How to Get Paint, Tar, Gum, etc. Out of Clothing

Recently I received a somewhat frenzied call from a good friend of mine who frantically asked, “What’s a great product to remove paint stains? Got some on my jacket and fighting to get it out completely.”

Clearly, he had just received an unwelcome dose of a paint product he had been working with, marking itself on a clothing item which he would really have rather not have gotten a paint product on.

In going back & forth a bit, it was determined that the product was a latex product and he had noticed it soon enough where he was able to clean as much as possible of it off right away.

Fortunately for him, his first instinct was “use water” where in another scenario, he could have very well have picked “paint thinner” instead and totally have found himself up the proverbial creek.

At this point, it is advised for someone in this situation to let the item of clothing dry out completely before doing anything else – which he did (whether intentionally or unintentionally).

The steps that my friend had taken up until this point are in-line with what I would have proposed.

Here would be my exact recommended approach if finding yourself in a similar situation:

1) Figure out whether the paint product that has gotten on the clothing is latex or oil [if by chance it is a solvent-based product other than oil, either contact the supplier for direction or reach out to our office for guidance (401-270-2664)]

2) Immediately, use water to clean off a latex-based product or paint thinner to clean off an oil-based product, this is where experimentation is needed to test how much water/paint thinner is necessary to get out as much as you can

3) Allow the article of clothing to dry

4) Once the article is dry, use “spray” ‘Household Surface SAFE GOOF-OFF’ for a dried “latex stain” or lacquer thinner for a dried oil stain, DO NOT apply either product directly to the article of clothing, instead, put on a rag and gradually work the stain out of the article of clothing by rubbing the portion of the rag with the cleaning agent onto the stain and repeating with varying portions of the rag until the stain is worked out

5) After the stain is out and after allowing the article to dry, wash with a “good” laundry detergent

By following this process, although certainly not guaranteed, you are providing yourself with the best shot possible for getting the stain out.

My friend was in luck.

He had a great guess as to what to initially attempt to take the stain out with and happened to catch me as he was entering into ‘Step 3’ (beginning to let the clothing dry out after the initial effort at cleaning it).

Things could have transpired much differently if he had elected to try removing the latex product with paint thinner.

This act of good fortune combined with him utilizing the best techniques possible from that point on out, gave him a fighting chance at saving his beloved jacket which could have very easily been on its way to a donation bin or the landfill if an alternate path had been wandered down.

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