How To Get Paint Off Skin – Useful Tips And Methods

Learn how to remove everything from wall paint to fabric paint with and without paint thinner.

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD Dr. CP Thajudheen Dr. CP ThajudheenMD facebook_icontwitter_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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One of the most common challenges with painting, whether for home renovation or creative projects, is that it is difficult to remove paint from your hands. Do you want to know how to get paint off your skin? There are many practical and safe methods available to help you remove stubborn paint stains from your hands. This article explains how to remove paint stains from your skin. Check out all the methods below!

How Do You Get Paint Off Your Skin?

1. Acrylic Paint

Lukewarm water and dish soap may get acrylic paint off skin
Image: Shutterstock

Acrylic is a water-based paint characterized by its quick drying time. It is water-resistant, and the results can be quite permanent. This makes it extremely difficult to remove from the skin.

You Will Need 

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Towel
  • Moisturizer


  1. Rub the stained area continuously with lukewarm water to loosen the paint. If the color is still wet, it should wash away easily.
  2. Apply some dish soap to the area and massage it until all the remaining paint is gone.
  3. Wash your skin with lukewarm water and dry it with a towel.
  4. Apply the moisturizer to your skin.

Why It Works

As acrylic paint is water-based, it is water-soluble when still wet. The heat from the lukewarm water loosens the color’s hold on the skin. In addition, the abrasiveness of the dish soap dissolves the dried paint and loosens the flakes that are tough to eliminate. And this is an easy remedy for how to get paint off skin.

protip_icon Trivia
Solvents like toluene and xylene in paints may cause kidney or liver damage if they enter the body through the skin (1).

2. Latex Paint

Rubbing alcohol as a way of getting latex paint off skin
Image: Shutterstock

Latex paint is water-based and made of acrylic resin. It dries quickly and can be removed only with strong abrasives.

You Will Need

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball
  • Moisturizer
  • Towel


  1. Massage the affected area with lukewarm water to remove the wet paint.
  2. Rub some mild dish soap onto the skin to loosen the hold of the paint.
  3. Wash your skin with lukewarm water and pat dry with a towel.
  4. Dab the cotton ball with a few drops of rubbing alcohol and scrub the affected area with it until the paint is completely removed.
  5. Rinse the area with lukewarm water and apply moisturizer.

Note: Towel dry your skin before applying rubbing alcohol, as the water may dilute the alcohol and render it ineffective.

Why It Works

Wet latex paint is water-soluble. Therefore, it should leave the skin easily when washed with lukewarm water. Rubbing alcohol is a latex paint solvent – it helps break down the structure of the paint, removing dried flecks from the skin.

3. Fabric Paint

Acetone dipped towel as a way of removing fabric paint from skin
Image: Shutterstock

Unlike other paints, fabric paint consists of several glue-binding agents, which makes it difficult to remove from the skin.

You Will Need

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Towel
  • Acetone
  • Moisturizer
  • Nail file


  1. Wash the affected area with lukewarm water to remove the wet paint.
  2. Apply the mild dish soap to the stained skin and rub it gently. Rinse the soap.
  3. Use the nail file to gently scrape out as much paint as possible.
  4. Soak one end of the towel in acetone and press it against the affected area for 30 seconds.
  5. Wipe the remaining paint and wash your skin with lukewarm water.
  6. Apply moisturizer to your skin to prevent dryness.

Note: Acetone may cause a tingling sensation. Avoid this method if you have sensitive skin.

Why It Works

Acetone is an abrasive ingredient that eats away the paint. It can damage your skin if not applied with care. To prevent this, use acetone only if warm water and dish soap fail to remove the paint.

4. Spray Paint

Baby oil as a way of removing spray paint
Image: Shutterstock

This water-based paint is relatively eco-friendly. Due to its difference in chemical structure, this paint is easier to remove from the skin.

You Will Need 

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Baby oil
  • Towel


  1. Rinse the affected area with lukewarm water to remove the wet paint.
  2. Rub the mild dish soap to remove the tougher stains.
  3. Wash and dry your skin.
  4. Massage some baby oil to the affected area until the color from every crevice is removed.
  5. Wash off the baby oil and towel dry your skin.
  6. Apply some cream to the affected area to replenish any lost moisture.

Why It Works 

This method of paint removal is based on the repellent relationship between water and oil. Baby oil dissolves the water molecules of the spray paint and removes them from the skin.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Wear a respiratory mask, goggles, and a spray suit before spray painting to prevent paint from sticking to your skin.

5. Wall Paint

Glycerin as a way of removing wall paint from skin
Image: Shutterstock

If the wall paint is water-based, follow the same tips as for spray, fabric, latex, and acrylic paints. For oil-based wall paints, turpentine or paint thinners can help in the removal process.

You Will Need 

  • Glycerin
  • Turpentine or paint thinner
  • Mild soap
  • Towel
  • Cotton
  • Lukewarm water
  • Moisturizer


  1. Apply a layer of glycerin to the stained area. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Dab some turpentine on a piece of cotton and gently rub the stained area until all the paint is removed.
  3. Wash your skin with lukewarm water and soap before towel drying it.
  4. Apply the moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

Note:  Do not follow this method if you have sensitive skin or respiratory issues.

