How To Clean Paint Spills From Carpet

Clean paint spills from your carpet

Every home remodeling or decorating project comes with a risk of damage or a mess (or both). Spilling paint on your floors, specifically on your expensive carpeting can be a home owner's nightmare. 

It doesn't take much. An overlooked, unsecured paint lid can result in a spill that can literally destroy a carpet. If you counted all the different scenarios that could end in catastrophe, you would probably never lift a paintbrush again. There are so many items to consider when doing home renovation projects. 

How To Clean Paint Spills From Carpet

Paint spills on your carpet are not the end of life as we know it, however. You can clean paint from any material in most cases, ensuring that your project does not result in the loss of valuable carpet or furniture. The key to irradicating this travesty is to MOVE QUICKLY. If you don't act swiftly when a paint spill occurs, it will become very difficult to clean the area and save the expense.

Protecting Carpets

First thing is first - take precaution. This may sound trite, but when it comes to DIY projects, the first thing that any professional may recommend is to slow down and take the necessary precautions. Often times, homeowners get excited or tell their wives "I got this" when in fact they don't... DIY projects are usually tackled from the standpoint of reducing expense in labor. Reality is that often mistakes or oversights (or lack of preparation) cause you to spend more in the end. 

So, with that being said, prevention is the best cure. If you have wall-to-wall carpets in a room, protecting them from spills is by far the best option and you should take extra time to ensure they are covered into the corners and edges. This is the best solution if the carpet is secured using tacks or glue. If by chance you can lift the carpet without damaging it, you should do so. It's not necessary to remove the carpet from the room but if you can mitigate disaster one section at a time and cover it with a non-porous drop cloth. Your family (and life) will remain at zen.

And this may seem like common sense, but when homeowners are in a rush and want to tackle something alone, the small things go unattended to. Take the time to make sure that any covering is secured so that you do not pull your drop cloth or rolled back carpet away when walking around the room. You can use strong masking tape to secure your protective drop cloth so that the flooring is completely covered in case of spills and splatters. The last thing you want to do is trip on your walking path and do the exact thing you were trying to avoid. 

 Child's bedroom. Image by Trey Fortner

Cleaning the paint from carpet

As mentioned above, If you do spill paint on a carpet, it is important to move quickly to remove the excess. A putty knife is an ideal tool for the job, but if you don’t have one, use an implement of similar design. Time is not on your side so you'd better get to it. 

You can actually give yourself more time by using water to saturate the affected area. This worries a lot of people because when you start soaking the area - the paint begins to spread. This is a result of the paint becoming diluted by a benign chemical – water. Yes, you now have a larger surface mess to deal with, but you are well on your way towards remedying the situation.

Employing vacuum power

If you really want to get ahead of paint drying on your carpet, then use the most powerful cleaning tool in your home. The vacuum is ideal for sucking up watered-down paint. If you have a vacuum that can be purposed for such things (like a shop vac or garage vacuum), then crank it up and get to work. Keep the vacuum close... work in progress.

Just reiterating here... don't use your new Shark in-home vacuum for this. 

You will have to re-soak the carpet several times before you start seeing results. With each new soaking, you will need to use a bristled brush on the spill area to work the paint out of the carpet. Taking some breaks to vacuum up water and paint every now and then will clean the area and help you see the light of day. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beer - you will need it. 

Avoid paint spills altogether

Again, seems silly and we've said it already, but avoidance is key. You can see how a weekend project can get expensive and labor intensive by making one little error. Generally speaking, it's not even your own mistakes that may be a factor; you may have kids, dogs, cats or a spouse milling around your work zone. So there are other ways to avoid paint spills.

  • When you are dealing with paint, it is always important to ensure that lids are tightly sealed (Always!).
  • When you take the lid off the can, make sure it is placed somewhere safe where it will not cause damage to carpets or furniture.
  • Never leave paint cans anywhere in the room where the likelihood of a spillage occurring is increased (such as the example of family above).
  • If you do decide to leave the paint lid someplace, pick an easily cleaned surface. This is a no-brainer, but it's all too easy to simply set it next to you on the expensive new berber for a second... that's when you'll find yourself cleaning paint spills from carpet.

Hire a Professional Painter

Let’s face it, people make mistakes. However, when you hire a professional who has made all those mistakes already and learned from them, your carpets are in much better hands. A professional will know how to protect your furniture and flooring when painting each room. The extra cost of hiring a professional is worth it when you end up with a perfect finish, unblemished carpets, and that sacred weekend time with your family.

One of the main causes of paint spilling on a carpet is the overloading of paint on rollers and brushes. A professional painter has thousands of man hours into their trade and knows how to avoid this situation and spread the paint with cost-effective efficiency. 

Trusting your project to a professional may save you money in the long run and significantly reduce the level of stress you may be experiencing over this home renovation project.


Looking to Hire a Pro?

Elite Finisher has helped countless customers make their home look and feel happy, healthy and inviting through paint. If you're looking for professional advice or want get it done right, request a free quote.