Conquering paint stains

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

I attended a painting party recently. If you’re not familiar, a painting party is when you get together with friends and paint on a canvas with help from an expert. At our painting party, I found myself lagging behind. As everyone else put their finishing touches on their canvases and neared the ever-elusive “drying time” (when they could relax, eat and enjoy the party), I scrambled to catch up.

I placed my plate, which was the palette I used to mix colors, down on my seat and stood up to focus my concentration.

When it was time to paint the bottom, I sat down again. Yes, right on top of my paint plate. The acrylic paint covered my bottom in a rainbow of colors. I was wearing one of my favorite outfits and feared I would have to throw it out. Luckily, I didn’t. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, follow these steps before you toss your painted clothing:

Use something flat, such as a plastic knife to scrape off as much of the paint as you can. As you do this, avoid rubbing the fabric, which will set the stain deeper into the material. The goal is to lift the stain as much as possible, so blot instead. Then, flush the area with warm water. The sooner it dries, the sooner it will set. Keep it wet, if you can.

Next, look at what you have on hand to treat the stain. Some experts suggest dishwashing liquid. I like using rubbing alcohol. In either case, make sure to test a small, inconspicuous spot first. Also, consider diluting the treatment before applying. If you have a delicate fabric, you may want to dilute.

Make sure the fabric is not sitting on top of the bottom layer of clothing. If it is, the stain will penetrate to the other side. Pour the treatment into a small bowl and apply with a sponge, blotting and lifting the stain out. Depending on the clothing material, you may be able to get more aggressive with the treatment. I used a soft-bristled toothbrush instead of a sponge, and it worked fine. Again, it depends on your fabric.

Rinse and repeat until most of the stain is gone. Then, use a commercial stain remover to pre-treat the clothing. I am par tial to Shout or Spray ‘n Wash. Run the clothing through the wash cycle as you normally would and then reassess. If the stain is still there, repeat the above steps. In my case, two wash cycles did the trick.

Have a question or comment for Joanne? Email her at thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.