How to Get Paint Off Your Jeans in 6 Easy Steps

Hilary George-Parkin
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It's one thing to buy your jeans pre–paint splattered or even DIY the look at home. That we can fully support. But if you unintentionally get some house paint on your new pair of Frame skinnies or smudge your favorite vintage Levi's with acrylic at a paint-and-sip event, you probably want to know how to get it off ASAP. Here's where we can help. Scroll below for the best way to remove water- and oil-based paint from your jeans. 

Latex, Acrylic, or Other Water-Based Paints:

  • If the paint is still fresh, scrape off any excess with a knife or other utensil.
  • Dab the stained area with a towel soaked in warm water.
  • Soak the denim in isopropyl rubbing alcohol (something you should definitely keep on hand for first aid, cleaning electronics, and, yep, laundry).
  • Rub the fabric against itself, and then scrub it with a cleaning brush or toothbrush against the grain of the fabric, lifting as much of the paint off as possible.
  • Rinse the stain in warm water.
  • Toss the jeans in the washing machine, and wash alone in hot water.

In a pinch, you can also use dish soap, hand sanitizer, or hair spray. (The alcohol content in the latter two options helps break up the paint.)

Oil-Based Paints:

These are much trickier, and you should follow the directions on the back of the paint container because the appropriate solvent can vary, but you will likely need paint thinner or turpentine.

  • Lay the jeans out over a bucket or other container so the stain is facing the bottom.
  • Pour the paint thinner/turpentine on the back of the stain so it loosens from the fabric.
  • Rinse with warm water and repeat if necessary.
  • Launder alone in hot water.

Good luck!

Shop eight pairs of new (paint stain–free) jeans below.

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