How to get gloss paint out of carpet: say goodbye to stains

Roller and tray with pink paint spilt on cream carpet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have spilt paint on your carpet you need to know how to get gloss paint out of carpet as quickly as possible. The longer you leave gloss paint the more difficult it will be to get rid of it. The paint will soak into the carpet and eventually penetrate the fibres. 

If you're painting a wall, ceiling or skirting boards, you want to stop and spring into action while any paint drops or spills are still wet. This will give you the best chance of a good clean. But don’t panic if you’ve got dried gloss paint lurking in your carpet. You can still get rid of it. 

In this guide we take a look at a couple of smart, simple solutions to deal with both wet and dry gloss paint.

How to get gloss paint out of carpet: working with wet paint 

Before you start, grab yourself some clean kitchen roll, white spirit – like this Bartoline White Spirit from Amazon – a bowl of warm soapy water and a kitchen scourer before you get started. Also make sure you have a bin bag for any rubbish. Then follow the steps outlined below.

1. Soak up the excess gloss paint 

You need to soak up as much paint as possible using clean absorbent kitchen roll. Get a couple of sheets and fold in half and dab on the paint. Importantly you should dab, do not rub. Repeat the process until you get to a point where the kitchen roll is picking up very little or no paint.

Note if you have a large amount of paint use a paint scraper and pick up the paint and put it in a container. Try to contain the spread to the minimum. 

2. Cleaning up water-based gloss paint 

Get a bowl of warm soapy water and a kitchen sponge and soak the spot where the paint is. Leave for a few minutes and then start dabbing with clean kitchen roll.

Once the kitchen roll stops picking up paint, start dabbing with a wet kitchen sponge/scourer. Do this a few times and then add plenty of warm water and scrub the spot in small circular motions. 

Now wipe the area with a clean towel until almost dry. Repeat until clean. If you have a carpet cleaner or hoover with a narrow nozzle, suck up any water and paint. Finally, cover the spot with a clean dry towel to help absorb any moisture. 

3. Cleaning up oil-based gloss paint 

This is a similar process to cleaning up water-based paint but you will need to use white spirit to break down the paint. 

Start by getting a bowl of white spirit and a clean cloth. Soak the cloth in white spirit and dab until the paint has been removed. You can use kitchen roll, but this tends to break up.

To finish, get warm soapy water and a kitchen sponge/scourer to wash the area and help remove the smell. Use a wet and dry vacuum to suck up water if you have one. If not, place kitchen roll on the spot to absorb water, repeat until almost dry. Finish by placing a clean dry towel over the spot to absorb the remaining water.  

How to get dry gloss paint off carpet

This a more labour-intensive job that cleaning up water-based gloss paint. You will need a knife, paint scraper – like the Rolson 50 mm Paint Scraper from Amazon – a detergent or white spirit, kitchen scourer and towels.

1. Remove dry paint 

For this you will need a knife with a dull edge such as an everyday dinner knife or a paint scraper. Hold the dull edge against the bottom of the carpet fibres at an 45 degree angle and drag up. This will start removing the paint. Keep repeating until no more splinters of paint come off. Now vacuum to get rid of any loose paint flakes. 

2. Soften up remaining paint 

Add a dash of washing detergent to warm water, pour on paint and leave for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the step above to remove more paint before getting a bowl of white spirit and a kitchen scourer to scrub the area. If stubborn, use a nail brush to get rid of the paint. 

Can I use a hairdryer to remove gloss paint? 

You can use a hairdryer to help with the paint removal process, but only on dry paint. Use it on wet paint and it will dry it out making it harder to remove. 

A hairdryer is ideal if you have been using dust sheets when painting skirting boards or woodwork and the paint has seeped through the sheet and dried out on the carpet. 

Set the hairdryer to a low heat and move across the dry spot until the paint has started to soften. You can then start scraping the paint off with a knife or scraper before washing clean. 

Steve Jenkins

Steve is Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor, and has been a writer and editor for two decades. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.