Cleaning Latex Paint Off Carpet

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Time required:

Five minutes

Equipment list:


  • Water and a clean white rag (and possibly a little dish soap)

Ouch! You lift up the drop cloths after painting a room and see that some paint has seeped through! No way are you going to let that carpet stain ruin your new paint job. Try these methods to clean the stain.


Cleaning latex paint off carpet can be daunting. In my experience, water is the best solution for cleaning paint off carpet. This assumes the paint is relatively fresh and hasn’t yet had time to harden. If the paint has hardened, you should consult with a carpet-cleaning professional. There may be no other choice than to cut the threats out with a razor knife.

Wet the spot down thoroughly before using a clean white rag to dab at the paint. Let the water sit on the paint and “reactivate” it. Keep a pan of clean water next to you while you work. If the water starts getting discolored, get fresh water. The last thing you want to do is start spreading the stain around through the use of colored water. Some people like to add a small amount of dish soap to the water. I can’t see the harm in that, although as demonstrated in the video, it may not be necessary. The suds tend to get in the way of vigorous rubbing, in my opinion. Perhaps try dish soap if the water doesn’t completely remove the stain.

Other people recommend using rubbing alcohol, others say hydrogen peroxide works, but there are other people who warn that these products may discolor certain carpets. If water doesn’t work, you might try one of these other techniques, but make sure you try it out on a small, hidden spot first so you can make sure it’s not going to discolor the carpet.

Stay calm, take your time, don’t freak out. Good luck!

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