little acetone on it to loosen the paint. Then, treat the area with a sponge soaked in soapy water.
- Vinegar: You can soak a towel with white distilled vinegar, then dab the stain with the towel. The vinegar will cause the paint to lift off the carpet and onto the towel. You can then clean the affected area with soapy water.