How to Remove Dried Paint on a Carpet

It’s happened to all of us at some point. You’re renovating your home or redecorating a room, and you mess paint on the floor. Sometimes, a small splash goes unnoticed, only discovered once the job is over and the paint has dried. That means you’re left wondering how to remove dried paint on a carpet.

Luckily, you don’t have to stress about your DIY mess because you can solve this problem no matter the type of paint or carpet. Professional carpet products can remove all kinds of dried paint spills. And if you don’t have the best products to hand, there are a couple of cleaning hacks to use in a pinch.

Simply follow the steps in the guide below to restore your carpet to its former glory. We have broken it down into the most common categories of paint stains. If you’re in doubt about what type of paint or carpet fiber it is, always use the gentlest method first.

What this article covers:

Which Home Remedy Will Remove Dried Paint From A Carpet?

While cleaning with carpet cleaning products is preferable for the best results, we know this is sometimes impossible. What can you do if you don’t have any carpet care products to hand to rid your carpet of a dried paint spill?

how to remove dried paint from carpet

Try a tried-and-trusted home remedy: rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol does not generally damage carpet fibers or strip color from them. It is usually safe to use on all kinds of dried paint spills and all types of carpet fibers.

You’ll need a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and two dry, clean white clothes. Then proceed with the following steps:

Apply Rubbing Alcohol

Soak one of the cloths in rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the affected area. Moisten the dry paint, but don’t soak the carpet too much. Agitate the spill with your fingers and let the alcohol sit for a while. 

You can use a spray bottle to apply it to the carpet, but it’s much easier to control the application with a cloth.

Let It Sit For A Bit

Wait for up to 20 minutes to let the rubbing alcohol do its work. 

Do not be tempted to scrub the area vigorously, as this will cause harm. The alcohol, however, should not cause any harm to your carpet. It is generally considered safe for use on most natural fibers.

Blot It Up

Blot the area with another dry cloth to soak up the rubbing alcohol. Any residue will evaporate. Once dry, look and see if the paint spots are all gone. 

If you are not satisfied with the results, try to use one of the professional methods below as soon as possible.

How To Remove Old Dried Paint From A Carpet

how to remove dry paint from carpet

When the dried paint spill is old, it has probably been trodden deep into the carpet fibers. If the paint is a dark, bright, or bold hue this may cause even more of a problem, especially on light-colored carpets. You’ll need to use professional carpet cleaning tools and products. 

Step 1: Scrape Off Any Old, Dry Paint Flakes 

Use the flat side of a scraper to remove dry, loose paint flakes. You can vacuum these up with a handheld vac. 

Step 2: Use A Spot And Stain Remover If Necessary

Carpet cleaning products will clean up most old dried paint spills, but deeply-pigmented paint stains need extra power. With our Pig Out stain remover product, this will not be a problem. 

remove dry paint from carpet

It is also ideal for hair dye stains or to remove markers from the carpet. Simply pretreat the paint spill with Pig Out and agitate before rinsing with a professional carpet cleaner. 

But, take note that this pigment remover is safe for use on synthetic carpets only. 

Step 3: Select A Carpet Cleaner

The best way to give your carpets a really thorough, deep clean is to use Rob’s Ultimate All Fiber Rinse. It is safe for hot water extraction of both synthetic and natural fibers. 

remove dried paint from carpet

Depending on the type of paint, and the size of the spill, you may use a carpet spot and stain remover first. We recommend this if there are several spills on your carpet. Dry oil-based paint spills are also easier to remove with heat. 

Step 4: Use A Hot Water Extraction Machine

The top professional carpet cleaning method that employs heat is hot water extraction. You can easily do this at home with a carpet cleaning machine designed for water-extraction cleaning. All our carpet cleaning detergents and stain removers are compatible with this method.

Add the product as directed on the packaging, to the water tank of a hot water extraction carpet machine. This machine uses water and heat for general cleaning and stubborn stain removal. 

It sucks up the water before it can saturate the carpets too much, so your carpets won’t get too wet. It prevents further damage to your carpets and leaves them drier than other carpet cleaning machines.

Step 5: Leave The Carpet To Air Dry

Your carpets will be slightly damp after hot water extraction. Open all windows and leave the carpets to air dry before replacing furniture. Don’t walk on the carpets until they have dried. 

