he choice of acrylic paint is a great option for artists as well as crafters, but it can be a little messy, and you may find it on surfaces you never intended. So, you might be wondering, are acrylic paints washable, and how difficult is it to remove them from different surfaces? Read further to find out how washable acrylic paint is.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Acrylic Paint?
- 2 Is Acrylic Paint Washable?
- 2.1 Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Skin?
- 2.2 Are Acrylic Paints Washable from Clothes?
- 2.3 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Hair?
- 2.4 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Canvas?
- 2.5 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Walls?
- 2.6 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Glass?
- 2.7 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Wood?
- 2.8 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Plastic?
- 2.9 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Metal?
- 2.10 Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Concrete?
- 3 Tips When Removing Acrylic Paint from Clothing
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Acrylic Paint?
Acrylic paint consists of three main components, namely water, pigment particles, and acrylic resin. The resin is there to bind the pigments together. Manufacturers developed acrylics in the 1950s, making them a cheaper alternative to oil paints. Acrylic paints can easily be thinned using water to dilute the colors, similar to watercolors. The quantity of water added will determine its consistency.
On the other hand, you can use the paint straight from the tin or tube, which will give you deeper and more robust, and thicker colors. Acrylic paints are very versatile, easy to use, and dry quickly.
When it is properly cured, acrylic paints are water-resistant, which makes acrylic paints very popular among professional artists and beginners alike. Acrylic paint is also non-flammable, and non-toxic, and its properties can be altered using mediums. This means it can be manipulated to form many different consistencies and textures. The paint is also permanent when dry and comes in many vibrant colors. Acrylic paints are used commercially and for personal use and are sold in containers as well as tubes.
Are There Different Kinds of Acrylic Paint?
It is important to understand the different types of acrylic paint, to ensure you buy the correct one. Acrylic paint comes in two different types, student quality, and artist quality. The formulation of the student quality type has fewer pigments and more fillers, which gives the colors less strength and sheen, but it is much cheaper.
The artist’s quality acrylic paint has a far greater variety of colors to choose from, has fewer fillers, and has a higher concentration of pigments.
This makes the artist’s quality much more vibrant and smoother, which makes it much easier to blend and layer. However, this also makes it more expensive. If you are a beginner, then we recommend that you start with the student quality type, as the artist quality requires a lot more skill. It is also much cheaper, and this will allow you to practice without wasting your resources. This type of acrylic paint is also a great way to learn how acrylic paint behaves on fabric, canvas, or other surfaces.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable?
Most artists, and especially beginners, can be a little messy and you may find paint where it was never intended to go, like carpets, on your skin, clothes, and walls. Acrylic paint is very versatile, and you can apply it to almost any surface, however, sometimes it is not so easy to remove. So, is there washable acrylic paint?
Generally, acrylic paint is washable, by using soap and water, and can easily be removed while it is still wet.
However, as soon as it dries, it can be very difficult to remove but not impossible if you use the right method. The aim is to act fast, before the paint cures properly. Does acrylic paint wash off? This mainly depends on the surface the paint lands on. Acrylic paint cleans off much easier on a smooth surface or unprepared surface like glass, than on a porous or prepared surface that has been varnished or painted.
Acrylic paint may be easy to remove from your skin, but it is extremely difficult to remove it from fabric. So, if you are having difficulty removing the paint using soap and water, here are some other ideas you can try for removing acrylic paint.
You can consider using peroxide, bleach, acetone, vinegar, alcohol, or trisodium phosphate. Let us now discuss in more detail how washable acrylic paint is on various surfaces and materials.
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Skin?
The best thing is to not let acrylic paint come into contact with your skin in the first place. In some cases, it can cause irritation. So, you should never apply it as body paint. However, if you accidentally spill some acrylic paint on your skin, it can be removed, and here are some useful tips.
Removing Acrylic Paint with Warm Water and Soap
Does acrylic paint wash off skin with water? Yes, start by rinsing the affected area with some warm water, then apply some dishwashing liquid and rub the area until lather forms. Lightly scrub the area until the paint comes off, making sure you do not harm the skin.
When acrylic paint comes into contact with your skin, you need to act quickly while it is still wet for this to work.
Be careful not to leave the paint on the skin for too long, as it will become more difficult to remove. You may also have a small cut or injury where the paint and chemicals can enter the body, which may cause some harm. If you find there is still some paint left on your skin after washing, you can repeat the process until it is all gone.
