Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Clothes?

If you’re going to be experimenting with acrylic paint for your fingers and toenails at home, then you aren’t alone. Many women are opting to do their own acrylic manicures and pedicures at home for several different reasons. Not only can DIY acrylic manicures and pedicures save a person money, but they can also be a fun way to experiment with different colors, art, and designs. However, since you’ve never dealt with acrylic paint before, you might wonder if acrylic paint washes off. Here is an overview that will answer this question and more.

Removing acrylic paint before it dries

Acrylic dries very quickly, so if you accidentally get some on your clothing while painting your nails, it might be a bit of a challenge to get the paint out, but not impossible. Acrylic paint is waterproof, although not water resistant. This means that if it is immersed in water, that the paint should eventually wash out. However, you need to act immediately before the acrylic dries into the fabric. If you’re not fast enough to rinse out the acrylic paint before it dries, then you may have to try other removal methods.

Washing off acrylic paint after it dries

If you weren’t able to rinse out the acrylic paint before it dried, then there is still a chance of successfully removing it, although it may be a bit more challenging. What happens is, while acrylic paint is still wet, it’s water-soluble, meaning that it can be rinsed out with water relatively easily. However, once acrylic paint dries, it adheres to the fabric and becomes insoluble, so water is no longer an effective way of removing it. However, even after paint has dried onto your clothing, you can possibly remove the stain if you attempt to remove it right away.

One thing that you can use to remove acrylic paint from your clothing is acetone. Acetone is the chemical that is used to remove acrylic nails, and it is also used to remove paint from wood and other types of furniture for refinishing. To remove the acrylic paint stain, saturate a cotton ball in 100% pure acetone and dab it in the area containing the paint. You may need to use a new cotton ball frequently. If the paint appears to be coming out, keep dabbing the soaked cotton balls around the area until it’s all gone, then rinse it well in cool running water before washing the clothing in the washing machine.

Another method of removing acrylic paint from clothing is by rubbing alcohol. You would use this product in the same manner that you would use acetone. Don’t use the products together, just in case there is some chance of a chemical reaction, but if one doesn’t work, then rinse the article of clothing and try the other.

Trying paint thinner

bottle of paint thinner

If neither acetone or rubbing alcohol are successful at removing the acrylic paint from your clothing, then you might want to try using paint thinner. Paint thinner is going to be sold in the hardware section of Big Box stores, near the wall paint and similar products. Paint thinner is a strong-smelling chemical that does exactly what its name implies: it thins paint. To use paint thinner to remove the acrylic stain, you need to blot the area with a small amount of paint thinner. If you see the stain disappearing, then keep blotting out the stain with a paint thinner-covered cloth. Once the stain appears to be removed, rinse the article of clothing and launder it.

Dish detergent to the rescue?

dish liquid

If, for some reason, acetone, paint thinner or rubbing alcohol fail to work, you can try to use some dish detergent to try to remove the acrylic paint. It may seem futile to try dish detergent after acetone and the other solvents failed to work, but you might be surprised at how effective detergent can be when it comes to removing stains. Simply use a cloth to rub in some detergent and blot it with the cloth. If the stain starts lightening, then continue until the stain is gone. Then you can launder the item.

Have the items professionally dry cleaned

female dry cleaning worker holding stack of clean white clothes

Although there is no guarantee of success, if you haven’t been able to get the acrylic paint stain washed out, your local dry cleaners may be able to remove it. Dry cleaners have access to stronger solvents that may be able to dissolve the stain and make the clothing just like new. It shouldn’t cost you very much, either.


It’s pretty easy to accidentally stain your clothes while painting your nails or something else using your favorite acrylic paint. The best way to remove an acrylic paint stain is to begin rinsing it as soon as possible, before it begins to dry. The longer the paint is allowed to set in, the stronger the possibility is that it will remain in the fabric permanently. However, if you are determined to remove the stain, then there are many removal techniques that you can try, and hopefully, you will be successful.

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