How To Get Paint Out Of A Berber Carpet

what home remedy will remove paint from carpet

Berber carpets have a distinctive knot texture, usually woven from natural fibers. Their design allows easy cleanup of most spills because the looped construction tends to keep spills from seeping in. A paint spill on a Berber carpet will usually just sit on the surface.

Always use professional methods to clean woven specialty rugs like Berber carpets. If your Berber carpet is made from wool, ensure that the carpet chemical you’re using is safe for natural fibers. The steam cleaning method is also ideal for delicate wool Berber rugs (see further down in the article).

Step 1: Pre-Treat Paint Spill

As above, pre-treat paint spills with a suitable stain remover. A wool Berber carpet needs special products designed for natural fibers. Super Gel spot and stain remover products are suitable for use on synthetic and natural fibers alike.

how to clean dry paint off carpet

Use it as a pre-treatment before cleaning your wool Berber carpet with any professional detergent. It is especially effective on oil-based paint stains and any other oily carpet stains.

Super Gel cleans stubborn messes from all types of carpet and upholstery fibers, and can even remove crayon stains from a carpet. When used as instructed on the packaging, it will also remove gum, tar, grease, oil, lipstick, and even get candle ash from your carpets

Step 2: Select A Detergent

You can usually do water-extraction cleaning on natural fiber carpets if you use the right detergents and don’t leave the carpet too wet. If in doubt as to the fiber type, choose detergents and stain removers that are safe on all-natural fibers. 

Formula 99 Empowered Rinse is strong enough to give carpets a deep clean, yet gentle enough to use on wool. It is ideal for hot water extraction of synthetic carpets and low-heat or no-heat carpet cleaning on natural fibers. Follow the directions on the package for safe wool carpet dosage instructions.

how to clean dried paint from carpet

Another excellent cleaner for your paint-spotted Berber carpets is Rug Smack. This uses the power of oxygen bleach to remove the most stubborn stains from any type of carpet fiber. Always test the product on an inconspicuous area for colorfastness.

how to remove dry paint off carpet

Step 3: Use A Carpet Cleaning Machine

Add the detergent to the water tank of the carpet cleaner machine. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging closely.  It is the best way to clean dirt from carpets and is very effective on dried paint spills. Wool carpets and other natural-fiber Berber carpets can be cleaned safely using this method. 

Step 4: Open Windows And Let Carpet Air Dry

As always, the windows in the room should be left open for a while. This will let the air circulate, allowing your carpet to air dry. Fortunately, it will do so very quickly because although water extraction will thoroughly clean your Berber carpet, it leaves it only slightly damp.

How To Remove Dried Latex Paint From A Carpet

Latex paint is water-soluble. To remove a water-soluble, latex-based paint spill that has dried on a carpet, do the following:

Step 1: Remove Excess Paint

how to remove old dried paint from carpet

Latex paint is much easier to remove than oil-based paint, even when the paint spill has dried. If any large blobs are sitting on the surface of the carpet, gently remove them with the blunt end of a scraper. Do not dig into the carpet though, as this will damage the fibers.

Step 2: Choose A Carpet Detergent Suitable For Your Carpet Type

Any of the above-mentioned detergents can be used on a dried latex paint spill, as it is easily dissolved in water. Your only consideration is whether the detergent matches the type of carpet you have, or how deeply pigmented the paint is.

Remember that both Rob’s Ultimate All Fiber Rinse and the  Formula 99 Empowered Rinse can be used on any carpet fiber type. For light-colored latex paint messes, this is all you’ll need to remove the dry paint. Follow the dosage instructions on the pack and add to the carpet cleaning machine tank.

NB: Bright Paint Stains

Brightly colored paint stains are more of a concern when they are sitting on a white or light-colored carpet. Fortunately, there is more than one way to treat them. Aside from Pig Out, you can also remove color stains with our revolutionary stain remover called Red Action

how to remove paint from carpet dry

Take note that while Red Action removes red and other brightly colored pigments with ease, it is designed for use on synthetic carpets. The best stain remover for natural carpets is the Super Gel spot and stain remover.

