How to Remove Dried Latex Paint

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Latex paint seems difficult to remove from surfaces when it is dry, but club soda and furniture polish do the trick.

As a do-it-yourself type person, I have had more than a few mishaps with latex paint.....some of them small and some of them not so small.  Some of them I didn't discover for months, and some have been in the homes of family and friends for who knows how long.  So far, I have been able to successfully clean up all of them, even when the paint is dry with some very simple and inexpensive products that are available almost anywhere. 

Largely speaking, there are two types of surfaces that paint needs to be cleaned from, porous and non-porous.  The directions for cleaning each follow:

For Porous Surfaces (These include clothing, carpet, curtains, furniture and most other fabrics)

Club soda does the trick.  Club soda is a non-sticky, colorless carbonated beverage made from carbonated water and sodium bicarbonate.  Do not attempt to use just any type of soda.  The dyes, sugar, and other chemicals might make the area of concern worse.  Additionally, the sodium bicarbonate is an important element for removing the paint.  Plain carbonated water doesn't work.

1. Pour a generous amount of club soda on dried latex paint.

2. Wait about 15 minutes or longer.

3. Use a cotton cloth to rub at the paint.  Some of it (but not all of it) should come lose.  Don't scrub too hard because it might make the fabric or carpet look worn.  (I also pick at the paint as it loosens, and can often remove bits of it with my fingernails.)  When no more paint is coming loose, repeat this step.

4. Repeat Steps 1-3 as many times as you need.  (I have never needed to repeat this more than four times.) 

(When I get bored of working on a spot, I pour quite a lot of club soda on it, walk away for a few hours and come back when I am ready.  The paint is getting looser the whole time I am taking a break.) 

5. When the paint is removed, blot the area with a towel to help it dry without getting mildew.

For Non-porous Surfaces (includes stained or finished wood and textured plastic)

Spray-on Furniture Polish removes latex paint.  (This sounds crazy.  I discovered it by chance, but I have saved chairs, a wooden ceiling, and a textured plastic picnic table using this approach.)  Only some brands of furniture polishes work (Pledge and Pro-clean brand) and some of them don't (The off-brand I picked up at the dollar store).

1. Spray the area with the furniture polish and let it stand 5-10 minutes.

2. Rub paint with an appropriate cloth.  For wood with a shiny smooth finish, use a cotton cloth.  For un-sanded wood that has been stained or plastic with a rough texture, use a green abrasive pad meant for scrubbing.

Repeat steps 1-2 as many times as needed.  (I have never needed to repeat this more than 10 times.) 

It is okay to take a break, but don't leave furniture polish on wood for a long period of time because it dries and then you have to remove that too.

Using these two methods, I have been able to remove paint from clothing, sofas, carpets, my dining room set, a plastic picnic table, a wooden ceiling, and a hardwood floor.  I have also found that club soda works for removing ink from markers, chocolate, and many other types of stains as well.  Good luck removing yours.