How To Get Emulsion Paint Out Of Carpet?

Have you set out to paint your house by yourself?

If you have, then you know how easy it is to knock over a can of paint all over your floor, or worse even, your carpet, because unlike clothes, you cannot just toss it in a washing machine.

What is worse is that just-spilled paint is bad in itself, but if you put it on the back burner and thought you would do it after your paint job, you could be in for a nasty surprise.

Even if you have spilled a few drops of paint on it, it can cause a lot of frustration and panic.

But if you are savvy, learning about a few tricks to get that emulsion paint out of your carpet can come in very handy at times like these.

For this, however, it is very important that you start the removal process immediately and determine what type of paint it is so that you can approach it with the proper method.

Emulsion paints, being water-based are easier to wash off, while oil paint stains need some doing.

If you cannot wash it right away for some reason, you should at least try and keep it wet for the moment. If you have an old rug or flooring that needs cleaning, here are some tips on how to get rid of emulsion paint stains.

Method 1 – Warm Water

Cleaning It Up - Method 1

You will need:

If the paint is still fresh, blot it up with paper towels or white cloth.

  1. Since emulsion paints are not as tough as oil paints, this should be done quite quickly. As soon as you place the cloth or paper towels on the splotch, it will start getting absorbed. You might need more than one cloth, so make sure you have a bunch of them, ditto with the paper towels.
  2. Do not scrub the paint in the carpet, because instead of getting absorbed outward, it might get absorbed in the carpet fibres and that is not what you want.
  3. Once the majority of the paint has been absorbed away, you will need to wash the affected area. For this, mix a large teaspoon of liquid detergent in about 250ml of water. Now, soak a fresh white rag in this solution, and start working on (blotting only) the outer edge of the spill, slowly working towards the centre mass.
  4. Be very gentle about it, as I said because the point is to absorb it in the rag.
  5. If you feel that the paint has gotten dry, you may want to put some of that solution on the stain, and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. This will loosen the paint particles somewhat before you start cleaning it up again.
  6. If you feel that you have spilled excessive paint that cannot be contained just with water and rags, you can use the spoon, the knife or the credit card to scoop it up. Once the excessive paint is removed, you can start soaking it up with the rag.
  7. Allow it to dry completely.
  8. Once you are done removing the paint, use a wet vacuum cleaner to suck up the stray paint particles and the detergent solution. This is done to ensure there is no mold setting in the carpet.
  9. You may have to repeat the entire process (save for the vacuum cleaner bit, that should always be the final step) because some paint still might be sticking to the carpet.
  10. If you still feel that you could have done better, use a hand-held steamer to steam up the paint. Avoid using an iron directly on the carpet because it might singe your carpet and you may have a new problem of paint sticking to your iron.

Method 2 – Rubbing Alcohol

Cleaning It Up - Method 2

You will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Glycerin
  • Paper towels or clean white cloth
  • Warm water
  • A used toothbrush
  • Soap or acetone
  • A wet vacuum cleaner
  • A hand-held steamer

This is one of the many alternative methods I found while researching and is said to remove stains that refuse to budge.

  1. Put some rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and dab the stain with it. Use the wet vacuum cleaner to clean the area around it.
  2. Soak some paper towels in glycerin and blot the stain with them. Do this until you see no more paint coming up. Leave the stain like this for up to 2 hours.
  3. Make a mild solution of liquid soap and water and put this solution on top of the glycerin. Instead of the soap solution, you can use acetone as well. Now use the hand-held steamer on it.

Read More: Rubbing alcohol – what is it and where can I buy it?

Method 3 – Acetone

How To Get Emulsion Paint Out Of Carpet? 1

What you will need to remove emulsion paint out of carpet?

  • Acetone
  • Spot cleaner (such as Dyson or Glade)
  • Clean white cloth
  • Used toothbrush
  • A steam vacuum

Read on to find out how you can use spot cleaner and acetone to remove the paint.

  1. Open the windows to ensure proper ventilation. I say this because inhalation of acetone may cause nausea or dizziness in some people. Alternatively, you can put a fan on.
  2. Pour some acetone using an eyedropper directly onto the stain on the carpet, and blot it using the white cloth. I recommend using white cloth over printed ones because this way you can tell when the cloth is getting dirty.
  3. The acetone will get deeper and lift the paint up. The patch on your carpet may appear to be getting dirtier but you have no reason to worry.
  4. Put some spot cleaner on the stain, and rub the used toothbrush in a circular motion to work up a foam which you should leave for up to 10 minutes.
  5. Now use the steam vacuum to clean this foam. By now, the foam would have pulled out most of the emulsion paint out of your carpet. You may repeat this entire process until you are completely satisfied with the results.


Finding paint on your carpet is indeed worrisome, but as I explained earlier, removing emulsion paint out of carpet is fairly simple.

As you must have noticed, you already have most of the solutions right at home!

Hopefully, you will never again have to worry about removing stains from the carpet.

But then again, if things have indeed gotten out of hand, you might want to call an expert.

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