How To Get Semi-Gloss Paint Out Of A Carpet

Most often, semi-gloss paint is a type of oil paint. It is made with oil-based resins, which give it a high-gloss finish. However, there are also semi-gloss paints that are water or latex-based. 

If Unsure, Treat It As An Oil-Based Stain

Oil-based semi-gloss paint is the hardest to remove and requires professional carpet products. Hot water extraction is the most suitable method for removing oil-based stains and also the best way to clean mud off the carpet.

If you are unsure whether the semi-gloss is oil-based or not, treat it as an oil-based stain. Chances are, it probably is oil-based, as most semi-gloss and gloss paints are. Use the Super Gel product that we recommended for oily paint stains above. 

Removing Oil-Based Paint Spots In A Hurry

Sometimes you need to clean up dried paint spots in a hurry. Perhaps you are showing the house to a prospective buyer, or tenant. Maybe you’ve got guests coming over for dinner. Whatever the reason, you need a solution that won’t leave your whole carpet damp and that is quick and easy.

For a rinse-free solution to small paint spots, you can also use our innovative Rave Spotter stain removerRave Spotter is ideal for all kinds of stains including oil-based ones and can be used on its own without a deep cleaning. 

how to remove primer from carpet

This is the best solution for treating oil-based semi-gloss paint spots when you are in a rush. Alternatively, Super Gel will do the trick as a pre-treatment for oil-based paint spills before the deep cleaning.

How To Remove Primer From A Carpet

Primer is not just a type of paint. It is a product designed to seal a surface, for example, a wall, before painting with the color of your choice. The primer contains titanium dioxide, which may not necessarily be in your paint. 

This is a bright white pigment that increases the opacity of your paint. Primer also contains limestone to add texture, and resins to bind to the pigments in the paint you’ll cover it with. It doesn't, however, contain the same pigments as paint. 

Treat Primer Spills LIke A Light-Colored Paint Stain 

Primer spills can be either oil or water-based, and you should match the cleaning product and cleaning method, accordingly. 

However, a primer will not be as heavily pigmented as paint. Therefore, you should not need to pre-treat with a stain remover. 

The water-based formulation is far easier to clean. Simply use the most appropriate of the detergent methods mentioned above for your carpet fiber type.

How To Remove Paint From A Carpet Without Any Products

remove old paint from carpet

Perhaps you don’t have professional products to hand, and even the cleaning hack in the first section isn’t possible. Don’t worry, as there is one more cleaning hack for removing dry paint spills that you can try.

Dried paint spills on carpets are always best treated with heat. So if you don’t have the products needed for the above methods, you can always use heat on its own with a handheld steamer.

Use A Handheld Steamer

Do you have a handheld steamer unit? We are talking about the type used for steaming curtains on the rail or clothes on the hanger. You can use this device as a dried paint spill remover. 

If you don’t own a handheld steamer machine, use a steam iron. Don’t place it directly on the carpet as it will damage the fibers. 

Hold it near the carpet as it produces steam. Hold it over the affected area, but never place it directly onto the carpet. 

Blot Up The Loosened Paint

Blot up the paint with an old, clean towel as the paint spill loosens from the carpet fibers. You may have to repeat this process several times to remove all of the paint. Use a white or light-colored towel. You risk transferring the color if you use a brightly colored towel, especially if it is new.


Paint spills, especially dried paint on a carpet, can be very stressful. But with the right advice and carpet care products for the task at hand, cleanup is a breeze. Invest in our high-quality carpet detergents and stain removers, and you’ll never be worried about a DIY disaster again.

How To Remove Dried Paint On Carpet (FAQs)

how to get paint out of berber carpet

How can I prevent paint spills on carpets?

Prevention is always better than a cure. So avoid future paint spills on your carpet. Cover them when you are painting indoors. All DIY depots and hardware stores sell tarps that you can use to cover the floor where you are painting.

Can I use turpentine to remove paint from a carpet?

Turpentine removes the paint from paint brushes, rollers, and trays, but it is not suitable for removing paint from carpets. Turpentine can also damage your carpet fibers, causing discoloration. 

Why is heat usually recommended for removing paint from a carpet?

High temperature and water are the most effective methods for lifting pigment, and paint spills are usually heavily pigmented.  It is the best cleaning method for most carpet stains.

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