Why It Works 

Glycerin helps loosen the dried paint stuck to the skin, while turpentine acts as a solvent and dissolves the oil-based or enamel wall paint.

6. Gouache Paint

removing gouache paint
Image: Shutterstock

Are you wondering if gouache paints are washable? Well, they are. They are often used with acrylic paint and are water-based. Hence, removing them from a majority of surfaces is fairly easy.

You Will Need

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Scrubber
  • Moisturizer


  1. Apply the dishwashing soap to the affected skin and rub gently.
  2. Scrub the area gently with a mild scrubber to get rid of the rest of the paint.
  3. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  4. Apply some moisturizer to the skin to prevent any possible dryness.

Why It Works

Dishwashing soaps are formulated to remove stains from utensils. They can break down the molecules that bind the paint and help remove it.

Note: Paint thinners and turpentine can be harsh on your skin and should be avoided by people with sensitive skin.

Here’s how you can get paint off your skin without using a paint thinner.

How To Get Paint Off The Skin Without A Paint Thinner

  • Lukewarm water
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mild dish soap
  • Towel
  • Moisturizer
  • Paper towel


  1. Wash the stained area with lukewarm water and rub gently to remove the wet paint.
  2. Scrub some mild dish soap on the area to loosen any dried paint.
  3. Slather mayonnaise on your skin and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Rub it onto your skin and wipe it with a paper towel. Repeat this until all the paint is successfully removed.
  5. Rinse the area and dry it with a towel.
  6. Apply some moisturizer to prevent dryness.

Why It Works 

Mayonnaise, an oil-based ingredient, acts as a solvent and loosens the paint from the skin. If you do not have mayonnaise, you can use baby oil or olive oil.

Karey Culp, a DIY and lifestyle YouTuber, shares her experience of accidentally discovering how olive oil works to remove paint from the skin. She says, “After doing a DIY project that involves spray paint, I went inside and ate some breadsticks that were covered in olive oil. It (the paint) immediately started coming off of my hands (i)!” She recommends using olive oil, followed by a mild dish soap to get spray paint completely off your skin.

Infographic: How To Remove Paint From The Skin

You can get paint on your skin after a DIY art project or home improvement activity. Different types of paint have different levels of adherence. For example, you can easily get rid of water-based ones compared to oil-based paints. If you are an active art enthusiast, check out the below infographic to help remove different types of paint from your skin.

how to remove paint from the skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

If you don’t know how to get paint off your skin, it can be incredibly stressful. There are a variety of practical and safe solutions for removing stubborn paint stains from your skin. Dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and acetone may easily remove water-based paints like acrylic, latex, and spray paints. Fabric paint can be removed using baby oil. For oil-based paints and wall paint removal, use turpentine, paint thinners, and mayonnaise. Keep in mind that some paints and solvents can cause skin irritation. As a result, we strongly advise that you use suitable safety equipment, such as gloves, when painting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Vaseline remove paint from the skin?

Yes, you can apply Vaseline to your skin for cleaning oil-based paints.

Will vinegar take off paint?

Yes. Applying vinegar will help brush off stains of dried paint from metal and wooden surfaces.

Does hydrogen peroxide take off paint?

Using hydrogen peroxide is also a good way to remove paint.

Will WD 40 remove dried paint?

Yes. WD 40 will remove dried paint from your skin or any surface. Spray it to your skin and keep rubbing it till it gets cleaned.

Can baking soda remove paint?

Yes. Use half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of coconut oil for scrubbing the paint off the skin.

Key Takeaways

  • Acrylic, latex, fabric, spray, and wall paints require different methods for removal from your skin.
  • While soap, water, and detergent are enough for some, others require chemicals like acetone or glycerol.
  • All you need is a few household items, and you can remove paint stains without any hassle.

Learn how to remove paint quickly and easily with this simple DIY hack. No need for expensive tools or harsh chemicals– just follow these easy steps!

Personal Experience: Source


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Dr. CP Thajudheen has over 20 years of experience in various lasers, light-based devices, and other advanced equipment. He was one of the beginners who introduced cutaneous lasers in India. He carries out dermato surgeries regularly, including hair grafting and vitiligo surgeries.

Read full bio of Dr. CP Thajudheen
Arshiya Syeda
Arshiya SyedaSenior Editor
Arshiya Syeda is a senior editor at StyleCraze with 7 years of experience. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and research skills to write over 200 high-performing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and skin care.

Read full bio of Arshiya Syeda
Ramona is an editor at StyleCraze with 11 years of experience in writing and editing. She has authored over 200 articles on skin and hair care. She graduated from the University of Calcutta, West Bengal, and did her post-graduation from the University of Kalyani, West Bengal.

Read full bio of Ramona Sinha
Shiboli Chakraborti
Shiboli ChakrabortiCommerce Editor
Shiboli has a master’s degree in English literature from The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, and is a certified skincare coach with four years of experience. As a commerce editor, she guides her team members on the best practices to create crisp and authentic content.

Read full bio of Shiboli Chakraborti