How to Remove Tempera Paint Stains


Debbie asked: How do I remove red and yellow tempera paint from carpeting? The paint says it’s washable.

Tempera paints – a classic art tool for children of all ages. Though it makes beautiful pictures and dries quickly, it does not come out from fabrics and carpets as easily as one might think. The dyes in these paints are intense and can leave their mark, sometimes permanently. In order to remove them, we will treat them like other dye stains. It will require some trial and error and will depend greatly on the size and severity of the stain. Here’s what you can try:

You Will Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Oxy-Clean or Resolve
  • Foam carpet cleaner (available at home improvement stores)
  • Clean white cloths
  • Spoon
  • Water
  • Vacuum

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. If the paint is dried, start by scraping up as much of it as possible with a spoon. Tempera paint dries very brittle and will turn into a powder if brushed. Do NOT scrape wet paint as it will only push it further into the fibers. For wet paint, blot it with a cloth or paper towel to absorb as much as possible.
  2. Next, use a clean cloth to blot the stain with white vinegar. It may also help to spray the area with white vinegar and allow it to set for a few minutes.
  3. As you are blotting with the cloth, the dye should begin to transfer to the cloth. Use a clean portion of the cloth each time to ensure you are not spreading the stain further.
  4. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed.
  5. If the stain persists, apply a general stain remover, such as Oxy-Clean or Resolve to the area and blot with a clean cloth.
  6. If neither of the above methods work, try a commercial carpet cleaner. There are carpet cleaners available at all hardware and home improvement stores. They typically come in a can with a scrubber right on the top. The foam comes out as you scrub and can be effective in removing stains. Apply following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. When the stain is gone, rinse the area completely by blotting it with clean water on a clean cloth.
  8. Press a clean cloth onto the area with plenty of pressure to absorb most of the water.
  9. Allow the area to dry completely.
  10. After it has dried, vacuum over the area to restore the texture of the fibers.

Additional Tips and Ideas

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