Removing Acrylic Paint with Baby Oil
Does acrylic paint wash off the skin using baby oil or lotion? Yes, this is another great method. However, you must first let the paint dry and then you will find it is easier to remove from the skin with the oil.
Apply some baby oil or lotion to a piece of cotton wool or a clean cloth and rub the affected area. The acrylic paint should easily come off.
The baby oil or lotion will begin to break down the oil elements that are found in the paint, allowing it to remove the paint easily. Baby oil or lotion is preferred to other methods as it is much gentler on your skin than other paint removers that contain harsh chemicals.
Removing Acrylic Paint with Rubbing Alcohol
When the paint on your skin becomes too stubborn to remove using the above methods, then you can try rubbing alcohol. This is used as a solvent and will be able to break down the paint that is on your skin.
This is a very efficient approach to removing paint from your skin quickly.
First, rinse the affected area with warm water, then apply some rubbing alcohol to a piece of cotton wool or a clean cloth and gently massage the area until you see the paint is gone. As rubbing alcohol contains some chemicals, it is advisable to moisturize your skin once you are finished.
Are Acrylic Paints Washable from Clothes?
Acrylic paint is washable if you use the proper method, as some work more effectively than others. If the acrylic paint you are using is designed to be washable, then all you need to do is pop the garment into the washing machine and the paint stain should dissolve. However, if it is a regular or artist-grade acrylic paint, then you need to employ other methods to remove the stain. Here are some useful tips.
Remove Acrylic Paint Using Warm Water and Soap
Warm water and soap can be very effective methods to remove acrylic paint from your clothes. However, for this to work, the paint needs to still be wet. When the paint dries and hardens, you will need a stronger solution to remove the paint from your clothes. Soak the clothes in some hot water and cleaning detergent for about an hour or two. This allows the paint to soften slightly and loosen the paint from all the fibers.
Then give it a quick rub and put it into the washing machine and your paint stain should be gone.
Remove Acrylic Paint Using Rubbing Alcohol
Once the paint has dried and fully cured, this method is best to remove the acrylic paint from your clothes. Make a solution of rubbing or denatured alcohol and lukewarm water in equal amounts, then take some cotton wool and soak it in the solution.
Begin to dab the affected area on your clothes and rub the spot using circular motions, which should soften the acrylic paint.
Then begin to scrub the area using an old toothbrush until all the paint has been removed, taking care not to damage the fabric. Finally, you can wash clothes in the washing machine, making sure you use cold water.
Remove Acrylic Paint Using White Vinegar
There has also been some success in using white vinegar to remove acrylic paint. Soak the affected area of your clothes in the vinegar for about 15 minutes, then take an old toothbrush and scrub the paint off. You can also use a knife or a plastic spoon for removing the paint.
By using vinegar, you will not damage the fabric, as it is a lot milder than alcohol.
Others have found success in using white vinegar and ammonia. Mix a solution of vinegar and ammonia in equal amounts and add some salt. Take a damp cloth, or sponge and dip this into the solution. Apply it to the affected spot and gently rub until the paint has been removed.
Remove Acrylic Paint Using Murphy Oil Soap
Murphy oil soap was originally manufactured for cleaning wood, metal, and other similar surfaces, but it is also effective in removing acrylic paint from your clothes. Pour some Murphy oil soap into a bowl and soak the item.
Gently scrub the spot until you cannot see the paint anymore.
Remove Acrylic Paint Using Hair Spray
Some say you can use hair spray to take out acrylic paint from clothing. However, many have tried this method and found that it does not work. In fact, the hair spray only made the paint stickier, and more difficult to remove.
So, we suggest not using hair spray to remove acrylic paint.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Hair?
When using acrylic paint, it can get a little messy, and may even get onto your hair. If this does happen, there is no need for panic as acrylic paint is water-based and can easily be removed from your hair. Here are some tips to follow if acrylic paint ends up on your hair.
Using Soap and Water to Remove Acrylic Paint
When you get acrylic paint in your hair, the hair tends to become stiff. However, the paint can easily be removed with soap and water. Again, try to wash it out before the paint dries thoroughly. The process is simple, rinse your hair in warm water, apply some shampoo and gently massage the hair, rinse again.
Finally, use a comb to remove any more paint still left on your hair.
If the paint remains for too long in your hair and it dries, then soak your hair in warm water and keep the hair wet for a few hours. Wash again with shampoo and warm water. The paint should have softened enough to wash off.
