The Lowdown on Paint Clean-up's featured image

While washing walls and doorway trims is one way to clean things up for the holidays, sometimes you have to “cheat” with a little bit of paint. Here’s a guide to cleaning up while you’re painting, and tidying up once you’re done.

Paint on Clothing

  • To remove latex paint (water-based), scrape off excess paint and rinse the stain under warm running water. Mix up a cleaning solution of one part dish detergent to one part warm water – dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution and then dab the stain gently. Rinse, then repeat as necessary until the paint is gone.
  • Oil-based paint is much more likely to stain, so the best tip is to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a stain on – since anyone who has painted a room in their home knows it’s inevitable that paint will find it’s way onto your clothes! To remove oil-based paint, time is of the essence, so take care of your stain as soon as possible. If you can even remove the stain, it has to be done while the paint is still wet. Pour turpentine or another paint thinner over the stain (check the paint can for specific recommendations). Hold the garment over old rags and tap the stained area with a scrub brush to help force the paint out. Keep moving around the rags underneath so there’s a clean area where the paint can be absorbed. Keep at it until the majority of the paint is removed, saturate the area with liquid detergent and work it in. Launder as usual.

Paint on your Carpet

  • To remove latex paint, scrape away excess paint with a dull edge (a butter knife, or even a spoon, can work). Rinse a clean, white microfiber cloth with water and blot the stain, always using a clean area of the towel until stain is gone. Using a white cloth may sound silly, because you will most definitely make the cloth dirty, however a white cloth ensures there will not be any colour transfer from the cloth to your carpet – and better a stain on your cloth than your carpet!
  • If painting with oil-based paints, it will be almost impossible to remove. Instead, take preventative measures by always covering your carpets with a thick plastic drop-sheet. However, if a paint drip does occur, try wiping it up right away, or let it dry and carefully scrape it away with a razor.

Paint on your Brushes

  • If you intend to use the brush and same paint colour later that day or the next, don’t clean it yet. Instead, wrap the brush with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. This will keep the paint on the brush from hardening.
  • Use soap and water to clean latex paint from brushes and hands, and use mineral spirits or paint thinner to clean oil-based paint from brushes and hands; then wash with soap and water.