Removing Paint Stains from Your Favorite Couch


You return to your home after a long day at work, ready to unwind on your favorite couch, watch Netflix and chill with your spouse when you suddenly notice a paint stain on your favorite couch. It’s not uncommon for couches to get dirty or stained, especially if you have kids at home who spend a lot of time on them. Fortunately, you can hire a furniture repair expert by searching  “furniture repair near me” and allow them to restore your favorite couch to its former glory.

However, if you want to put in the effort and time to do the job yourself, you need to first diagnose the type of paint stain smeared on your couch so that you can remove it effectively.

The Process

Diagnosing the type of paint stain

The first step to removing nasty paint stains from your favorite couch is to first understand the type of paint that has stained it. You need to follow different paint stain removal procedures for removing different types of paints. Generally, there are two types of paint you should be worried about — water-based paint and oil-based paint.

So, how do you figure out the type of paint stain on your couch? Well, you have to figure out the source of the paint stain and refer to the product packaging where the type of paint would be listed as either oil-based or water-based. Common oil-based paints include art oils, model craft paints, and enamels. Common water-based paint includes latex paints, finger paints, acrylic paint, and craft paints.

Steps to remove water-based paint stains from your couch

It can become difficult to remove water-based paint if it has dried completely. In such cases, you need to use special tools and cleaning solutions to get the job done. Sometimes, you might need to call in a cleaning professional. However, it is fairly easy to get rid of water-based paint when they are detected, and you act quickly.

Given below are the steps you can follow to remove water-based paint.

  1. When the water-based paint stain is still wet – The first step is to flush the stain as quickly as possible using warm water. Ensure that you don’t use hot water since it can set the stain permanently. Once you have flushed the stain as much as possible simply apply a few drops of laundry or dish detergent or use some bar soap. Then, rinse it thoroughly and spot-treat the stained area using water. Repeat the steps as many times as you want until you are satisfied with the results.

Sometimes, it makes more sense to pre-treat the stained spot on the fabric with a commercial stain removal to improve the effectiveness of the stain removal process. And, if you notice that water is not enough to get rid of the paint stain, you can apply some acetone nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol since they work better the water.

  1. When the water-based paint stain has dried completely – When the water-based paint has dried completely, you cannot just flush the paint stain with water to remove it. Instead, you need to use a tool with a flat edge such as a knife to scrape off the excess paint. If you don’t have access to any flat edged tool, you may use a bristled tool such as a toothbrush to remove the stain. You need to be very careful while removing it so that you don’t damage the fabric. The best way to perform the job is to apply short and circular strokes to remove the chunks of dried paint.

Next, you need to blot the stained area using a damp cloth to allow it to absorb it. Apply some dish detergent, laundry detergent, or dish-soap to the damp cloth to increase its effectiveness. Remember, you shouldn’t damp the cloth too much since excess water can cause the paint to spread into a larger area. Finally, apply a few drops of alcohol such as nail polish remover or commercial paint remover over the stained area and allow it to remain for some time before rubbing it to get rid of the stain.

If the stain is still not removed completely, your only choice is to hire a professional to handle the job.

Steps to remove oil-based paint stains from your couch

Removing water-based paint stain that has dried is tricky but it’s even more challenging to remove oil-based paint stains from the fabric of your couch. The first thing you should know is that you should never apply water to the stained area since water and oil don’t mix.

It’s much better to scrap off the excess wet paint using a blunt knife or any other tool with a flat edge. Next, you need to lightly dab the stained area with clean cloth dipped in a good quality paint thinner until the cloth absorbs all the paint.

If you are unsure whether the paint thinner would be suitable for the fabric on the couch, you could test it by applying a small portion of it in an inconspicuous area of the couch. Finally, you should use a waterless cleaner and clean towel to wipe away the residue of the solvent.

If your favorite couch is adorned with a particularly high quality or expensive fabric such as fine silk or if it’s precious antique piece, it makes more sense to consult or hire a professional to handle the delicate fabric. This would ensure you don’t accidentally damage the fabric.


Always remember to refer to the owner’s instruction manual that came with the couch to learn about the specific washing instructions and the recommended products for cleaning them. This would save you a lot of trouble and headache. It’s not easy to remove unwanted marks and paint stains from couches or any other type of fabric. A little mistake and you can easily make it worse, ruining your possession. Thus, it’s a job best left for the experts who are used to dealing with such problems. Simply search “furniture repair near me” to find experts who can help to remove paint stains from your favorite couch.

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