Using Baby Oil or Olive Oil to Remove Acrylic Paint
Pour some of the oil into the palm of your hand and gently massage the area where the paint is. The oil can remain on your hair for a short time to help soften the acrylic paint. Next, wash your hair with warm water and shampoo to get rid of the oil. Again, you can use a comb to remove any paint or oil that may still be in your hair.
Finally, apply some conditioner to avoid any damage to your hair.
Do not try to use acetone or alcohol on your hair as this can be harmful. When Halloween comes around many people resort to using acrylic paint on their hair instead of dye. This may sound like a good idea, but it could cause damage to your scalp and skin if left for long periods.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Canvas?
You can wash acrylic paint off your canvas, but you need to know the exact type of acrylic paint formulation you are using for the process to be effective. It is recommended that you first have a trial run on an old canvas using acrylic paint, to avoid spoiling your final art piece. So, what is the best method for removing acrylic paint from canvas?
Removing Acrylic Paint with Rubbing Alcohol
Wet a clean towel or cloth with some warm water and then soak in some rubbing alcohol, making sure the alcohol is 60 percent or higher. Now place the towel or cloth over the acrylic paint and leave it for about 30 minutes. If the part of the canvas you want to clean is in the middle of your art piece, it may be difficult not to affect your entire painting. Once the 30 minutes are up, you can remove the towel and wipe the paint off by using circular motions.
Wipe the canvas clean with a clean warm towel to remove all the paint and the alcohol. Be careful not to cause any smudging or smearing.
It may also be necessary to do some scrapping and more soaking to ensure all the paint is gone. In this way, you can remove thick layers of acrylic paint. However, sometimes paint gets trapped in the grooves of the canvas, which is difficult to remove. If this happens, then take some gesso and paint over the canvas, which will refurbish your canvas and you can go ahead and start painting again. It is not advisable to use acetone to remove acrylic paint from your canvas, as it removes all the layers of paint including the gesso, right down to the canvas fibers.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Walls?
Removing acrylic paint from your walls depends on the amount of paint that needs to be removed. If you accidentally splashed some acrylic paint on the wall and the paint is still wet, use cotton buds dipped in warm water and wipe the paint off.
However, if it is a lot of paint you want to remove, and the paint has dried, take a fifty-fifty mixed solution of warm water and rubbing alcohol.
Soak a clean rag in the mixture and lightly dab the area affected. By doing this, you may also have removed some of the paint that is underneath, and your wall may need a slight touch-up afterward. If you are experiencing any difficulty with either of these methods, you might have to start from scratch and repaint the wall.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Glass?
Glass is a non-porous material, which makes it one of the easiest materials to remove acrylic paint from. Take some warm soapy water and soak a clean cloth in it. Put the cloth on the affected area and leave it for a short time to soften the paint, then use a glass scraper to remove the paint.
If the paint is stubborn, just add some rubbing alcohol to the water mixture and use the glass scraper to remove the softened paint.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Wood?
As wood is such a durable material, there are numerous methods you can use to remove acrylic paint from the surface. If the wood surface is unfinished, it will be a lot easier to remove the acrylic paint, than from a wood surface that is finished.
Use Soap and Water to Remove Acrylic Paint
This is the quickest and simplest method for getting rid of acrylic paint from wood, which can be just as effective as the more expensive methods. If there is only a small spill of acrylic paint on the wood, soften the paint with some warm soapy water, and then use a wood scraper to peel off the paint.
You can also take the acrylic paint off before it has dried.
Soak a clean cloth in some soapy water and apply it to the wet paint and rub the paint until it has been removed. Try not to use rubbing alcohol on your furniture, as it will strip away the top layer of varnish and damage the furniture.
Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Acrylic Paint
If the wood is more porous with a finished or unfinished surface, then you need to use something stronger than soap and water to remove the acrylic paint. Using rubbing alcohol or Murphy oil soap will be able to remove the top layers of the paint. Then apply a layer of gesso and repaint your wooden surface.
Use a Heat Gun to Remove Acrylic Paint
If you have outdoor furniture, a wooden fence, or any large object like that, then the best and cheapest method to use for removing acrylic paint from the wooden surface is a heat gun. Use the heat gun, which makes the paint softer, and then use a wood scraper to remove the acrylic paint.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Plastic?
To remove acrylic paint from a plastic surface, the best and most effective method is to use rubbing alcohol. Apply the alcohol to the affected surface and leave it for a few minutes to soften the paint and just rub it off.
If the paint is dry, it may take a bit of scrubbing to remove the paint completely.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Metal?
