School is starting up, and your child may have already brought home their first masterpiece to decorate your refrigerator. But did they also bring home a school outfit that was newly decorated with multiple colors of paint? Catching a paint stain when it is wet does make it easier to remove. However, don’t worry if the stain is dry by the time your child makes it home, as long as they were using water-based paint. If the stain is dry, carefully take a hard wire brush to remove the dried paint off of the surface. With water-based (latex) paint stains, run warm water through the stain from the wrong side of the fabric, taking care to not spread the stain around. Then treat the stain with your favorite stain remover (a great choice is Zout Liquid spray!). Gently rub in the stain remover and let sit for approximately 5 minutes before laundering as usual. For extra stain fighting, use Purex Oxi detergent. As always, inspect the stained area before placing the item in the dryer. If the stain has not been completely removed, repeat the process of treating the stain.
Oil based stains are a little more tricky to remove. If these types of stains dry, they become almost impossible to remove. Try to keep the stain wet until you can treat it. If the paint you used lists a particular paint remover, use that or turpentine. Place the stain on a stack of paper towels so that you have access to the back of the stain. Carefully wet the stain with the paint remover and gently work the stain out. You can do this by rubbing the back of the stain with a wooden spoon to allow for the paper towels to adsorb the stain. Do not rub with a cloth as this will cause the stain to be transferred deeper into the fabric. Make sure to change the stack of paper towels once they have adsorbed some or all of the stain. Once you have removed as much of the stain as possible, apply a small amount of detergent to the front of the stain and let it sit for approximately 5 minutes. Then launder as usual. Paint stains can be persistent so you may need to repeat this process a few times to completely remove the stain.
Now you understand why paint smocks and dad’s old shirts are so important! Accidents do happen, so just remember that the beautiful artwork that adorns your refrigerator could not have happened without the spots of paint that you are working to remove from your child’s clothes. Happy Stain Fighting!