Removing Paint Stains from Your Favorite Couch


Paint stains make your furniture look distasteful and if you don’t wipe them off with a wet cloth immediately, they can be difficult to remove later when they dry. However, if you don’t remove them, they may damage your furniture. Once it’s too late, you have no choice but to hire a furniture repair expert by searching “furniture repair near me”.

The Removal

Let us learn how to remove different kinds of stains from your favorite couch below:

The type of paint stain

Paint can be categorized into two types — water-based paint and oil-based paint. The first step is to know what type of paint has stained your sofa since you need to follow procedures for removing the paint stains effectively.

Common water-based paints include acrylic paints, latex paints, craft paints, and finger paints. Common oil-based paints include enamels, model craft paints, and art oils. You can refer to the paint product packaging to identify which type of paint you need to remove from your couch. Once you have identified the paint type, you can follow the next steps.

How to remove water-based fabric paint on sofa

Water-based paint stains are fairly easy to remove when detected quickly. However, when they dry completely, it can become difficult to remove even if you have the correct knowledge and tools. Thus, you must act quickly.

Here are a few tips you may follow to remove water-based paint stains from your couch:

When the water-based paint stain is still wet

Run warm water on the opposite side of the stained area to flush the stain. Make sure the water is not too hot since it can set the stain. Next, you have to apply some dish detergent, laundry detergent, or bar soap on the stained area, rinse it, and clean it with water to spot treat the stained area. Do it as many times as you see fit.

If you notice that the stain has not been removed completely, the next step is to apply some rubbing alcohol or acetone nail polish remover or pre-treat it with the commercial stain remover and launder as usual.

When the water-based paint stain has dried

Scrape the excess paint with a sharp tool such as a knife or a tool that has a flat edge. You may use a bristled tool such as a toothbrush to remove it if the stain has dried stiff. Make sure to use short, circular strokes to carefully remove chunks of the dried paint from the fabric without damaging the fabric.

Next, damp a clean cloth, apply some dish-soap, laundry detergent, or dish detergent on it, and use it to wipe the stained area to blot and absorb the paint. Make sure not to wet the area too much since it can dilute the paint and spread it into a large area. Finally, apply a few drops of commercial paint remover or alcohol such as acetone nail polish remover on the stained area and rub it again after some time. If the stain still remains, you need to hire an expert to solve the problem.

How to remove oil-based paint on sofa

Oil-based paint stains are trickier to remove and the last thing you want to do is to wet the area with water since oil and water don’t mix. If your couch is a fine silk upholstery or an antique piece, it’s better to call in an expert since you may damage the delicate fabric. Otherwise, you may follow the instructions below:

  1. Use a blunt knife to carefully scrape away the excess wet paint.
  1. Next, moisten a clean cloth with a good paint thinner and lightly dab the stained area until there is no trace of it. Before you apply the solvent to the stained area, apply a little bit of it in an inconspicuous area to confirm that the solvent will not damage the fabric of the couch.
  1.  Finally, use a clean towel and a waterless cleaner to wipe away the solvent residue.

Important things to consider

It is crucial to refer to the reader’s instruction manual that came with your couch to make sure you don’t accidentally damage it any further. When reading the instructions, make sure to check the following:

  • Washing instructions and the type of detergent that you are allowed to use to clean the product. For instance, some products can be cleaned with water-based detergents while others need to be cleaned with dry cleaning solvent.
  • The type of fabric of the upholstery. Some fabrics need to be cleaned using cold water and you can damage them if you apply hot water to their surface.
  • Recommended products for cleaning the furniture. Some manufacturers clearly state the type of cleaning products you are allowed to use to clean the furniture. Thus, it’s best if you can get the exact cleaning product recommended by your manufacturer to avoid any surprises.
  • Look at letter code labels such as W, S, WS, X, and O that state how to clean the furniture. Here is what they mean:
  • S – The couch must be cleaned with dry-cleaning solvent.
  • W – The couch can be cleaned with a water-based detergent.
  • WS – The couch can be cleaned with both water-based detergent and dry-cleaning solvent.
  • X – The couch can only be cleaned by vacuuming and needs professional methods.
  • O – The couch is made from organic materials and can only be cleaned using cold water. Must avoid heat.

If you are not sure how to proceed forward with the cleaning or don’t understand something listed in your product manual, don’t hesitate to call the customer care helpline of the manufacturer and ask them directly. All it takes is a few minutes and you can learn the proper method to clean your favorite upholstery and lower the risk of accidentally damaging it.


If everything fails to remove the stain from your couch, you need to call in a professional that deals with such work. Simply search “furniture repair near me” to contact an expert in your area.

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