There are various types of metal and for most of them, it is very simple to remove acrylic paint from the surface. Use a clean cloth or some cotton wool and soak in a little rubbing alcohol.
Because metal is non-porous and has a tough surface there is no need to first soften the paint, but just apply the rubbing alcohol using circular motions and the acrylic paint should easily come off.
There are various alternatives to rubbing alcohol that you could use to remove acrylic paint from metal like thinners for example, but it is not recommended that you use acetone as it could cause damage to the metal surface.
Is Acrylic Paint Washable from Concrete?
First, it is not a very good idea to use acrylic paint on concrete or anywhere outdoors as the paint will suffer damage from external weather conditions. As the concrete surface Is very porous, the paint soaks into the concrete and does not remain on the top.
This makes removing acrylic paint from concrete slightly difficult.
Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Acrylic Paint
Soak a clean cloth in some rubbing alcohol and apply it to the paint and leave it for about 10 minutes. Remove the cloth and wipe the area, then soak a second cloth with rubbing alcohol and clean as much of the paint off as you can. Then take another cloth and soak it in some warm soapy water and remove all the rubbing alcohol.
Finally, rinse the area with water and dry using a fresh clean cloth.
Use Liquid Sandpaper to Remove Acrylic Paint
By using liquid sandpaper, you can remove acrylic paint from concrete, but it will require some time and effort. Prepare a solution of liquid sandpaper and water. Adding some rubbing alcohol to the solution will also help to remove the paint faster.
Apply the mixture to the affected area and let it stand for a while to soften the paint.
Take a sponge and vigorously scrub all the acrylic paint off the concrete until the surface is clean. Fortunately, concrete is one of those surfaces where you do not have to be concerned about the damage you may cause when trying to remove the paint.
Use a Sandblaster to Remove Acrylic Paint
Using a sandblaster to remove acrylic paint from concrete is by far the quickest, safest, and most effective method. Sandblasting can penetrate deeper into the concrete to remove the paint better than any of the other methods available. The only problem with this method is the equipment, as you will need to hire a professional to do the job.
Tips When Removing Acrylic Paint from Clothing
Whether you spilled some acrylic paint on your hands, clothing, carpets, walls, floor, windows, or any other surface, acrylic paint can be removed from these surfaces as we have seen above. However, here are some tips that can help.
- Try to remove the paint immediately from clothing to avoid it hardening and making it more difficult to remove.
- Soak the clothing in warm water for at least 15 minutes before washing.
- Do not apply any harsh chemicals that can damage the garment.
- Make sure you check the label before attempting any cleaning process.
- When using the washing machine, ensure you use cool water to avoid the stain from setting in.
Since acrylic paint is water-based, it can be washed off of most surfaces by using soap and water. Non-porous surfaces are easier to work with, while you may need something stronger for porous surfaces like wood, where there is more adhesion. Whatever the situation, we hope you have found the solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off?
There are washable acrylic paints that are manufactured and can be removed very easily just by using water. However, you still need to act quickly while the paint is still wet, as when it dries, it becomes a lot more difficult to wash off.
Can Rain Wash Acrylic Paint Off?
As acrylic paints are water-based, the rain will be able to wash them off while it is still wet. Even when the paint dries, acrylic paints are not waterproof. So, when exposed to the elements, the paint will eventually peel off the surface.
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Leather?
If you do decide to paint leather for crafting purposes, then you should use proper acrylic leather paint. However, if you spill some acrylic paint on leather by accident, you can immediately remove any excess with a dry cloth, and then use some soapy water and a cloth to remove the rest.
In 2005, Charlene completed her Wellness Diplomas in Therapeutic Aromatherapy and Reflexology from the International School of Reflexology and Meridian Therapy. She worked for a company offering corporate wellness programs for a couple of years, before opening up her own therapy practice. It was in 2015 that a friend, who was a digital marketer, asked her to join her company as a content creator, and this is where she found her excitement for writing.
Since joining the content writing world, she has gained a lot of experience over the years writing on a diverse selection of topics, from beauty, health, wellness, travel, and more. Due to various circumstances, she had to close her therapy practice and is now a full-time freelance writer. Being a creative person, she could not pass up the opportunity to contribute to the Art in Context team, where is was in her element, writing about a variety of art and craft topics. Contributing articles for over three years now, her knowledge in this area has grown, and she has gotten to explore her creativity and improve her research and writing skills.
Learn more about the Art in Context Team.